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Church, Tarrytown, New York, USA
Worshipper: William Dewy.
Church, Tarrytown, New York, USA.
Episcopal Church, Diocese
of New York.
The brick exterior was inviting and the interior was an interesting
style. I do not know the age of the building, but off to one
side by the baptismal font is a large memorial celebrating the
early 19th century American author Washington Irving, who made
his home in Tarrytown and served as a vestryman and warden of
Christ Church; his box pew is preserved there. The church appears
to have undergone significant renovation sometime in the late
19th century. The earliest stained glass window is from about
1850 and the most recent is from the 1960s. The altar stands
against the east wall, but a free standing table was used for
the eucharist. To the right is the baptismal font and to the
left is a large space, the St Mark Chapel, which had its pews
moved to the far side. The resulting space could be used as
a play area for children while allowing the caregivers to participate
in the church service.
The parish family is very friendly. Seldom have I been in a
place more inclusive and welcoming. The English language service
is followed by a Spanish language eucharist. The rector is bi-lingual,
but there is also a lay pastor for the Spanish speaking Mission
Parroquial San Marcos. The English congregation were encouraged
to attend a special meeting on immigration laws in support of
their brothers and sisters in the Church.
Tarrytown is a charming village on the Hudson River about 25
miles north of midtown Manhattan at the point on the river which
the Dutch colonists called the Tappan Zee due to its extraordinary
width (three miles). Washington Irving mentioned the village
by name in his short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,"
which recounts the adventures of the lovelorn schoolmaster Ichabod
Crane and his encounter with a ghost known as the Headless Horseman.
Attractions include Sunnyside, the historic residence of Washington
Irving. Thereís also the usual assortment of antique shops,
upscale restaurants and tourist boutiques.
The Revd Susan Copley, rector, was celebrant and preacher.
The date & time:
Sunday, July 29, 2012 9.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Forty-five to fifty people were present in a church that could
hold a few hundred. We mostly sat in the front quadrant of the
church, as that was where a huge fan was providing the best
ventilation on this very warm day. Because we werenít spread
out over the whole church, it felt rather full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Mrs Dewy and I arrived a little before the ushers did. The rector
herself greeted us. We had a nice chat about the Tarrytown area
and she pointed out Washington Irvingís pew. She suggested we
sit in front, "where the fans are."
Was your pew comfortable?
The wooden pew with padded seat was fine for sitting, although
the fold-down kneeler was terribly uncomfortable. It was an
awkward distance from the seat and too far under the pew in
front. The congregation did not appear to use the kneelers.
How would you describe the pre-service
Friendly and chatty without being disruptive. The organist played
a medley of hymns as a prelude.
What were the exact opening words of the
"This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice
and be glad in it, and stand and sing hymn number 448."
What books did the congregation use during the
The Book of Common Prayer 1979, The Hymnal 1982
and Wonder, Love and Praise.
What musical instruments were played?
A pipe organ and a baby grand piano, but not at the same time.
Did anything distract you?
It was very warm in the church. An electric fan was circulating
the warm air and there were hand fans available in the pews.
The celebrant and servers did not vest, presumably because of
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
The worship was friendly and informal. I found it odd that while
the people did not kneel for the confession, they did kneel
to receive communion. To do so, the faithful walked up a few
stairs, past the table serving as the altar, and to the communion
rail surrounding the altar fixed against the wall.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
10 The Revd Mrs Copley engaged the attention of everybody
present. Smiling, she told the Bible story in a way that both
children and adults could follow.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
Her sermon centered on the juxtaposition of Godís justice and
mercy. David in the Old Testament was a righteous king, but
he engaged in deceitful practices to cover up his sin. We often
may find ourselves in situations where we ask, "How did
I get into this trouble?" Brokenness and surrender are
necessary for God to take us and fill us with his love. In scripture
and modern times. people want to use Jesus for their own agenda.
Instead, we should endeavor to be used by Jesus for Godís purposes.
Which part of the service was like being in
The overall friendliness of the whole experience of community
that I felt as a visitor.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Generally during the liturgy, the servers seemed to be lacking
focus or function. They seemed just to be standing around staring
blankly into the congregation.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
A few individuals from the congregation introduced themselves
and invited us to coffee hour, which was in a building a couple
doors down from the church.
How would you describe the after-service
It was nice. The parish hall had a large room with a wooden
floor and lots of natural light from windows. The coffee was
served in ceramic mugs and there was fresh fruit, coffee cake
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 Preaching, though sometimes wonderful, is less important
to me than music and liturgy. The communityís attitude seemed
to be that God is on vacation in the summertime. The lack of
vestments, the lack the serversí focus, and the generally weak
singing lead me to believe that while the church family is important
here, the liturgy isnít.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The beautiful stained glass.
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