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Letter: Happy Anniversary Father Christopher

Next month, St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Wantagh celebrates not merely a decade of pastoral service by the Rev. Christopher Hofer, but a writ small reflection on the nature of spiritual leadership; how a charismatic individual can enter a moribund institution and reject entirely the notion of managed decline and wholly embrace the possibilities of rejuvenation. Father Hofer took a parish church that was dwindling in numbers, rapidly ageing, and dysfunctional in some respects — an unlikely home for newcomers from the now-defunct St. Francis Episcopal Church of Levittown — and crafted it into a burgeoning one overrun with young families and children.

The irony of its namesake patron saint is not lost in the mix and whilst St. Jude’s has become, again, the kind of parish many over fifty remember in their Baby Boom youth, there is much work to be done in the painfully uncertain future. Father Christopher and the vestry harbor no delusions in this respect; are not blinded by nostalgia for 1956 when the church was established in an entirely different America on a wholly different Long Island when life in the suburbs arrived with assurances for even the most modest working class family. Indeed, his own story as a gay priest from the mid-West who married his husband in the Episcopal Church in 2011 before his jubilant parishioners is one of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Those which await in the future shall be no less challenging.

Father Christopher’s ministry has meant different things amongst his parishioners. For me, he represents the personalization of a worshiping community. Throughout most of my life, I’ve been possessed of a bifurcated comprehension of religion: observing it to be an impediment when manifest in the intransigent and doctrinaire but, in a more progressive paradigm, as the process of natural selection in the evolution of our understanding of the Creator.

The latter characterization likewise accounts for my having become enamored of Christianity practiced in the Anglican tradition of the Episcopal Church whereupon the philosophically untenable posits of fundamentalism and atheism are addressed. This is, however, an abstraction. The personalization of which I speak, of which Father Christopher’s spiritual leadership has assumed, is reflected in the Book of Common Prayer in which the faithful  entreat the Lord to be delivered “from the presumption of coming to this table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal”.

What does St. Jude’s Episcopal Church and its pastor mean to Wantagh and the surrounding communities included amongst its parishioners, even to non-Episcopalians, besides a place whose door is open to everyone? It means that even whilst adopting to a changing world, our basic institutions must be bastions of unchanging principals and values.

The institutions that preserve our civilization’s cultural, historical, scientific, and spiritual heritage are currently under siege by the apathy of a society that lionizes narcissistic hedonism. All goodly and thoughtful people who yearn for the meaningful in life are in the same boat.

Paul Manton

President  

Levittown Historical Society & Museum

News

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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