Christians come together to celebrate the birth of Christ

Father Brian Dowd reads a prayer to 200 attendees outside Queen of Angels Church (source: Walt Storck)

By Jennifer Storck

Almost 200 people gathered at the Sunnyside Reformed Church on Skillman Avenue to celebrate the Nativity story as well as to light the Christmas tree.

The event included the leaders– and their parishioners—from five different Christian denominations who worship in the Sunnyside & Woodside neighborhoods.

“ There might be differences in practice among our congregations but we share a common belief in Jesus,” said Rev. Jon Storck, who is the leader of Grace Fellowship Church.

At Sunnyside Reformed Church, Rev. Neil Margetson recited the biblical account of the Christmas story and spoke about the history of the Christmas tree.

With a police escort, the participants walked from Sunnyside Reformed Church down Skillman Avenue to the nativity crèche at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church. The attendees carried candles and sang traditional Christmas carols, such as O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

At Queen of Angels, Father Brian Dowd provided further explanation about the birth of Christ, as he stood next to the illuminated Nativity Scene above the rectory.

The evening concluded with hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus. Santa patiently stayed to the very end– until every last child had a chance to share his or her Christmas wish.

“Tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the birth of the One of whom the herald angels sang, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’”  said Rev. Stork.

The event was sponsored by Rev. Joseph Jerome of All Saints Episcopal Church;  Rev. Joshua Hollman of Christ Church; Rev. Jon Storck of Grace Fellowship Church; Rev. Brian Dowd of Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church; and Rev. Neil Margetson of Sunnyside Reformed Church.

“Events like these demonstrate how great it is to live in a neighborhood that is so tolerant of diversity,” Rev. Storck said.
“Many Sunnysiders don’t even consider themselves to be religious at all.  And yet, we can all share life together and celebrate the things that are most precious to each of us.”


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34 Responses to Christians come together to celebrate the birth of Christ

  1. More of the Same

    I guess Rev. Storck didn't get the memo from the Pope that said there were no angels singing at jesus' birth.......

  2. Sunnysider4Life

    at least it didn't rain this year!!

    btw, @more of the same--i think there is an angel in fact in that creche in front of the catholic church.

  3. More of the Same

    There are also animals in the creche which is another myth debunked by the Pope in his new book. But at least the church didn't come out and say everyone needs to stop including these traditions because the Pope says they didn't have animals or angels singing. And I'm saying this as an atheist (I was catholic until I reached the age of reason) and think it is the right way for the church to handle the Pope's latest book on the topic.

  4. Ruben

    Christ wasn't born on the 25th. End of story bible thumpers.

  5. Sunnysider4Life

    @ruben - and i don't think there are any legitimate historical christian scholars who would disagree with you. i am guessing if you asked the pastor and priests mentioned in the article they will confirm what you have said.

  6. you all make me laugh

    Ruben, why let common sense and science get in the way?

    A good explanation of when christ may have actually been born.

  7. Bliss & Skillman

    More of the Same .... Jimmy Buffett would call you an altered boy (or girl)! Catholicism drove him away from "religion" too. :)

  8. Ruben

    If we are supposed to keep religion out of school then why is Christmas celebrated ?

  9. Oppressed Masses

    This was a very nice event and another example of what makes Sunnyside a great neighborhood.

  10. 86Mets

    Merry Christmas.

    I refuse to use generic platitudes like Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays.

  11. Moneyside

    Bill O'Reilly would be proud

  12. Craic Dealer

    Tolerance, bitchezz!

  13. Sunnyside Native

    Agree with 86Mets...Merry Christmas! Bill Maher would be proud too but he is too busy at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion... :)

  14. It's all True

    I didn't know Bill Maher liked girls! Why is there no public Mennorah in Sunnyside/Woodside when there are a couple of synagogues. Chanukah is a beautiful festival and has great food.

  15. Moneyside

    "With a police escort, the participants walked from Sunnyside Reformed Church down Skillman Avenue to the nativity crèche at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church."

    Police escort? Seriously? I have no problem with people celebrating their faith EXCEPT when my tax dollars have to pay for it

  16. Oppressed Masses

    Moneyside, there were no additional tax dollars spent on the Christmas procession. The cops who were present for approximately a half hour were 108 Pct officers working a regular work shift and performing a routine police function of traffic control, the same police work routinely performed in Manhattan every day of the week and we see in Sunnyside on several occasions during the year. You're not suggesting that the police not perform traffic control activities routinely done for other events because this procession related to Christmas, are you?

  17. 86Mets


    I'm sure those Christians marching the procession pay taxes too.

    Newsflash - you're not the only one.

  18. Moneyside

    @OP Nope I'm saying any religious organization should not be using the Police as their personal escort. If they want an escort let them pay the cops on their own.

    You're not suggesting we get rid of the separation of Church & State, are you?

  19. Bijan

    "I refuse to use generic platitudes like Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays."

    That's right! Fight the power! Did you know Christians only make up 91% of Congress? And only 100% of US Presidents have been Christian. Clearly, being in the oppressed minority, it is vital you fight back against this out and out discrimination in the silliest way possible.

  20. 86Mets


    Talk about paranoid! And thanks for typing words on my keyboard I never typed. Where did I say anything about being an oppressed minority or discrimination? All I did was let you know how I prefer to greet people during the Christmas season. Knock off the hysterics, you'll just get an ulcer.

  21. Oppressed Masses

    Moneyside, which religious organization received a personal escort in the procession down Skillman Ave? If you attended the event , you would have seen that nothing like that took place. And, if you read the Constitution and judicial interptations of same, you would know that providing police services to maintain traffic control has nothing to do with the ban on government supported religion. Best Wishes for the Joys of the Christmas Season, OM.

  22. 86Mets


    As you can see, a simple amendment forbidding CONGRESS from making a law establishing an official nation religion has been completely twisted and perverted to the point where people believe it's a mandate to airbrush religion from public life and even deny religious people basic public services such as in this case. BTW: the words "separation of church and state" are no where to be found in the Constitution.

    Liberals want religion out of politics (Christianity in particular) but have no problem with politics sticking its nose into religion such as making churches and practicing Christians pay for birth control and publicly funded abortions.

  23. 86Mets

    The police were there to make sure that there were no accidents between the marchers and vehicular traffic, that's all.

    They were there for public safety, they weren't there as the government's stamp-of-approval for Christianity as some ludicrously seem to think.

    Moneyside apparently feels that Christians deserve to be left to the physical dangers of automobile traffic for daring to practice their faith outside the confines of a church building. But then again, since he's also apparently the one one who pays city taxes, he gets to make the decision.

  24. Moneyside

    LOL @86Mets I didn't say no Police escort, I said pay for it yourself

    No one is forcing you to pay for abortions or anything you don't want, stop watching Fox News.

    BUT Christians do want to force everyone else to abide by their wacky religion which outlaws abortion. I guess you don't think a woman is intelligent enough to decide if she wants an abortion on her own.

  25. 86Mets


    First of all the police aren't for hire. Police need to be wherever public gatherings take place whether it's New Year's on Times Square, Yankee Stadium on game day, a political protest, a presidential visit or a humble neighborhood church event.

    Second, the government does indeed now require that the Catholic church provide birth control for its employees and yes, 300 million tax dollars a year go to the country's largest abortion provider.

    Thirdly, the unborn are unique human individuals and should not be killed any more than a day old infant or a five year old child. If a new life doesn't begin at conception, when does it begin? Even science tells us that at conception, a genetically distinct person whose DNA and individual traits such as gender, eye color etc. have already been determined is created and is starting to grow. Also, do you believe human beings have souls, and if you do, when do they have them? When is the magic moment?

  26. Disgusted

    You all sound like bickering's a free country. The Christians can parade down Skillman in December, and the LGBTs in March, and the BOTH use police escorts. Everyone just shut up because you sound so closed minded, BOTH sides. This isn't a political issue, it's one of many community events in our small neighborhood, and you're only harming our little community by biting each others' heads off and being intolerant.

  27. 86Mets


    You're right it's a free country. And although the irony of your comment probably escapes you, one of the characteristics of a free country is that people tend to bicker. It's only in totalitarian states where everyone has the same opinion.

  28. 86Mets


    PS. I love the way you call others intolerant then tell them to shut up.

    Classic hypocrisy.

  29. JuliaJ.

    Moneyside, you sound very intolerant! Many women do not know that abortion is harmful and that they may come to regret it later. If you are "pro choice" you should support women who choose life. And it is a child - not a choice! Please stop insulting Christians. They turn the other cheek and tolerate your nonsense! Typical liberal hypocrisy.

  30. Sunnysider4Life

    How did this string go from responding to the article on the lighting of a Christmas tree to a debate about abortion?

  31. Disgusted

    @Sunnysidet4Life - my point exactly

  32. SuperWittySmitty

    There is a pretty direct connection between Christianity and birth control, and articles that feature and highlight conventions of faith will inevitably go to the core issues that are divisive. Both sides have managed to keep birth control on the front burner, so don't be surprised when it continues to dominate the conversation.

  33. Oppressed Masses

    @Smitty An article reporting on 200 members of the community coming together with the local leaders of several different churches to sing Christmas carols and walk from one church to another conjures up thoughts of abortion? I feel sad for you.

  34. 86Mets


    Have you never had a conversation before? Topics sometimes change and evolve during the course of a discussion.


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Latest News

Town hall meetings scheduled this week, with advice provided on snagging an affordable unit on LIC waterfront


Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

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The application period to snag an apartment in the Hunters Point South complex is expected to begin shortly and Community Board 2 leaders—along with the development company– will be holding two meetings this week telling residents how to apply,

The applicants will be aiming to get one of the 925 affordable apartments that are expected to be completed early next year.

The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 29, at the Sunnyside Community Services Center at 7pm. A second meeting will be held at the Big Six Towers on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm.

Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units.

The income requirements are broad and tailored more toward middle income earners. For example, units have been set aside for individuals/families who make very little to those who make up to $190,000, based on numbers released last year by the Bloomberg administration.

For details on the meetings, see below:

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Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off October 20, more than 30 restaurants participating
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Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week is scheduled to take place next month and 32 restaurants have already signed up to participate.

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The event begins on Oct. 20 and concludes on Friday, Oct. 24.

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Venturo, Salt & Fat win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award

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Sunnyside Farmers Market1

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, xxx , Melissa Mark Viverto (Source:  Bill Alatriste)

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

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City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out.

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Irish Music Festival to hit Boulevard on Saturday, wounded veterans to benefit
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Sept. 22, By Michael Florio

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Sunnyside resident documents the rise and fall of Comic Book Heaven

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Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

A well-known comic store called Comic Book Heaven closed last year after being in operation for about thirty years.

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