FROM THE RECTOR: THE WEEK IN CANTERBURY
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has its roots in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Since 1968 the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church have celebrated it jointly between the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle on January 18 and the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul on January 25. I was once in Rome for this celebration, where Protestants were received with genuine courtesy and grace. That said, then and now, I believe Pope Paul VI (bishop of Rome, 1963–1978) had it right when he said, “The Papacy, we know well, is without a doubt the most serious obstacle on the road to ecumenism” (my translation from the French original: April 28, 1967). But the papacy is certainly not the only obstacle to Christian unity. There are many such obstacles between and among all Christian denominations; and, of course, unity has been impaired within individual denominations as well.
At Saint Mary’s we will be praying for Christian unity this year with special intention for the Anglican Communion. As I write on Thursday, January 14, the primates of the Communion have been meeting at Canterbury Cathedral since Monday. It’s been years since all of them would celebrate the Eucharist and take communion together: most consider the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and the archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada to be outside their fellowship. This week the primates’ concern was focused on the Episcopal Church. I invite you to read the statement from this meeting that was issued today.
There are many disagreements within the Anglican Communion, but the one that matters is equality for homosexual persons. The great majority of Anglican provinces simply do not want homosexuals in their churches—and certainly not in holy orders. The great majority of provinces don’t want women in holy orders either. (Note that the Church of England ordained its first woman bishop on January 26, 2015.)
Discrimination against homosexuals is a reality in most of the world. It’s dangerous to be known as a homosexual person in many countries where the Anglican Communion is strong. Homosexual men and women are brutalized, imprisoned, and killed simply for being known as homosexuals. Prominent archbishops across the globe continue to support the criminalization of homosexual activity.
Protestations along the lines of “love the sinner, but the hate sin” is not an acceptable excuse for bigotry and for the brutalization, discrimination, and imprisonment that accompany this bigotry. And please, don’t try to cite Scripture about this issue. There’s far more support for koinōnia, that is community and fellowship, love, and equality to be found in Scripture than there is for prejudice, that is, if you have a hermeneutic that allows you to acknowledge and reject the Bible’s unambiguous support for slavery and its not infrequent call for the subordination of women.
At Daily Morning Prayer we include the intentions of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, that is, day after day we pray for the provinces and dioceses of the communion, and in our diocesan prayer cycle, we pray for our local churches, parishes, and ministries. I hope we can continue to pray for those who want our church to discriminate against our sisters and brothers. Quite honestly, if the Anglican Communion wants us to leave, I’ll be very sad, as I am very sad today. But my own prayers will be first for my brothers and sisters in Christ whose lives and livelihoods are daily in danger, unshielded by too many who call themselves Anglican Christians. I am very proud to be an Episcopalian. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Julie, Ben, Matthew, Steve, Willy, Ernest, Marthe, Julia, Pearl, Noel, Jason, Sylvia, Stephen, Walter, Martha, Sally, Sam, Maxine, Jean, Quinn, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, Sidney, DEACON, Horace, PRIEST, Paulette, PRIEST, Gaylord, PRIEST, and Harry, PRIEST; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 17: 1896 Robert Halsey; 1898 Julia Ann Marie Cooley Baldwin and John Newbitt Maxwell Hawthorne; 1923 Katherine Oakley Johnson Sharp; 1926 Frances Josephine Montgomery; 1946 John Clarence Sharp; 1957 William L. Irving; 1967 Letitia De Souza; 1998 John Zippler Headley.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
OPEN DOORS: THE CAMPAIGN FOR SAINT MARY’S . . . At $2,634,392 we are more than halfway to our absolute goal of $4,775,000. Another $200,000 was raised outside the campaign, and work on the rectory roof has already begun. This is a long-term, multiyear campaign on which we will report periodically. Our success is posted to the Open Doors campaign website several times per week. We are keen to have every friend and member of Saint Mary's join us in this effort at any level, large or small. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact a member of the Committee: MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, David Jette, Mark Risinger, or Marie Rosseels.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2016 . . . This year’s Campaign is going well, but there is still some work to do. As of January 13, we have received $381,507.00 in pledges for the coming year. This is 90% of our 2016 goal of $425,000.00. If you plan to make a pledge for 2016, but haven’t found the time to fill out a pledge card, please call the finance office. Our staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for you. If you have questions about stewardship, please ask to speak to a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.
A SPECIAL ADULT FORUM . . . On Sunday, January 17, at 10:00 AM, in the Mission House, The Reverend Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in the second part of a two-part series on Episcopal Church polity and governance. This will be a very useful class for those preparing for Confirmation or Reception, as well as for those who want to learn more about what our church believes and how it works. In this series, Canon Barlowe will address such topics as the workings of General Convention, legislation passed at this summer’s convention in Salt Lake City, and the election and role of the presiding bishop in the church. This class takes on a particular urgency given the results of the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury this week. All are welcome to attend the class. No prior preparation is necessary. —Jay Smith
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday Worship: January 17, the Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM. The parish choir of the Church of the Good Shepherd, East Thirty-first Street in Manhattan, will sing the service of Evensong . . . Monday, January 18, Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle & Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday: Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM and Mass 12:10 PM. The church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered and the parish offices are closed . . . Wednesday Night Bible Study: Class continues on Wednesday, January 20, at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
SUPERBOWL PARTY 2016 . . . The Annual Super Bowl Party will take place in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Sunday, February 7, beginning at 6:00 PM. This will be Super Bowl LXX, so even if you aren’t a huge football fan, come for the fellowship, the food, and the halftime show! Admission, for those who are able to pay, is $10.00. We also encourage those who attend to bring a dish to share. Beverages will be provided. Please contact Grace Bruni if you are bringing a dish to share.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to Janet Sora Chung and David Hurd who played services while Simon Whalley was on vacation this week . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 174.
FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Of his 105 published masses, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594) wrote approximately half that are of the “parody” type. That is to say, they are Masses in which the musical material derives from an already extant motet, chanson, or madrigal. It’s an approach to composition that we can easily accept when the work being parodied is sacred, but not infrequently composers would lift musical ideas from secular works. Imagine a Mass setting by a serious contemporary composer that borrows its ideas from a Cole Porter song or a Beyoncé hit: a startling thought. (Today intellectual copyright issues would get in the way, in any case, no doubt.) Palestrina only used secular material in ten of his Masses, and the Missa Nasce la gioja mia, which we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, is one of these rare examples. The choice of material is quirky. Palestrina bases his music on a madrigal by the unsophisticated, if popular, composer Giovan Leonardo Primavera (c. 1540–1585). How he happened upon the music is unclear, since it was not published until 1565, by which time Palestrina had written this Mass setting. The appeal of the original might well have been the rich six-voice texture that Primavera used and which Palestrina employs with characteristic refinement and good taste. The motet for this Sunday is by the same composer, but writing here in a five-voice texture: it is a setting of verses from Psalm 65, also heard as the offertory proper at the Solemn Mass. —Simon Whalley
HOPE COUNT 2016 . . . On Monday night and Tuesday morning, January 25–26, 2016, from 10:00 PM until 4:00 AM, some 3,000 volunteers will help the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to conduct its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), a HUD-mandated citywide community volunteer effort to count each chronically homeless person living in public spaces across the five boroughs during the coldest time of the year. A Saint Mary’s Team has been formed to help with the count. If you would like to join the Team, please do the following: go to the Hope Count website to register; when asked, indicate that you are a member of “The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square Team”; when asked to sign up for a training site, choose PS 191–Amsterdam School, 210 West 61st Street, 10023; then contact Father Jay Smith to tell him that you have joined the Team. The HOPE Count is an opportunity to get involved in New York City's effort to reduce chronic street homelessness at a time when the number of homeless people in New York City is on the rise. —J.R.S.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves) for distribution here at the parish. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street . . . The Saint Mary’s Book Sale continues on Sunday mornings. All proceeds are used to serve those in need at Saint Mary’s, in our neighborhood, and beyond . . . Need help finding food or know someone who does? Call 1-800-5-HUNGRY (Why Hunger Hotline, Monday–Friday 9:00 AM–6:00 PM EST) or 1-866-3-HUNGRY (USDA National Hunger Hotline, 8:00 AM–8:00 PM EST). —Jay Smith
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, January 25, The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, February 1, Eve of Candlemas, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, February 2, Candlemas, Sung Mass 12:10 PM & Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, February 7, 6:00–9:00 PM, Superbowl Party