FROM THE RECTOR: LENT 2018
Many members and friends of the parish may remember that on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and on New Year's Day, we worshiped in Saint Joseph's Hall. The valve that controls the heat to the church, but not the rest of the complex, was broken. Relatively mild weather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meant the church could be used. Bitter cold arrived later in the week. We moved to the hall. The problem was not fixed until Friday, January 5. That said, there were many graces in our worship there. On Sunday, a quartet from the choir sang not far from the table we were using as a temporary altar. Dr. Hurd was at the piano-and he also used two different recorders. There were lots of smiles.
The services on Sunday and Monday reminded me very much of Lent 2016. That year, the choir sang the Solemn Mass from the chancel, and the organ was not played. I'm not sure that I know another congregation where the choral, congregational, and acoustical resources would enable this kind of worship-we really didn't miss a beat. Lent that year anchored our preparation for Holy Week and Easter in a new way. This Lent I want us to find out if that was just a one-time thing or not. In any event, the organ has not been used much here during Lent, except on the Fourth Sunday, when more music, flowers, and rose vestments are traditional.
If you are new to the congregation, I hope you will experience what we experienced two years ago: it shaped our prayer in a profound way. There was no escaping that it was Lent. We heard, and were are aware of, everyone in the church in a different way. The choir had a different connection with the congregation. We heard their music, not from the gallery, but from near us, surrounding us in a different way. The silence and the singing was profound and profoundly beautiful.
Ash Wednesday was not an easy day physically for your clergy and staff and any number of people who were here when the doors opened, during the day, and when the doors closed after 8:00 PM to help people worship as they were able. Ash Wednesday is a day when so many parishioners help with the services-and with ushering! We welcomed many as sisters and brothers.
I felt happy many times during the day, when I realized that, if I were to cross paths with many of the people who were kneeling or sitting in the pews, it would not necessarily occur to me that they were practicing Christians. And yet there we were, beginning Lent together. It was a great grace for me to be reminded that the Holy Spirit is doing far more in the lives of people than I can ever be aware of. I know the welcome and the worship here springs from the love, the work, and the prayers of the local and wider parish community. And I am grateful to be a part of it.
Finally, it was on February 14, 2007, that my wonderful stepfather, William Knoeller, was killed in an automobile accident, and my mother, Barbara Knoeller, who would survive four life-threatening injuries, would never return home because of Alzheimer's Disease-that took her life in 2013. February 14 will always carry many emotions for me-and now, added to the complexities of the day, there is the great sadness of the attack and the killings at Parkland, Florida. I am glad Lent is beginning quietly for us. I hope there may be space for our hearts to find some rest from the grief we know has engulfed mothers, fathers, families, and friends of the victims and from the fears that try to take the place of our faith. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Aston, Al, Bob, Randy, Mary, Isabella, Tiffany, Alex, Ridhima, Mary Hope, Greta, Carlos, Bill, Mickie, Jon, Jerry, Dick, Eleanor, Wendell, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Takeem, Woody, David, Sandy, Dennis, and George; for Rebecca, deacon; for Matthew, Horace, Clayton, David, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and James; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Luke Nowicki, religious, and of those killed in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Brother Luke Nowicki, BSG, died on Thursday morning in Pennsylvania. He had been a professed member of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory since Holy Cross Day 1980. He was a member of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, where he served in a variety of ministries between 1987 and 2018. He was seventy-four at the time of his death. Please keep Brother Luke, the members of his religious community, his family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
GRANT THEM PEACE. . . February 18: 1909 Katherine Wood; 1915 Mary Overing Sinclair Newell; William Bernard Langhorst; 1924 John Boyd; 1928 Charles Lawrence Reamer; 1930 Harry Bancroft Livingston; 1940 Nena Freeman; 1951 Harty Hopkins; 1970 Gertrude A. Jentz; 2007 Rosetta Averil; 2013 Emil D. Denworth, religious.
DAYS OF SPECIAL DEVOTION . . . Ash Wednesday and the other weekdays of Lent and of Holy Week are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS are prayed on the Fridays in Lent at 6:30 PM. All are welcome.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, February 17, Lenten Quiet Day, 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM . . . Sunday, February 18, The First Sunday in Lent, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, February 19, Washington's Birthday (Presidents' Day), Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Only the noonday services are offered. The parish offices are closed. Only the noonday twelve-step groups meet in the Mission House . . . Wednesday, February 21, 2:00-4:00 PM, Drop-in Day in the Mission House . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on February 21 at 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . Friday, February 23, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM . . . Friday, February 23, Atrium in the Parish House, Centering Prayer Group . . . Saturday, February 24, 2:00-4:00 PM, Drop-in Day in the Mission House.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . On Sunday, February 18, Father Peter Powell will resume his series on the Gospel of Matthew in Saint Benedict's Study. Father Powell writes, "On February 18 we will resume the study of Matthew. This is a great time to join the class, since we begin with the portion of Scripture you probably know best, the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. We will spend time looking at the Sermon and what it teaches us about how to be faithful Christians. The advantage of the class over, for instance, a sermon, is that you get to ask questions and challenge anything and everything I say. I find that this leads to better learning for all of us. Your contribution is important. The only preparation is to come with an open mind. While not necessary, reading the text, Matthew 6, beforehand is always helpful, and I urge you to bring your own Bible. I promise you a lively and engaging study." . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will resume on February 21. The class will be reading the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Mark, which we will hear this year on Palm Sunday.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Donations for the parish's Hospitality Ministry are always welcome. Such donations support an essential ministry here at Saint Mary's, since we welcome so many visitors to the parish. Our hospitality budget helps us to provide refreshments on Sunday mornings and afternoons, at holy-day receptions, and at such special events as Oktoberfest and Quiet Days. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Thursday, February 22. He returns to the parish office on Wednesday, February 28 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 146; Ash Wednesday Masses 270.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The musical setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is from the traditional plainsong Mass XVII In Dominicis Adventus et Quadragesimae designated for use on Sundays in Advent and Lent. This setting, as presented in the Graduale Romanum, includes three options for Kyrie, the first of which, Kyrie salve, dating from the tenth century, will be sung. The Sanctus and Agnus Dei are dated from the eleventh and thirteenth centuries respectively.
Henry Purcell (1659-1695) is the composer of today's communion motet. Purcell, more than any other composer of his time, defined English Baroque musical style in a variety of vocal and instrumental genres that included works for theater, court, and church. He was born in London; his family home was virtually in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, where he became organist in 1679. Standing on the foundation of such composers as Tallis (c. 1505-1585), Byrd (c. 1543-1623) and Gibbons (c. 1583-1625), copies of whose anthems he made at an early age, Purcell forged a musical language of rich harmony and vivid textual expression. His anthem Lord, how long wilt thou be angry is an earlier work, probably composed soon after his appointment at Westminster Abbey in 1679. Its text is drawn from Psalm 79, verses 5, 8-9, 13. Each of the four psalm verses is set as a distinct sub-section of the anthem; all verses employ five voices except for verse 8 which is a trio. -David Hurd
THE VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . Last weekend, the Visual Arts Project hosted the second annual Latinx Art Sale in the Gallery in Saint Joseph's Hall. ("Latinx" is a neologism intended to promote inclusive language. It frees one from having repeatedly to write "Latino and Latina.") Ten pieces were sold during the sale. A portion of the proceeds were sent to the Hispanic Federation's Unidos Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico . . . On Sunday, a new art exhibit will open in the Gallery, Scenes from a Natural Bar, works by Matthew Fogarty. Matt is originally from Santa Rosa, California. He received his B.F.A. degree from the Pratt Institute in 2003. He lives with his wife Elizabeth and his dog, who looks very much like a chihuahua, in Brooklyn. Matt is also a neighbor of Saint Mary's. He works at Oceana, a restaurant on Forty-ninth Street. Matt appears to be a lover of animals. They figure largely in his art, as is clear from his work in the Gallery. When asked about his dog by e-mail, Matt wrote back, "My dog (who is a rescue and only looks like a chihuahua; don't tell him) is Dean." You are invited to come and meet Matt and discuss his work with him at an opening-night reception in Saint Joseph's Hall on Monday, February 19, 6:00-9:00 PM.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our February Drop-in Days-February 21 and 24-and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. As always, the number of those who are homeless who seek refuge in the church and who ask for assistance increases when the weather grows colder. In order to meet some of those requests, we are hoping to receive donations of the following items: blankets, razors, shaving cream; packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, and sweatshirts. Such basic items will prove to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . We also continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church . . . The Episcopal Diocese of New York has created its own Caribbean Recovery Fund to pay for the work that the diocese is proposing, or hopes to support, in the region. This is distinct in nature and purpose from the activities of Episcopal Relief & Development, which directs funds toward the Episcopal Church's broader efforts in recovery. The Caribbean Recovery Fund will be available for individuals and churches in partnership to make requests for specific infrastructure and ministry projects, partnerships, and mission with the Diocese of Puerto Rico and other areas in the Caribbean. For more information, please click here. If you wish to make a donation online, please complete the form on the website.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Saturday, February 24, Saint Matthias the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Saturday, February 24, 2018, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre at Columbia University presents New York Polyphony: The Tallis Lamentations. The members of this very accomplished early-music quartet are good friends and members of this parish. For more information, visit the Miller Theatre website . . . Sunday, March 11, Daylight Saving Time begins . . . Monday, March 19, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 and 6:20 PM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, New York, NY, until April 22, 2018, Zurbarán's Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle. The Frick Collection is now presenting an exhibition of Jacob and His Twelve Sons, an ambitious series of thirteen paintings that depict over life-size figures from the Old Testament that are on loan from Auckland Castle, long the residence of the bishops of Durham, located in County Durham, England. The story of the composition and the provenance of these paintings is a fascinating one and should make the series of interest to Christians, perhaps especially to Anglican Christians; to Jews and Muslims; to students of the history of Spain, England, and the New World; and to those interested in the history of the "emancipation" of the Jews in England. From the museum website, "These works by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) have never before traveled to the United States. The iconography of Zurbarán's remarkable series is derived from the Blessings of Jacob in [Genesis 49], a poem that has significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. On his deathbed, Jacob called together his sons, who would become the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He bestowed on each a blessing, which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. Jacob's prophecies provide the basis for the manner in which the figures are represented in Zurbarán's series." For more information, and to read about the history of this collection, you may visit the Frick's website.