Calvary-St. George’s gets new associate minister

Associate Minister Ben DeHart

Associate Minister Ben DeHart

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Calvary-St. George’s Church’s new Associate Minister Ben DeHart officially took up the position at the Gramercy house of worship on September 28, but the New Jersey native said that he’s still in the process of acclimating himself to the change of scenery.

“I’m still transitioning,” he said. “It’s been fun. During the first week I started to realize that I was kind of over stimulated, but it’s been nice not owning a car.”

DeHart ended up at Calvary by way of Pittsburgh, where he went to seminary. He was ordained there in 2012 and has lived in that area for the last 10 years, although he has only officially been a priest since January.

For the last few years, the church’s priest-in-charge Reverend Jacob Smith has been taking on most responsibilities on his own, so as associate minister, DeHart will be helping to ease the burden.

“Calvary has grown a lot in the last couple years,” he said. “Jake was really being overloaded for a while.”

DeHart will be responsible for pastoral care and new members ministries, going on hospital visits and working on events for newcomers like connecting them to devotion groups, as well as helping run the soup kitchen.

“I hold devotion groups in my apartment and that’s really nice because it’s small, about five to 10 people max,” he said.

He also spends some of his time visiting people who are homebound and stops by to see others who ask for visitations.

“I love doing that because I’m seeing their lives outside this place. You see the people behind the mask and they see behind mine,” he said. “In a self-sufficient place like New York, I have to take the initiative sometimes but people always appreciate that. I always have to have ears everywhere. It’s a way to get to know them very well. People share the most remarkable things, some very, very good and others very, very bad. Very few people get that opportunity to connect on that level.”

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Editorial: A little information goes a long way, Say yes to debating, not mud-slinging

A little information goes a long way

Last week, an attempted rape of a woman in a Stuyvesant Town elevator sent shockwaves through the community, which despite the occasional assault or robbery, has a reputation for being safer than most neighborhoods.

Far less shocking, but still disturbing was the fact that there was no attempt by the owner of the complex to reach out to residents. Town & Village reported on the crime on our blog shortly after the police released information about the attack, as did other local news outlets, and the Tenants Association sent out an e-mail blast to warn neighbors.

There was a time when, if there was a crime in the community, fliers would be posted in prominent spaces in lobbies, but sadly that hasn’t been the case in years.

In a recent high profile sex crime incident, in which, the “Stuy Town groper” victimized two women in the complex, fliers were distributed, but they came from local State Senator Brad Hoylman and his aides, not property management.

CWCapital didn’t respond to a request from this newspaper on Friday to speak with the chief of Public Safety or anyone else who could provide more details about the attack, other than to say (on Monday after the arrest) that security had been beefed up over the weekend and that a comment would be forthcoming. We’re still waiting.

The point here as long as management prefers to let tenants hear about crime in their apartment complex from the media and the TA, it’s going to appear that they care more about not scaring away potential renters than protecting those who’ve already signed on the dotted line.

CW already knows how to communicate with tenants when management wants to, sending emailed newsletters and Facebook posts to promote events and the soon to open ice rink. It would take no more effort to keep tenants in the loop about criminal activity.

Say yes to debating, not mud-slinging

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who’s held her position in Washington for 22 years, is currently running against Nicholas Di iorio, a former seminary student and former Pfizer employee whose party (Republican) automatically makes him a longshot. Di iorio has spent the past several weeks calling Maloney out for not accepting invitations to publicly debate him.

When asked why she wasn’t debating him, a rep for Maloney said she has agreed to a debate (scheduled for October 28 in an event held by the 17th Precinct Community Council).

Still, Di iorio this week issued press releases accusing Maloney of not debating him, but rather only agreeing to “show up” at the event, a candidates forum, then “speak for 20 minutes and take questions from the audience for 10 minutes.”

Maloney spokesperson Kathy Lynn responded to say the event, which she described as a debate, would have the format of candidates each getting a five-minute opening statement, followed by each candidate getting a short rebuttal.

Following that, the audience asks questions that are facilitated by a moderator,” Lynn said. “This is the format proposed by the 17th Precinct and both campaigns agreed to this when they accepted the invitation to participate.”

When asked for clarification on what the event was, an officer at the 17th Precinct told a T&V reporter it’s “not really a debate,” because there would be no formatted questions, but candidates from local races would have the opportunity to speak and take some questions.

So okay, it’s not technically a debate, but she’s also not shying away from questions.

Now this event aside, as to whether or not we think Maloney (or any candidate) should agree to participate in a debate event if invited and if their schedule permits, the answer is of course.

In Maloney’s case, the fact there hasn’t been a Republican elected in Manhattan since Roy Goodman left the State Senate may make expending the energy on a debate seem like a waste. Maybe, for her, it is.

Still, we think it’s still important for longtime candidates to continue to prove themselves to voters and also to show that they have nothing to hide.

That said, we also think Di iorio might have a better shot at being taken seriously if he’d tone down the near weekly ripping of Maloney via press releases.

As the election looms closer, the candidate has begun sending out statements bashing Maloney on everything from her trip to China to get a panda for New York (while Di iorio went to Israel) to authoring lots of bills that haven’t passed the house to not doing enough about Ebola.

These are fair game topics, but after a while, constant mud-slinging can begin to look like a too-desperate attempt to get attention and voters tune it out.

It’s also worth noting that the past two elections Maloney has run in, most recently with Republican Chris Wight and prior to that with Democrat Reshma Saujani during the primary, were pretty contentious. The attacks on Maloney in both races were nonstop and still Saujani and Wight were easily clobbered by Maloney.

It’s hard to say whether or not the negative campaigning had anything to do with it, since a well-known incumbent is always going to have an extreme advantage over a political newcomer. But it obviously didn’t help.