September 3rd, 2018
To Our Parish Community:
I’m delighted that Lucy Breidenthal has accepted our call to be Head of Children & Family Ministries.
Lucy has been director of Children & family ministries at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan. She formerly taught at St. Hilda & St. Hugh’s School.
She grew up as an Episcopalian in New York City, Princeton, and Cincinnati and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati.
Lucy lives in Harlem with her husband, Fritz Bernadin, who is a Haitian folk music composer, interpreter, and educator. Fritz is also a tenor in the Canterbury Choral Society.
Re-Imagining our Children & Family Ministries
Last winter we launched a re-imagination of our commitment to families. Through parent forums and dozens of one-on-one conversations we were amazed, but not surprised, by the passion for this ministry.
We are a Parish blessed with a generations long-devotion to children, guided by gifted leaders from Charlie & Janet Walker to John Hartnett to Pipper Turner to Mollie Nichols to Cindy Stravers.
We are surrounded by neighborhoods that are anchored by the nation’s best schools and by parents whose lives center on raising their families.
Here’s where we start as Christian community: Every child deserves to know they are loved. God’s unconditional love for us is the central truth of our lives. All families should have an invitation into community where that love is manifest.
The Vestry has endorsed a pedagogy that focuses on God’s love and a goal of engaging 1,000 children by 2028. The goal isn’t about counting. It means that we commit to reach out widely to Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, the Upper West Side, and Harlem across seven days, over twelve months, and throughout childhood.
Our plan includes expanded daily toddler playgroups and high school gatherings – as well as continuing our commitment to choristers, acolytes, and confirmation. We’re committed to partnerships with Harlem and Park Avenue Synagogue. We’re reinventing how we share the Christian story on Sunday mornings. (No more “school” on Sundays.)
We’ve heard clearly from you: Community is more important than any program.
So, some of our programs are going to change in order to respond to the needs of our parents and the Grace-filled gifts of our children. We’re going to build these programs together.
Lucy was commissioned for her ministry with with us on September 9 as part of our back-to-school blessing at our 10:30am Eucharist. Please come with your children – and bring friend.
There will be opportunities for the next several weeks to sign up for children’s programs this fall.
We’re making a commitment to you and your family – and to the families in our neighborhoods. You’re invited to share in our exploration as we are privileged to share in yours.
Grace and Peace,