Saturday, December 25, 2010

First Generation Lambs Club Reunion

Fifteen of us gathered Saturday night at the Lambs Club for a 35th year reunion of those who helped start the Lamb’s Church in Times Square in the mid to late 1970’s, including:

Rev. Paul S. Moore, Founder of the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene, and his wife, Tamara
Dr. Michael J. Christensen, charter member and former associate pastor, and his wife Dr. Rebecca Laird
Fr. William (BJ) Weber, former Associate Pastor and Director of the Lamb’s Residency, and his wife Sheila who lived at the Lamb’s
Jim and Dustee Hullinger, who were on staff together and made the Lamb’s their home for over 25 years
Effie Canepa, who was the church pianist under 3 pastors, and her husband Peter
Shirley Close, who attended the Lamb’s in the late 1970’s while studying, performing  and teaching music and voice
Carl "Chappy" Valente, former associate pastor
Rev. Bob DiQuatto, lead singer of the Church’s “Manhattan Project” and staff member of the Lamb’s, and his son Jason
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, current pastor of the Lamb’s Church in its new location.
Many Lambies from across the country, even across three continents, unable to be present, sent greetings and thus contributed to our conversation about our lifelong friendships, unique stories from the past, and future hopes and dreams. 
Those who were able gathered in the elegant Standford White private dining room with its original woodwork and fireplace that was reconstructed from the original wood in the old library on the third floor, we enjoyed a three course dinner at a table especially prepared for us:

APPETIZERS
White Gazpacho
Peekytoe Crab, Green Grapes
Or
The Lambs Club Salad
With Tarragon and Crispy Egg Dressing
MAIN COURSES
Heritage Pork Chop
Fragrant Endive, Sage
Or
Wild Striped Bass
Lightly Cooked, Fresh Carrot, Ginger and Lemon

DESSERT
Double Chocolate Ginger Cake
Poached Pears
or
Deep Dish Lemon Meringue Tart
Lemon Confit, Light Meringue, Chamomile Broth
In front of a roaring fire in the comfortable, wood-paneled, private, premium, banquet room, we told stories of former times together, and caught up on where the journey of life and ministry has taken us over the past 30 years.  Paul is now CEO of CitiHope International with mission projects all over the world.  Michael and Rebecca both teach at Drew University, BJ and Sheila minister to Wall Street executives and lead the New York Fellowship, Jim and Dusty continue to minister to homeless persons and people with HIV/AIDS through Gifted Hands, Effie still plays jazz and sings at fancy restaurants in the city, and Peter owns and operates an authentic Pizza parlor. Shirley is a professor of music at Florida State University and performs regularly in New York City opera. Chappy is a professional artists in Willmington, NC, and is studying to be a hospice nurse.  Bob semi-retired from pastoring in the UCC and has returned to performing bluegrass and solo gigs with his well-known guitar, and spending time with his college age son.  And Gabriel, who was born the year the Lamb’s Church started, now has the shepherd’s staff as the sixth pastor of the Lamb’s Manhattan Church of the Nazarene (now worshiping in Chinatown).  Gabriel had heard part of the story of how the Lamb’s Church was started in the year of his birth, and humbly and patiently, he was willing to hear more:

[Quote from city streets]


The old Lambs Club building (built in 1901), which served as the Lamb’s Church from 1975-2001, after 10 years of renovation, is now the newly opened Chatwal Hotel and Lambs Club Restaurant. The hotel has done a beautiful job in preserving several elements of the original structure, including the wood paneled library and the grand fireplace on the first floor modeled after the one in Buckingham Palace.  The hotel staff was gracious and welcoming, and gave us a superb tour of the facilities, including various dining rooms and bars, fancy and expensive rooms ranging from $600 to $1,700 per night, and an unbelievably luxurious spa in what we called the “sub-basement.”  www.thechatwalny.com  

James Nelson Hullinger, first business manager of the Lamb's, worked with the Sales and Marketing office at the Hotel to arrange for our 5pm drinks on the second floor, followed by a three-course dinner at 6:00pm in the premium private dining room known as the Standford White Suite.

During and after dinner, our leader Paul Moore, Original Shepherd of Times Square, reminded us that we had gathered in ‘sacred space’ at that the Lambs Club, that the building had been set aside for a holy purpose which continued in its new phase of being, and challenged us to believe that there was yet more to do in this new phase of the place we lived in and ministered 30+ years ago. 

He hopes we will gather there from time to time, for celebrations, for ministry, and perhaps even for a worship service or sacred concert in one of the banquet rooms.  Quoting from a poem entitled “Greener Pastures” he wrote after having a vision to buy the Lambs Club in 1975, Paul said:  “The Lamb leads the lambs to the Lamb’s. 
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,
The Shepherd of the flock, the keeper of the fold, the seeker of the lost,
Jesus, calling to himself a people to enter the door to the greener pastures of salvation,
To lie down and fear no evil…
In New York City?  Yes, in New York City!
Behold the Lamb
Leads the lambs.
To the Lamb’s…
His sheep know his voice and follow where he leads.
Another fold, newborn lambs
Tenderly, caringly, he has led to pasture, to grow, to know.
Greener pastures.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow.
In New York City?  Yes, in New York City.
And the Lamb’s is still God’s church in the city!