Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, Dec. 20: Living Nativity

Photo by Vincent La Marca

Once again this year the New Utrecht Reformed Church will hold a Living Nativity on the church grounds. For more than fifty years residents of Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton and beyond come to hear and see Christmas carols and live animals and an outdoor tableau of the manger scene, with children and adults as actors. The Living Nativity will take place on Saturday, Dec. 20 from 3 to 6 PM in front of the church, which is at 18th Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets. Each year the Living Nativity attracts hundreds of visitors a few steps from the main church building, which has been closed since Dec. 2003 for a $2 million repair and restoration. The Brooklyn landmark, with its world-known stained-glass windows and pipe organ, was built in 1828. Also, a Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols will take place at the New Utrecht Reformed Church Parish House on Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 9 PM. Both events are free of charge. For more information on either event, please call (718) 236-0678 or email

Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent

Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (Dec. 7)

Monday, November 24, 2008

North Shore Pops Concert Band back at New Utrecht for holiday performance

BROOKLYN - The North Shore Pops Concert Band entertains Bensonhurst residents and others during a free performance featuring traditional holiday favorites in the Parish House at the New Utrecht Reformed Church Saturday, Dec. 13.

This is the third year the North Shore Pops has visited New Utrecht. The concert, with Maestro Eric R. Albinder conducting, is sponsored by Friends of Historic New Utrecht. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available in the church lot, on 18th Ave. between 83rd and 84th Streets. Subway and buses are nearby. Light refreshment will be served after the concert.

In addition to the holiday favorites, the North Shore Pops draws on an extensive repertoire of crowd-pleasing music, including popular songs, Broadway showtunes, patriotic marches, operetta and light classical pieces. Founded over 20 years ago, the all-volunteer group has attracted the talents of gifted musicians from big bands, Broadway theater and symphony orchestras who have set the tone and style that marks the North Shore Pops' success.

The Parish House where the concert takes place is noted for its outstanding acoustics as well as for its history and famous architecture. The sanctuary structure next door, built in 1828, is undergoing a $2 million restoration and repair. The New Utrecht Reformed Church was established in 1677. It is a member of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), the smallest of the mainline Protestant denominations. The pastor is the Rev. Terry Troia, executive director of Project Hospitality on Staten Island.

The holiday concert is one of many community events sponsored by the Friends historical organization each year. Most are educational in nature providing for school children "living history lessons" on the earliest days of Brooklyn and the nation. Information on the concert and other programs is available at (718) 256-7173 and on the Web site


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Calendar of Events

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Readings for the First Sunday of Advent

Readings for the First Sunday of Advent, Year B (Nov. 30)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Readings for Thanksgiving Day

Readings for Thanksgiving Day, Year A (Nov. 27)

Readings for the Reign of Christ

Readings for the Reign of Christ, Year A (Nov. 23)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two Birthdays To Be Celebrated in Brooklyn - 100 Years and 225!

BROOKLYN - Some might consider it a stretch, but it can safely be said that the 106-foot-long "Liberty Pole" on the front lawn of the New Utrecht Reformed Church in Bensonhurst is the only remaining such symbol of America's freedom found anywhere on the face of the Earth. That piece of earth, in Brooklyn, also is where President George Washington once stood.
Others might say the New Utrecht "Liberty Pole," with its "Liberty Eagle" on top, almost was "born" before the USA. The first pole was raised by New Utrecht patriots to celebrate the end of the Revolutionary War and the withdrawal of British troops from the 13 colonies, on Nov. 25, 1783, "Evacuation Day."

Saturday, Nov. 22, a free band concert, called "Salute to the Liberty Pole," will celebrate the 225th birthday. The concert, at 7:30 p.m. in the church Parish House, will be given by the InterSchool Orchestra Symphonic Band with Brian P. Worsdale conducting. On Sunday, Rev. Terry Troia, pastor of the historic church, will conduct an all-faith worship service at 11 a.m. Veterans and others who want to share in recalling the nation's earliest history are invited to attend.

"This is a wonderful time for all of us to come together, to learn more about our country's earliest years of freedom," Robert Buonvino, president of Friends of Historic New Utrecht, said.

"Especially young people, among them school children, find our programs to be highly educational. We have much to be proud of in this land of liberty."

The "Liberty Eagle" on the top of pole is the same one on the first pole raised at the site. This pole is the sixth. The first flag was a "Betsy Ross," with 13 stars and 13 stripes.

Historians note that seven years later, on Tuesday, April 20, 1790, George Washington visited school children at a school house near the flagpole, where the Reformed church building, which dates from 1828, now stands. According to the president's diary, the visit included having supper at an inn opposite the 1654 cemetery that the church maintains to this day at 16th Ave. and 84th St.

This also is the 100th anniversary of the New Utrecht Liberty Pole Association. Records show the association was organized in the parlor of the Van Pelt Manor and incorporated in 1908. The association's president now is Rose Lood, a longtime church leader from Bay Ridge.
The Friends of Historic New Utrecht uses the Liberty Pole for its educational programs when teaching school children about the American flag. The organization is working to put together a collection of large flags representing all the flags the nation has known since 1783. Each is 12 by 18 feet. They are used on special dates and observances during the year, and for school tours.
The New Utrecht Reformed Church, formerly the New Utrecht Dutch Reformed Church, is a member of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). The church was founded in 1677. Its sanctuary building has been closed since December 2003 for a $2 million repair and restoration.

Parking is on the church grounds, at 18th Ave. between 83rd and 84th Streets. Subway and bus lines are nearby. Light refreshments will be served after the concert.
More information about the Saturday concert, the Sunday church service and about membership in the Friends of Historic New Utrecht and the New Utrecht Liberty Pole Association is available at (718) 256-7173 and (718) 234-9268 and at


PR services donated by bhpr EspeciallyforChurches November 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Utrecht Church Launches Immigrant Initiative

Just in time for the “Day of the Dead” commemoration on November 2nd, an outreach team from New Utrecht has kicked off the second season of its congregationally supported ESL along with Bible study, immigrant rights meetings and basic Spanish literacy classes. Evangelist Jose Reanda of the Evangelical Church of Guatemala, an old friend and frequent visitor at New Utrecht has come to serve as an immigrant in residence, providing much needed cultural competency and grassroots perspective to serving the needs of the more than 5000 Guatemalans who are not residents of the Bensonhurst – Dyker Beach communities. He has been joined by ESL teacher Laura Chiara and outreach team members Vincent La Marca, Pat Capuano, Tina Muir, Carol Dickert and Michele Paradies. The outreach initiative has taken on the name “Sol de Justicia” (Sun of Righteousness). Bensonhurst, a community dubbed the “neighborhood of nations” by an October 2007 New York Times article, is among the most diverse cultural communities in New York City. New Utrecht currently hosts a Russian speaking ministry as part of the mission of the church to be open to new immigrant neighbors and their need to worship and come together as one community in their native tongue.

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St. Finbar, New Utrecht Join Forces to Serve up Thanksgiving Eve Dinner

On Wednesday, November 26th volunteers from both New Utrecht and St. Finbar’s will gather with local Bensonhurst residents to thank God and break bread with a Thanksgiving feast for anyone in need. The doors will be open to families and single people, some celebrating the holiday for the first time in their new land and others who are living alone with no one to share the holiday or impoverished families unable to provide a lavish feast for themselves and their children. The Parish House doors will open at 6:30 PM on Thanksgiving Eve and will remain open till everyone at table is fed and satisfied. To help out on this night call (718) 236-0678.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Readings for Proper 28 (33)

Readings for Proper 28 (33), Year A (Nov. 16)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Readings for Proper 27 (32)

Readings for Proper 27 (32), Year A (Nov. 9)