Tag Archive | "Christ Episcopal Church"

East End Weekend: Highlights of July 18 to 20

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"Calabrone" by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

“Calabrone” by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Summer is in full swing and there’s plenty to choose from to do on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:


The Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor is hosting an opening reception for Ramiro’s Solo Show on Saturday, July 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Ramiro solo show this year steps forward into a more mystical and hopeful realm,” owner Laura Grenning wrote in a press release.

“Anchoring the exhibit is a suite of four substantial figurative works, with each painting representing a season of the soul.  Although well known for his expert likenesses in portraiture and grand figurative work, Ramiro’s distinguishing characteristic is, ironically, his ability to let go of the discreet reality of the eyes when necessary.  With this, he infuses his narrative compositions with mystery that allows the paintings to endure the critical test of time,” added Ms. Grenning.

The Grenning Gallery is located at 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-8469.


Water Mill’s  Parrish Art Museum is hosting its second edition of Gesture Jam, an adult figure drawing class in which artists sketch live models in a high-energy environment, Friday, July 18 at 6 p.m.

Facilitated by local artist and educator Andrea Cote, this year’s Gesture Jam will be held outdoors on the museum’s terrace and include live musicians Nicolas Letman-Burtanovic on bass and Sean Sonderegger on saxaphone. Local dancers Adam and Gail Baranello are the models.

“Imagine going home with drawings that look like you’ve been to some sort of psychedelic cabaret, and feeling that way too. Andrea Cote’s Gesture Jam classes have just that effect,” Parrish Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover said in a press release.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.


Celebrities are coming to Bridgehampton for CMEE’s 6th Annual Family Fair on Saturday, July 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Children’s Museum of the East End‘s largest fundraiser, this year the fair will have a magical theme.

George Stephanopoulos, Dan Abrams, Jane Krakowski, Joy Behar, Julie Bowen, Molly Sims and Tiffani Thiessen (of Saved by the Bell fame) are some of the CMEE supporters expected to be in attendance.

Children and their families can enjoy magical arts and crafts, water slides, games and entertainment, music, food, and CMEE’s brand new nine-hole miniature golf course.

CMEE is located at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on the Bridgehampton side. For more information, call (631) 537-8250.


A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor is hosting its fourth Haitian Art & Handcraft Sale all weekend, July 18 to 20, to benefit the village of Chermaître in partnership with the Vassar Haiti Project.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and the sale will continue in the Upper Parish Hall on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two hundred original paintings and a large assortment of unique and affordable gifts, including silk scarves, jewely and iron sculpture, will be on sale.

Many women in the village, Chermaître in northwestern Haiti, are struggling to start small businesses to support their families by selling the crafts they create and the coffee they grow. Proceeds from the church sale will go toward building a community center in the village to support those women.

For more information on the charity, call (970) 946-7614 or visit haitiproject.org. The Christ Episcopal Church is located at the corner of East Union and Hampton Street (Route 114) in Sag Harbor. For more information, call the church at (631) 725-0128.


The gallery at Sag Harbor’s Canio Books is hosting artists Ron Focarino and Jeanelle Myers, with her latest assemblage series, Plains Reverie, with an opening reception Friday, July 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Myers work reflects the influence of her Nebraska roots, echoing the work of Wright Morris and Joseph Cornell,” the gallery said in a press release. “Myers incorporates a diverse array of found objects including old letters, metals, writing implements, fabric and many other materials into her compelling assemblages.”

"Golden Scarab" enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio's Books.

“Golden Scarab” enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio’s Books.

Artist Ron Focarino will also be exhibiting, showing his “creature creations, delightful enamel sculptures of insects, including a dragonfly, crane fly, scarab and others,” according to Canio’s.

The exhibit runs July 11 through August 5 at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926.

The Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor presents the artwork of Anna De Mauro and Thomas Condon, with an opening reception Saturday, July 19 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Sculptor and painter Anna De Mauro is a figurative artist working from the live model.

“Her work process includes observation from life to record instinctual responses to the subject, passage of time and impressions of the metaphysical and the human condition,” the gallery said in a press release.

Thomas Condon lives part-time in East Hampton and focuses on the local landscape here on the East End, as well as the urban scenes of New York City.

The show runs July 17 through August 7 at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-2499.

Haitian Art Benefit at Christ Church

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Georges Desarmes Image

Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor will host its fourth Haitian Art & Handcraft Sale this weekend, July 18 to 20, to benefit the village of Chermaitre in partnership with the Vassar Haiti Project.  The event will take place in the Upper Parish Hall on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 pm and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an opening reception on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The sale will feature 200 original paintings as well as a wide assortment of unique and affordable gifts, including silk scarves, jewelry, and iron sculpture.

The event is free and open to the public, with handcrafts starting from $5 and paintings from $50. All sales are 50-percent tax deductible.

The Vassar Haiti Project is a registered non-profit organization, based at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie. For the past 13 years it has been supporting education, health and sustainable development in the village of Chermaître in mountainous northwestern Haiti. This is Christ Church’s fourth partnership with the Vassar Haiti Project and the previous sales hosted in Sag Harbor have been a tremendous success.

In 2008 the church’s sale raised over $30,000 to complete the building of a seven-classroom school. The second sale, in 2010, raised $26,000 toward the construction of a medical center, which has since opened and offers health care to thousands of Haitians in Chermaitre and neighboring villages. The 2012 sale, which again yielded more than $20,000, helped pay for a new kindergarten.

Proceeds from the 2014 sale will go toward building a community center that will support the women of the village who desperately want to support their families by creating small businesses from the crafts they will create and the coffee they are growing.

For more information, call (970) 946-7614 or visit the haitiproject.org.

Terry Sullivan

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By Stephen J. Kotz

This Saturday at Christ Episcopal Church at 3 p.m., you are sponsoring a memorial sing-along to honor Pete and Toshi Seeger, who both died recently. What were their ties to Sag Harbor?

Pete was a great help in 1993 when he came to the Old Whalers’ Church and did a benefit concert for the Eastville Community Historical Society. What happened is when the lines of the historic district were drawn, they went across the street when they came to St. David’s AME Church, avoiding what was a traditionally black neighborhood. When I told Pete that, he said, “Let’s do a concert,” so we did. Lo and behold, the next year, when he came back to town for another fundraiser, Eastville was on all the historic tours.

This is a memorial for both Pete and Toshi, because without Toshi Seeger there would not have been a Pete Seeger. All his family would tell you that. She organized the Clearwater Festival. At its height it was attended by 30,000 people. During the ’50s, it was her idea that they would not talk to the administration at colleges but go straight to the student union: “Would you like Pete to come and do a concert? You do the promo, here’s the fee.” He’d be in and out, so Pete was working regularly when he was on the blacklist.

Where did you meet him?

I met him at a workshop for songwriting at Omega at Rhinebeck upstate in 1991. I was trying to get a chorus together that was going to be an interracial chorus of about a dozen people.  When I told him, he said “You’re just the fellow I’ve been looking for.” Only he wanted 200 or 300 people. Six months later, though, Pete and I put together a quartet. I supplied myself and the soprano. He supplied the tenor and a baritone and six months later we sang at Carnegie Hall. We sang with him for years on short notice.

Why is Pete Seeger important?

Optimism. He had optimism that inspired 12,000 people to sign up to clean up the Hudson River. Integrity. He stood up for what he believed in even when faced with jail. Courage. He faced death threats. He told a story about a guy who came to him after a concert who told him “I came to this concert tonight to kill you.” They sat down and talked awhile and then they sang together. The guy told him “I want to thank you. You changed my life.”

He inspired, and this is not an exaggeration, millions of people.

Tell me about Seeger’s songs.

He was like an encyclopedia for song details. If you asked him for a specific song, it was like pressing the button on a tape recorder and he’d start telling, “Well in 1834, he brought this song to South Carolina” and he’d bring it all the way to the present, telling you who added what and when.

Even when he worked on a song, he always gave credit to everyone else. Take a song like “We Shall Overcome.” He changed “will” to “shall” because it sounded better to his Yankee ear. That’s how Pete worked. He would sing stuff that was around for 10, 20 years and he’d just change a word or two and tinker with it.

Who will be performing with you this weekend and what will you sing?

The Musical Suspects. Dan Koontz is the musical director at Christ Church. He plays the organ at the church, keyboards and a mean blues guitar. Bill Chaleff, the architect, plays guitar and his son, Ben, plays mandolin and bass. And I sing.

We’ll do mostly songs that people know from Pete singing them. “We Shall Overcome,” “Down by the Riverside,” “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You,” “Deportee.” We are not only encouraging, but demanding, that people sing along. You’ll be put in irons if you don’t sing along.



Restored Bell Tolls Once Again

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The bell in the tower of Christ Church was restored in honor of late parishioner Neal Hartman.

The bell in the tower of Christ Church was restored in honor of late parishioner Neal Hartman.

by David McCabe

When, in 1908, Mrs. Russell Sage purchased one 2,000-pound bell from the Meneely Bell Company for the Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor Village it came with a guarantee that it would work for ten years. The bell outlasted its warranty by 92 years, until cracks in its wooden support mechanism rendered it inoperable in the fall of 2010.

Now, the bell is once again sounding over Sag Harbor thanks to a fundraising effort led by parishioner David Bray in memory of his partner Neal Hartman, who died in October, 2010

The new bell will be officially dedicated to Hartman during a short ceremony this Sunday — marking the beginning of another chapter in the history of an object that has been in use for more than 100 years.

When he was still alive, Hartman would ring the bell at the end of services every Sunday. It was shortly after he passed away that the church had to stop using the bell because of the damage to the surrounding wood. A company brought in by the parish also recommended that the bell be repainted and that crucial bolts be replaced, since they had been in use for more than a century.

Bray was approached by Father Shawn Williams, who was the Priest-in-Charge of the parish at the time, suggesting that repairing the bell would serve as a fitting memorial to Neal. A first round of funds were raised from Hartman’s friends and associates.

Then, using the parish’s mailing list, Bray and church leaders were able to collect the remainder of the $8,000 restoration fee for the bell. The contributions were as large as $1,000 from one donor, but Bray said that many of the donations were much smaller.

“There [weren’t] billionaires giving money,” Bray said, “it was all members of the community.”

The restoration began in the summer of 2011, but the extreme heat occasionally stymied workers. In addition to replacing the cracked wood wheel that turns the bell, they sanded the bell and painted it to prevent future damage that could result from Sag Harbor’s proximity to salt water.

They also had to realign the bell on its stands, since it had shifted and was rubbing against the stands.

The bell was in working condition by the end of 2011 and has been rung since around Easter, but Bray said they waited to dedicate it until the spring because they wanted more of Hartman’s friends to be able to attend.

At the ceremony on Sunday, the bell will be blessed and a soloist will perform Bray and Hartman’s song, “Till There Was You,” from The Music Man. It begins: “There are bells all around, but I never heard them ringing, I never heard them at all, till there was you.”

A reception will follow the dedication. Those in attendance will be able to view both a new plaque noting the dedication and one of the original order slips for the bell, which was found in the Church’s archives by Priest-in-Charge Karen Campbell.

While repairing the bell creates a public memorial for his late partner, Bray says it also helps to preserve an important part of Sag Harbor history.

“It’s an artifact and an historic object that you cannot see but you can here,” Bray said. “There are monuments and things all around, the historic homes, [that you can see] but this is an artifact. Nobody ever sees it, but now they’ll be able to hear it.”

Embraces Parish Openness

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web Rev Karen Campbell

By Annette Hinkle

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Karen Campbell was tucked away in her new office in Christ Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall. Surrounded by boxes and memorabilia, she was settling in as Priest in Charge at the Sag Harbor parish. Rev. Campbell replaces Fr. Shawn Williams who left the parish in January, and she offered her first service at Christ Episcopal on Ash Wednesday.

“This is such a beautiful place and I’ve really been welcomed,” says Rev. Campbell, a California native who, after living in Massachusetts for more than 30 years, is in the process of getting to know a new community. “It feels right. It feels of God. The people I have met are wonderful. The parish is filled with people who have had interesting lives.”

Rev. Campbell and her husband, Graham, come to Sag Harbor from Fitchburg, Mass. where Rev. Campbell served a small parish — her first since being ordained at the age of 52. But the working class mill town had fallen on tough times, and it eventually became clear that her parish, one of two Episcopalian churches in town, was in trouble.

“The system in the mill towns in Massachusetts was that they put up a big cathedral church for the mill owners, and a small chapel for the mill workers,” explains Rev. Campbell. “It isn’t as diabolical as it sounds. Our small church had bowling alleys and took care of the millworkers.”

“Now a town the size of Fitchburg can’t support two Episcopal churches,” she adds. “I was with my parish for 10 years. At the seven year point, it was obvious we weren’t going to make it financially. I spent three years telling the parishioners that our mission is to serve Christ, but in the process, maybe we have to die ourselves.”

In the end, Rev. Campbell’s church closed and 30 parishioners made the journey over to the cathedral.

“The big church wasn’t that full either,” she adds. “ Now it’s a much more viable congregation.”

Looking at Sag Harbor, with its many historic churches, Rev. Campbell sees shades of a similar struggle, especially in terms of “deferred maintenance.”

“Our buildings are killing us,” she says and she takes in the intricate woodwork in her office. “This church was founded when there were large sums of money for endowments they thought would take care of it for ever. But forever was more expensive than they imagined it could be.”

Nevertheless, based on what she’s seen of Sag Harbor and her congregation, Rev. Campbell is not deterred.

“I’m really positive. I’m not worried about that,” she says. “I think the core group here has been doing this a long time and are committed, energetic and their engines are revving.”

“My parish is diverse, both racially and in terms of sexual orientation. This kind of openness for me is a breath of fresh air,” she adds. “Here, being clergy has a status to it.”

It’s quite a contrast to blue-collar Fitchburg, where several parishioners said they “really don’t want a woman” the first time she met them.

“Three weeks later they said, ‘Never mind,’” grins Rev. Campbell who has come to understand where that mentality comes from. “Out of seminary, you learn you’re supposed to process everything to death. But if you’re on a production line, you don’t care about process. You need product. People who process have the luxury of time and education.”

“Now I come to a world where they’ve had time,” adds Rev. Campbell who hopes to offer services that spark interest — from a summer solstice blessing of the animals, to an Easter Vigil with bells, baptisms and on-screen visuals.

“We had even done a clown Eucharist in my former parish,” she says. “I like to bring the theater back to the church and make things exciting.”

Ringing Tribute

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Christ Church Bell web

By Courtney M. Holbrook

For David Bray and Neal Hartman, the song “Till There Was You” stood for their 40-year relationship. The refrain “there were bells, but I never heard them ringing … till there was you,” said everything and more. They heard those bells.

When Bray and Hartman attended Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor, Hartman took joy in ringing the bell rope in the narthex after services.

“Neal loved the bells,” Bray said. “And after each service, when Father Shawn [Williams] would close the service, he would go and ring the bells … He was like the bell ringer of the church.”

But the bell itself is damaged, its wooden wheel detached from its base due to age and use. For a while, the church has used a canticle to conclude the service.

Hartman passed away on October 24, 2010. In honor of his partner, and the church where he spent so much of his time, Bray has arranged “the most appropriate memorial.”

Bray hopes to restore the bells of Christ Episcopal Church, and let them ring on May 20, 2012.

“The idea fell into place,” Bray said. “It was the best thing, to begin this restoration and do it in [Hartman’s] name.”

“I knew it would be difficult to think of something appropriate for someone like [Hartman], who was so connected and so involved in this parish,” Williams said. “Bringing the bell back to something that would work, it was actually a perfect memorial.”

The church was built in 1847, and the bell was first noted in the Sag Harbor Express of Thursday, March 12, 1908. Mrs. Russell Sage had the bell shipped and erected by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, N.Y. The Meneely Bell Company also financed bells for the funeral of John F. Kennedy, and the replacement of the Liberty Bell.

The bell was made of “purest bronze composition, is sweet in tone and measures 46 inches at its mouth, its weight being greater than that of any bell now in Sag Harbor,” according to the Express.

Bray looks at the renovation project as both a memorial for Hartman, and an addition to the historic authenticity of Sag Harbor. Bray notes the bell’s restoration is an example of “historic preservation, where we offer something which can be heard, but is not visible.”

According to Bray, the bell’s restoration is not only a benefit for the congregation of the church, but a “precious Sag Harbor historical artifact that serves the community as a whole.”

Originally, Bray had intended for the bells to ring once more this October, but the time and funds needed for restoration showed the process would take longer than first expected. Bray noted the month of May, when winter has passed and summer residents have begun to return, would be perfect.

The damaged bell is one of only two in Sag Harbor. To let this record of life in Sag Harbor go silent would render “an invisible artifact doomed to sitting in silence,” according to Bray.

“This was so important to Neal,” Bray said. “But it’s not a selfish idea on my part. We want the good citizens of Sag Harbor to have a this beautiful piece of history.”

Father Williams made the announcement to the congregation of the church two weeks ago. The response was positive; congregants seemed to understand the importance of the bell’s restoration, according to Williams.

“People like bells, they give life to a lot of things,” Rev. Williams said. “And David and I are on the same wavelength, I think; we know that what would be good for the church also works so well with the [Sag Harbor] Village’s plan to maintain historicity.”

So, as the months continue, the broken wheel of wood will be replaced with stainless steel, hopefully allowing it to ring for “another 100 years,” Williams said. A plaque with Hartman’s name will also be set up in the church.

When the day comes when Bray will be able to ring the bell once again, he’ll do so not just in memory of Sag Harbor’s rich history, but also in honor of Hartman, and his dedication to the congregation and the people of Sag Harbor. And he will do it in memory of their song, and the bells they heard and rang together.

“The bells have always been in our lives,” Bray said. “Bells were our song, they were what Neal loved … they brought us such joy together.”

Donations to the Bell Restoration Project at Christ Episcopal Church can be made to P.O. Box 570, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963.

Program to Help the Hamptons’ Homeless Begins

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web Homeless

By Marianna Levine

Last spring when a make shift “soup kitchen” was erected at the Tires Plus store in Southampton many people were shocked into an awareness of local poverty. The many pictures and headlines depicting large groups of men lining up for food presented an image of the Hamptons quite at odds with our area’s reputation for extreme wealth and exclusivity in the summer months. Yet being homeless in the Hamptons is a year round realty for the approximately 500 hundred people currently seeking shelter in the five towns of the South Fork of Eastern Long Island. That is the estimated figure according to Barbara Jordan, and affordable housing advocate living in East Hampton.

Since April, Jordon has been on a mission to give the area’s homeless a safe, warm place to eat and rest during the cold winter months. She spent her summer organizing volunteers and raising money to buy supplies for a program called Maureen’s Haven, a national program that helps local church’s set up occasional shelters for the homeless. With the help of several community churches and non-religious organizations, East Hampton’s United Methodist Church will start housing guests every Friday night starting November 6th and will continue housing them through March. Sag Harbor’s Christ Episcopal Church and Addas Israel will be a part of the community-wide effort.

Jordan explained the program asks area churches to provide an overnight stay including a hot meal, a place to wash, and other things such as AA meetings, nurses visits, and clothes to the homeless during the winter months. People are only allowed into the program after they have been searched and screened for drugs, alcohol, and unstable behavior.

Jordan was overwhelmed by both the media interest in the shelter as well as the community’s generosity. “People are wanting to find something constructive and helpful to do.” She noted, and added “People have been great. I have to put people on a waiting list to volunteer at the moment.”

So far the shelter is a real mix of community volunteerism, according to Jordan. Although East Hampton’s Methodist Church is housing the shelter, which will only be able to accommodate about 20-25 people, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church is backing the venture both financially and with volunteers. At the moment various congregations sponsor a Friday night, which means their parish or group pays for and makes a hot meal, sets up the bedding, and arranges for volunteers to dine and spend the night with the guests.

Sag Harbor’s Christ Episcopal Church will sponsor the night of November 20th, but East Hampton’s Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Rotary Club, Living Water’s Gospel Church, Most Holy Trinity, and Renacer, the Methodist Church’s Hispanic Congregation are hosting a night as well.

Other community groups who heard about the program after all the nights had been spoken for are coming to help in other ways, Jordan explained. St. Therese in Montauk is taking care of clean-up while the Deacons of East Hampton’s Presbyterian Church are providing guests with a box lunch for the following day.

Secular groups also are pitching in. An individual, Jane Iselin, volunteered to launder the bedding, and the American Legion is cooking the guests breakfast. The Commander of the local VFW will be driving the VFW’s van around the towns and villages to pick up people who want to be sheltered. East Hampton high School seniors, as well as middle school students from Ross and the Springs school will be in charge of initial set up.  Jordan even has a nurse volunteering each Friday to provide guest with medical attention.

According Kathy Tucker, of Sag Harbor’s Christ Episcopal Church, the task now is to spread the word to the homeless population. Jordan and Tucker are posting flyers in public rest rooms and libraries, letting those who need it know that there will be a van picking them up the Montauk Bus Station at 4:15 p.m., St. Luke’s at 5 p.m., and the Old Whaler’s Church at 5:40 p.m. each Friday.

Although Jordan said she’s had plenty of volunteers, Tucker said Christ Episcopal could use more donations of money or beverages, and another adult to help set up. Anyone interested in helping out should contact the Church. Leah Oppenheimer, head of Temple Adas Israel’s Hebrew School, has been collecting packages of underwear to pass out to the guests as well.

Jordan explains the homeless here are often “the working poor who don’t wish to leave because they have kids in school here or because they have actual jobs they can’t afford to leave.” The homeless are the people we see lingering in local coffee shops and libraries trying to stay warm when it turns nasty outside, she said. “We’re already aware of 12-15 people in East Hampton.” Jordan adds. She notes if you carefully look around, you’ll see them.