Pastor David Dyson Thanked For Ministry Of Leadership, Action

Left to right: Katie Keleher, Legal Aid Society; City Councilmember Letitia James; daughter Leah Dyson holding Ander Kingsley, Pastor Dyson’s grandson; son-in-law Juan Kingsley, (rear); State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; Sally Dyson, pastor’s wife, (in rear); the honoree, Pastor David Dyson (center); Selma Jackson of Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church; Deb Howard, executive director of Pratt Area Community Council; and Chris Owens. Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

by Francesca Norsen Tate
First Estate

Calling him “larger than life,” the Fort Greene community last Sunday paid tribute to the Rev. David Dyson, longtime pastor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. The event, held at the Irondale Center, which is part of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church’s facility, was filled with joy and laughter for a much-loved pastor and leader.

Mr. Terry Greiss, executive director of The Irondale Center gave opening remarks; members of Irondale’s theatre ensemble also performed. City Councilmember Letitia James and the Pratt Area Council organized this event, the first in a month-long series to honor Dyson, who is retiring after 18 years as pastor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dyson gained wide acclaim for transforming the church into a center for social justice and activism; and many of the organizations that benefited from this ministry were on hand to thank him: Councilmember James was emcee. Speakers included State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, the Rev. Michael Sniffen, the rector of neighboring St. Luke & St. Matthew Episcopal Church; and representatives from the many LAPC Projects: Habitat for Humanity, Sacred Heart Men’s Shelter Pratt Area Community Council; and New York Jobs with Justice.

The month of tributes will feature a fundraising interview of Pastor Dyson with Emmy-Award-winning talk show host Phil Donahue (scheduled for Tuesday, October 4); a benefit Latin jazz concert with Arturo O’Farrill and Friends, and a closing Cake & A Toast on Oct. 30.

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Oratory Presents Series Explaining the New Missal

Roman Catholics across Brooklyn and the U.S. will start using the third edition of the Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent, (November 27) which marks the start of each liturgical year. For those who remember changes from introduction of the “New Missal” in 1970, some of the priest’s parts and congregational responses in the 2011 Missal revision may again sound familiar — they are English translations of the Latin Mass parts.

As in 1970, Catholics — from bishops to the layperson — have voiced issues with language changes in the Missal, and they have many questions.

Locally, some of these questions will be addressed at a series that the Brooklyn Oratory at St. Boniface Church offers, starting on Oct. 16.

Brother Joel Warden, CO, Administrator of the Brooklyn Oratory, presents a “New Missal Series.” The topic on Sunday, October 16 is “Language, Text, Translation. Fr. Joel explained, in a description of the program, “Often, we can more fully enter into the concepts that we employ in speaking of God in explanation or worship if we explore what is at the heart of the words used and what pitfalls sometimes arise when we attempt to move from one language to another.”

The program runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Oratory’s Newman Hall.

The subsequent programs, “Where is the Mystery in the Mass?, and “So, How’s it Going?” with Fr. Joel and Liturgist Paul Schutz, will be offered on Sundays, November 6, and December 11, also from 1-3 p.m. in Newman Hall.

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The Brooklyn Oratory’s Multi-Faith Zen Meditation practice has moved to a new weekday.

The Zen meditation group, which convened on Mondays during the summer, will now meet on Thursdays, starting on October 6, at 6 p.m.

As always, participants are invited to “Engage the world through the contemplative activism of Zen Meditation. People of all faiths, or no particular faith, are invited to develop deeper insight, strengthened by the presence of others,” according to the Oratory’s description of this ministry.

Beginners are welcome; instruction provided. Regular attendance isn’t required but promptness is. All participants need to be seated and ready before 6 p.m., as the door cannot be answered after that time.

The Zen Meditation group meets at the Oratory’s 111 Willoughby St. entrance (corner of Duffield St.)

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Christ Church Welcomes New Music Director, Don Barnum

The sacred choral music community in Brooklyn welcomes back Don Barnum.

This past Sunday, Barnum returned to Brooklyn as the new music director at Christ Church-Cobble Hill, which attained full parish status earlier this year.

For 15 years Barnum had been Minister of Music at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brooklyn Heights. But he also had a bond with Christ Church dating back some 25 years; in 1985 he provided a choir for the 150th Anniversary of Christ Church. And for the past five years Barnum has brought his professional choral group, the Canoni Chorale, to Christ Church to present festival Evensongs.

Since being named as Christ Church’s music director, Barnum has already started a parish choir of 12 excellent signers for the 11 a.m. Holy Eucharist on Sundays from October through May, as well as Christmas and Holy Week. Evensongs will continue as a tradition as Christ Church — with the next one being presented on October 16.

This 4 p.m. Evensong will celebrate the dedication of the church. The choir will sing with Anton Bruckner’s motet, Locus Iste and William Harris’ anthem, Behold, the Tabernacle of God. The canticles will be Walmsley’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis settings in D minor. José O. Rodriguez will be organist, with Mr. Barnum conducting.

Mr. Barnum also plans to establish a community chorus at the church for touring and concerts, and is organizing a diverse concert series here. The first such concert will be presented in November, featuring classical guitarist, Matt Nichols. Chamber music concerts, cabarets, and other events are being planned for the future.

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Hadassah Taps Heights Woman As New Director of Planned Giving

Lori Lasson. Photo Courtesy of Hadassah.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has promoted Brooklyn Heights Synagogue congregant Lori Lasson as director of planned giving and estates.

Lasson’s new role marks her third in Hadassah’s planned giving area. She first joined the department in July 2006 as assistant counsel and was promoted to associate director in February 2008. She assumed her new position earlier this month.

“It is a great honor to help those dedicated and devoted to Hadassah to make a meaningful difference by creating gifts that will sustain Hadassah long beyond our organization’s centennial year,” Lasson said. “I enjoy meeting and speaking with donors directly, without the time constraints inherent in private practice. I have time to listen to the donors and to learn why Hadassah is important to them, just as it is important to me. They want to give, and it is a privilege to help them find the gift that best suits their needs. That is what planned giving is about. Planning a legacy and also inspiring others to do the same.”

As director, Lasson is responsible for supervising the extensive gift annuity, trusts and estates program. She is Hadassah’s lead staff member in identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding prospects and donors for various types of planned gifts including charitable gift annuities, remainder trusts and bequests. She supervises the planned giving staff and trains field staff in planned giving techniques. She also oversees estate litigation and guides donors, prospective donors and their advisors on planned gift proposals, including information regarding tax and legal implications of establishing such gifts. And she is in charge of developing strategic plans and marketing tools to cultivate planned gifts.

Lasson holds degrees in law and English. She is fluent in Hebrew and Spanish. After college, she lived in Israel and taught English in Beit Shemesh.

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Brooklyn45 Offers Youth Mentoring Symposium

Brooklyn45 is a not-for-profit organization that produces a weekly 30-minute cable television program focusing on the 45th Council District: East Flatbush, Canarsie, Midwood, and Flatlands. Brooklyn 45’s first Community Youth Mentoring Symposium is an opportunity to connect middle and high school students in the East Flatbush area to mentoring opportunities that will give them the competitive edge necessary to excel academically, and to get an early start on career planning. The symposium will also provide opportunities for students to showcase their academic achievements and community projects on Brooklyn45 television.

The free Symposium will feature interactive presentations that local professionals in science and technology, law, and community mentoring will lead. Organizations focused on academics will host informational booths on college scholarships and internships. Prizes will also be awarded.

Brooklyn45 takes place in the Auditorium at Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church, 424 East 19th Street (corner of Dorchester Rd.), Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Symposium is free and lunch is included.

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Bay Ridge United Church Hosts Benefit for City Harvest

Bay Ridge United Church presents a musical benefit for City Harvest, whose motto is “Rescuing Food for New York’s Hungry.”

The event, on Saturday, October 15, brings in two bands—Three Sheets to the Wind and Idle Hands. Several guest artists are also featured, including Dana Danger Athens, Alexandra Cassens, Bob Crespo, Frank Comito, Tim Farrell, Paul Fox, Mark Kaplan, Janine Graziano-King, Bart LoSchiavo, Pete Mancuso, Sara Paar, Jim Pennea, Andy Sachs, Mike Saccoliti and Vinny Schaller. The benefit runs from 4 to 6 p.m. The church is at 636 Bay Ridge Parkway.

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St. James Cathedral Hosts Oct. 19 Red Mass

The jurist and law community gathers for an annual tradition at St. James Cathedral-Basilica on October 19—the Red Mass to mark the beginning of a new judicial season.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Columbian Lawyers Association sponsor the Red Mass, at which the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, will be celebrant and homilist. The Mass starts at 5:30 p.m., with a buffet reception afterwards.

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