February 14, 2010

Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church

The flowers on the altar are given to the Glory of God and in celebration of the 35th Marriage Anniversary of Liz and Allan Mellen. May God continue to bless you both!

NEXT SUNDAY: St. Mary’s Church Annual Parish Meeting: February 21st, the First Sunday of Lent, following the 10:00 am service. We will hear reports about the ministries of the parish, discuss our 2010 budget and elect new leaders to represent our parish. This is a most important time in the life of our congregation, as we look for the directions in which God calls us and as we seek to be faithful to carrying out God’s mission of peace, justice and reconciliation in our life together, in our lives and in the life of our community. Please make every effort to attend and participate in our Annual Meeting.

St. Mary’s Annual “Black History Month Poetry Sunday” Calling all poets and lovers of poetry: our annual Poetry Sunday will take place on Feb. 28th. Bring in a poem you wrote or one you love to share with our congregation. Please see Ms. Bonnie Phelps for more information.

Episcopal Church Women’s Prayer Committee will meet today: Sunday, Feb. 14th following the 10:00 am service. All women are invited.

Haiti: earthquake relief: Thanks to all who contributed to special collection. We raised $1000 which is already helping the Haitian people. Keep the Haitian people in your prayers.

Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: Sundays at 2:00 pm. St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first and third Sunday each month. Due to the Annual Parish Meeting next Sunday,  St. Mary’s will take the lead today; we will need a few volunteers to help make bag lunches after the 10:00 am service.

Upcoming Events:

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper: February 16th at 6:30 pm. Come for great fellowship.

AshWednesday: February 17th, Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion at 7:30 am, 12 noon and 6:30 pm. Come and begin the observance of a Holy Lent.

Music at St. Mary’s in Concert: February 21st at 3:00 pm, The Annual Black History Month Tribute in music, song and spoken word.

Mariam, Mark and Marx: monthly current events and Bible Study group, Thursday, Feb. 25th at 7:00 pm. Please see Jim White for more information.

Episcopal Church Women: Next meeting: Feb. 28th following the 10:00 am service.

“What a Neighborhood” Concert, Sunday Feb. 28th at 1:00  pm, sponsored by the Orfeo Duo and featuring a presentation by Christine Campbell of the life of Lucy Nichols, one of the first African American members of St. Mary’s Church.

Preaching Next Sunday: February 21st: The Rev.  Earl Kooperkamp.

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One Response to February 14, 2010

  1. Lincoln’s Day reflections about Saving Our Community Gardens
    There are some who see the future of community gardens as a matter to be resolved through the favor, or largess, of key government officials. They do not want a repeat of the rancor of the Guiliani era: which ended; like the Korean War: a stalemate, with a Bloomberg-Spitzer Agreement, set to expire this year.
    And the gardeners were well treated by the speakers, at the recent NYCGC 2010 Save All Our Gardens Forum: held February 5 and 6 at the New School. Politicians who can spoke like they really “get” this Green thing; such as City Council President Christine Quinn; and “best of show” Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; and Council Parks & Recreation Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito (who’s been “with it” all along). All good Democrats speaking, so well; in the presence of Keynote Speaker; Livia Marques from the USDA People’s Garden Initiative. But these were all nominal allies of the gardening community: part of the chorus. So while, I don’t question their sincerity, on the issue: There was no Mayor, no Attorney General, no Senator (the one that sits on the Agriculture Committee); no Governor; and no Harlem elected official, did I see, or hear quoted. There was the Parks& Recreation Department Chief; the Hon. Adrian Benepe: but the most endangered gardens, like mine are warehoused under HPD ( Housing & Presevation Department): not really within his official portfolio. Though I hope he’ll be good; if they take our garden, to give us some park land to farm.
    For me; the well- intentioned NYCCG Coalition seems far too ready to accept a paradigm which cedes to temporary officials a Right to permanently dispense public lands that slumlords abandoned; banks redlined; and other temporary office holders ignored: to the utter detriment of the City’s quality of life. That is; until the same good old boys’ sons were ready to come play their private game of Monopoly with our neighborhood streets.
    As I recall, we have community gardens mainly; because some of the people, who were thus abandoned said; “we can live better than this!” And then set about to make it so. Count me as one; who believes that , the little people of today , must require our elected officials: in this supposed era of Change; to free more parcels of land for common citizens to preserve in sustainable ways.
    Parcels of land; that should be held in common; in perpetuity; as indivisible inheritances of the people; in their communities; on their terms. This position proposes that, in each neighborhood; where a sufficient number of citizens applied; there be licensed sunlit spaces, managed beyond the pale of the bureaucrats , consultants, and their greedy speculator buddies. Places: where good People; in concert, as free neighbors, and equals; would be empowered to conserve a bit of the natural Earth for posterity.
    Such spaces are needed for the nutrition deprived; the poor; and the landless to plant a bit of food or flower: and for those who have to live in the concrete cell box buildings (called projects for the lower incomes and Luxury condos for the uppers); to relax under summer Blue skies, surrounded by calming greenery and sweet forest scents and maybe some nice Jazz..
    I crave for such a space; where the children of the richer households, and those of the poorer; where the fit and the feeble: the too young or too old could come, in turn, and be humbled by the majesty of Nature: then reinvigorated by the power of liberated human cooperation.
    I’m with those, who would insist that there must be unexploited spaces where we honor the traditions of the Native peoples: from whom all this land was stolen. So, we can pay respect to their ancient folklore; which informs us; correctly, that the Earth belongs to none of us: but rather; that we all belong to the Earth.
    We need places where we can recall, from our own Ancestors: that even in the depths of indentured servitude and brutal slavery (within this City; not down South); they were given leave to plant a few carrots, greens and herbs: and how that respite of Liberty and Self-reliance, kept embers of the Hope for Freedom alive, in their Hearts: and, most important, in the collective consciousness of their children.
    We need places to try and live; as Lincoln said,” … neither a slave nor a slave master”. Places, where every citizen is free to be a partner with his neighbor; and a partner with his acknowledged Creator, to green a part of this Planet.
    We need places where the educated and charitable; like the Students from the New School and the interns from Bain and Company, who came to our harlem garden, can in open air peace; directly interact with the less fortunate: be friends and mentors. Because, only free, honest, mutual, and regular association, inculcates success strategies and better attitudes , effectively between anxious minds.
    Further; we need places that honor the toil of the community leaders; who when their neighborhoods were abandoned; did not abandon Hope. Those, almost forgotten icons of citizen action, like our little Harlem garden’s Mrs. Carrie McCracken, and the neighborhood children from TRUCE who followed after her demise: to turn over a rubble strewn lot: despite blight, and crime, and violence; to plant flowers, and vegetables , and trees: to refresh our community life.
    And yes; we need to honor those, who dared to challenge of the presumptuous return of the temporary administrators; who wanted to hand out the lots at bargain sales; when the fortunes of the Real Estate and Wall Street Crowds rose again. We don’t begrudge the moneychangers, their honest gain: we simply say that; they must be made to leave a substantial part to the rest of us.
    For; some of us: how the balance of these lands are disposed , is a barometer, as to whether this City’s political leaders intend to provide fair and equal access to redevelopment resources and capital. Only, an equitable division of the rest of these lots: with common tenancy across ethnic and income spectrums; would suffice as a Just disposition. We want compensation for all the publically owned treasures; mostly pillaged, without our consent.

    These real properties; came into possession of the City of New York, due to spiteful criminal abandonments, redlining, and an odious policy of planned shrinkage (e.g. partial ethnic cleansing). They shouldn’t be tossed about as tokens, by current or future political office holders: slyly passing them to their buddies; through deft handoff maneuvers: like the Subway pickpocket teams do, the victim rider’s wallet.
    We, rather, seek preservation, of the better portion of these common lands; through an end to successions of political figures giving favored deals to the wealthy developers and private non-profit vote herders. We challenge, those always claiming to favor economic freedom; to endow our neighborhoods with common green space. So that; free, neighborly commerce can incubate, innovate, and emerge as new and exciting indigenous businesses. Just as important: to guarantee us, Earth renewing relaxation venues, close to home.
    We want space; where the Widow, can grow pumpkins for pies to sell at her Church Bazaar or local Farmer’s market. And the 60 year old man, who doesn’t want to flip burgers; to eke out his living, can grow his own fruit and vegetables; make nutritious unsalted soups; to sell to fellow street vendors, neighborhood workers, and shut-ins at a fair price. Places, where children could learn the Principles of Business , by raising chickens for eggs or bees; instead of, from watching their older siblings sell drugs and worse. We want spaces so the Seniors and Juniors together can grow Cut Flowers; in new greenhouses to be sold to local Florists: instead of them buying imports at higher cost. Can we not grow Tulips sustainably here? We demand space, where good Stewards can let fellow, but, homeless citizens glean a fresh tomato without shame; and maybe that homeless will come and plant their own, the following season. Our churches are overwhelmed giving people food. We need to teach more people to grow some of their food.
    We will not really Green New York unless we create the pockets where seminal Green economies can develop at a grassroots level. And if the politicians demur and delay on this: then let us seek a referendum to mandate that it be done. That’s the pathway towards a needed increase in government “of the People, by the People, and for the People”.

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