Winter 2024

Letter from Priest in Charge

The Reverend Chris Lee

Dear friends,

The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates, among other things, the visit of the Magi to the

infant Jesus (Matthew 2:10-12). These three wise men followed a mysterious star westward to

Bethlehem, where they paid tribute to a newborn king with their famous gifts of gold,

frankincense and myrrh. Having heard about a wonderful new thing that God was doing, they

needed to experience it for themselves.

I think this story is especially meaningful for us right now because, thanks to your faithfulness

and vision, we’re enjoying a kind of new birth here at St. Mary’s. Our “star” is on the rise, and if

the packed sanctuary on Christmas Eve was any indication, people in the larger community are

beginning to see our light and seek it out.

What’s particularly encouraging to me is that, as far as I can see, our growth is coming largely

from good old fashioned word of mouth. Like the disciples in John’s gospel, who simply say

“Come and see,” you are getting out in the community and telling people about what’s going on here. The Church has a word for that, a word that Episcopalians have been afraid of for far too

long. That word is evangelism, and it’s nothing more than a willingness to share the good news that there exists, right here in Chappaqua, a community that embodies the love and peace of Jesus by welcoming and serving all people.

It’s this ability to reflect the light of Christ in our daily lives that makes us attractive and drives

people’s curiosity. And when we say “come and see,” we can be proud of what they’ll find, much

of which is documented in this issue of The Bell: another Midnight Run to support those living on

the streets of New York City; informative Sunday Forums that range from cutting-edge Biblical

scholarship to the conflict in the Holy Land; the debut of our new Children’s Choir; the return of

the Auction Dinner; our weekday pattern of prayer and study; and above all the rich and intimate Sunday worship that provides the foundation for everything we do.

The English word epiphany is borrowed from Greek and means “manifestation.” It is a true joy to be able to manifest my humble gifts in the light of your love and support. Wherever the Holy

Spirit leads us in this new year, please know how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to serve

you during this exciting time for the parish.



Chris can be reached on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the parish office 914-238-8751 and anytime for pastoral care 646-431-9298 (cell)

Photo by Chris Hakim, Christmas Eve 2023

Wardens Corner

News from Senior Warden,

John Priscantelli


Many of you know how the church operates. Well, of course at the head of the church is Reverend Chris Lee. The lay leadership is known as the Vestry. The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. Vestry members are usually elected at the annual parish meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are usually two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property

and buildings. A treasurer and a secretary or clerk may be chosen. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.

St. Mary’s is fortunate to have a dedicated Vestry group. We meet on a regular basis during the year and are always in communication about daily church activity. We are not always in agreement on how to

proceed or how to execute the best way forward for the parish. But we will discuss at length the various paths forward and will make a decision that reflects the majority and has the best interests of the church at heart.

And, I can tell you it is a labor of love for many of us to do this. It can be rewarding, and it is wonderful to see the closeness it fosters among us and how it can bring us closer to everyone at the church.

I will list our lay leaders below alphabetically and if you get a chance, thank them. Not that a thank you is expected but a thank you goes a long way.

Lay Leaders –

Vestry and Non-Vestry Members

The Diamonds

David Aplin

Durrie Golding

Christian Hakim

Barbara Jackson

Rich Juzumas

Kelly Leonard O’Keefe

Janet Priscantelli

Rick Romeo

Sally Sobolewski

Andrew Tustian


First, thank you all for fulfilling your 2023 pledge. We don’t have the final figures but there were many unexpected gifts at year end that we think will help us end the year better than anticipated! As Reverend Chris will tell us, and I am in agreement, the most important thing is to come to church.

And it also important is that you pledge. For 2024, 87% of our estimated parish families have pledged for a total of $229,000. Our goal is $250,000. We are almost there! Many of you have increased your pledges, this is a meaningful gesture!

As you can see, we still have a little way to go. So, if you haven’t pledged yet, please submit your 2024 pledge card as soon as possible. If you’ve misplaced your card, you can reach out to Chris with your estimate or to Durrie Golding or myself. We need these final pledge estimates so we can finish our 2024 budget.

Lastly, it has been encouraging to see how generous and committed so many people are to our church. We are growing and are fortunate to have so many wonderful parishioners we all can enjoy.

Respectfully submitted,

John Priscantelli,

Senior Warden

Vestry Minutes

Meeting Minutes are available on bulletin board outside of Parish Hall office

or by contacting Rich at



Saturday, January 13th

Keys for Charity concert 7pm

Sunday, January 14th

The Second Sunday After the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist 8 and 1oam

Wednesday, January 17th

Contemplative Prayer & Compline 7pm

Thursday, January 18th

The Confession of St. Peter the Apostle: Holy Eucharist 10am

Lectionary Brunch 10:30am

Sunday, January 21st

The Third Sunday After the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist 8 and 1oam

Lector, Usher, Altar Guild

Now that we have resumed in-person worship in the church, we need Ushers as well as Lectors and Altar Guild.

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2024 in the Sanctuary immediately following the 10:00am Holy Eucharist.

Our annual meeting is an opportunity to review the past year, elect new Warden and Vestry members, and learn about plans for the coming year. Please make every effort to attend.

Auction Dinner Gala

This past November parishioners and friends gathered for an evening of good food and fellowship at the Auction Dinner Gala. The live auction was hilariously led by Eric Damman and raised nearly $20K for the church’s various missions. More importantly it was an evening of communal fun. The meal was catered by Mt. Kisco Seafood and dessert was baked by multiple talented parishioners. There were many people who helped to put this annual event together. 

Can’t wait for next Fall!


News from

Director of Music, Dr. Alexandra Beliakovich-Shkoda

The biggest highlight of the past season is our new Children’s Choir. The kids have been rehearsing four songs for their first choir concert for more than two months, working on pitch accuracy, musical expression and diction. The Children’s Choir concert, which opened Christmas Eve Service, was a great success! Many thanks go to the children and to their parents, who worked just as hard to make this wonderful performance happen!

We are looking forward to the Spring concert of our newly born Children’s Choir,

and also to welcoming a few new choir members. The rehearsals will resume in

February. Other notable musical events of the Fall season include two concerts and numerous special solos during our Sunday services.

The exquisite Ars Antiqua has made its long-awaited return after a 3-year long break from performing, and their sold-out concert on November 11 was a great success. If you couldn’t attend their concert, come hear them on February 17, 2024, or on

April 20, 2024.

Another successful concert happened on December 1st, and featured Michael Meade, cello, his friends (a singer, a flute player and a mandolin player) and myself. Two cello-piano giants were performed: Bach’s and Brahms’ cello sonatas, as well as rare and charming Occitan songs. Several talented parishioners and friends contributed musically to our services: Jesse Brundige (solo baritone), Barbara Doss (solo alto/soprano), Durrie Golding (solo soprano), Molly Holmes (solo soprano), Michael M. Lanzano (solo baritone), Chris Maxfield (solo soprano) and Michael Meade (cello and solo bass). I would like to also acknowledge our Small Group of singers, who performed their special songs on three occasions this past season: during the Bishop’s visit, and twice on Sunday, December 24. Each of our soloists’

performances was a true gift, and we thank them for sharing their voices and musical talents with us.

Below are some of the exciting musical events planned for the Spring:

 - Keys for Charity: Saturday, January 13. A wonderful Youth concert organized by young people to help benefit Neighbors Link

 - Kids aMusicing: Sunday, February 4 at 12PM. Children from our Parish and their friends, making music on musical instruments

 - Ars Antiqua: Saturday, February 17 and Saturday, April 20

 - Children’s Choir Spring Concert: date TBD

 - Piano solo recital by A. Beliakovich: date TBD

If you or someone you know would like to join our choir, sing a solo or play an

instrument during our Worship services, please let me know by emailing me at

Holiday Sing-a-Long

Jingle all the way! With special thanks to Chrissie Moses with treats - her Chocolate Club meets afterschool at SMTV.


Meet the Parish


The Brundige Family

Welcome to Jesse and Gabrielle, and their family:

Celine (4 years old)

Orson (2 years old)

Callan (1 year old)

Gabby and I (and our baby daughter Celine, who is now 4 years old) moved to Chappaqua in July 2020. In hindsight, ending up in Chappaqua was anything but inevitable – I originally grew up in Long Island, went to college in Virginia, and moved back to Manhattan in 2007 right after school. Gabby was born in Paris, lived in London during childhood, then Chicago for high school, and eventually landed in college also in Virginia. I met Gabby in 2012 while she was living in Miami – we dated long distance for a time. By 2018 we were married and living in Brooklyn, with a baby on the way.


During the initial few months of pandemic lockdowns, we decided to short-term rent a house near the beach and soon fell in love with the experience of both living in an actual house (versus a cramped apartment) and also being close to and amongst nature – where you could easily take a walk outside your house and feel immersed in natural spaces. By May 2020, like every other married millennial couple in Brooklyn, we became glued to Zillow in search of a house to buy in the suburbs. But because of our experience at the rental house, we were not focused on towns like Larchmont or Rye that pre-pandemic we assumed we might end up in. Instead, our search quickly became focused more north and west, in and around Chappaqua, where there are larger lots and easy access to hiking and nature (plus more of an overall natural atmosphere). We’ve been here for three and half years now and have never looked back – oh, and we added two new members to the family since then: Orson (3 years old in February) and Cal (1 year old), who was baptized at St. Mary's.


After Cal was born in late 2022, we started to focus on identifying a local church in the area to join – we both grew up attending church regularly and valued the sense of community that church fosters, as well as positive impact derived from taking time out of one’s Sunday to pause, pray and say thanks to God. We had made friends locally with two families – the Langs and the Dunns – who informed us in early 2023 that they had started attending the St. Mary’s church right in town. We attended our first service in spring of 2023 and were immediately impressed by Father Chris and his sermons, as well as by the congregation – everyone was so warm and made us feel like a part of the community from the very first visit. There was no need to church hunt any further! Gabby and I felt at home right away and began attending services almost every Sunday. We have been thrilled with the experience of being a part of St. Mary’s – after just one short year, the church has become such an important part of our family and our weekly routine.


Going forward, our aim is to get more actively involved in church outside of just Sunday services – we are very intrigued by the fellowship that St. Mary’s participates in with organizations such as Midnight Run and others and are eager to contribute toward those efforts. 


January Calendar
February Calendar


Sunday School

The Annual Christmas Pageant was a joyous celebration! (Thank you too all of the performers and their families.)

A very special Advent Wreath activity was hosted during coffee hour in early December. (Thank you Cindy Forrest for maintaining this tradition of light.)



Katonah Museum of Art

Saturday, January 20th, 1pm
Stories of Syria's Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia
Curated by St.Mary's parishioner
Blair Fowlkes Childs
Join us as Blair provides a personal tour of this fascinating show.

Parishioner Fred Maxfield, Professor of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine, will discuss recent advances, including the very fast rollout of RNA vaccines for Covid-19 and (time permitting) some new advances in gene therapy, including one for sickle cell disease that was recently approved in the UK and the USA.

Recap Sunday Forums 2023

This fall, The Rev. Dr. Julie Faith Parker gave a talk about her new book “Eve Isn’t Evil,” and Rick Romeo presented on the history and ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Stay tuned for more informative presentations!



Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The Dunn family has been generously doing the coffee hour service and the aspect that we ALL can share in is the cleanup.

"It is easy for us to set up and bring the bagels / make the coffee each day, but it is hard for us to do the cleanup while our kids run around."

Please help and sign up for the clean-up duty on Sundays:

Souper Bowl of Caring

Sunday, Feb 11th

This year we will be celebrating our “Souper Bowl of Caring” on Sunday, February 11, 2024 in the Parish Hall immediately following the 10:00am Holy Eucharist.

Please plan to come to coffee hour and make a donation for a bowl of delicious homemade soup. All proceeds will support a local charity. Looking forward to seeing you there.


Midnight Run 2023

Midnight Run 10/27/23

I have been involved with Midnight Run for the past few years, but this was the first time I had the chance to experience the full scope of this mission. What a special night! It was beautiful to see how all of the moving parts came together—starting with Sean, Eric, and Denise coordinating the evening to the army of volunteers donating clothing, food, and toiletries. The Romeos cooked chili for the event, and our church family made sandwiches, organized donations, and loaded all the supplies into the van.

I then rode into NYC with Sean, Eric, Christian, Cindy, Britt, and Joe. The weather and company could not have been better; however, the real highlight was getting to meet and chat with the people in need who approached us for clothes and food. They were so appreciative of our small gesture of kindness. We received countless “thank yous” and

“God bless yous”. One unhoused person asked if we could go down the street to offer food to someone who could not walk to the van. Several asked when we would be back and wished us safe travels. It was indeed a night that I will not forget.

– Tirza Santill

Midnight Run October 27, 2023 van group:

Britt Hayes, Joe Meyer, Christian Hakim, Tirza Santilli, Cindy Forrest, and Leaders Eric Dammann & Sean Fitzgerald.

If you are interested in being added to the Midnight Run Van Waitlist, contact Denise Hanchet at or (914) 671-0128.


Advent Giving Tree 2023

Thanks to all who participated with generous gifts, gift cards and funds to support the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester, The Bedford Hills Correctional Center and other local charities.

Click HERE to learn more information about Neighbors Link and other volunteer opportunities.

Nine-year old Kimyin Choeng

Kimyin lives in Mongkol Borei, a poor rural community in Cambodia with her grandmother who is a construction worker.

World Vision ( is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision serves the world's poor, regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

World Vision

Outreach Liaison:Penney Klingman


Following a presentation in church by representatives of World Vision ( in 2006, the Outreach Committee, in coordination with the Sunday school, funded the annual sponsorship of a Cambodian girl, five-year old Sopha Sak. At that time, over 30 families in our parish also chose to sponsor a child through World Vision. 

The $30 monthly sponsorship fee provides basic necessities that help sponsored children reach their full potential, including access to safe water, better nutrition, health care, educational opportunities and economic development opportunities for their family, community and other families in need. 

From 2006 until 2014, our Sunday school children sent letters and small gifts to Sopha, and she in turn wrote back to the Sunday school. In addition to the sponsorship fee, St. Mary’s provided additional funds which enabled Sopha to get a bicycle, clothes, mosquito nets for her family and rice for the village granary. 

In 2014 when Sopha was offered an educational opportunity and no longer needed our support, the Sunday school made the decision to sponsor another child, 9 year old Kimhieng Phlay. When Kimhieng and her family moved away from their community in 2016, we began sponsoring Kimyin Choeng.

In 2010, I was able to travel to Rwanda with World Vision to meet the children being sponsored by my family and saw firsthand how sponsorship makes a real and lasting difference the lives of these children and their communities. I would be glad to speak with anyone who would like to learn more about sponsoring a child through World Vision.




In mid-September, the SMTV family celebrated the arrival of the Lee/Bleha family to Chappaqua at a joyous and lively Sunday reception.

Although Thaddeus was away at college, Chris, Julie and Callum were extended a heartfelt welcome by the congregation.

So happy they are all together again and in our midst.

Walking Group Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary!

In December, the SMTV Walking Group celebrated its 2-year anniversary with a

visit to the famous Octagon House in Irvington followed by lunch at Le Jardin du

Roi in Chappaqua.

Weekly walks continue throughout the winter (weather permitting)! Everyone is

invited to enjoy the beautiful outdoor trails and the joyful camaraderie of the group.

The next issue of the Bell will be a Spring issue

Send along photos, ideas and stories to