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Christ Church Rectory Shares Art

Peter and Marguerite Casparian will find it easy to adjust to their retirement home when they move to Austin, TX in August of 2014. The Rev. Peter Casparian and his artist wife, Marguerite, collect religious folk art; at a recent fundraiser at the rectory at Christ Church, their collection created a visual delight, demonstrating that they will be able to re-construct that warmth, wherever they live.

“We have even more items in storage,” said Marguerite. When they arrive in Austin, near their daughter, it will be easy to make their new home comfortable and familiar. The two are used to world travel: before coming to Oyster Bay, he was the Rector at St. James American Church in Florence, Italy, and he is involved with an NGO in Guatemala. They began their careers in Kansas, the heartland of America.

Marguerite said she is looking forward to their next phase of life and appreciates the retirement concept in the Episcopal Church, which sends pastors to less fortunate parishes. The pastor said he expects to work part time in a church in the Austin area.

Their collection was on view at a fundraiser for the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay in November. The LEC board, of which Fr. Casparian is a member, prepared a dinner for guests, in an event linked to a concert presented by the Hood AME Zion Church and a reception following, given by the First Presbyterian Church. The three organizations were collaborating to expand funding for the senior center beyond the ongoing sponsorship of Christ Church, which founded the Doubleday Babcock Senior Center now known as the LEC of OB.  Begun as a one-day program in their Parish Hall, they discovered they had uncovered a need in the community that has resulted in what today is the LEC program which combines day and evening programs and the Day Break program for fragile seniors. The events were an inaugural effort to increase support from the local churches for the center, said former LEC board member Ken Nelson, now retired to upstate New York.

The dinner following was chaired by Board President Susan Peterson, James Cammarata and Judy Palumbo Cammarata, board member.

Dining In Style

Chefs for the dinner included James Cammarata who prepared Oysters Rockefeller and the swordfish with a roasted corn and tomato salsa; board president, Susan Peterson prepared the filet mignon; board secretary Pat Azimitia was responsible for the coq au vin; and board member Beth Abrahams prepared the vegetable lasagna. Jim Cammarata said the oysters were from his friends, Crista and Dwight Relyea of Frank M. Flower & Sons, Inc.

Cammarata, Esq. is the co-owner (along with Anthony DeCarolis, Esq.) of the Wilson House, the 1752 Town of Oyster Bay landmark building located next to Christ Church. He credited John Collins for doing the historical archeological research on the building, as they prepared to renovate the house.

Great Connections

nother guest at the dinner was Jane Byrd McCurdy, who said of LEC Vice President Joan Kingsley, Esq., “We’ve been friends for 38 years: since Nov. 1, 1975, the day after Halloween, at Mrs. Pittis’ house.”

Edward Mohlenhoff, LEC board treasurer, talked about his other volunteer job, as board president of Youngs Cemetery. He said in November they had two interments in two weeks at the Oyster Bay Cove cemetery where Theodore Roosevelt’s gravesite is located.

One was for Gloria Bayles Tucker, who was buried next to her father, Waldron Bayles. Gloria was the treasurer of the Underhill Society in America and author of The Village of Oyster Bay, a 56-page, illustrated essay, describing buildings in the village [hamlet] of Oyster Bay that she donated to the society in 2006. She died as the Waldron B., an oyster boat owned by Frank M. Flower & Sons, Inc., sank in Mill Creek as it was undergoing restoration.

Also interred was Jane Callenbacher who had moved to Arizona. Mohlenhoff said the repair work on the road at Youngs Cemetery, caused by trees uprooted in Hurricane Sandy, was finally being repaired. There had been a problem since the funding had to be covered by the board members since the cemetery was not eligible for FEMA loans; and that John DeBellis, the former East Norwich Fire Chief, whom had died, was the person who would have done the asphalt work needed. Instead, Mr. Hotine of Bayville was found to do the job for them, he said.

Dinner guests included the new pastor of the Hood AME Zion Church, Linda Vanager and her husband, Harry, who will be moving here, from West Babylon. He is a NC Mosquito control officer [thank you for keeping the West Nile Virus mosquito at bay] and he shares the pastoral duties of his wife by preaching once a month at AME Zion.

‘A God Wink’

Ken Nelson was the pastor of AME Zion Church for 32 years. He joined the AME Zion Church NYS Conference in 1958 and has been a pastor for 55 years. He said his son has a phrase, a God Wink, that has value in his own life. It is a blessing from God, a lucky incident where the world’s tides turn unexpectedly in your favor. Like the time after Hurricane Sandy when Nelson pulled into a gas station and to avoid the gas truck making a delivery ended up first in line unexpectedly, while others had been waiting for hours. “God made it so you could get the benefit,” his son explained.

Eve and Jack Bernstein, formerly of Oyster Bay and now of Glen Cove, attended the dinner. Jack sang with the Huntington Men’s Chorus along with Harold Kingsley and Judge John Burke, a past Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor.