Holy Apostles has been a home for me since before the Soup Kitchen began. I am retired from a career as a health provider for medical and mental health services for homeless adults. This required me to seek additional training in addiction services, forensic psychology, and public administration.
I am writing thinking about all the changes and valiant, stubborn survival that went into being here today. At another point in time, I was also on the Vestry. There was a fire in the roof of Holy Apostles and we were faced with trying to rebuild. To me, two experiences that occurred on the same day exemplify God’s grace and our mandate to face obstacles without flinching and to continue our work.
The day after the fire, I was volunteering as the greeter in the Soup Kitchen. I was asked many times by guests what would happen to the church. When I told them we would try to raise money to rebuild, they asked if there was a collection box so that they could contribute. We put out a large bottle. As the day progressed, word passed and I heard coins dropping into the bottle until we closed.
Then, when we were cleaning up we heard motorcycles. Lots of them! We went outside to the driveway and were greeted by Hell’s Angels on their choppers. The leader asked to see the Parson. They gave us a check for a substantial donation toward rebuilding.
I firmly believe as a church we are supposed to be here doing what we are doing. I am grateful that I am able to be a part of it.
Vice President, Communications and Strategy, Interpublic Group
In his capacity overseeing communications for Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), Tom acts as the spokesperson for the company, helping craft and influence public perception around major news events, including leadership transitions, investments, acquisitions and operating performance. Tom also manages internal communications, digital and social media channels and corporate social responsibility programs for the 50,000-person company.
Tom began his career in New York as a reporter, working first as an editorial intern at SPY magazine, and then at The New York Times magazine group. Tom’s first job in the advertising industry was at Y&R in its communications department, where he helped build the agency’s first website.
Tom currently serves as Warden of Holy Apostles and helps provide leadership for its outreach program, The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, New York City’s largest emergency feeding program. Prior to his board service at Holy Apostles, Tom served for four years on the board of the Transport Group, an off-Broadway non-profit theater company in New York City known for staging new works as well as revivals by American writers.
Robert J. Frisby
I ran for the vestry because I have a deep appreciation and love of our parish and its parishioner and feel that with a nearly thirty-year perspective of the parish I could help guide the vestry and parish into the future as we move to a new era in the history of the parish. I became an active member of Holy Apostles after moving to New York in 1988 to become the Director of Publications for the Bourne/International Music Publisher. I hold a Fine Arts degree in Music from the University of Texas at Austin. I was honored to be elected to the board of directors of the Music Publishers’ Association of the United States, and then elected as its Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee for many years. After retiring from the Bourne Company, I spent the last 15 years as an Academic Review Specialist at the SUNY/Empire State College’s center in Manhattan from which I retired December 2013.
After serving on Holy Apostles vestries over the years I know the responsibility that its members owe to this wonderful parish. Elected to be the Treasurer of the church during the rebuilding years after the 1990 fire, I also served as chair of the Finance Committee. I served on the Organ Committee as we searched North America and Europe for a new pipe organ to replace the 1930 Casavant pipe organ we lost in the fire, and was the chair of the committee when we found, acquired, and installed our wonderful Van den Heuvel pipe organ. I have served on the stewardship committee and have sung in the choir for many seasons. When we moved back into the church in 1996 after the fie, I became a licensed lay reader officiating at Morning Prayer one day a week and was licensed a Lay Eucharistic Minister in 1998. On the Diocesan level I represented our parish on the Interparish Council, served on the Diocesan Council, and served on the Diocesan Budget and Finance Committee. I have also served as our parish lay delegate or alternate lay delegate to the Diocesan Convention on a number of occations. I presently serve on the Rector Search committee and work part time for an pipe organ tuning service.
I am a retired physician who had a private practice of internal medicine in the Albany area for ten years before joining the pharmaceutical industry as a research physician in drug development. After 5 years in drug research, I then spent 20 years in drug safety (pharmacovigilance). My position, when I retired in 2002, was Global Safety Officer for Hematologic Products at Johnson and Johnson in New Jersey. My traditional and non- traditional family includes 4 adult children, 7 grandchildren, my husband, Joseph Antenson. Joe and I were together for 22 years. We were married in May of 2013 after working very for marriage equality in New York State and later benefited from the national acceptance by the Supreme Court Decision. After a very short illness Joe passed away in July 2015. We were continuing our retirement in Yorkville started in 2003 and I am continuing to following Joe’s passing. During our time, together we lived as an interfaith Jewish/Christian family. This was based on a mutual respect of each other’s religious background.
I was married in 1960 and had 4 children in that marriage before divorce in late 70’s. With a move to Philadelphia to join the pharmaceutical industry at Smith, Kline and French, there was a recognition of my gay life in my background.
I was raised as a Lutheran in the ULCA. This included significant catechism training before confirmation in the Lutheran Church. In the early years of marriage, my wife and I were members of the Presbyterian Church. While attending Delmar Presbyterian Church, I was elected to the governing board. Later we sought to change churches. My wife and I chose the Episcopal Church because the underlying beliefs and formal service filled a void in our spiritual lives. We were confirmed in the All Saints Cathedral of the Albany, Diocese, and became members of St. Peter’s Church, where I retained my membership until joining St. Paul’s Paterson, NJ in 1995. I was elected to the Vestry of St. Paul’s and served on the Property Committee. This committee oversees the use and maintenance of the Church’s physical plant and the interface of the Church with the St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) which operates a shelter for 40 homeless men and has developed and renovated apartments for needy families in downtown Paterson. The CDC also initiated the development of 13 new homes dedicated as the “Lind Homes”, honoring the Rev. Tracey Lind, a former Rector or St. Paul’s and retired Dean of Trinity Cathedral of Cleveland. I also served on the Altar Guild of St. Paul’s and as a lector. A personal highlight of my St. Paul’s experience was having the honor of delivering the sermon on Gay Pride Sunday in 2002.
During my ten years in private practice I witnessed the change in American Medicine from personal, relationship-oriented care to government regulated, managed health care systems with Medicare and HMOs. This experience has sensitized me to the problems of providing health care in a compassionate and humane way. My years in the pharmaceutical industry gave me the experience of working in a regulated business environment, most notably by my interface with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More recently, I have come to recognize that no system of medical care, either private or regulated, will serve all populations adequately.
I’m passionate about a church’s mission that includes such a direct ministry to feed the needy via HASK. The Church of the Holy Apostles’ identity is closely linked to this work to the larger community of Chelsea and New York City. I’m grateful to join other parishioners as we respond to the gospel message both through worship and with the feeding program. A strong spiritual foundation is necessary to make sure this mission remains a strong example of social and economic justice.
I am a retired New York City employee who has been volunteering at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (HASK) since 2002. From my first day, I was impressed by the combination of efficiency and love with which HASK serves lunch to a seemingly endless line of guests in a relatively short amount of time. Since then, I’ve also seen that along with serving meals that are both healthy and delicious, HASK is always looking for ways to provide additional social services needed by its guests.
One thing that means the most to me personally about volunteering at HASK is that it provides opportunities to have meaningful conversations with people I wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to interact with. What HASK does each Monday through Friday is, for me, the true meaning of Christianity, and I feel honored to be a part of it.
The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen isn’t like any other place. The Church of the Holy Apostles opens its whole church space for this important program, and the relief, nourishment and companionship HASK offers to so many help hallow the church as a place of hospitality in the broadest sense, of “food for the soul.” I’m a professor of religious studies, and I regularly point my students to Holy Apostles as an example of a “sacred space”; when I can I bring groups of students to volunteer, to experience how all are fed here, guests and volunteers alike. I support the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen as a vital resource for New York’s hungry and homeless, and as a vision of a better world.
Upon the insistence of a friend I first came to Holy Apostles about 7 years ago to hear Gene Robinson speak about his then-new book. He said everything I ever wanted to hear from the pulpit of a church but never thought I would. The inclusiveness of The Episcopal Church was new to me having been brought up in the Methodist Church in the 1960’s – mid 70’s. I was confirmed at Holy Apostles and haven’t looked back since. I love and embrace HASK and its people which have become a large part of my life.
One of the many benefits and pleasures of my involvement with the church and the soup kitchen has been my participation in the care and redesign of the gardens. It has been a joy contributing to the beautification of the church while doing service as well.
I look upon being a member of the Vestry in much the same way, working for something for the greater good while being of service. It is a level of service I take very seriously with patience, goodwill and a sense of humor.
It was one of those days where Murphy’s Law ruled with a vengeance. I sat on a subway seat impatiently waiting for it to move out of the tunnel because it was a long day and I couldn’t wait to get home and have my dinner. As I was finishing that very thought, a very polite man walked through the crowded train asking for money or any food we didn’t want- even if it was bitten into. My heart sank. I knew when I reached home my hunger pangs would be taken of. This man didn’t know when his next meal would be. I gave him a few dollars and a piece of fruit. How long will that tame his hunger? The events that unfolded on the train that evening left an aching sadness in my heart because I didn’t know what more I could have done.
It wasn’t until Daniel, my husband, and I came to Holy Apostles and saw what incredible work HASK does for those who are in need of assistance for sustenance and other services. All those involved in the functioning of HASK are truly unsung heroes. The times that I have volunteered at the Soup Kitchen, I see a well-organized operation where the guests are always treated with the utmost respect. HASK draws and unifies the best of souls for a common purpose and I am grateful HASK took the aching sadness from my heart.
I grew up in New Jersey in a Greek immigrant household filled with the love of a traditional liturgical Christian church, however, The Greek Orthodox church is not accepting of diversity. As an adult, I believed that I could not live my authentic life and belong and pray in a traditional Christian church. In 2005, I was introduced to the Church of the Holy Apostles and The Episcopalian faith. I realized for the first time I could live my life openly as an Episcopalian. I joined the parish immediately and I was received in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Mark Sisk on Epiphany 2006. As a practicing Episcopalian, I now belong to a church with sacraments, scriptures, a sound Christian doctrine, and rich liturgical tradition that accepts and celebrates diversity. I was an active parishioner, became an usher and brought my young daughter to Sunday school at Holy Apostles.
Family is also an important part of my life. I grew up with a large extended and close family. I feel like the members and clergy of Holy Apostles have always treated me like family. I am so grateful to be a part of the Holy Apostles community and on many occasions I have been literally moved to tears during the service because of how much love I feel for Holy Apostles. John and I are so blessed to have been married by Father Glenn in the sanctuary of Holy Apostles in June of 2014.
The tradition, diversity and the feeling of family at the Church of the Holy Apostles is particularly evident in its mission to feed the hungry through the Church of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (HASK). For 35 years HASK has been feeding our guests in our beautiful sanctuary. The “no question” policy of our guests solidifies diversity at HASK. We do not ask our guests to prove their necessity nor do we judge their need. Guests are also allowed to eat as many times as they like as long as they reenter the line. Food is a big part of family life, and HASK has a great crew who make delicious hot meals for our guests every weekday. I am so bleesed to belong to a church community whose mission is to provide a very important necessity of life.
My husband and I joined The Church of the Holy Apostles with our children in 1992. We have been happy to be involved in many aspects of life in this wonderful community, especially its important soup kitchen.
Our children attended Sunday school and served as acolytes. They both were confirmed at Holy Apostles.
We all have volunteered at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, which we consider an essential part of our membership. I continue to volunteer regularly.
I have been a member of the Vestry for several years and was elected Warden in 2015. My responsibilities include participation in many of the committees which facilitate the functioning of this organization, such as the committee which recently completed its review of the relationship between the church and the soup kitchen.
As a software developer and programmer for Deutsch, a large marketing services agency and soup kitchen benefactor, I recognize the organizational and functional excellence of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.
Even first-time volunteers report how efficiently and effectively Soup Kitchen operations are managed, staffed and executed. I am truly proud of my involvement with this highly-regarded, volunteer-driven organization.
Through experience as a parish and vestry member, volunteer and fundraiser, I feel compelled to grow my contribution and further our most critical mission.