The Bell
October/November 2020
Letter from the Rector

Sacred Places, Sacred Spaces
"Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight into the spiritual journey. It calms people in the throes of life transitions. They realize that they are not human beings on a spiritual path, but spiritual beings on a human path."
Lauren Artress 
~ Walking a Sacred Path
Dear Friends:

In recent months I have become more conscious than ever before that life is indeed a journey. As we journey through unusually and exceptionally challenging times, I would like to suggest that there are some very basic tools and experiences that may lead us through our journey with hope.

As we approach the Holy season of advent in this unusual year,
I invite you to reconnect, recapture
and renew your relationship with the Holy
by walking the Labyrinth 
and visiting our Votive Candle Stand.

I am ever so grateful to Annette Chan, a long time and faithful parishioner, for her generosity of spirit in making it possible for the planning and construction and funding of our labyrinth, of which we continue to be fortunate beneficiaries. 

We also have been very blessed to have received the votive candle stand. I invite you to come, light a candle and pray for whatever it is that fills your soul. I usually stand before the votive stand and center myself by taking a couple of deep breaths. I am typically drawn to the rose window of the blessed virgin Mary and the holy child. I light a candle and offer a prayer, for whatever or whomever. This is a very personal, precious and deeply spiritual moment for me. Often, I simply "hold onto the moment," and stay a while and savor the light.

This reminds me of a story of Robert Louis Stevenson, growing up in Scotland, where he lived on a hillside in a small town. Each evening he would sit in his family's kitchen and look down on the town, and watch the lamp lighter ignite each of the town's street lamps. He remembered saying, "Look, mother, there is a man down there who punched holes in the darkness."

It is my very sincerest prayer, that as we journey in this life, we too may punch holes in the darkness of our day, living as people of the light.

Journey in faith, journey in peace, journey, journey with hope and may the light of your life burn brightly, so that others may see your good works and glorify Our heavenly Father.

With my prayers,

Fr. Alan

 Sermons are available on our website under the worship tab.
Click HERE.
The Labyrinth
by Annette Chan-Norris

The Labyrinth
How did the labyrinth at St. Mary's come about? In the late 1990's, there was a 90-foot wide, twelve-circuit one painted on the front lawn and several parishioners walked it regularly. But it had to be repainted whenever the grass was cut and meditating with cars and pedestrians going by on South Greeley was not easy. 
In 2002, during Father Joel Mason's tenure, the newly-formed Spiritual Nurture Commission re-visited the idea and painted the smaller Cretan labyrinth in front of the outside altar. This one lasted a few summers and was easier to maintain. I was on the Commission and thought it would be a wonderful addition to our church to have a permanent labyrinth, so I funded its construction and dedicated it in memory of my parents, Mary and Leonard Chan. They were wonderful role models and lived ethical and spiritual lives, following Christian values.
With the help of Julie Greco, a church member and landscape designer, who donated her vision and expertise, the labyrinth was re-positioned to its current location. Manny Areces, another parishioner, drew the template on the ground. In December 2005, the topsoil was laid over the pattern and Julie directed the placement of the river rocks and the mulch for the path. She placed it so that when one came to the center of the labyrinth, the church came into view.
I often start off the walk not really knowing how to "clear my mind" or feeling self-conscious, but as I start to move slowly along the path, I just let in whatever "comes to mind". Sometimes the thoughts are of mundane things and other times, the thoughts become a prayer. At the center, I look at the sundial for a while and ready myself for the return walk. If I take my time, I feel a tingling in my fingertips at the end of the walk, similar to what the Chinese "chi" or energy or an electrical charge. This doesn't happen if I hurry through the walk. I find the walk to be very calming.
So....... Welcome to the Labyrinth. You are about to step into ancient archetypal path that is hundreds of years old. The pattern has been walked by millions of people of all cultures for many reasons.

The labyrinth is a sacred place set aside for you to reflect, look within, pray, negotiate new behavior. The rhythm of walking, placing one foot in front of the other, empties the mind, relaxes the body and refreshes the spirit. Follow the pace your body wants to go.

Photo Credit: Valerie Lippin
The Labyrinth can be walked in Four Stages
As you encounter other people walking the same path, simply allow them to pass. You walk the labyrinth with your body and rest your mind.
Before walking the labyrinth take time in gratitude be thankful for your life. Bless the people in your life. If there's a specific event or situation troubling you, bring it to mind and form a healing question if possible.
Walking into the labyrinth
This is the time to quiet the mind, let go of the mind chatter and release your troubles. Open your heart to feel whatever it might feel. Become aware of your breathing. Take slow breaths. Relax and move at your own pace.

Standing or Sitting in the Center
This is a place of reflection. Pause and stay as long as you like. Open yourself to your higher power. Listen to that small inner voice. In the safety of the labyrinth have a heart-to heart talk with yourself.

Walking out of the labyrinth
When you are ready, begin walking out the same path you followed in. Walking out, integration of your experience happens. Experience the sense of well-being, healing, excitement, calm or peace.

Each labyrinth experience is different. You may feel nothing or have a powerful reaction. Whatever, listen to your heart and take all the time you need. 
The above description is only a thumbnail sketch. You provide the bigger picture.
Sacred Spaces Safe Places
Two Unique Experiences Available This Season!
Teaching & Experiencing the Labyrinth
Saturday, November 21 at 2:30pm
An opportunity for Renewal, Reflection, and Prayer

Advent Sunday falls on November 29 this year! Given the challenging times we live in, I want to encourage you to use this forthcoming Advent season as a practical, possible, and an attainable experience, enriching your spiritual life.

The labyrinth affords us such an opportunity.

Sat, November 21 at 2:30pm

Teaching & Experiencing the


(via Zoom. Details to follow.)

In the meantime, and in preparation for experiencing the labyrinth, I invite you to read the book below. It is full of exercises, suggestions, questionnaires, assignments, and meditations for getting the most out of the Labyrinth experience,

"The sacred path companion"a guide to walking the labyrinth to heal and transform
Author: Lauren Artress  It is available  HERE via Amazon.
Come Aside to Light a Candle
Our votive candle stand adds to the beauty and esthetics of our sacred space. It provides all an opportunity "to light a candle," as we seek to bring light and hope to our world. 

It is my prayer that many will use this as an opportunity to "come aside," and pray for healing light for our nation, our world and our loved ones.

  • Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:30 am
  • Monday, November 2, All Souls' Day: Morning Prayer at 9:30am 
  • Wednesday, November 4: Noonday Prayer

We invite you to take note of the following safety guidelines:

The pathway toward continuing worship at Saint Mary's

We will celebrate One Sunday Mass at 9:30am until further notice, following all the important safety guidelines as previously communicated and outlined below.

We invite you to take note of the following practical arrangements as we start worshipping indoors:
  • Please note that only 42 people may sit inside the church to keep the appropriate social distancing; if you are on site and the church is full, you are welcome to sit in your car and listen to the live audio broadcast.
  • Live podcasts of the services will be broadcast each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday
  • Wear masks at all times
  • Sanitize hands before services, during, before receiving communion and when leaving
  • Always keep safe distancing
  • No coffee hour, for the time being
  • The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated; the people receiving in one kind only (the host)
  • Details of how to receive communion will be explained during mass


Christian Education (Church School)
  • Parish Hall will be used for classroom space 
  • There will be no childcare in the foreseeable future
All Services will be offered via Live Stream.  

The church building will be regularly disinfected.

Warden's Corner
News from the Church Warden, John Priscantelli

Hello Friends,

I hope this finds you well and safe. At this time of year Father Alan, Dave Aplin and I begin to talk about Stewardship, current year pledging and finances in general.
As we approach year-end we will be sending out statements to give you an indication about the status of your current year pledges. Dave and Laurane will be sending them out shortly. I know this has been a hard year for all of us in many different ways. I also know that pledging is a very personal decision for everyone. So please, if you can, fulfill your 2020 pledge. If you haven't pledged please consider doing so because everything helps.

There used to be a saying, "don't worry, by year's end we will be recipients of St. Mary's magic and our finances will be whole." I hope this is true this year and it is up to you to see that this magic happens again. Father Alan sent me a draft of a 2021 Stewardship letter to review. This will be going out for next year to request a pledge. Please also give this serious consideration.

Friends, we face challenges. Let's face them together, be honest and do the best we can. I hope to see you soon at church, or maybe at a virtual coffee hour. Stay safe, keep your families safe and hold St. Mary's close to your hearts.
Meet the Parish

A Farewell to the
Catherine, Bob & Andrei

Although Catherine says they might even be back in the area, for now St. Mary's wants to bid farewell to Catherine and Bob Nesbit as they move away from Chappaqua. Their son Andrei, who is 22, lives in California. 

After our beloved choirmaster Tim Vernon died in 2005, Catherine was hired to be our interim choir master during that very painful time of loss. She was a positive musical force, cheerful, fair and hopeful in her approach. Catherine always lifted our spirits. 

She rescued the choir three more times as an interim choral master and became our beloved friend. The experience of working with her was always a breath of fresh, calm air after tumultuous times. Choir member, Camilla Calhoun gives Catherine a personal thank you for listening and reaching out beyond the regular solo choir singers. "I'm grateful for her encouragement. After 20 years, she gave me the first opportunity for a solo part in the choir!"

Catherine quotes Barbara Doss by saying that she will always see Chappaqua from the "Love on the Hill" perspective of St. Mary's. She says that her feeling about Chappaqua was informed by our hillside spot. She feels we are her community. 

Her husband Bob started coming to St. Mary's on a regular basis only a little over a year ago. It was a strong spot for Bob to land after leaving the Catholic Church. He lost no time in jumping in to participate and has for 6 months been on the vestry in the position of Outreach. And Bob stepped up as a reader, helping with the online services, during this difficult time of Covid 19. We cannot thank him enough and hope that it really will be true, that you will come back to us! 

Best wishes to Catherine and Bob with their move. We will miss their positive energy and can-do spirit and do indeed hope they will return soon, even if just for a visit! 
Calendar Notes/Special Events:

Don't miss the Community Bulletin Board below & memories of Fall Auction Dinners!

Deacon's Corner
News from Deacon Shiane

The book discussion and meeting with the author of How to be an Antiracist by Professor Kendi was eye opening and inspirational. We will continue conversation about the book and how we can make a difference here at St. Marys' on a monthly zoom. Stay tuned for dates and times.
Please feel free to submit poems, inspirational sayings, etc., that have touched you.
Stay safe.

Deacon Shiane
What is the soul of American?
What makes it so unique?
Where can it be found?
What makes it so profound?
The answer yes, is here
We are a nation of immigrants
From all corners of the globe
And all the continents (except the Native Indians)
No other nation gives welcome to the foreign born
As does America, for its own
"Give me your tired and your poor,"
(said Emma Lazarus)
And welcome to our land,
Come bring your labor and your brains,
And make yourselves at home,
This is truly what "America means to me"
What is now and ever will be!

What Makes A Man A Man
What makes a man a man,
Or a woman a woman, Natural wealth or accomplishment?
Things that matter most to you or me?
No?  by all means no -
You cannot fail to see
The thread of destiny,
That takes us across the sea
To other lands -
And yet its' here with us at home;
Just to reach out and touch, 
People, family and friends
And those who mean so much to us -
This then is what makes us know and understand
The common touch of human feeling in our land.
The World Full Of Hate
Why is this world full of hate?
More than even love can dissipate,
Where Serbs hate Albanians,
And Catholics hate Protestants,
When East Indians hate Pakistanis,
Its' more than all of the world can take,
Then why do we allow such hatred to fester,
And just look the other way,
Pretending not to notice, and to say "Just too bad."
Or should we have a greater say
To all who hate:  Let it all evaporate
By knowing that those you hate
Are really like you, and then you will understand
That together you share the same fate!
Lincoln: A House Divided
Abe Lincoln once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
And with these words he took his stand.
"Our people cannot be both slave and free." 
With unwavering eye, he could clearly see ahead
The Future for both Black and White and Brown and Red
Must be what Martin Luther Kind later said;
All should be equal - "free at last."
But is this great goal really here?
Or is it even near?
When poverty still provides a great divide,
And gaps in education are still so wide?
We must travel miles before we sleep
To reach the goal of democracy, so steep!
                                                                                          By:  Robert Boehm
Rest Awhile
Rest Awhile far from the struggles and strains of life.
Find that place and seal it in your heart
To pause and retreat to where grace always dwells.
Rest awhile, out back the smile somewhere lost
Now softly, silently return
Rest awhile, peace, a beacon in the dark, sheltered, nurturing, safe and subline.
Rest awhile treasured moments, tranquil dawns
May your tomorrows outline life's storms.
                                                                                    By:  Geraldine Helen Hartman

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
When people show you who they are believe them. Maya Angelou
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

FROM COLEEN MACGREEVEY, Director, Church School

Our Church School year has started with lessons from the Old Testament - the Creation story, Noah, Moses, Hannah and Samuel.  The children have talked about the Ten Commandments and the importance of loving God and each other.  We will continue with Old Testament lessons leading up to the Christmas story in December.

there will be
Sunday, November 8 and Sunday, November 29

As was announced in the weekly e-blast, there will be one service at 9:30am, so Church School will coincide with that service. We will be in the Parish Hall. Looking forward to seeing our families again!
We are tentatively planning a "creative" Christmas Pageant on Sunday, December 20.  It will NOT take place during the 9:30 service, but rather in the afternoon in the Parish Hall.  More details to follow in the coming weeks.....

Zoom classes will commence later in November.
For further details, please contact Deacon Shiane at 914-441-9360 or
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.

We continue to work with these organizations:

Interfaith Food Pantry in Pleasantville
They are participating in a Go Fund Me Drive: CLICK HERE
that has been partnering with local restaurants to provide hot meals through the Pleasantville Pantry. (This Go fund Me Drive also contributes food to Hope's Door and Neighbors Link.) Please consider making a monetary donation via the link above.

For more information about these organizations click on these links:

Helping our Hospitals
Northern Westchester Hospital has created a dedicated COVID Emergency Fund to help purchase medical equipment and supplies. Learn more here.

Helping Hour Children's Center at Bedford Hills
1. Hour Children website, and click their "Donate" Button, specifying that the donation is for "Operation Neighborhood"

2. Write a check to "Hour Children". Please earmark "Operation Neighborhood".  Checks should be sent to: Hour Children 36-11 12th Street, Long Island City, NY  11106. 

3. If you prefer to donate specific items rather than money, please go to the Amazon Wish List named Operation Neighbor with the requested items, which are all consolidated and located on one link:
Items should be shipped to:  
The Parenting Center at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
247 Harris Road
Bedford Hills, NY 10507
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Deb Rigano: 914.804.6470.

*SMTV Organization of the Month is designed to raise awareness
of the Outreach Organizations that SMTV supports.

Calling All Cooks
Please join
The Good St. Maryans

The Christian way teaches us to care for one another, but when someone needs help, we are often at a loss how to best assist.  Whether it is celebrating a new addition to the family, honoring those whose lives have passed or extending a hand while healing, the Good St. Maryan's is here to support the parish community through life's steps and missteps.

Over the years, the Good St. Maryan's, led by Beverley Streeter and Dina Painter, has quietly, discreetly and lovingly extend a hand with meals and rides.  I have been the grateful recipient of meals after the birth of my daughter, Catherine, and after the death of my mother, and like others, I will never forget how helpful the meals were or the kindness that was expressed the extra care the Good St. Maryans took to make allergy-safe meals.

If you have the time and talent to make an occasional dinner to share, then please sign up for this committee.  When there is a need, you will be asked to participate on a specific Meal Train, an organized meal giving around a significant life event for a member of the parish.  You will get a link to the specific Meal Train either from within or via your personal email which has a unique web address which acts like a key for entry to your Meal Train.  For example: Only those who have this unique address are able to participate. Your Meal Train information is not public. To participate, you will click on the 'Volunteer For This' button next to a preferred date/activity and follow the instructions.  There will usually be some specific information about time for delivery, food allergies and meal preferences to help you plan your meal.  In addition, you can see what other volunteers are making so that you can ensure some variety for the recipient.

Our dinners will help ensure that the parishioner (and family) will have healthy, homecooked nourishment and give them strength. Please do not expect or plan to stay and visit or eat with them.

If you would like to sign up to volunteer for the Good St. Maryan's, please contact Dana Fenlon at or 914-238-1151.

If you have a need or know of a family who is struggling in any way and needs pastoral care, please contact Fr. Alan.
Community Bulletin Board

Special Announcements about our Parish
Please send submissions to by 26th of each month
to Alex Fitzgerald and Matthew Fenlon
for their induction into the HGHS Cum Laude Society!
Missing everyone and remembering wonderful shared times and efforts at
at our traditional November Auction Dinner.  

We look forward to next time!

Click these links to look back at photo albums

If you have other dinner photos, we would love to archive them.
Email pix to
If there are any other SMTV parishioners with news to share, please let us know at
The Church of SMTV Info

Click Link to see November  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