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B’Reshit: In the Beginning

In the early days of Genesis, when both congregations were smaller, all maintenance of the buildings and grounds was done by volunteers from the two congregations. Generally, this was done on a nice Sunday morning following St. Clare’s last service. Temple members and St. Clarians turned out in reasonable numbers dressed in jeans and armed with a variety of garden tools.

It provided an interesting opportunity to meet members of the other congregation and to attack the jungle which had grown up since the last “lawn party.” Suitable refreshments for such arduous labor managed to appear at appropriate intervals.

The Reverend Douglas Evett had been recently appointed as the new Rector of St. Clare’s, and he became our lead at saving the better bushes and trees. Without Doug’s guidance, our happy band (a reasonable amount of the aforementioned refreshment having been consumed) would have cheerfully denuded the property. Having cleaned up the front reasonably well, a small band of us moved to the garden directly outside of the Rector’s study.

Fortunately, Doug Evett is an understanding and forgiving man, as becomes his calling, for it was at this moment that I distinguished myself in Genesis lore by asking the Reverend “Where do you want us to move the birdbath?” Because we at that time had little knowledge of the artifacts of Christianity, he gently told me in his deepest voice that I was referring to St. Clare’s baptismal font.

I am still not sure to this day how I extricated myself with any conceivable grace, but I am sure that Doug became, and remains, a real friend.

Arnie Spellman

Reprinted from the Voices of St. Clare’s: 1953- 2003, which contains writings from both St. Clare’s and TBE members

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Pete Ross
Pete Ross
Jul 12

Arnie was a great friend. Peg and I were honored to share several family seders in their lovely home.


I remember it well. thank you for sharing a beautiful memory.


What a delightful story!

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