FROM THE RECTOR: AUGUST NEWS
During my first year at Saint Mary’s, a parishioner observed that if one didn’t work hard in the summer, the fall would be overwhelming. That doesn’t mean people don’t get vacations; what it means is that there’s usually a lot going on. I want to tell you about some of the things that are happening here at the parish.
Parishioner Reha Sterbin and Sister Monica Clare have been working on a redesign of the parish webpage. It’s looking really good, but the last detail is to make sure that the parish calendar is working well. They are both doing a large amount of design. Reha is writing code, and she is writing algorithms to generate the calendar automatically. This means she has put in a lot of work to figure out how the church year works—not a small subject. They are an impressive team. Look for the new webpage to appear before the end of summer.
Parishioner David Jette and his husband Tom Cowan have retired and are moving to New Hampshire. David has been a committed member of Saint Mary’s for sixteen years. He has been serving on the board of trustees, as secretary of the board, as a member of the Capital Campaign Team, and as an able acolyte and reader. David resigned from the board, with regret, at the board’s regular meeting last Monday. We were very sorry to see him go, but we wish him and Tom much happiness in the years to come. I hope that they will come back often to visit.
The Capital Campaign Team is gearing up for the next phase of “Open Doors: The Campaign for Saint Mary’s.” Claudia Chouinard Brink of Results Group International, Inc., is now our consultant for the next phase of the Campaign. MaryJane Boland is the team chair. I am also a member of the team, along with Clint Best, Steven Heffner, Clark Mitchell, and Marie Rosseels. The team is making plans for further training in September and is preparing to contact those members of the local and wider Saint Mary’s community who have not yet made a pledge. In addition to “Open Doors,” I think I speak for the whole community when I say, as I often do, this is our primary goal: “Get Rid of the Scaffolding.” Everyone can help to do that. Many, many gifts will be needed before it’s all done. But this work is an essential part of securing our parish’s future.
Looking ahead to the fall, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, will be celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass on All Saints’ Day, Tuesday, November 1. The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, bishop of New York, will be celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass on our patronal feast, the Conception of the Virgin Mary, on Thursday, December 8. That evening Bishop Dietsche will help us to celebrate the work accomplished so far on the Capital Campaign and on the building.
Work on the rectory roof is almost complete. Brilliant, pure copper flashing is now in place. Because of its purity, that is, its quality, it may take twenty years to weather and take on its characteristic green patina. One major hold-up at the moment: the terra-cotta for the roof. Only two firms now manufacture terra cotta in the United States. We’re in line, along with many smaller projects around town, behind the Woolworth Building and a number of other larger projects. The new delivery date is October 24. In the meantime, the rectory windows, including the sacristy, have been sealed and painted—and washed.
The board of trustees has also approved three new projects. There is a gutter on the east wall of the parish house on the roof of the fifth-floor apartment where Father Pace and his partner live that must be replaced. There is another old and worn-out gutter on the church roof, near the access to the church attic, that requires immediate attention. Unfortunately, that gutter is, at the moment, only accessible from an outdoor bridge connected to the parish house fire escape. Both of these projects require special scaffolding. The parish house gutter will cost (with scaffolding) at least $24,200 and the cost could double depending on the conditions our architects and builders uncover when they get up there and take a closer look. The church gutter that must be replaced (with scaffolding) will cost $23,300. There are stones above the West Forty-seventh Street entrance that must be reset; the cost of that project will be $11,400.
Any work on a building like ours is expensive. It has lasted so long because of the quality of its original construction. That said, in different periods of the parish’s history repairs were done that have created problems. One of those is a repair made to the Lady Chapel roof at some point in the past. The construction team will need to create access to the chapel attic to determine what needs to be done. Stay tuned. The rectory scaffolding, if the terra-cotta arrives, should be down before Thanksgiving Day.
Clint Best, Sister Monica Clare, and Father Smith have been developing a new project to assist the homeless members of our community and our neighborhood. It’s moving along. I will leave it to them to tell you about it when it’s all set. We expect some other folks will want to help, too. There are always opportunities to serve at Saint Mary’s in many different ways.
This morning, Thursday, August 18, at Morning Prayer we began to read from the book of Job. This is the next to the last verse of the first chapter: And [Job] said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Very sobering words for the sobering realities of life. But we also heard from John. Jesus said to his disciples, “It is I; do not be afraid” (John 6:20). —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Penny, Lily, Anne, Adoni, Jessica, Sally, Donna, Julie, Abraham, Suzanne, Dominique, Chandra, Charlie, Carolyn, Jean, Barbara, Juliana, Margaret, David, Dolly, Sharon, Heidi, Catherine, Sally, Donald, Sam, Burton, Toussaint, Dennis, Arpene, Takeem, Sidney, DEACON, Horace, Paulette, David, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, PRIESTS, and Russell, BISHOP; for the repose of the soul of Robert Caban; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 21: 1907 Kate Steinbrinkner; 1948 Harret M. Downey; 1948 Jane Wheeler Wood; 1955 Horace Edwin Hayden.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Mass 6:20 PM . . . On Saturday, August 27, we commemorate two priests of the Episcopal Church, Thomas Gallaudet (1822–1902) and Henry Winter Syle (1846–1890). Father Gallaudet was a pioneer for the education of deaf persons in the United States. After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, he taught at the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes. Ordained a priest in 1851, Father Gallaudet became a curate at Saint Ann’s Church. While serving there, he developed a plan for establishing a church that would be a spiritual home for deaf people. His plan was realized in the early 1850s with the founding of Saint Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes. The parish, now known as Saint Ann’s Church for the Deaf, remains the center of ministries to the deaf in the diocese of New York. Gallaudet was a mentor to Henry Syle, who had lost his hearing when still a child. Educated at Trinity College and Yale University, Father Syle was the first deaf person to receive Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. He ministered to the deaf until his death in 1890. In 1894, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., was named in honor of Father Gallaudet’s father, the Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787–1851), who was also a renowned and influential educator of the deaf . . . On Wednesdays, the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist is a Sung Mass; on Thursdays the daily 12:10 Eucharist is a Mass with Healing Service.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Monday was the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are grateful to all those who worked so hard here at Saint Mary’s to make August 15 a prayerful and successful day. We were able to welcome many visitors who attended the two Masses, even though it was quite humid here in the city . . . The Diocese of New York has published a draft of a document entitled “Strategic Planning Process: Report and Proposals.” In this document there are chapters on governance and diocesan structures, congregations, financial matters, proposed resolutions to be considered by diocesan convention, and proposed changes to the diocesan canons. This process could result in significant changes to our common life here in New York. You may read the draft proposals and make comments online . . . Parishioner Abraham Rochester was discharged from the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains, New York, last Friday. He is now at his home in the Bronx, where he has been doing physical therapy. Abe’s wife, Suzanne Rochester, tells us that Abe is doing well and making good progress. Please continue to keep them and their family in your prayers . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays and holy days: Sunday, September 4; Thursday, September 8 (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary); Sunday, September 18; Thursday, September 29 (Saint Michael and All Angels); and Sunday, October 16, 23, and 30 . . . Hospitality Ministry: Donations are needed to support our offerings on Sundays and holy days. We especially appreciate help with our feast-day receptions. Next up: Tuesday, November 1, All Saint’s Day. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Parish Office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 140; Assumption 180.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class begins its fall semester on Wednesday, September 21, at 7:00 PM, after the evening Mass, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. This year we will be reading Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The class will be led by Father Jay Smith. No prerequisites are necessary, and drop-ins to the class are welcome. No homework is required, but if you would like to receive a copy of a short commentary on the letter, please contact Father Smith . . . The Adult Forum resumes on Sunday, October 2, at 10:00 AM, Seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss his summer internship in Rome. Matt worked at Rome’s Episcopal parish, Saint Paul’s Within the Walls, helping out at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, teaching English, among other things. Matt returns to Saint Mary’s in September, and it will be good to have him back. On Sunday, October 9, at 10:00 AM, parishioner Marie Rosseels will make the first presentation in our series “Learning How to Live and Pray with Holy Men and Women.” Marie will be talking about the Beguines. The Beguines were Christian laywomen who were active in Northern Europe, particularly in the Low Countries, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. They did not marry and lived in semimonastic communities, but they did not take formal religious vows. Thus, they were free to leave their communities at any time. The Beguines (and their brother Beghards) were part of a larger spiritual revival movement of the thirteenth century that stressed the imitation of Christ’s life through voluntary poverty, care of the poor and sick, and religious devotion. On October 16, 23, and 30, the class will hear presentations on Thomas Merton, Julian of Norwich, and Saint Martin de Porres. On Sundays in November, Father Peter Powell will be teaching a class on the Acts of the Apostles. The Adult Forum meets on the second floor of the Mission House on Sundays at 10:00 AM. All are welcome. —Jay Smith
MUSIC NOTES . . . The cantor at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is soprano Heather Meyer, who will sing Samuel Barber’s “The Heavenly Banquet” from Hermit Songs during the communion. Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, Samuel Barber (1910–1981) remains one of the most revered twentieth-century American composers. His Hermit Songs, Op. 29, was premiered in 1953 at the Library of Congress, sung by soprano Leontyne Price, and with the composer at the piano. Barber’s Hermit Songs is a cycle of ten settings of anonymous poems written by Irish monks and scholars from the eighth to the thirteenth centuries. “The Heavenly Banquet” is the fourth song of the cycle. Its text is attributed to Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451–525), who, according to Samuel Barber’s score, shares the patronage of Ireland with Saint Patrick. She is known to practicing Catholics also as the patron saint of beer (listen carefully to the text on Sunday!). The translation of the original text is by well-known Irish writer Seán Ó Faoláin (1900–1991). The organ voluntaries on Sunday are lesser-known free works of J. S. Bach (1685–1750). The Fantasia in C minor, BWV 562, begins as a single voice over a pedal point, to which three additional voices are soon added. Here Bach combines aspects of the German keyboard Fantasia with the character of a French Plein Jeu, full of melodic ornamentation and rich harmonic development. The Fugue which was meant to follow this Fantasia unfortunately is only a fragment. Bach’s Prelude in A minor, BWV 569, begins with a descending scale flourish and then launches an extended dialogue of short motives alternating between the hands and the feet. This repeating musical gesture animates the remainder of the piece. —David Hurd
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Monday, September 5, Labor Day, Federal Holiday Schedule . . . Sunday, September 11, 2016, 5:00 PM, Choral Evensong on the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Attacks of September 11, 2001. The service will be sung by the Charter Choir of Homerton College, Cambridge, England . . . Wednesday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Sung Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM. The Rev. Alison Turner will preach at 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM. Father Jim Pace will celebrate and preach at 6:00 PM.
A GENTLE REMINDER . . . As you have read in countless church bulletins, “Our costs do not decrease during the summer months. There are still bills that must be paid.” We urge all those who have made financial pledges to the parish to do their best to stay current with their pledge payments in order to prevent cash-flow problems. We are grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
A NEW WAY TO SUPPORT SAINT MARY’S . . . If you are a frequent shopper on Amazon, you can choose to donate—painlessly and automatically and at no cost to you—0.5% of your purchase price to a charity of your choice, including the Society of the Free Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. Detailed instructions are available on the Amazon website. You may contact the parish office for more information.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The development of our Homeless Ministry is making good progress under the leadership of Clint Best, Sister Monica Clare, and Father Jay Smith. Parishioner Grace Fernandez has also been providing invaluable assistance—she has become our expert adviser on sizing and sorting women’s clothing! The church remains open during the day for between fifteen and twenty-five homeless people from our neighborhood. Our Clothes Closet in the Mission House is being organized: shelves have been purchased and clothing, donated and purchased, is being sorted. We have begun to identify the sorts of clothing that will be needed going forward; and we have begun to respond to a number of requests for clothing and basic hygiene items. For example, this week we were able to provide a clean shirt and a pair of slacks to a young man who had secured a job interview. If you would like to volunteer some time to this ministry, please contact Clint Best. We are also looking for donations of clothing: jeans and slacks in a variety of sizes for both men and women; packs of new underwear and socks for both men and women; sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets and coats; dress shirts and outfits suitable for job interviews, and other items. Cash donations are also welcome! When making a donation, please indicate that your gift is for the Saint Mary’s Homeless Ministry. We are grateful to all those who have made donations and who continue to support this ministry so generously . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith