The Tower Chimes   Union Church of Pocantico Hills 555 Bedford Road Tarrytown, New York 10591 914.631.2069 / ____________________   The Rev. Dr. F. Paul DeHoff, Pastor

Beth Coffman, Editor                                                                                                                           March 2019

February 25, 2019

Dear Members and Friends of Union Church,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am excited to share the news that Mr. Richard Coffey has accepted our offer for employment as the new Organist/Choir Director. He looks forward to his first Sunday in the position on March 3rd. I know you will all welcome him into our wonderful community. 

Mr. Coffey was an outstanding candidate with an impressive, extensive musical background and a long devotion to church music. Mr. Coffey retired in 2017 after 45 years as the Minister of Music and Organist for the South Church of New Britain, Connecticut. He continues as Music Director of the Hartford Chorale, a  symphonic chorus that performs around the world. He holds musical degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Union Theological Seminary. He is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding musical achievement. 

The Search Committee was dazzled by Mr. Coffey’s energetic, creative musical talent, his interest and excitement about Union Church, the breadth and depth of his musical knowledge and experience, his demonstrated leadership of vocal groups both large and small, his passion for the organ and sacred music and his reverence for the living church and its liturgy. 

I would like to thank Rev. DeHoff for his guidance and the Search Committee led capably by David Bartholomew  who worked  tirelessly  in  concert with myself,  Susan Angst, Ruth Tedder DiLorenzo, Yvette Lin, Greg Perry, and Nancy Schellhas. It was a satisfying, collegial and respectful group dynamic in which all worked for the good of Union Church.


Carla DeLandri

President, Board of Trustees

… from the Pastor’s desk

The Hymnbook has a central place in the worship of the church.  The psalmist invites us to “…sing to the Lord a new song”.  St. Paul urges the churches to praise God “….in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”.  The Reformation began in a burst of congregational singing.  The Hymnbook (Hymnal) is central in the worship and devotional life of individuals and of the congregation.   Union Church has a strong tradition of praising God – Hymnbook in hand.  Carla DeLandri has introduced you to Richard M. Coffey, who will begin his tenure at Union Church on March 3 of this year as Organist/Choir Director.  Mr. Coffey follows, in my time here, the outstanding leadership in music of Norman Smith, Thomas Zachacz, and Samuel Chapin.  Thanks to them for helping us make our “…joyful noise to the Lord” – and welcome Richard Coffey.

We will do our best!

Mar. 3 “The Radiance of Christ” Exodus 24:12-18 & Mark 9: 2-9
Mar. 6 8 pm Ash Wednesday “At the Center of the Self” Romans 7:21-25 & Luke 9:18-25
Mar. 10 “The Greatest Thing in the World” I Corinthians 13 & Matthew 6:1-4
Mar. 17 “God’s Word Made Flesh” Psalm 27 & John 1:1-18
Mar. 24 “Who Are the True Believers?” Philippians 4:1-9 & Mark 9:14-29
March 31 “Encounter on a Lonely Road” Acts 8:26-40 & John 14:15-21
Mar. 3 Joan Coffman & Joyce Skiko
Mar. 10 Susan and Ethel Angst
Mar. 17 OPEN
Mar. 24 Imperato Family
Mar. 31 Trustees

Please consider hosting a Fellowship Hour after an 11:00 a.m. Service.  Currently March 17th is open as well as many Sundays in April and May. If you have any questions, please ask any Deacon.  Thank you!!


We will begin our observation of Lent with an Ash Wednesday Service of Holy Communion on March 6th at 8:00 p.m.  The Sermon title is “At the Center of the Self.”


This year’s Ash Wednesday/Lenten Offering will go, in its entirety, to Heifer International.  May our 40 Days of Lent be 40 Days of combating hunger through our support of Heifer International.  You should have received an offering envelope in the mail.  Envelopes  are also  available at the church during Lent. 


Paul Jacobs, Chair of the Julliard School’s Organ Department, will be in recital Sunday, April 7 at 3 pm. The recital will feature works by Weaver, Bach, Mozart, Ives, Arne and Guilmant.  A Champagne Reception will follow in the Parish Hall.   Tickets are available for $15.00 each.  Reservations can be made by calling the church office at 914-631-2069 or emailing


Written by Mary Knapp,

a recent new member

of Union Church

It’s not that I fear they will take over so many jobs that we will end up with a permanent class of unemployable unskilled workers. Some think so, but in this regard I’m feeling optimistic today  (no doubt because of a good night’s sleep). I think that what will happen is that our entire educational system will be reorganized to accommodate new needs and opportunities that will arise from the brave new world that is now developing. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but there are already hints here and there that it is happening.

It is distancing us from one another. There are fewer and fewer casual contacts that used to be necessary to carry on our daily business. Bank tellers, waitresses, order takers, receptionists, are disappearing right and left—drivers for hire to follow, as driverless cars hit the road. In countless factories where workers used to take breaks and tell jokes, or exchange their troubled stories, the work is done primarily by robots who neither laugh nor cry. In Tokyo there is actually a hotel where guests never see another human being from check in to check out.

Here is where you’ll find the forerunners in the development of lifelike androids—robots that look like real people. As yet they are not “bipedal,”—they can’t walk around—but they’re working on it.  The professed aim of these inventors is to create robots that are “self conscious and aware” in the words  of Erica’s creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro.

There is a practical problem that the Japanese hope to solve with the introduction of robots. For over three decades, they have been experiencing negative population

growth; the population is aging and the number of workers decreasing, making it increasingly difficult to fill job openings. They hope that robots can replace these lost workers.

For instance, it is impossible to find enough people willing to be attendants in nursing homes. I suppose if the robot that delivers medication and dinner looks like a person, it will be more  acceptable as a caregiver. But what the elderly in nursing homes need most of all—what we all need— is a smile from a fellow human being, a compassionate touch, and love.

Human beings were created in the image of God and thus have the capacity to love one another. No matter how expertly the robot is crafted, no matter how convincingly it blinks or appears to breathe, or how well its warm body responds to our commands, it cannot love.

When we give our robot vacuum cleaner a name and assign it a gender, it’s a joke. We think it’s funny. But when a robotics inventor creates a lifelike robot with the intention of, in his own words, “changing the definition of a human,” in my book, it’s no joke; it is a sacrilege.


About Mary Knapp

After a few years in advertising, writing reams of persuasive prose, I finally realized my true calling, went back to graduate school, and became a teacher, first in a public high school, then as a docent at the Merchant’s House Museum in New York City. Now, retired from teaching out loud, I silently share my thoughts with anyone who wants to listen.

Reprinted from