The Installation of Thia Reggio as Minister for Astoria First Presbyterian Church

At one point in my life, I was seriously considering the vocation of the priesthood. Ultimately, I found out I wasn’t meant to be a priest.  But it’s that spiritual journey that gives me a special appreciation and admiration that for anyone who walks the walk.   So when Thia Reggio asked me to photograph her installation ceremony, I felt honored and excited.

Thia Reggio has been the minister at Astoria First Presbyterian Church for a bit over a year now.  This ceremony just made it official.  First Presbyterian Church is located in a small, intimate space at 23-35 Broadway.  It’s a quick walk from the subway.  I think it’s one of Astoria’s best kept secrets.

It’s got a super-peaceful, inviting feel.  The vibrant congregation welcomes with open hands. The church is child friendly, too, which is one of the reasons we chose to make it our spiritual home. Our son, Walker, has made some great friends at the church, and he loves to be there.  It’s not uncommon for him to ask to go to church on a weekday.  (I don’t ever remember asking my parents that when I was growing up.)

The church shares its space with Arthouse Astoria, which is another one of Astoria’s best kept secrets.  Arthouse Astoria is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing affordable music and art classes to the neighborhood.  (http://arthouseastoria.org)

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Here’s a few photographs from the event.  I thank Thia Reggio and the First Presbyterian Church for letting me photograph such a special day.

Confirmation Service at St. George’s in Flushing

This year a wonderful opportunity came my way. The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island has invited me to photograph a number of their confirmation services. So far, I’ve experienced a lot of gratification doing them.   They have challenged me mentally while refreshing me spiritually. They’ve made me a better photographer and they’ve renewed my faith.

Many people confuse the act of baptism and confirmation.  Baptism is the sacrament of being initiated into the Christian Faith. What then, is a confirmation service?  The word “confirmation” comes from the Latin, confirmare, which means, “to strengthen,” “to fortify,” or “to complete.” The act of confirmation denotes a mature re-commitment to the vows of baptism. This is done during a public sacrament where one honors their spiritual journey and renews their commitment to Christ within a Christian community.

I took these photographs during a recent confirmation service at St. George’s in Flushing Queens. In this service, you’ll see that members of the congregation joined Bishop Provenzano for the laying on of hands.

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For those who don’t know, St. George’s in Flushing has a long, storied history. It was chartered in 1702, and the present church was completed in 1854. Today, enjoying landmark status, it serves a strong, vibrant and diverse congregation. In fact, the Bishop’s sermon given in English was translated into both Chinese and Spanish. Lastly, the current rector, Reverend Wilfredo Benitez is an amazing, accomplished photographer too. Check out his website here http://www.benitezrivera.com/