December 2019
Letter from the Rector

Dear friends:

O Come let us adore Him.
Christ the Lord!

"You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth
and lying in a manger"
Luke 2: 12b

A number of years ago, as I sat in Saint John's Church Bridgeport CT, experiencing Amahl and the night visitors, I felt a sense of wonder, intrigue excitement and marvel.

The culmination of the glorious music and indeed the message, taught me yet again the truth about giving and discovering the truth about the wonder of gift deep within the soul and in the strangest of places.

The crippled Amahl gave the very crutch away upon which he was dependent, and which he himself had made, without reserve or wanting anything in strings attached
His giving of his very life support to some degree liberated his spirit, into a freedom beyond measure.

I became all chocked up, aware of the miracle of healing, wholeness and hope. Somehow the unexpected creates a space for the extraordinary.
A baby wrapped in strips of cloth....and lying in a manger. Ironically, the same Baby as the incarnate Christ draped in strips of cloth on a tree, is the one we adore at this most Holy and extraordinary season.

While Saint Luke proclaims: "You will find a baby," The wonder of Christmas is that God is seeking us...we are found by God.

The wonder of the incarnation is not so much in our finding as in God's giving. God in the birth of the Christ, wrapped in strips of cloth, clothes us with a love given so freely and without strings attached

It is indeed during this Holy season, when God not only acted in history, but entered history....wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.........

As God gives God self to you during this Holy time, we kneel in awe, wonder and adoration, as we do him homage and respond to the world's need in his name.
I conclude with words of a song we sang at the end every Holy Eucharist in my last parish in Cape Town, South Africa.

"Send us out from here Lord to serve a world in need.
May we know no one by the coat they wear,
But the heart that Jesus sees.
And may the light of your face Lord,
Shine upon us now,
You have filled our hearts with your love
And our cup is overflowing with joy."

Jenny and our family, join me in wishing you a joyous and spirit filled Christmas. My prayer for you is the prayer we have for ourselves; that you would cherish the pulse of life around you in your loved ones, family and dearest friends.

O Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

With My prayers and Christmas Blessings!

Fr. Alan

Sermons are available on our website under the worship tab. Click HERE.

Sunday,  December 15th
Father Alan 40th Anniversary Celebration

Monday, December 16
Poinsettia Memorials Due

Dec 15, 21 & 22
Christmas Pageant Rehearsals

Sunday, December 22nd

~ Christmas Pageant during the 10am service

Christmas Eve, Tuesday December 24
~ Luminaria Placed

~ Carol Sing, 4:45pm
~ Blessing of the Christmas Creche and Festival Sung   Eucharist, 5:00pm 
~ Blessing of the Christmas Creche and Festival Sung   Eucharist, 10:00pm

Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25

~ Holy Eucharist with Hymns, 10:00am

Father Alan's
40th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, Dec 15th at 5pm

You are cordially invited to the
40th Anniversary Celebration of
The Reverend Canon Alan Godfrey Dennis
to the Holy Priesthood
On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, December 15, 2019
At Five O'clock in the Evening
At  Saint Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church 
in Chappaqua, NY
The Right Reverend Andrew Dietsche,
Bishop of New York, Presiding
     A Festive Reception will follow in the Parish Hall
191 S. Greeley Avenue 
Chappaqua, NY 10514
Please RSVP by Friday, December 8th 2019
to Jenny Dennis at 646-652-9505 or at
Christmas 2019 ~ The Luminaria Project
This year will mark the second luminaria experience for Christmas

luminaria  or farolito is a small paper lantern (commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag) which is of significance in the state of New Mexico and the southwest at Christmas time, especially on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Luminaries . Brighten long winter nights with the twinkle and glow of luminaries .These simple  luminaries warm a winter landscape -- and your spirit.  Luminaries  (literally, objects that give light) have a long, multicultural history.

The intention is to line the entrances to the church on Christmas eve, with luminarias, reflecting our prayers for:

1. Loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord
2. In thanksgiving for a particular person/s, event or occasion 
3. For whatever other prayer or intention

Parishioners will have an opportunity to "sign up" for a luminaria, indicating their intention. The brown paper bags will be available in the parish hall where you will be able to write your intention. The luminarias, will be lighted prior to the services on Christmas Eve.

The luminarias will have to be prepared, filled with sand and candles, and lighted ahead of time.

Will Dionne, has yet again kindly agreed to spearhead this wonderful opportunity, together with our youth. You may contact Will with any questions:  email: and Tel: 914-589-5757
Advent Giving Tree

Following our wonderful Parish tradition we are hoping you can participate in our Advent Giving Tree helping those in need at this wonderful time of the year.

The parish hall tree, beautifully adorned with ornaments decorated by the Church School students is ready.  Each ornament will list an organization with a requested gift of a value of $25 or less. 

Please take an ornament and return  the gift unwrapped per the due date included on the ornament tag.  (note: some organizations need gifts earlier than others)

If you are interested in delivering gifts please contact Ludovica Douglas at 203-448-0831 or

Organizations include: A-HOME, Mount Kisco Child Care Center, Neighbors Link, Hour Children's Center at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, San Andres Episcopal Church-our "sister parish," Hope's Door, and Open Door Family Medical Center.
Would you like to dedicate a poinsettia to someone special this Christmas?

Please supply the parish office with names of those you wish to honor no later than Monday, December 16th.

A suggested donation of $30 will be gratefully appreciated; checks (made out to  "St. Mary the Virgin"  with altar flowers on the memo line) may be placed in the offering plate or mailed to/dropped off at the parish office.

The Altar Guild will purchase a poinsettia on your behalf and place it in the church for Christmas. Your name and the name of your loved one will appear in the bulletin on Christmas Eve.

  • Holy Eucharist Rite I at 8:00 am
  • Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 am
  • Monday:  Morning Prayer at 9:30am
  • Wednesday:  Holy Eucharist at noon
Wardens Corner
News from the Church  Warden,  John Priscantelli

Fulfilling and renewing your pledge to the church:

As the calendar year comes to an end, the Stewardship Warden is tasked with ensuring that current year pledges are fulfilled and subsequent year pledges are promised.

It is not always the best time of year to reach out to those who haven't done either yet but it is necessary to do this.

Our church is dependent on everyone pledge. So please, fulfill your your current year pledge and don't forget to send in your pledge for next year.

So when I reach out to those who haven't done either, please understand that in order sustain the everyday operation of the church your pledge is vital. Vital to pay salaries, pay for the maintenance and utilities for all three properties.

So please be generous for next year and don't forget to fulfill this year. I know that in this season of giving there are many charities that need help. But please don't forget there is a need for your help right here at The Church of Saint The Virgin.

Have a great Holiday Season!
Visit to St. Mary's Monken Hadley
Parishioners visit our English Sister Church
Recently, three parishioners represented St. Mary's in Moken Hadley.  Durrie Golding, Mary Dierdorff and Christine Maxfield made the trip to our sister Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Monken Hadley for the celebration of their 525th anniversary. They had  a wonderful and unique experience. Durrie, Mary and Christine received a warm welcome from everyone and were very impressed with the Son et Lumiere, which incorporated film, live action, music, and a light show. (A DVD is being prepared which they will share with St. Mary's in Chappaqua in the New Year.)

There were flyers for the Live 525 Son et Lumiere seen all over Monken Hadley. The event was sold out!  Their host while visiting with former Curate of St. Mary's, Adele Burgess.   During Son et Lumiere live production , there were 2 actors portraying "Ladies of Chappaqua." Our three became known as the "Real" Ladies of Chappaqua. It was  observed that the St. Mary's MH is a bit larger than our church, seating 10 per row on each side of the aisle and saw the  original of "our" window.

Meet the Parish
Kelly Leonard O'Keefe
Kelly is a 15-year resident of Chappaqua.  She has a grown son, Dylan, who is a Greeley and UAlbany grad. Dylan operates his own business in aerial cinematography.
She was a book publishing professional for 25 years as a VP in Publicity and Digital Marketing working with New York Times bestselling authors including James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, and many others, then later as a consultant to authors and publishers. Kelly made a recent career change and now works in hospice and home health care as a Certified Nurse Aid and Home Health Aide in New York and Connecticut.
Kelly  joined St. Mary's in January 2018 and was drawn to its warm community of inclusivity and service.
"I am grateful for the congregation, its leadership and programs offered throughout the year. Being part of parish life as a lector, singing in the choir, and Sunday Coffee Hour co-host has given me many opportunities to be a part of the St. Mary's family and contribute to its tradition of living in Christ," Kelly said.

HERE IS A LINK to a recent feature in our local magazine Inside Chappaqua (May 2019) where Kelly was featured as a career changing women in the area.
Vestry Meeting Minutes
Meeting Minutes are available on bulletin board outside of Parish Hall office or by contacting Rich at
Church School News
Grades PreK-7th
Meets 9:45am, Sundays
Joins Worship Service at approx. 10:45am for communion with parents.

FROM COLEEN MACGREEVEY, Director, Church School

The Church School students have been busy this fall, not only with our Old Testament lessons, but with lots of giving back as well!

On October 27, the children created coloring pages to honor our parishioners and loved ones who have served in the military and therefore are recognized on Veteran's Day.  We mailed the letters to spread our good wishes and even got a thank you note back from Wayne Sobers!

On November 16, we enjoyed a Family Fun Night in the Parish Hall.  Everyone was able to enjoy pizza and snacks followed by an exciting BINGO game.  We iced and decorated cupcakes (yum!), enjoyed other desserts, and finally played "old school" games like freeze dance and musical chairs.  One parent said it was like a Church School playdate :)  Thanks to all who participated and hope others can join in the future!

On November 24, the Church School children helped our parish get ready for the annual Advent Giving Tree by decorating ornaments with gift requests on the back.  This year, the tree will be festively displayed in the back of church.  Please feel free to help others this Christmas season by providing a gift for someone in need.
We are looking forward to the 2019 Christmas Pageant at Saint Mary the Virgin, which will take place on Sunday, December 22nd during the 10am service.  Additionally, we will have full Pageant Rehearsal similar to the past few years:
  • Sunday, December 15th: Pageant rehearsal - 11:15am-12:30pm (in the Church)
  • Saturday, December 21st: Pageant dress rehearsal - 3pm (in the Parish Hall) - followed by our PIZZA PARTY
  • Sunday, December 22nd: Pageant during the 10am service (please arrive in the Parish Hall at 9:15am)
We look forward continuing this St Mary's tradition and to a wonderful and joyous Pageant preparation time with your families!

Confirmation is the opportunity to make a mature public affirmation of one's faith, commit to the responsibilities of one's Baptism, and receive the laying-on of hands by the bishop.

Confirmation Class 2019 - 2020
NEXT CLASS, Jan 26 at 3:30 in Library

The next confirmation class will take place at 3.30 pm in the Jackson Library, on January 26, 2020. Deacon Shiane will teach this class, with the topic being, "The Episcopal Church."

The following session will be on Sunday February 9, 2020, with Lisa Fitzgerald teaching.
The topic: "Christian Ethics/Behavior for Teens."

St. Mary's embraces Outreach. It is an integral component in the mission of our church family.  We provide financial support, services and donated goods to those in need close to home and on the other side of the world. 
In fulfilling our outreach mission, we enhance the sense of community within our church family - and we enrich ourselves.  We make connections not just with each other, but also with those we help.
Midnight Run
Thank you to our November Midnight Run Team!

Eric Dammann & Sean Fitzgerald,
with Christian Hakim, Joe Meyer, Britt, Fiona & Charlie 
Hayes , and Cole Fitzgerald

St. Mary's Recycles

Thanks goes to Father Alan for purchasing the bins with signs to clarify what goes where with recycling, and to Cindy Forrest for the wall sign.

Please bring in your used batteries and ink cartridges! (see details below) The kitchen also has bins with clear signs regarding disposal.

Thanks all for participating!
Support St. Mary's Operating Budget
Recycle Ink Cartridges at SMTV

Help us Earn $$

Please contribute your used
inkjet or laser printer cartridges 
from home or work!

We will

Follow these simple steps:
- Place cartridges in the box in the Parish Hall.
-Be sure the cartridge # is visible on the cartridge.
-Careful! No damaged cartridges can be used.
All proceeds will support St. Mary's operating budget!
(If you have any questions contact Janet Priscantelli at
Thanks for your support!
Sunday Lay Ministers
Lectors, Prayers of the People, Acolytes,  'Chalice Bearers' or 'LEMs' 

We are in great need of parishioners to serve at both 8:00am & 10:00am Sunday worship services. 

ATTENTION SUNDAY SERVICE ASSISTANTS: If you plan to sign up as LECTOR, please do so before the end of the day on Wednesday, so that Laurane can send you your Sunday readings and print your name in the Sunday bulletin.

('Chalice Bearers' or 'LEMs')
If you are interested in serving as Lector or Eucharistic Minister during Sunday mass please talk to Durrie Golding or contact her at ddgolding@gmail.comThe SignUp Genius for Service Assistants below.

SIGN UP HERE for SERVICE ASSISTANTS for Sept 2019-Jan 2020.

Please take a moment to see where you or your family members might be able to help out.

Thank you to those who have already signed up. If you have any questions, please email Durrie Golding at or call at (914) 589-3864.

Lectors are lay persons appointed to read the scriptures (Old Testament or New Testament reading) each Sunday from the lectern. They can also lead the Prayers of the People in the midst of the congregation during the service. The term "lector" is from the Latin, "to read." There is no license required for this lay ministry. Young Adults and Teens Welcome too!
Please join us to build an Intergenerational Acolyte  Ministry

There are many different roles available, so everyone is welcome. In particular, we would like to encourage adults to join as acolytes, creating an intergenerational core of servers, since this role is not limited to adolescent or young adults.   
If you have any questions and suggestions please contact  Vincent Kumaradjaja at We offer training and rehearsals before the service.
Support St Mary's by shopping on Amazon 

It's easy. Just click   HERE to set St Mary's as your organization of choice, and continue shopping as usual! Four times a year, Amazon will then donate .5% of your purchase on many of their products directly to St Mary's.

The only catch? You have to remember to use the Amazon Smile website (instead of or the Amazon app) for your shopping!

Need help linking your Amazon account to St Mary's? Bring your device to coffee hour any Sunday in November and December for help with set up...and then watch Amazon's donations add up, as you make everyday purchases. Further questions on set-up or the Amazon Smile program can be directed to Cindy Forrest at or 914-602-9766.
Community Bulletin Board
Special Announcements about our Parish
Please send submissions to by 26th of each month

Congratulations to
Graham Hanchet
Eve Chesivoir
on their engagement!

Look for the happy couple in church this Christmas. 

Field Hockey with Anna Paskowitz
Congrats to Anna Paskowitz and the members of the Greeley Field Hockey Team!  They kept winning and went all the way to the  New York State Class A field hockey Championship Game. WAY TO GO GREELEY!

If there are any other SMTV families with news to share, please let us know at .
The Church of SMTV Info

Click Link to see this month's  Calendar.

Click Link to listen to past Sermons.

An UPDATED DIRECTORY (August 2018) has been posted to our church website.  (Located in drop-down under Parish Life.)

Click Link to see Updated List of   Staff & Vestry  Members.

Office: 914- 238-8751
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
191 S. Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY

Office Contact:
Tel: 914 238-8751


Chappaqua, New York


We are called to be a holy people who witness God's love to the world and serve others.

Our Mission is to provide an environment for worship, learning, and service by encouraging

participation through the effective use of the commissions:
Worship and Music, Christian Education, Outreach, Communications, Parish Life, Finances, and Stewardship.

Submissions for The Bell due by 26th of month to:

Mary Ann Bayer