FROM THE RECTOR: THANK YOU
I write on the morning of February 1. Yesterday I completed nineteen years of service as rector of this congregation. This morning I find myself thinking about all those who have gone before me in this work, especially my predecessor, the Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, our rector emeritus.
As the years have passed, I appreciate more and more the contributions he made during his time as rector. He came to Saint Mary's when crime and pornography defined Times Square. He put the newly adopted Prayer Book in the pews-not without pastoral challenges. His own theological journey helped the congregation to embrace the ordination of women-also, not without pastoral challenges. In a note he sent me in 2006 about his arrival at Saint Mary's, Candlemas in January 1979, he said, "I think Candlemas that year gave me an inkling of some of the glory that lay ahead." It was very much the same for me. On Candlemas in 1999 I was celebrant and preacher at this altar for the first time.
There have been nine rectors of this parish. The longest tenure was that of the founding rector, Thomas McKee Brown (b. 1841). He became rector formally on the day the first church opened, December 8, 1870. He died in the rectory on December 19, 1898 (N. F. Read, The Story of St. Mary's , 15, 156). There is a moving account of his death and the response of the congregation to that sad event in the January 1899 issue of the parish newsletter, The Arrow.
He was rector for 28 years and 11 days. It's possible, I suppose, that that record may be broken someday. Saint Mary's rectors have tended to have long tenures. The Reverend Grieg Taber (1895-1964), the sixth rector, from 1939 until 1964, served 25 years as rector. The Reverend Dr. Joseph Gayle Hurd Barry (1858-1931), the third rector, served from April 1909 until December 1928, after serving as dean of Nashotah House. Father Wells, like me a graduate of Nashotah, was also rector for nineteen years (1978-1998). Father Taber is still remembered with great affection by those who knew him, as is Father Wells.
Many more members and friends knew Saint Mary's seventh rector, the Reverend Donald Lothrop Garfield (1924-1996), who served as rector between 1965 and 1978. He was a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission from 1970 through 1976, the commission that brought forward the Draft Prayer Book that became in 1979 The Book of Common Prayer. In 1965 he ended the practice of Solemn Masses at which only the celebrant received Communion. (You can read about that story here.)
The Reverend Dr. George Martin Christian (1848-1913) was the second rector of Saint Mary's, from 1899 until 1909. The parish was very active-still very much a large neighborhood congregation, while continuing to play its role as a leading congregation of the Anglo-Catholic movement within the church. Dr. Christian's health led to his resignation in 1909. He and Father Brown were the only rectors who have been married.
The Reverend Dr. Selden Peabody Delany (1874-1935) came to Saint Mary's after serving for a time as dean of All Saints' Cathedral, Milwaukee. He became rector on January 1, 1929, following the retirement of Dr. Barry. He resigned on June 8, 1930, to become a Roman Catholic. The only photograph I have of him is in a group photo in a book published after he became a Roman Catholic priest. His is the only photograph that does not hang in the entry hall in the rectory. I hope that one day a photograph of him will surface, so he too can take his place among the parish's other rectors.
The Reverend Granville Mercer Williams, S.S.J.E. (1889-1980), the fifth rector, was called shortly after Dr. Delany's resignation in 1930. He was then serving as rector of Saint Paul's Church, Brooklyn. In 1939, the Cowley Fathers, as the Society of Saint John the Evangelist was then known, did not permit a member of the Society to refuse election as superior, and so, in that year, he and his S.S.J.E colleagues returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took other assignments. Among the S.S.J.E. associates who served at Saint Mary's with Father Williams was Father Walter Conrad Klein (1904-1980), a curate here from 1930 until 1933. Father Klein eventually left the Cowley Fathers, became an Old Testament scholar, and served as dean of Nashotah House for four years before becoming bishop of Northern Indiana (1963-1972).
The accidents and graces of my life that brought me to Saint Mary's continue to make me deeply grateful not only for my predecessors, but also for the ministry of the lay leaders of this congregation who entrusted this work to me with the permission of the bishop of New York. I remain very thankful for Bishop Richard Grein. He spent over an hour with me on the morning of his day off. He cared-and still cares-for this congregation and what it has meant to so many since its founding. I write to acknowledge the work of those who have gone before and to thank the parish and the wider community of Saint Mary's for the opportunity to serve in this place. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Bob, Mary, Greta, Carlos, Bill, Mickie, Jon, Jerry, Mike, Dick, Eleanor, Wendell, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Takeem, Woody, David, Sandy, Dennis, John, and George; for Matthew, Horace, David, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, Edgar, and Vern, 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 Catherine Bartoldus, Vanessa D'Ambrosio, and Con Murphy.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 4: 1898 Abram Davis Higham; 1911 Steward Pomeroy; 1913 Maria Dixon; 1936 Elizabeth McDowell Samurick; 1944 John Finn Leonard; 1977 Emily Stewart.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
ALTAR FLOWER DONATIONS REQUESTED . . . We are looking for donors for flowers for many Sundays and holy days in 2018. We are also happy to receive donations for flowers for Easter. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office at 212-869-5830.
FATHER SMITH'S BOOK SALE . . . We recently received a large number of donations for the Sale, the funds from which benefit those in need. We will not be able to receive any further donations for the moment, since we are running out of storage space. Thank you for your generosity, and we hope to be able to receive donations again before too long. -J.R.S.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, February 4, The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . February 7, 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict's Study, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, led by Father Jay Smith . . . Friday, February 9, 6:30 PM., Atrium in the Parish House, Centering Prayer Group.
ASH WEDNESDAY AT SAINT MARY'S. . . February 14, Ash Wednesday, Mass 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 12:10 PM, and 6:00 PM. Ashes distributed during the Masses and from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . On Sunday, February 4 and 11, at 10:00 AM, in Saint Benedict's Study, Father Jay Smith will conclude his series on The English Reformation and the Oxford Movement. The series is the latest offering in our year-long study of the Protestant Reformation, the role of Reformed theology and spirituality in the Anglican Communion, and the sometimes uneasy place of the Reformation in Anglo-Catholic thought and practice . . . Coming up: On Sundays in Lent and on Palm Sunday (February 18 and 25, March 4, 11, 18, and 25), Father Pete Powell will resume his series on the Gospel of Matthew . . . Father Jay Smith will return to lead the class on Wednesday, February 7. Father Smith is very grateful to Father Powell for teaching the class this month.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We remind everyone that this year it will not be possible for the parish to sponsor a Super Bowl Party . . . 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 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 144.
FROM FATHER JAY SMITH . . . On a recent trip to my dermatologist, I was told that I have a number of pre-cancerous spots on my scalp that require immediate attention. The official name for these patches is actinic keratoses, or AKs (I think I got that right). It's important to say that these patches are pre-cancerous. They require treatment now so that they don't worsen and become more difficult to treat. I share this personal information with the readers of the newsletter, because, in order to treat these AKs, I will need to apply medication twice daily for two or three weeks. The result, my doctor has told me, will be noticeable. When I responded to this news with dismay, my wonderful Muslim dermatologist said, "So, what's the problem? Just wear a hat when you give your sermons!" I told him that was not an option. I suppose that in an ideal world I could take a month off in order to take care of this, but that, too, is not an option; and I cannot wait till summer in order to undertake the treatment. And so, depending how things go, the rector and I may make a few adjustments to the clergy schedule. But, for the most part, I will be here and doing what I do. I beg your indulgence. The condition is not contagious. I did promise my dermatologist to remind my parishioners that it is important to wear sunscreen! -J.R.S.
PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND . . . You are invited to join the Reverend Matthew Hoxsie Mead, rector of Christ Church, Pelham, New York, and a former curate at Saint Mary's, and the Reverend Randy Alexander, rector of Immanuel-on-the-Hill Church, Alexandria, Virginia, for a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land August 20-31, 2018. The pilgrimage guide will be Iyad Qumri. The tour is intended to provide a sense of history and connection with the world Jesus inhabited. It will also allow us to connect with Palestinian Christian congregations. Full details and registration are available by accessing the pilgrimage registration form and brochure online. You may also contact Father Mead for more information. Or you may visit the Christ Church website.
ABOUT THE MUSIC. . . The setting of the Mass ordinary on Sunday morning is the Chichester Mass of William Albright (1944-1998). This setting was commissioned for the ninth centenary of Chichester Cathedral and was first performed there on June 14, 1975. Walter Hussey (1909-1985), who was dean of Chichester Cathedral between 1955 and 1977, was a noted patron of the arts and was the impetus behind the commissioning of an impressive list of choral works beginning in 1943 with Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, which was commissioned while Hussey was vicar of Saint Matthew's, Northhampton. William Albright was born in Gary, Indiana, attended The Juilliard School, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan, where he later served on the faculty. He received a Fulbright scholarship in 1968 to study in Paris with Olivier Messiaen, whose influence combined with many others in fueling Albright's "polystylistic" musical range. The Chichester Mass uses traditional Book of Common Prayer texts. It includes chant-like choral writing reminiscent of Stravinsky as in the Gloria; random as well as highly structured polyphonic elements as in the Sanctus and Benedictus; and cluster harmonies as in the Agnus Dei.
Born in Dublin, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was educated at the University of Cambridge-where he was appointed organist of Trinity College while an undergraduate-and later studied music in Leipzig and Berlin. In 1882 he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music. In addition, from 1887 he was also professor of music at Cambridge. Among his students was a generation of distinguished composers including Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Stanford was a prolific composer whose works include seven symphonies and nine operas. He is perhaps most dearly remembered today, however, for his enduring church anthems and settings for Anglican worship. The motet sung during the administration of Communion on Sunday is the first of Stanford's Three Motets, Opus 38, Beati quorum via which quotes the first verse of Psalm 119. It is a six-voice anthem in a fluid triple meter and was dedicated to Alan Gray and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge.
The prelude on Sunday is one of the many organ settings by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) of Allein Gott, the chorale which paraphrases Gloria in excelsis ("All glory be to God on high"). This chorale remains well represented in modern hymnals of various denominations and languages including The Hymnal 1982 (#421). Today's prelude is one of the three settings of Allein Gott among the "Great Eighteen" Leipzig chorales of Bach's later years. It is an extended trio for two manuals and pedal, in the key of A Major, in which the chorale melody is only suggested until near the end when its first phrase only is quoted in the pedal voice. The postlude is Bach's Alla breve in D. The French composer and music educator Olivier Alain describes the Alla breve as "written in free, but very elaborate, contrapuntal style, a grand Ricercare for full organ, the theme of which already foreshadows the Gratias agimus tibi of the B minor Mass." -David Hurd
HOMELESS MINISTRY. . . This week we received a large donation from New York Cares (NYC): 20 bags of coats collected during NYC's annual Coat Drive. Three members of the parish went to NYC's center on West Thirty-first Street, talked an Uber driver into agreeing to transport the bags filled with coats, and delivered them to Saint Mary's, where they were assisted by our sextons to take the bags to the Clothes Closet. Several volunteers, both members and friends of the parish, worked this week to sort coats and other articles of clothing. We are very grateful for this donation and for all this hard work . . . 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.
ANOTHER OUTREACH OPPORTUNITY. . . 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.
LENTEN QUIET DAY . . . On Saturday, February 17, Father John Beddingfield will return to Saint Mary's to lead a Lenten Quiet Day. Father Beddingfield is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and the rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, East Eighty-eighth Street. Father Beddingfield writes, "Saint Bonaventure's Tree of Life is a meditation on the life of Christ imagined as a tree with branches and fruits, growth and produce. We will discuss the text, explore images of the Tree of the Life, and look for practical implications for our own spiritual growth. A good image, one of the ones I'll be using, is available online." The tentative schedule for the day is as follows: 9:30 AM Gathering. Light refreshments available; 10:00 AM First Address; 11:00 AM Second Address; 12:00-12:40 PM Noonday Prayer and Eucharist; 12:50-1:45 Lunch; 2:00 PM Third Address; 3:00 PM Final Prayers and Farewell. Lunch will be provided. A $10.00 free-will offering is most welcome. If you plan to come, please send an RSVP message to Father Jay Smith. You do not need to be a member of Saint Mary's in order to attend. We are very happy that some members of Father Beddingfield's parish may also join us for the Quiet Day.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, February 10, 2018, 8:00 PM, The New York Repertory Orchestra. Program to include: Canning: Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan;
Martinu: Cello Concerto No. 1, Kajsa William-Olsson, cello; Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2. Admission is free. A donation of $10.00 is welcomed and appreciated. For more information, visit the orchestra's website . . . 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.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Morgan Library and Museum, January 26 through April 29, 2018, 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016, Now and Forever: The Art of Medieval Time. From the museum website, "What time is it? The question seems simple, and with a watch on your wrist or a cell phone in your hand, the answer is easy. In the Middle Ages, however, the concept of time could be approached in many different ways, with vastly different tools. Drawing upon the rich holdings of the Morgan's collection of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, Now and Forever explores how people told time in the Middle Ages and what they thought about it. The manuscripts range in date from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries and come from all the major countries of Europe. The exhibition begins with the quirks of the medieval calendar, exploring sacred feasts, the mysteries of Golden Numbers, the utility of Dominical Letters, and how the Middle Ages inherited the Roman Calendar of Julius Caesar. Visitors will engage with the complexities of time as defined by liturgical celebrations and their two overlapping systems of temporale (feasts of time) and sanctorale (feasts of saints), systems that still influence the way we tell time today. Now and Forever also explores how time beyond the grave preoccupied medieval people for whom life on earth was a mere dress rehearsal for the main event-the afterlife.