Vincentians raise funds for Brooklyn church

Annette Stowe (R) serves patrons.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Vincentian members of St. Alban’s Episcopal (Anglican) Church continue to rally in raising much-needed funds for the predominantly Caribbean church in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

Earlier this month, several Caribbean nationals, as well as Brooklynites as a whole, patronized the Vincentian congregants at their seventh annual Summer Barbeque in the church’s yard. The church is located at 9408 Farragut Rd.

“The menu has been consistent over the years,” said Annette Stowe, treasurer of the Vincentian group, in a Caribbean Life interview. “For only $10, guests are entitled to a choice of chicken, pork/ribs, or fish, and four sides: rice and peas, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and green salad.

“Additionally, guests can also purchase hamburgers and hotdogs for the kids, and souse, roast corn, sweet potato pudding and cassava pone, cake, peanut sugar cakes, tamarind balls and ‘too-lum,’” added Stowe about the mouth-watering delicacies.

Each year, Stowe said the group averages about 700-800 patrons, “who attend or just come by to pick up meals, connect with friends or even just have a drink and lime.” “We also serve approximately 550-600 meals annually.”

She said drinks are available at an additional cost from the “well-stocked” bar, which carries a variety of soft and local drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages, including Hennessey, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) strong rum, wines, Baileys, vodka, whisky and beers.

Additionally, Stowe said the music is “always pulsating, and with the exception of 2015, has always been provided by Vincentian DJ Geoff Francis, who is sure to include a selection of carnival hits for the given year.”

Crooner Theo Homer (left) prepares hot dogs and roasts corn.
Photo by Nelson A. King

A gift basket of Caribbean products is raffled annually, Stowe said, stating that this has become “an extremely popular and exciting occurrence, because of the basket includes a bottle of SVG Strong rum along with pepper sauce, spices, jerk seasoning, ackee, among other things,” with a ticket costing only $1.00.

She said the contribution of the Vincentian members of the congregation varies: Some make monetary contribution, some assist with preparing food, some offer their service at the event, while others just simply attend and support the event.

Stowe said, besides she, the major organizing members of the event are Esther DaSilva, president; and Elitha John and Viona “Bells” Homer.

“These ladies decide on the date, produce the tickets, decide on the quantity of food and drinks required, do the shopping, solicit contributions from family and friends, rally members including family and friends to assist with selling of tickets, preparation of food and for working at the actual event,” she said.

The church’s “Rally of Nations” brings together nationals of each country to “convene and organize individual fundraising activities to assist with the major projects undertaken by the church since it is not the policy to ask the congregation to make individual financial contributions or to increase their tithes,” Stowe said.

“This year, the group was quite fortunate when a few members responded to Father Bonner’s [the church’s Belize-born pastor] appeal for assistance, and so special thanks go to Pam Roberts and Jean Layne from Guyana and to Mr. Spring, a new member of our St. Alban’s congregation, from St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” she added.

Crispin and Ancilla Friday patronize Summer Barbeque.
Photo by Nelson A. King

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