The Angelus

Volume 18, Number 3

FROM THE RECTOR: TWO CAMPAIGNS

“Open Doors: The Capital Campaign for the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin” is underway. Bishop Frank Griswold, Bishop Allen Shin, and a large congregation were with us for the Solemn Mass on our patronal feast, the campaign’s official beginning. It was great to be able to announce at the reception following the service that we have received advanced pledges of $2,625,053. The campaign goal: $4,475,000.

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Volume 18, Number 2

FROM THE RECTOR: THE DOORS WILL BE OPEN

The doors will be open on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, for our neighborhood, our city, and the world that passes through what is now Times Square as they have been since December 8, 1870. It will be the one hundred forty-fifth celebration of our patronal feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It will also be the day on which we begin “Open Doors: The Campaign for the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.”

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Volume 18, Number 1

FROM THE RECTOR: ADVENT 1870–2015

In 1870 the First Sunday of Advent fell on November 27. Eleven days remained until the doors of a new parish for a new neighborhood, then called Longacre Square, would open for its first service. Things have not been the same in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America since the doors of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin opened.

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VOLUME 17, NUMBER 52

FROM THE RECTOR: BELONGING TO CHRIST

 

Personal. Last week as the plane on which I was traveling was taking off, without thinking, the quiet prayer I said to myself was, “I belong to Christ.” Then followed several moments with no words at all in my mind. This was something new. For decades now—yes, decades (ouch)—my prayer on taking off and landing has been one complete “Hail, Mary.” I don’t even think about it; it’s a habit. Those few words, again, “I belong to Christ,” and the silent moments made me think about where it was coming from.

 

Questions about eternal life have come my way several times over the last few months. “Do you believe in life after death?” My answer is, “Yes.” I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Yet these words mean something different to me now than they did when I was a child, or a teenager, or a young adult. I now speak about what I believe differently than I did when I was ordained in 1983.

 

Sandra Schneiders’ book Risen in Our Midst (2013) has been very helpful to me. Jesus rose with a presence that was bodily, recognizable, and real, but not material. Because he had this risen body, he had the capacity for presence and relationship with his disciples. Because he is God, he is beyond creation; because he is God, he can still make himself present in creation. When he made himself known to his disciples on the day of resurrection, they knew that he had lived and died. From that day his disciples could live by faith.

 

For this coming Sunday, the last of the church year, our lectionary offers a choice of gospel lessons: from John, Jesus’ words with Pilate about his kingship (John 18:33–37), or from Mark, Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1–11). I will be preaching at the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Eucharists on Mark. (Father Pace may or may not do the same at the 9:00 AM Mass. Both gospels are worthy. You can find all of the lessons for this Sunday here.)

 

I think it’s fair to say that I have been reading Mark during this lectionary year with fresh eyes because I’ve been working through Joel Marcus’ commentary on this gospel (Mark 1–8 [2000]; Mark 8–16 [2009]). It’s gotten to the point that Mark is close to replacing John in my heart as my favorite gospel.

 

On the last Sunday in October the gospel was the story Mark tells immediately before Jesus enters Jerusalem, Jesus giving sight to a blind beggar (Mark 10:46–52). The man has not seen Jesus, only heard about him. When Jesus walks close to where he is, the man cries, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus asks him what he wants him to do for him. He replies, “Master, let me receive my sight.” In Jerusalem, those closest to him would become blind until he rose from the dead.

 

Now, back to that prayer, “I belong to Christ.” It came back to me again after the terrible news from Paris on Friday evening. I remember September 11. I remember going downtown in early November. As soon as the subway doors opened at Fulton Street, we were hit with the smell of the fires from Ground Zero that would burn for 100 days. I remember the expressions of concern about Saint Mary’s that began that day. The same kind of expressions began showing up in my inbox on Wednesday when threats were made against Times Square. As we go to press, there’s been a terrorist attack today in the capital of Mali. Almost certainly more people will die before the current wave of Islamic terrorism comes to an end.

 

When I get worried about terrorism, I’m likely to turn to great hymns for strength and consolation. Among my favorites are “A mighty fortress is our God” and “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord.” This is the third verse of the former: “And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us; we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us; the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.” I invite you to remember that you and I belong to Christ. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Moses, Osborne, David, Nargis, Magda, Walter, Martha, Lisa, Sally, Sam, Albert, Peggy, Maxine, Jean, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Horace, deacon, Sidney, deacon, Lawrence, deacon, Horace, priest, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 22: 1901 Laura E. Janes; 1932 Gulian Crommelin Verplanck Richards; 1946 Amelia Stout Slavin; 1960 Marion Eppley.

 

IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Fred Goodyear, the grandfather of our seminarian, Matthew Jacobson, died on Tuesday, November 17. Please keep Fred, Matthew, his family and all who mourn in your prayers.

 

THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . The month of November is a crucial time for the pledge campaign. We need to maintain the momentum of the campaign’s first four weeks. Commitment Sunday is November 22, and we hope to receive the majority of pledges by that date. We urge all members and friends to return their pledge cards as soon as possible, either by mail or by placing your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass on Sunday morning. You may also call the finance office to discuss your pledge. The staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for you. If you have already returned your pledge card, we thank 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; and please pray for the success of this year’s Stewardship Campaign.

 

THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Sunday, November 22, Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King & Commitment Sunday. Please bring your pledge card and place it in the offering basket . . . Wednesday, November 25, the Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on the Eve of Thanksgiving Day. The class resumes on Wednesday, December 2 . . . Wednesday, November 25, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving Day, 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 . . . Sunday, November 29, The First Sunday of Advent . . . On Saturday, November 21, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth. On Saturday, November 28, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Emil Bretzger was admitted to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, last week for tests. He is now at home. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett is now at home continuing her recuperation following surgery. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Altar flowers are needed for all of the Sundays in January. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish and on retreat from the evening of Thursday, November 19, until the afternoon of Saturday, November 21 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 209.

 

A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY . . . The New York City Department of Homeless Services is seeking volunteers for its upcoming Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (the “HOPE Count”), which will take place on Monday, January 25–26, between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM. Volunteers should be eighteen years of age or older, and will be able to choose their volunteer site when they register on the departmental web site. Volunteers will report to their respective sites, where a HOPE Count representative, or captain, will lead volunteers into their selected communities and will provide instructions about how to accurately count the city’s homeless people. If you would like to volunteer for the HOPE Count, please contact Father Jay Smith, and he will register the Saint Mary’s contingent as a group. Members of the parish have done the Count in the past and have found it to be rewarding work.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Food Pantry at the Church of San Andres, Yonkers: For the past several years Saint Marians and their friends have been responding to Mother Yamily Bass-Choate’s call to help with her parish Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving dinner effort. A donation of $20.00 buys a turkey for a family in need. If you would like to donate, send a check to San Andres, 22 Post St., Yonkers, NY 10705 and put “Turkey Drive” in the memo line . . . The Help Network is a nonprofit organization and an agency of the Global Change Project. It is looking to recruit volunteers who are willing to commit one hour per week to help out at a number of partner organizations located throughout New York City. The Network works with its partners to pair volunteers with the sick, elderly, and with disabled persons based on availability, skills, and particular client needs. For more information, please contact the Network by e-mail . . . 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

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Much of the repertoire we sing here at Saint Mary’s is written by composers of the High Renaissance: Palestrina, Lassus, and Byrd will continue to be our regular companions throughout the church year that begins next Sunday, November 29. But as this year draws to a close, we celebrate Christ the King with music of the eighteenth century in a Mass setting that often bubbles over with Viennese joie de vivre (or is that Lebensfreude?) and energy. Musical phrases of the Classical era sometimes lack the flexibility of length and plasticity of modality that sixteenth-century composers delight in, but in the Missa brevis in F, K. 192, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) employs contrasts of phrase lengths to guide us engagingly through the text. The Gloria opens with an eight-measure line from the sopranos that is answered by buoyant three- and then two-measure phrases from soloists and full choir. The composer helps bind the movement together by returning to that eight-measure phrase both for the first “miserere” (“have mercy”) and for the final “Amen.” The tonal language of Mozart’s era has an in-built sense of inevitability. In some ways the predictability of this language can be used with some theological currency. This is favorably demonstrated in the motet at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, the sublime “Laudate Dominum” from the Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339, of 1780. The soprano solo at the start sings a gentle, sincere melody to the words of Psalm 117 and the choir joins her for the “Gloria Patri.” The “Amen” interrupts the closing cadence and after a decorative flourish brings the music to a secure home. One would need an especially cold heart not to sense the psalmist’s sentiment that “the truth of the Lord endures forever” in these exquisite closing moments . . . At the Solemn Mass on Sunday the accompanied movements of the Mass ordinary, some of the hymnody, and the postlude will be played by Alessandro Pittorino, while I conduct the choir. Alessandro is an organ student at The Juilliard School. We are grateful to him for his assistance and for his artistry. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sundays, November 22 at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell. This is the final class in the autumn segment of this series. The class will resume on the first Sunday in Lent. We are very grateful to Father Powell for giving of his time, talents, and wisdom in order to teach in our adult-education program . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on Wednesday, November 25, the Eve of Thanksgiving Day. The class resumes on December 2 . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art . . . Sunday, December 13, Father Jay Smith will discuss the Icon of Christ Pantokrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful”) . . . January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in a discussion of Episcopal 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, the role of the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the mechanism for electing a Presiding Bishop in our church. — Jay Smith

 

CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:00 PM, Trident Ensemble, Tim Keeler, conductor: Cast Away—A Journey into the Unknown, a Discovery of Experiences on the Sea. Tickets are available at the door or online . . . Friday, December 4, 2015, 8:00 PM, Young New Yorkers Chorus, Michael Kerschner, artistic director: The Triumph of the Sky—A Fifteenth-Anniversary Holiday Concert. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, December 5, 2015, 8:00 PM, Miller Theater at Columbia University presents The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director: Sacred Muses—An Exploration of the Works of William Byrd. Tickets are available online or by calling 212-854-7799 . . . Friday, December 11, 2015, 8:00 PM, New York City Master Chorale, Thea Kano, artistic director: Rheinberger, Der Stern von Bethlehem and other favorite holiday carols, featuring special guest, the Reaching for the Arts Choir. Tickets available only from New York City Master Chorale . . . Saturday, December 12, 2015, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, conductor: Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 9. Annual

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 49

FROM THE RECTOR: ALL SAINTS’ DAY

 

Massey Shepherd (1913–1990) wrote about the collect for All Saints’ Day composed by Thomas Cranmer for the first Book of Common Prayer, “It is one of the most characteristic expressions of the doctrine of the Church, both visible and invisible, in all of the Prayer Book. The basic theme is Saint Paul’s conception of the Church as ‘the Body of Christ’ ” (Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary [1950]). It is a powerful and beautiful prayer. Here is the collect in contemporary English:

 

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (BCP, 245).

 

The appointed preface for use with our Eucharistic Prayer on All Saints’ Day dates only from 1928, but it too is powerful and beautiful. Again, in contemporary English:

 

For in the multitude of your saints you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses, that we might rejoice in their fellowship, and run with endurance the race that is set before us; and, together with them, receive the crown of glory that never fades away. (BCP, 380).

 

Jesus had said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (Mark 9:1). But Jesus did not return after his ascension as expected. Instead, the Acts of the Apostles recounts the executions of Stephen and James. The roots of what will become our commemoration of All Saints lie in the early days of the Christian community and the executions of believers by the Roman government. But, just as Jesus could not be held by his crucifixion, his body, the church, continued to grow despite the persecution of believers.

 

The New Testament church and the Christian community shared a sense of what this “mystical body” was that seems to have been different from what would come later. Well-known liturgists Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson write, “Cyrille Vogel noted that up until the middle of the second century ancient burial inscriptions reveal that Christians prayed both for and to deceased Christians, whether they were martyrs or not” (Origins [2011], 179–80).

 

As the decades of the early Christian Era passed, martyrs took on a new significance in Christian consciousness. From the first, this included reverence for the bodies of those who had died (Acts 8:2). The physical relics of martyrs would take on increasing importance, spiritually and, most regrettably, financially. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the invocation of saints and the veneration of their relics would disappear from the Church of England. These ancient devotions will begin to reappear in the nineteenth century in the wake of the Oxford Movement.

 

Care for the living also marked the communities of Christians from the beginning. Jesus said, “By this all men and women will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Paul’s admonitions to the Corinthians about how Christians treated one another still call us to a generous relationship whenever it is needed. Our lives in Christ, our lives of witness, that is, martyria—witness, to him begin in the waters of baptism. The celebration of All Saints’ embraces you, me, and all who have gone before. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Lisa, Sally, Barbara, Eugene, Susan, Yves, Nargis, Sam, Peggy, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, José, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 1: 1891 Stephen Standard Eyre; 1918 Jessie Wilson; 1925 Harry Taylor; 1960 David Lane Smith; 1961 Alice L. Snyder; 1997 Mark Hamilton; 2014 John E. Knight.

 

THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.

 

ALL SOULS’ DAY . . . On Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, we remember those who have died whom we have known and loved. Morning Prayer is sung. The 12:10 Eucharist is a Sung Mass. At 6:00 PM there is a Solemn Mass. As the Solemn Mass ends, the clergy and congregation process to the Lady Chapel to pray for the souls of those whose ashes repose in the vault. At the Masses on All Souls’ Day we remember by name those of our parish community who have died this year. As is our custom, we remember by name departed loved ones at weekday Masses—please see the parish calendar for the schedule. (The departed are remembered at Mass according to the schedule by the last name of the person making the intention.)

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. We’ve already received a number of pledge cards this week. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to Saint Mary’s for 2016. We reached our goal last year, and we are determined to do that again this year. If you are able to do so, please return your pledge card to the Finance Office as soon as possible; or think about placing your pledge card in the offering basket on Sunday morning. This can be a powerful and prayerful way to make this particular commitment to God and to the Body of Christ gathered here. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, November 4, 7:00 PM (note later time), Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . On Saturday, October 31, and on Saturday, November 7, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make Oktoberfest a great success last Saturday evening. We had an array of delicious things to eat; conversation was lively; it was good to have some time to spend time with fellow parishioners and their friends; and we had a rousing, even inspiring, hour of hymn-singing under the direction of our talented music director, Simon Whalley . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett underwent surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Friday, October 23. She is now at Amsterdam House, across from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, for some days of physical therapy . . . Mother Paulette Schiff, a former assisting priest here, had surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital on Thursday, October 22. We expect that she will be returning to her home on Long Island this week for a period of postoperative recuperation. Please keep Barbara and Paulette in your prayers . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following Sundays: November 15 and 22, and December 13 (Rose Sunday). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Saturday, November 7, until Tuesday evening, November 10 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 199.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . All Saints’ Day: The text for the motet at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the antiphon to the Magnificat at the Second Vespers for All Saints’ Day. It gives a rich vision of all the saints in heaven, robed in white and rejoicing with Christ, following “the Lamb wherever he goes.” It is hard to imagine more exhilarating words than these—so poetic a vision for so festive a day—to set to music. The response of Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611) published in 1572 as the first in his hugely successful collection of motets is both fitting and thrilling. He uses the opening exclamation to build up over three chords toward the quam, the Latin adverb that Victoria uses in this setting to emphasize just how glorious Christ’s reign is. In the exchange between voices that follows, the joy of the saints in glory is evoked with the in quo and the rising gaudent acclamations seemingly ricocheting off one another. At the close of the motet the imagery of the saints following the Lamb is suggested with a simple descending line that each voice part takes up, following one after another. It is no surprise, then, that Victoria chose to use the rich seam of material from the motet as the basis for the “parody Mass” that we hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday. Small motivic ideas and even textural contrasts from the motet generate a great deal of the material for the setting of the Mass ordinary. You might notice the descending sequuntur theme appearing in different guises at the start of the Benedictus and Agnus Dei, and the energetic close of the Gloria points to the most rejoicing music at the heart of the motet. What exultant music for this great day! . . . All Souls’ Day: The plainchant melodies of the Requiem Mass are among the most well-known in the Liber usualis, the encyclopedic book of Gregorian chant that provides music for all of our sung propers and other important liturgical texts. These Requiem chants have a reflective dignity and a wealth of expressive contours that capture convincingly our emotional response to this somber day. In years to come we shall doubtless sing settings of these texts by composers such as Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986)—whose accompanied setting explicitly quotes the melodies we shall hear today—or the rich, thick textures of the setting by Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611); but how refreshing it is to hear the melodies in their unadorned simplicity as they were first sung centuries ago. The communion motet is a setting of the visionary text of Edmund Spenser (1552–1599) by the British composer William H. Harris (1883–1973). —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, and 22, at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell. Father Powell writes, “This series will ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be faithful when one has power?’ The Succession Narrative has much to say to Christians who live in a nominally Christian society . . . What does the Bible have to say about being faithful when one is in the majority and does not belong to an oppressed minority? . . . This year, both on most of the Sundays in November and during Lent, we will explore the story of the transfer of power from David to Solomon during a time of disunity and political stress. Examining this history may help us to think about our own situation during this particular moment of discord and political polarization” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 4 at 7:00 PM (note later time), in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah beginning at 42:14 . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art . . . Sunday, December 13, Father Jay Smith will discuss the Icon of Christ Pantokrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful”) . . . January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in a discussion of Episcopal 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, the role of the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the mechanism for electing a Presiding Bishop in our church.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . December 3, 2015–January 3, 2016, The Peccadillo Theater Company at Saint Clement’s, 423 West Forty-sixth Street, presents two one-act plays by Thornton Wilder: The Long Christmas Dinner and Pullman Car Hiawatha, directed by Dan Wackerman. Only twenty-four performances! Tickets may be purchased online or by calling

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 51

FROM MARK RISINGER: PLEDGING, PAST & PRESENT

 

“I shall, I fear, be dark and cold with all my fire and light; / Yet when thou dost accept their gold, Lord, treasure up my mite.” These words of the poet John Mason appear in a hymn that the boys at my school love to sing. As a teacher, I enjoy the challenge of explaining the sentiment they express with their reference to the parable of “The Widow’s Mite” that we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel. It is often tempting to compare our own situation and resources to those of others who have more, to feel that our own ability to contribute doesn’t amount to much. But the message of the hymn and the Gospel is clear: God values us more for the content of our hearts than that of our wallets; and one of the ways we demonstrate his value in our lives is by supporting his Church.

 

Some of my earliest memories of going to church as a child are the pre-departure rituals of a Sunday morning:  Do you have your Bible? Check. Sunday School lesson book? Check. Have you put your offering in your envelope? Check. Attending to those matters was of vital importance before we left home, and they remain in my consciousness week by week (though I’m now rehearsing in the choir room rather than attending Bible study in the hour before Solemn Mass). I have sung and spent time in many churches in New York City, but there has always been something different about Saint Mary’s, a feeling that I’ve not experienced anywhere else. Over my twelve years here, I have become increasingly aware of the obligation and privilege we have as members of the parish to contribute to its life through a commitment to regular giving. I love to sing here. I was confirmed here. This place and its people have come to matter deeply to me, and I therefore have an obligation to sustain and nurture it.

 

I am greatly excited by the sense of new energy in the building and the recent additions to our congregation, particularly Simon Whalley and Sister Monica Clare, and by the opportunities we have before us. While we are engaging in a capital campaign to secure our future, our annual tithes and offerings are what provide for the here-and-now: so many of the elements that make our worship beautiful and pleasing to God, from candles to vestments to guest musicians, are provided through annual pledging. In a world that seems to grow ever more puzzling, diffuse, and inexplicable, the presence of Saint Mary’s at the “crossroads of the world” in Times Square is more vitally important than ever. Your pledge makes a difference both within our walls and without, as it enables us to reach out in love and faith to those who come through our doors day by day. With the faithful involvement of all who call Saint Mary’s their parish home, next Sunday, November 22, will be a day of great celebration. Please join us for worship on Christ the King Sunday, and plan to bring your pledge card in a gesture of thanksgiving, both for the blessings of the past and for the year ahead. —Mark Risinger serves the parish in a number of ways. He sings in the parish choir and is a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. He served on the Board of Trustees between 2010 and 2014, and he was vice president of the Board in 2014.

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Emil, José, Walter, David, Brian, Kara Rae, David, Martha, Willy, Lisa, Sally, Barbara, Daniel, Nargis, Sam, Albert, Peggy, Maxine, Jean, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, Dennis, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Lawrence, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 15: 1881 Theodore Codwise Mitchell; 1887 Laura Chambers Sutton; 1898 Mary Dow; 1907 Sadie Adams Smith; 1939 Anna J. Daingerfield; 1949 Richard Davis Campbell; 1951 Elizabeth Congdon Mason; 1954 Florence Louise Farson Dawson; 1956 Etta Jane Willsie; 1972 Wallace Charles Taylor; 1973 Estell Moore; 1983 Ralph Burus Smith; 1997 Noel Julian Blackman.

 

IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . JoAnn Hughes, the aunt of Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, died on November 2. Her funeral took place on Cape Cod on Saturday, November 7, at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, Massachusetts. Please keep JoAnn, Rebecca, their family and friends and all who mourn in your prayers.

 

THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . The 2015-16 Stewardship Campaign is well underway. Pledge packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. As of Tuesday, November 10, we have received pledges from 61 households. $214,913.00, 51% of our $425,000.00 goal, has been pledged to date. A few other statistics are encouraging: 7 households are pledging for the first time or are pledging after some time away; 16 households have increased their pledge this year; 29 households have been able to maintain their pledges at the same level as last year; and only 9 households have had to reduce their pledge thus far this year. The month of November is a crucial time for the pledge campaign. We need to maintain the momentum of the campaign’s first three weeks. Commitment Sunday is November 22, and we hope to receive the majority of pledges by that date. We urge all members and friends to return their pledge cards as soon as possible, either by mail or by placing your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass on Sunday morning. You may also call the finance office to discuss your pledge. The staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for you. If you have already returned your pledge card, we thank 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; and please pray for the success of this year’s Stewardship Campaign.

 

THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, November 14, 8:00 AM–4:00 PM, 239th Annual Diocesan Convention at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The parish clergy will be in attendance. The parish’s lay delegates are Brendon Hunter and Mary Robison. Alternate lay delegate, J. Grace Bruni, will also attend the Convention. Father Jim Pace will be on duty here at the parish that day . . . Saturday, November 14, 2015, 8:00 PM, Miller Theater at Columbia University presents New York Polyphony. The concert is entitled Songs of Hope: Sacred Works from across the Centuries. Tickets are available online or by calling 212-854-7799 . . . Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 PM, Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . Sunday, November 22, Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King & Commitment Sunday. Please bring your pledge card and place it in the offering basket . . . On Saturday, November 14, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace. On Saturday, November 21, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Emil Bretzger was admitted to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Monday of this week for tests. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett has been continuing physical therapy at Amsterdam House, across from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, following surgery on her right shoulder. We are told that she has been making great progress. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Mother Paulette Schiff continues her recuperation at home on Long Island following surgery. Please keep her, and her husband Walter, in your prayers . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sundays, November 22, and for all of the Sundays in January If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Tuesday, November 17, until the morning of Thursday, November 19 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 215.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Food Pantry at the Church of San Andres, Yonkers: For the past several years Saint Marians and their friends have been responding to Mother Yamily Bass-Choate’s call to help with her parish Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving dinner effort. A donation of $20.00 buys a turkey for a family in need. If you would like to donate, send a check to San Andres, 22 Post St., Yonkers, NY 10705 and put “Turkey Drive” in the memo line . . . The Help Network is a nonprofit organization and an agency of the Global Change Project. It is looking to recruit volunteers who are willing to commit one hour per week to help out at a number of partner organizations located throughout New York City. The Network works with its partners to pair volunteers with the sick, elderly, and with disabled persons based on availability, skills, and particular client needs. For more information, please contact the Network by phone or e-mail . . . 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).

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Book of Common Prayer of 1549 established a pattern for saying, singing, or hearing the entire Book of Psalms each month through attendance at the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. The psalmists touch on so many human states of mind in their poetic articulation of worship, from exhilaration and joy to deep sorrow and unrest and, for many, this monthly cycle is a source of huge comfort and reassurance. For composers also psalm texts have been a great source of inspiration, and Psalm 130—with its sentiments of both despair and ensuing hope—has been especially attractive. We hear parts of the text at the Solemn Mass on Sunday at both the Gospel acclamation and the offertory proper. Thomas Morley (1558–1602) set this text twice; once as a verse anthem, in which a countertenor accompanied by chamber organ declaims the verses with choral interjections; and secondly in the Latin version that we hear as our Communion motet on Sunday, unaccompanied and with a six-voice texture that allows for great harmonic richness. The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is by the twentieth-century British composer Kenneth Leighton (1929–1988). Leighton wrote in a variety of forms, including symphonies and chamber music, but is most often thought of as a choral and organ composer. Leighton’s Missa brevis was written in 1968 for the choir of Liverpool Cathedral. There is music of great energy and exhilaration here (in the openings of the Gloria and Sanctus, for example) as well as some poignantly expressive contours in the Agnus Dei. Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sundays, November 15 & 22 at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell. Father Powell writes, “This series will ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be faithful when one has power?’ The Succession Narrative has much to say to Christians who live in a nominally Christian society . . . What does the Bible have to say about being faithful when one is in the majority and does not belong to an oppressed minority? . . . This year, both on most of the Sundays in November and during Lent, we will explore the story of the transfer of power from David to Solomon during a time of disunity and political stress. Examining this history may help us to think about our own situation during this particular moment of discord and political polarization.” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 18 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah beginning at 44:21. The class will not meet on Wednesday, November 25, the Eve of Thanksgiving Day . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art . . . Sunday, December 13, Father Jay Smith will discuss the Icon of Christ Pantokrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful”) . . . January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in a discussion of Episcopal 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, the role of the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the mechanism for electing a Presiding Bishop in our church.

 

CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:00 PM, Trident Ensemble, Tim Keeler, conductor: Cast Away—A Journey into the Unknown, a Discovery of Experiences on the Sea. Tickets are available at the door or online . . . Friday, December 4, 2015, 8:00 PM, Young New Yorkers Chorus, Michael Kerschner, artistic director: The Triumph of the Sky—A Fifteenth-Anniversary Holiday Concert. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, December 5, 2015, 8:00 PM, Miller Theater at Columbia University presents The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director: Sacred Muses—An Exploration of the Works of William Byrd. Tickets are available online or by calling 212-854-7799.

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . October 18–November 22 at The Theatre at Saint Clement’s, 423 W. Forty-sixth Street (Between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), New York, New York, The Hummingbird’s Tour: “1970, Northern California. Three opinionated siblings in their sixties (an Episcopalian, an agnostic and a seeker of everything under the holy sun) along with their ancient childhood nanny, are thrown into a philosophical comic frenzy by an unexpected guest bearing mysterious predictions . . .” Off Sides Entertainment & On Your Way Home Productions are offering members of The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin discounted tickets ($30.00). Tickets can be purchased online. RLW is the discount code.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 50

FROM THE RECTOR: OPEN DOORS—THE CAMPAIGN FOR SAINT MARY’S

 

Every capital campaign needs a name. We have one: Open Doors. As our leadership team approached the campaign, a consistent theme in many conversations with members and friends of Saint Mary’s is the importance of our doors being open seven days a week. Right now, the main doors of the church are overshadowed by a sidewalk shed. The 47th Street doors need a ramp to make our church accessible to more people. Roofs and roof drains need updating. Restrooms need to be made new. Basic, fundamental, work. The response so far can be described with adjectives like energy, optimism, enthusiasm, and excitement about parish’s future here by Times Square.

 

The cover of our campaign brochure shows our main 46th Street doors open for the station before the doors on Palm Sunday after the procession has returned from Times Square. I had almost forgotten how beautiful the main entrance of the church is. The shed has been up far too long.

 

SAVE THE DATES: The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop will be with us for the Solemn Mass on our patronal feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at 6:00 PM. The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan of our diocese, will be with us on Candlemas, Tuesday, February 2, 2016, at 6:00 PM to celebrate our work. It’s going to be a busy winter at Saint Mary’s—and a wonderful one.

 

For some time now, a campaign leadership team has been spearheading the effort and working with consultants from the Episcopal Church Foundation. A campaign video is being readied to be shown at the reception following the Mass on December 8. Printed materials are in production. Sr. Monica Clare has blessed us with her experience and gifts in graphic design and photo editing. There will be lots of people to thank before this is over.

 

We have been working also with some of the finest architects who specialize in the conservation and renewal of buildings like ours, Michael Devonshire, Lewis Gleason, and their colleagues at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates. The proposed ramp must be right and look right because the exterior of our church is landmarked.

 

We are beginning to solicit some advanced gifts. I have been enormously encouraged by the sacrifice people feel called to make to ensure the future of this parish. It really is unthinkable that Saint Mary’s Times Square won’t be here in the future. It’s going to take sacrifice from everyone who cares. That’s the way this work of God’s kingdom gets done: not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.

 

On December 8 we will hear Simon Whalley play his first organ recital as organist and music director before the Solemn Mass at 5:30 PM. Those who have gotten to work with him already and those who have heard him as organist and as a choral conductor know what I mean when I say his coming to us marks a new era for music at Saint Mary’s. He is a composer too. For the record, given the magnificent hymns for All Saints’ he played them magnificently. (I can hardly wait for the hymns on Christ the King Sunday—November 22.)

 

After the Solemn Mass on December 8 there will be a words of welcome when we get to Saint Joseph’s Hall. We will have a special sound system set-up so that people in the hall and people in the aisles of the church by our hall will be able to hear. We will make it work. After the welcome, we will show the short campaign video—thank you so much to Clark Mitchell and Steven Heffner for spearheading this project. There will be time for food and fellowship.

 

The last capital campaign was the restoration campaign that paid for the repainting of the church in 1997. It’s now time to address infrastructure and accessibility issues. I am confident we will be seeing new scaffolding on the front of the church very soon, the kind we want to see: the scaffolding for the workers to restore the façade of church where we are privileged to gather for worship and from which we go out to serve others in the name of the Lord. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Susan, Ivan, David, Rick, Martha, Willy, Lisa, Sally, Barbara, Nargis, Sam, Albert, Peggy, Maxine, Jean, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, José, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Lawrence, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 8: 1882 Isabella Bissell; 1992 Edna Chaney.

 

IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Eugene Edward Kline, the father of parishioner Susan Kline Martin, died in Pennsylvania on November 2. A graveside funeral service was held at Letort Cemetery, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on November 5. Please keep Eugene, Susan, her husband Ivan, the Kline family, and all who mourn in your prayers.

 

THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.

 

STAFF NOTES . . . I am delighted to announce that Linda Lees, who has been assisting in the finance office for two years, became the office manager of the parish on November 1. She has extensive administrative experience in cultural and academic institutions. Because of this and her church experience, as the parish leadership and I began to think through a successor to Aaron Koch, we realized we wanted Linda to stay. The parish is presently seeking a part-time bookkeeper to assist her in the office. Linda is an active member of the Congregation of St. Saviour at the cathedral, where she has served as a verger and usher for many years. Please join me in welcoming her to her new position. —S.G.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. We’ve already received a number of pledge cards during the past three weeks. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to Saint Mary’s for 2016. We reached our goal last year, and we are determined to do that again this year. If you are able to do so, please return your pledge card to the Finance Office as soon as possible; or think about placing your pledge card in the offering basket on Sunday morning. This can be a powerful and prayerful way to make this particular commitment to God and to the Body of Christ gathered here. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, November 11, 6:30 PM, Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . Saturday, November 14, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM, 239th Annual Diocesan Convention at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The parish clergy will be in attendance. The parish’s lay delegates are Brendon Hunter and Mary Robison. Alternate lay delegate, J. Grace Bruni, will also attend the Convention . . . On Saturday, November 7, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith. On Saturday, November 14, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . David Conrad, the partner of Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins underwent surgery this week. He is now recuperating at home. Parishioner Barbara Klett is continuing physical therapy at Amsterdam House, across from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, following surgery on her right shoulder . . . Please keep Barbara and Paulette in your prayers . . . On Thursday, November 5, Father Gerth gave a talk on liturgy to the Connecticut Episcopal Clergy Association at Christ Church, Stratford, Connecticut . . . Father Paul Burrows, retired rector of the Church of the Advent of Christ the King, San Francisco, who has been a weekday celebrant and regular worshiper here since moving to New York, has been appointed the representative for the president of the House of Deputies to the Standing Liturgical Commission on Liturgy and Music . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following Sundays: November 15 and 22, and December 13 (Rose Sunday). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Saturday, November 7, until Friday afternoon, November 13. He will return to New York in time to attend Diocesan Convention . . . Attendance: All Saints’ Day 227; All Souls’ Day 116.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Of the many moments of significance in the history of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, none equals the years 1553–1560 for its musical life. At the start of this period the maestro di capella was the Netherlandish Orlande de Lassus—his period in Italy explains why he is sometimes published under the name Orlando di Lasso—and in 1555 the post was assumed by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594), who came from his post at the Sistine Chapel. He had had to leave that position because in September of that year a more rigorous enforcement of the ban on married musicians working in the “Cappella Sistina” came into effect. Within a few years, then, two of the three most impressive musical figures of the late sixteenth century (the third, of course is William Byrd [1540–1623]) were working in the same church in Rome. The music for this Sunday opportunely brings these composers together. Palestrina’s Missa aeterni Christi munera follows the pattern of the composer’s Counter-Reformation style by employing a mostly syllabic response to the text with occasional moments being given freer, more melismatic material; the opening of the Sanctus and the third syllable of excelsis, for example, are agreeably embellished. The Lassus motet is his second setting of this jubilant psalm text. We heard the first, more ornate, version last month on the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sundays, November 8, 15 & 22 at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell. Father Powell writes, “This series will ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be faithful when one has power?’ The Succession Narrative has much to say to Christians who live in a nominally Christian society . . . What does the Bible have to say about being faithful when one is in the majority and does not belong to an oppressed minority? . . . This year, both on most of the Sundays in November and during Lent, we will explore the story of the transfer of power from David to Solomon during a time of disunity and political stress. Examining this history may help us to think about our own situation during this particular moment of discord and political polarization” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 11 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah beginning at 43:25 . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art . . . Sunday, December 13, Father Jay Smith will discuss the Icon of Christ Pantokrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful”) . . . January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in a discussion of Episcopal 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, the role of the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the mechanism for electing a Presiding Bishop in our church.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . October 18–November 22 at The Theatre at Saint Clement’s, 423 W. Forty-sixth Street (Between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), New York, New York, The Hummingbird’s Tour: “1970, Northern California. Three opinionated siblings in their sixties (an Episcopalian, an agnostic and a seeker of everything under the holy sun) along with their ancient childhood nanny, are thrown into a philosophical comic frenzy by an unexpected guest bearing mysterious predictions . . .” Off Sides Entertainment & On Your Way Home Productions are offering members of The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin discounted tickets ($30.00). Tickets can be purchased online. RLW is the discount code.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 48

FROM THE RECTOR: ORIGINS

 

John Jacob Astor, Jr. (1791–1869) gave three lots to the new congregation that was organized in 1868 as the Society of the Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The lots were in what is now called Times Square. The first rector, Thomas McKee Brown (1841–1898), would later write that the land was given “on the condition that the Church should be free, and positively orthodox in management and working” (N. F. Read, The Story of Saint Mary’s [1931], 16–17). We know what the word “free” meant—no pew rents. I’m not sure what was meant by the phrase “positively orthodox in management and working,” but Saint Mary’s was something very new when its doors opened at 228 West 45th Street on Thursday, December 8, 1870.

 

The parish kept that day as the “Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and called the day its “patronal feast”—a celebration to be found in the English, but never in an American, Prayer Book. Our parish and its leaders were at the forefront of the most contentious issue within the church at that time: “ritualism.” The sacramental and ceremonial life of the Pre-Reformation church was coming back in the wake of the Oxford Movement. From the beginning the parish had what was called a “High Celebration” on Sundays as well as a daily Mass. The oldest order of service we have is from the “High Celebration” on Sunday, October 15, 1871.

 

If I read the order of service correctly, the “High Celebration” began with a processional hymn followed by a second hymn labeled “Introit.” Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) was by Mozart (no further information is given), and we know from later accounts that what we know as the Mass ordinary—Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei—were always sung here in English, despite the language of composition, until 1969.

 

That year, for Candlemas, February 2, Father Donald Garfield (rector from 1965 to 1978) let the choir sing the ordinary in Latin with Mass (1963) by Paul Hindemith (1895–1963). It’s also significant that Lord, have mercy was not officially part of the Prayer Book rite in use in 1871. It became an option with the 1892 book.

 

The creed was sung to the setting by John Merbecke (1510?–1585?). Then there was another hymn, possibly at the offertory. During the Eucharistic Prayer the Sanctus was also by Mozart. Benedictus and Agnus Dei, also by Mozart, seem to have been sung after the Eucharistic Prayer. Benedictus was not formally a part of the American Eucharistic Prayer until 1979. Agnus Dei was not permitted until the 1928 book. At this Mass Gloria in excelsis was sung not to the setting by Mozart, but by the congregation after communion—its place in the Prayer Book from 1552 until 1979. The setting listed is “Old”—possibly the Old Scottish Chant setting still in the hymnal (S 204). After this there were two more hymns. I’m exhausted just thinking about this kind of a service.

 

That said, I’m sure there was great spiritual power in the music, in the preaching, and in the ritual of worship. Not receiving communion was not as unusual then as it is now. Since the beginning of the Middle Ages, very few Christians of any denomination had received communion every Sunday before the latter part of the twentieth century.

 

If we look behind these outward and visible signs of our origins, Father Brown and this congregation were seeking to follow what they thought was the best thinking about worship in their day. They had a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ. At his death Father Brown was eulogized for his hard work and for the pastoral care of the congregation he served. Our pews are still free. The Mass is still “high.” I hope my clergy colleagues and I are worthy of the example of our first rector in our pastoral care.

 

Today our church remains a place of worship and welcome. We try to remain faithful to the gospel by continuing to grow in our relationship with God and with each other through Jesus Christ. Our doors are open not just for ourselves and for those who enter and find a home, but so that we who are his body in this place may recognize him and serve him in others wherever we find ourselves in our daily lives. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Barbara, Eugene, Susan, JoAnn, Yves, Nargis, Paul, Sam, Albert, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Jonas, José, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of Sandra Schlender . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 25: 1902 Jennie McLean; 1924 James Robert Wood.

 

THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. We’ve already received a number of pledge cards this week. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to Saint Mary’s for 2016. We reached our goal last year, and we are determined to do that again this year. If you are able to do so, please return your pledge card to the Finance Office as soon as possible; or think about placing your pledge card in the offering basket on Sunday morning. This can be a powerful and prayerful way to make this particular commitment to God and to the Body of Christ gathered here. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, October 24, 6:00–8:45 PM, Oktoberfest: Potluck Supper & Hymn Sing . . . Sunday, October 25, 10:00 AM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Adult Education: The Two Michelangelos, Part IV: The Religious Art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . . . Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, October 28, 7:00 PM (note later time), Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . On Saturday, October 24, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth. On Saturday, October 31, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, parishioner Barbara Klett is scheduled to have surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Friday, October 23. Mother Paulette Schiff, a former assisting priest at Saint Mary’s, had surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital on Thursday, October 22. Please keep them in your prayers . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: November 15 and 22, and December 13 (Rose Sunday). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 189.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Josef Rheinberger (1839–1901) was best known in his lifetime for his teaching, but his creative work—both as performer and composer—made a significant contribution to nineteenth-century cultural life in Germany. His appointment to the position of Hofkapellmeister in Munich in 1877 helped encourage his interest in composing sacred music, and his legacy is chiefly focused on this alongside a fine array of organ sonatas. Rheinberger’s harmonic language is firmly rooted in the Teutonic tradition of J. S. Bach, with moments of highly expressive text setting, drawn through some unexpected harmonic turns and a contrapuntal rigor that reveals his learning. Rheinberger’s Missa brevis in F, which we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning, emulates the late-Renaissance practice of having a motivic idea that returns throughout the work at the start of each movement (one perhaps thinks of the Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd (1539–1623). Our communion motet on Sunday is by Josquin Desprez (c. 1440–1521), the leading composer of the early Renaissance in continental Europe. The text is a general hymn of praise to Our Lady, and the composer sets its various acclamations with evident delight. Each clause starts afresh in a series of different textures, opening with a soprano-alto duet succeeded by a tenor-bass duet. Josquin was never shy about introducing rhythmic games into his music, and in this work the “Gaude quae post ipsum scandis” is marked with a lively triple-time section. The culminating “Alleluia” borrows from the opening musical idea and brings the work to a thrilling conclusion. —Simon Whalley

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided. This has been a popular event in the past. It is a good opportunity to spend some time with fellow parishioners and to meet those who are new to the parish. It is also a good way to introduce Saint Mary’s to those looking for a parish home.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNDAY . . . Sunday, October 25, is Social Media Sunday (#SMS), an event begun by several Episcopal laypeople in 2013 in order to promote and harness social media as a means of communication and evangelism. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, this is an opportunity to tell your social-media network about who you are—about your faith, your church, and your parish. You can find more information about #SMS on Facebook or through the Episcopal Church Foundation.

 

ALL SOULS’ DAY REMEMBRANCE . . . On Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, there will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM. The Solemn Mass and Blessing of the Vault will take place at 6:00 PM. The annual Requiem Masses will be said on the days that follow (Tuesday through Friday, November 3–6, and Monday, November 9, each day at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM). The All Souls’ Day packets were mailed to members and friends of the parish in early October. You may also send your prayer requests via e-mail. The envelope enclosed in the All Souls’ Day packet may be mailed back to the parish or placed in the offering basket at any Mass.

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 25, 10:00 AM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Adult Forum: “The Two Michelangelos, Part IV”—in the final session of this four-part series, Father Jay Smith will discuss the work of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, that great Italian painter of the early Baroque period, who is known for his striking naturalistic technique, his use of light and dark, and the direct and deeply human power of his religious art. On Sunday, the class will be looking at such paintings as Caravaggio’s Call of Saint Matthew, The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, and The Conversion of Saint Paul . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on October 28 at 7:00 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah beginning at 41:21 . . . Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, and 22, at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

A NEW PRESIDING BISHOP . . . Sunday, November 1, 12:00 PM, Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington (“The National Cathedral”), Holy Eucharist with the Installation of The Right Reverend Michael Bruce Curry as XXVII Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. A live webcast of the liturgy will be available. A video of the installation service will also be posted on YouTube.

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . December 3, 2015–January 3, 2016, The Peccadillo Theater Company at Saint Clement’s, 423 West Forty-sixth Street, presents two one-act plays by Thornton Wilder: The Long Christmas Dinner and Pullman Car Hiawatha, directed by Dan Wackerman. Only twenty-four performances! Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 866-811-4111.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . November 3 through 6, and 9 at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM, Annual Parish Requiem Masses . . . Wednesday, November 25, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 47

FROM THE RECTOR: URBAN CHRISTIANITY

 

Last week as a guest at the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Priests (Episcopalians!), I heard presentations by the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop, the Reverend Albert Cutié, rector, Saint Benedict’s Church, Plantation, Florida, and the Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I was very glad I was able to attend. Bishop Griswold spoke about the work of the society. Father Cutié spoke on “Católicos Latinos.” Pastor Bolz-Weber called her meditation, “Emergent Catholicity from a Cranky Lutheran.”

 

Nadia—as she would want us to address her—is a pastor and an evangelist. She started a new congregation, the House for All Sinners and Saints, Denver. They actually meet on Sunday evenings at an Episcopal parish church. She’s published several books about her ministry. In an interview with Terri Gross on National Public Radio, Nadia said, “I don’t look like a pastor, I’m very heavily tattooed, I have sleeve tattoos, basically, and very short hair, and I’m, like, 6-feet-1-inch [tall]. I don’t actually act like a pastor either . . . I just don’t have that warm, cozy personality, and I’m kind of cranky and a little bit sarcastic, I guess.” She writes, describing her congregation, “We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination.”

 

As she spoke at the conference about the work she had done with mostly unchurched people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, I heard the Good News being proclaimed and lived out in creative ways. Apart from the sermons and the Eucharistic Prayer, the other elements of worship in the congregation she serves are very much up for grabs. One example: she showed us slides of the congregation’s response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. As Lent began that year, a group brought together photographs of the human and physical carnage there and matched fourteen of them to the fourteen Stations of the Cross. It wasn’t the only time during her presentation that I needed to wipe my eyes.

 

She credits her bishop with giving her a great deal of latitude—and suggested he did this because she is firmly grounded theologically in the Lutheran tradition. And, listening to her, it seemed to me that this really was true of her—although her congregation’s practice of offering communion before baptism is at odds with the Lutheran tradition, and this is not theologically insignificant, I think.

 

There are new congregations too in the Episcopal Church that share a lot that is very good with the House for All Sinners and Saints. One that comes to mind is the Common Cathedral, an Episcopal community that worships weekly out of doors on Boston Common. On Ash Wednesday last winter, one of their priests walked around the Common to share ashes amid the high drifts left from the winter’s record snowfalls in Boston. She explained, “I’m sharing ashes and reminding people that we don't have to be perfect. We just have to try and be good.” She found people ready to receive.

 

While Nadia was speaking I found myself reflecting on how we Episcopalians deliver the Good News. We differ from Lutherans in certain ways. Our identity is not so firmly rooted in confessions and creeds, such as the Augsburg Confession. Despite the divisions in the Anglican Communion, liturgy and worship unite us and shape our identity. We Anglicans worship using The Book of Common Prayer. I think congregations with clergy who are grounded in the “doctrine, discipline, and worship” of the Episcopal Church can find ways to do very similar things to the House of Sinners and Saints, while reading from the Bible, preaching the Gospel, and praying over bread and wine using one of our Eucharistic Prayers.

 

Saint Mary’s doors are open every day to people who are homeless and unemployed. I wonder how we might make it more clear to those who are sleeping or resting in our pews that they are welcome to participate in our services. For this group, receiving the Eucharist on weekdays can be problematic. Many have bundles of possessions with them that they don’t like to leave unattended. That said, I’m always happy when a homeless person asks for communion. Let me quickly note, daily we see other people in our pews, who may not be homeless but who are in distress of another kind. We also see many, many people who seem to feel very much at home in this house of God.

 

I’ve been working this week with materials for the capital campaign that Bishop Griswold will launch at the Solemn Mass on our patronal feast on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at 6:00 PM. It’s time to get rid of the scaffolding—to fix stones and roofs; it’s time for us to be more accessible—to have a real ramp and new restrooms. Saint Mary’s has been a home for “all sorts and conditions of men [and women!]”—to use traditional Prayer Book language—since our doors opened on December 8, 1870. There’s a sesquicentennial celebration coming in 2020. We’re getting ready now for the next hundred years in Times Square.

Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Albert, Pat, Nargis, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Jonas, José, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of Sandra Schlender . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 18: 1879 Otto Sundermeyer; 1899 Ann Wall; 1903 Maurice Pilgrim; 2003 Bernard Flannery.

 

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 . . . Sunday, October 18, 10:00 AM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Adult Education: The Two Michelangelos, Part III: The Religious Art of Caravaggio . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class (please note that next week’s class, on October 28, will begin at 7:00 PM) . . . Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Martyr, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, Oktoberfest: Potluck Supper & Hymn Sing . . . On Saturday, October 17, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, October 24, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Stewardship packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to the parish for 2016. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: November 8, 15, and 22, and December 13 (Rose Sunday). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 229.

 

SOME HAPPY NEWS . . . The Reverend John F. Beddingfield, who was a curate at Saint Mary’s between 2003 and 2007, has been called as rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East Eighty-eighth Street, here in Manhattan. John’s first Sunday at Holy Trinity will be November 22. We are very happy that he and his husband Erwin de Leon will be returning to New York. Please keep them in your prayers.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Orlande de Lassus was one of the most prolific and accomplished composers of the sixteenth century. Like many of the leading musicians of his day, he was employed at a number of European courts, including the Mantuan Court of the Gonzaga family and, from 1556, that of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in Munich. Here music was regarded as a vital symbol of the patron’s power and wealth, and composers’ work was highly valued. He was certainly adept at writing lavishly rich contrapuntal music when the occasion called for it; he was renowned for his various sets of inventive madrigals and for his abundant sacred music. Of his sixty or so known Masses, the Missae breves were generally composed in a quite simple and syllabic style, as is the case with the setting heard at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, Lassus’s Missa quinti toni. The text for Sunday’s Communion motet, published in 1594, comes from the sentence sung during the Gospel acclamation at the Solemn Mass: it is the opening verse of Psalm 146 (Psalm 145 in the Vulgate version which Lassus would have used). In the motet, the composer includes not just the first verse of the psalm, but also the following three verses. The texture is quite dense since the composer employs six vocal parts here. The voices are used with great invention as different combinations of singers share phrases of the text. An especially interesting moment occurs in the second verse where Lassus affirms that we should “not put our trust in Princes . . . for there is no help in them.” He sets this moment with some humor and irony; as a composer he was generally in the employ of a number of different princes, and we can tell from his letters to Duke Wilhelm, son and heir of Albrecht V, that he enjoyed very positive and friendly relations with his princely employers. In his setting, however, he reiterates “non est” between the voices countless times as if to demonstrate how untrustworthy such princes can be. —Simon Whalley

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided. This has been a popular event in the past. It is a good opportunity to spend some time with fellow parishioners and to meet those who are new to the parish. It is also a good way to introduce Saint Mary’s to those looking for a parish home.

 

ALL SOULS’ DAY REMEMBRANCE . . . On Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, there will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM. The Solemn Mass and Blessing of the Vault will take place at 6:00 PM. The annual Requiem Masses will be said on the days that follow (Tuesday through Friday, November 3–6, and Monday, November 9, each day at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM). The All Souls’ Day packets were mailed to members and friends of the parish at the end of last week. You may also send your prayer requests via e-mail. The envelope enclosed in the All Souls’ Day packet may be mailed back to the parish or placed in the offering basket at any Mass.

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 18, 10:00 AM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Adult Forum: “The Two Michelangelos, Part III”—Father Jay Smith will discuss the work of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, that great Italian painter of the early Baroque period, who is known for his striking naturalistic technique and the direct and deeply human power of his religious art. (We are grateful to Dr. Dennis Raverty, who led the first two classes in the series on the work of Michelangelo Buonarroti) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 21 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, Led by Father Peter Powell.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 PM, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East Eighty-eighth Street, Panel Discussion with community leaders, Every Life Is Sacred: Ending Gun Violence—It’s Possible . . . December 3, 2015–January 3, 2016, The Peccadillo Theater Company at Saint Clement’s, 423 West Forty-sixth Street, presents two one-act plays by Thornton Wilder: The Long Christmas Dinner and Pullman Car Hiawatha, directed by Dan Wackerman. Only 24 performances. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 866-811-4111.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . All Saints’ Day, Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . November 3 through 6, and 9 at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM, Annual Parish Requiem Masses.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 46

FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR: “SING TO THE LORD A NEW SONG”

 

Many people are firmly convinced that, at one point in the movie Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart turns to the nightclub pianist and utters those now famous words, “Play it again, Sam.” Unfortunately, that’s not what Bogie said. In a similar way, many people believe that Saint Augustine of Hippo once wrote, “He who sings prays twice,” though that’s not what he wrote, or not exactly. This is too bad, since such a pithy quote would be an admirable way to start an account of the role of the choir here at Saint Mary’s. In fact, however, Augustine was making a more subtle theological point. In his commentary on Psalm 73 he writes as follows:

 

For whoever sings praise, not only praises, but praises joyfully; whoever sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him for whom they are singing. There is a praise-filled public proclamation (praedicatio) in the praise of someone who is confessing and acknowledging God; in the song of the lover there is love. (Exposition on Psalm 73.1)

For Augustine, the singing of sacred music is not simply a convenient way of doubling up the significance of prayer; it is a way to enhance the singer’s experience of loving God. I think that this is true for those listening to spiritual song also. We are fortunate to have a deep-rooted tradition at Saint Mary’s that values music and sacred singing as a vital element of our liturgical practice. The congregation sings hymns lustily and with real enthusiasm, happy to be encouraged to greater effort and sound, on occasion, by a little extra hint from the organ. Each week, music is well integrated into the essence of our worship, from the tolling of the bell signaling the start of Mass or the glorious ringing to proclaim the Sanctus to the singing of the minor propers, Mass ordinary, and seasonally appropriate motet. And for that to happen we need a well-rehearsed and experienced choir.

Since arriving here in August, I have spent much time meeting and auditioning many of the freelance singers who work in and around New York. Some of them would like to be part of the regular team that will sing for the Solemn Mass each week, while others already have a regular Sunday commitment elsewhere but would like to join us for the big mid-week holy-day Solemn Masses when we might augment the choral sound to help celebrate especially important days. Putting together a new group of singers for the new choir season is an ongoing process, and you will perhaps notice that the sound from the Gallery during the month of October changes from week to week. Throughout this month we are hearing different combinations of singers each week. My hope is that by the end of the month it will be clear which singers work together best to make the most musically convincing and exciting contribution to Saint Mary’s, and they will become the core of our choir here.

So what was I looking for in each singer? In the auditions, I was listening for musicians who could convey different moods in their prepared piece (think of the different sentiments that need to be articulated in quick succession in the Gloria of the Mass) and who showed a real ability to sing plainchant in a flexible and accurate way. Sight singing—the ability to pick up a sheet of previously unseen music and sing it correctly—is not a skill that all singers or musicians exhibit, but it is a key asset for working with a group that gets through so much music over the course of our choir season. The sight singing given to each singer was a portion of plainchant; it is important that our singers are experienced in this nuanced style, so different from other aspects of ensemble singing. I was also looking for singers whose voices and personalities would work well together. Achieving good blend in a choir is difficult and requires many skills: listening to one another to maintain the prevailing pitch, ensuring that dynamic levels are consistent with one another, and emulating others’ phrase shaping and further stylistic nuances. Good breath control, an ability to stay in tune and to understand subtle issues of intonation, and a strong rhythmic sense (oh, and punctuality) are also key skills that our singers need to have in abundance. My hope is that as time goes by our choir will settle into well-established practices and will continue to uphold the great musical traditions so well established here. It’s a great blessing to have so many talented people available to the parish and to me as a choral director; it will be very hard for me to put the final group together. I greatly appreciate and am so grateful to the people who want to be a part of music at Saint Mary’s. —Simon Whalley

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Pat, Nargis, John, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 11: 1897 David Abeel Storer; 1931 Wallo Geralde Campbell; 1950 Alice Louise Brown; 1960 Mary Cornish; 2013 Charles William Barker.

 

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 . . . Sunday, October 11, 10:00 AM, Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor, Adult Education: The Two Michelangelos, Part II . . . Monday, October 12, Columbus 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 . . . Wednesday, October 14, 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . Saturday, October 10, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace, and on Saturday, October 17, they will be heard by Father Jay Smith.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets will be mailed October 12–13. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to the parish for 2016. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

ALL SOULS’ DAY REMEMBRANCE . . . On Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, there will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM. The Solemn Mass and Blessing of the Vault will take place at 6:00 PM. The annual Requiem Masses will be said on the days that follow (Tuesday through Friday, November 3–6, and Monday, November 9, each day at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM). The All Souls’ Day packets will be mailed to members and friends of the parish at the end of this week. A form and an envelope for your prayer requests will be included in the mailing. You may also send your prayer requests via e-mail. However, a special offering to accompany All Souls’ intentions is traditional. The envelope enclosed in the All Souls’ Day packet may be mailed back to the parish or placed in the offering basket on Sunday morning. We are grateful to all those who support Saint Mary’s so generously.

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are planning to attend and if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided. This has been a popular event in the past. It is a good opportunity to spend some time with fellow parishioners and to meet those who are new to the parish. It is also a good way to introduce Saint Mary’s to those looking for a parish home.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: November 8, 15, and 22, and December 13 (Rose Sunday) Donations for Christmas flowers are, of course, always welcome. We also hope to receive donations to defray the costs of the reception following the Solemn Mass on Wednesday, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 204.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . For this week’s music we hear music from the two most significant composers of the English Reformation. Both men wrote works that reflected the changing demands of their sovereigns and, like Robert Parsons whose music we heard last Sunday, they wrote their finest music using Latin texts, allowing them to retain a loyalty to their Roman Catholic upbringing and beliefs at a time when such a commitment could result in persecution or even execution. The Mass for Four Voices of Thomas Tallis (1505–1585), which we hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, dates from 1553–58. Henry VIII was still the reigning monarch for much of this time and, although Latin had not yet been banned for liturgical music, Archbishop Cranmer had made it clear—in a letter written to the King in 1544—that composers should aim for a generally syllabic setting of words “so that [a text] may be sung distinctly and devoutly.” Tallis was so ingenious a composer that he admirably fulfils this brief, using a variety of textures and occasional brief imitative sections to help articulate the different sections of the text of the Mass ordinary. Byrd’s motet Ecce, quam bonum was a rather later work, published in his 1605 Gradualia. This volume of polyphonic motets was published when James I (r. 1603–1625) was King; perhaps Byrd felt emboldened to return to the publication of Latin works and rich polyphonic textures by the arrival of the new monarch, whose mother had remained a practicing Catholic all her life. The text for this setting is the Gradual proper for this Sunday. Charmingly, the vocal parts suggest the closeness of the brothers mentioned in the psalm text by being in a close-knit texture throughout and with only a two-octave range afforded the whole choir. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 11, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum: “The Michelangelos”—Dr. Dennis Raverty discusses the idealistic vision in the religious art of Michaelangelo Buonarroti, the great Renaissance painter and sculptor, in the second of a four-part series. On October 18 & 25, Father Jay Smith will discuss the religious art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, Led by Father Peter Powell.

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Our neighbors at the Marble Collegiate Church, 1 West 29th Street at Fifth Avenue, will be dedicating their re-voiced and expanded Gluck pipe organ during their main worship service on Sunday, October 18; and to celebrate the occasion the church has announced an Inaugural Recital Series: Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 7:30 PM, Inaugural Recital by Ken Cowan; Thursday, March 10, 2016, 7:30 PM, Richard Elliott, recitalist; and Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:30 PM, Diane Bish, recitalist. Further information is available on the church’s website.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Sunday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM; Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . November 3 through 6, and 9 at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM, Annual Parish Requiem Masses

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 45

FROM THE RECTOR: EXCITEMENT

 

This Sunday the “regular” Sunday schedule returns. There are four changes from the summer schedule on Sundays: (1) Morning Prayer is sung not read; (2) the parish choir sings at the Solemn Mass; (3) Solemn Evensong, Sermon & Benediction is offered in place of reading Evening Prayer; and (4) Christian education resumes at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings (and at 6:30 PM on Wednesday evenings!). Since the time of the New Testament, worship and education have been among the fundamental characteristics of Christian congregations.

 

I’ve been thinking about education for many reasons. I remain very thankful for the Lilly Endowment grant that funded my sabbatical in 2009. The study not only renewed my interest in New Testament Greek, but it also kindled a renewed and unexpected excitement for study across a range of subjects. It has led me to read again books that I first read many years ago, this time, I think, with fresh eyes. One such book is The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years 1833–1845 (1891) by Richard William Church (18151890). [The University of Chicago Press published an edition of the book, along with a useful introduction, in 1970, in its Classics of British Historical Literature series. The book is still available for purchase from many used-book sellers.]

 

Richard Church was already a student at Oxford when the movement started. He became a fellow of Oriel College in 1836. Later, he was dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, from 1871 to 1890. The book centers mostly on the role John Henry Newman played in the movement before he became a Roman Catholic; yet Church, who did not abandon the Church of England, was also at the heart of things.

 

Rereading his book made me aware of how learning and prayer gave rise to the Oxford Movement. The learning began with a study of the past, but it quickly became more than study: it led to spiritual renewal and service to others in Christ’s name. Along with the Methodist Revival of the eighteenth century, the Oxford Movement continues to mark the lives of the churches of the Anglican Communion today.

 

Saint Mary’s was founded in the wake of this movement, and our parish has always been identified with it. Another name for this tradition has been “Anglo-Catholic”—a term first used in print in 1841, but as time passed and the movement spread not just from Oxford, but from England, it came into common use. I’m not sure it’s as useful today as it was before the liturgical renewal that arose across Western Christianity in the 1960s. The term now inevitably raises questions about support for the ordination of women and often for homosexual persons. In many places it reflects a commitment to a liturgical life shaped by the practices of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism.

 

I don’t know if we will see another widely influential renewal movement in our lifetimes. Yet, the gifts for worship and study are still open to us. Prayer Book worship is so richly shaped by Scripture and tradition that it stands in judgment, in a sense, on those of us who pray with it. And it begs to be used, to borrow a phrase from Saint Paul, “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

 

I am excited by the return to the regular church schedule. I’ve missed the wonderful choral music at Solemn Mass; I’ve missed Evensong on Sunday evenings. As rector of the parish, I’m very glad the Adult Forum on Sundays is back and that weekly Bible Study will resume on Wednesday evening, October 14. I invite you to join us as you are able at Saint Mary’s by your presence and your prayers every day of the year. Our doors are open and you will, I hope, find not only rest for your soul, but excitement about God’s place in your life and the lives of others today. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Pat, Nargis, John, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 4: 1916 Isabella Atkinson; 1920 Virginia Wittens Blauchard; 1926 Henry Ammi Dows, priest.

 

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 . . . Sunday, October 4, the “regular” worship schedule begins. See Father Gerth’s article in this edition of the newsletter for more information . . . Saturday, October 3, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth, and on Saturday, October 10, they will be heard by Father Jim Pace.

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are planning to attend and if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets will be mailed October 12–13. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to the parish for 2016. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Rita Ann Hanuschock and Sarah Friebert were united in Holy Matrimony on Tuesday, September 29, at 1:30 PM, in the Wedding Chapel. The officiant was Father. Jay Smith. Please keep Sarah and Rita in your prayers . . . The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan of the diocese of New York and former curate at Saint Mary’s, was a keynote speaker at the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ international consultation in Seoul, Korea, on Thursday, October 1. Further information about his presentation is available here . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: November 8, 15, and 22. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish attending a Leadership in Ministry conference in Newton, Massachusetts, from the afternoon of Sunday, October 4, until Thursday, October 8. He will return home on Thursday afternoon and will return to the office on Friday, October 9. Father Gerth will be away from the parish attending a meeting of the Society of Catholic Priests in Denver, Colorado, from Wednesday, October 7, until Saturday, October 10. In case of emergency on Wednesday, October 7 please contact Father Jim Pace . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 168; Michaelmas 75.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Robert Parsons (c. 1530–1570) was one of the key musical figures of the early English Reformation. Comparatively little is known about his life, but he was certainly a “Gentleman of the Chapel Royal,” a role which might have involved singing, composing, and playing in a number of the chapels that served the spiritual requirements of his reigning sovereign, Queen Elizabeth I. Parsons’s compositions included some thick-textured and thrilling settings of the canticles for Morning and Evening Prayer, but his most compelling musical utterances are the settings of Latin texts. His Ave Maria will be sung as the Communion motet at the Solemn Mass on Sunday to mark the dedication of our own church building. It is a work of deft craftsmanship and careful contrapuntal thought employed to express intense personal devotion. A simple tenor opening tune is taken up by the other voices as the text is gradually revealed; above the lower voices, the sopranos sing the text at a slower pace, gently and poetically enhancing the vocal parts beneath. At the motet’s close there is an “Amen” of great beauty and power. The composer’s life was tragically cut short when he drowned in the River Trent at Newark in Nottinghamshire, England, at the comparatively young age of forty. Fellow composer Robert Dow wrote of him, “Qui tantus primo Parsonae in flore fuisti/Quantus in autumno in morere fores” (“Parsons, you who were so great in the springtime of life,/How great you would have been in fall, had not death intervened”). Before the service a Fugue on the Magnificat sets the tone for our remembrance of the dedication of our church building, and it seems fitting that to mark the return of the choir at the start of their new season this Sunday the postlude should be Wesley’s grand march, the Choral Song. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 4 & 11, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum: “The Michelangelos”—Dr. Dennis Raverty discusses the idealistic vision in the religious art of Michaelangelo Buonarroti, the great Renaissance painter and sculptor, in the first of a four-part series. On October 18 & 25, Father Jay Smith will discuss the religious art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 (not October 7), at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . Sunday, November 1, 8, 15, 22, 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, Led by Father Peter Powell.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 12, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule. Only the noonday services are offered . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Sunday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM; Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 44

FROM THE RECTOR: HOW WE LISTEN

 

One summer in the 1990s I had the privilege of taking a two-week class at Notre Dame given by Jewish liturgical scholar Lawrence Hoffman. A book assigned in that class was especially helpful for someone like me who knew little about prayer in Judaism. The cover of the paperback edition showed an Orthodox Jewish man facing the temple wall in Jerusalem. When I started looking among my books for it recently, I couldn’t remember the name of the author. I thought I remembered the title; but I really didn’t. Thanks to the Internet, I eventually found the reference: The Gate Behind the Wall: A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1984) by Samuel Heilman. I finally located my copy.

 

Heilman is a sociologist and an Orthodox Jew. He teaches at Queens College of the City University of New York. He went to Israel during a sabbatical to enter the tradition of studying the Torah (the first books of the Hebrew Bible), the Mishna (a record of oral Jewish law from the early third century of the Christian Era), and the Talmud (a continuing commentary on the law through the centuries). It was about lernen—“The eternal review and ritualized study of sacred Jewish texts” (page 198). The tradition also taught, “Great is the study of Torah, for it gives to those who do it life in this world and in the world to come” (page 25).

 

The afternoon Heilman begins his participation in a group for lernen, he also begins a new experience of evening prayer. The service goes quickly until the group reaches the recitation of the creedal text Kryat Shma that “is known by its electrifying opening line: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One’ ” (Page 50). He is aware that the men (only men in this tradition) are praying for the “transformative experience of prayer itself”—and not to get something from God (page 53). As he begins to lern, immersed in the details of the rituals of the Jewish temple, he finds himself “gone from the present but not yet arrived at the past” (page 62).

 

For many reasons, including his unfamiliarity with the Yiddish vocabulary attached to lernen, he receives permission to record the study. When he hears the recording he realizes everyone has been speaking in the present tense. They have gone to the past. It is a holy perspective, but different from Christian prayer.

 

Christian prayer is about the present presence and work of the Holy Spirit among us, now and in the future. This is not always remembered when Christians write about the Last Supper or Christmas. One famous example of the latter is Eric Milner-White’s (1884–1963) bidding prayer for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, “Beloved in Christ . . . let it be our care and delight to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.” Liturgical Christian prayer remembers what God has done and proclaims his working among us now.

 

Christians and Jews both pray the Psalter. Psalm 95 has an important place in the liturgical prayer of both traditions. And I’m glad we do. For us, Psalm 95 is prayed daily at Morning Prayer. It begins, “Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.” It concludes, “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!” As a Christian, I hear these words calling me to embrace the grace, the forgiveness, and the joy of his presence in my day today and to prepare me to receive it in all of my tomorrows, in this life and in the life of the world to come. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Henrietta, Lisa, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, Priscilla, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Sam, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, RELIGIOUS, Mary Christobel, RELIGIOUS, Sidney, DEACON, Paulette, PRIEST, and Harry, PRIEST; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew, and for the repose of the souls of Henrietta Treiman, David Willcocks, and Linda Earle Nunley Hale . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 27: 1910 Emily Miller Noyes; 1926 Mary Nowlen Wilmerding; 1931 Charles Edward Smith; 1940 John Scripture Peabody; 1965 Rhoda O’Connor; 1992 Howard R. Patch.

 

IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . As we go to press, we have received word that Grace Bruni’s grandmother, Henrietta Treiman, died on Friday morning, September 25. Please pray for Henrietta, for Grace, and for all who mourn . . . Sir David Willcocks died on September 17, 2015. He was ninety-five. Sir David served as director of music at King’s College, Cambridge; director of the Royal College of Music; and director of the Bach Choir. Many Saint Marians will associate David Willcocks with Christmas. According to one British newspaper, “To the lay musician Willcocks will probably be best remembered for editing, with Reginald Jacques, Carols for Choirs, in which the bulk of Christmas music in popular use today can be found, and its successor, Carols for Choirs 2, with John Rutter.” His life was much more than music. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph from England may surprise.

 

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 . . . Tuesday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . On Saturday, September 26, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, October 3, they will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are planning to attend and if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided.

 

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets will be mailed October 12–13. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to the parish for 2016. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . As friends and member of the parish know well we have been trying to raise money for some time in order to repair and repaint the damaged walls around the confessional and the Sacred Heart shrine. This week, skilled workers from the firm of See-Gold/See-Painting arrived to begin their repair work. They have made very good progress. Things are looking better already. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this effort . . . The Church Pension Group (CPG) held a meeting of diocesan administrators here in New York this week. Several of the administrators were in church on Sunday. On Wednesday, Saint Mary’s welcomed the group for Evening Prayer, a tour of the church, and a short recital by organist Matthew Lewis. CPG then served a light supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Our visitors were impressed by the beauty of the church building and the grandeur of the organ . . . Sunday, October 4, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Summer worship schedule ends: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with full choir, 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Rector will be away from the parish for vacation beginning on Friday morning, September 25. He will return to the rectory on Sunday evening, September 27. He will be away on behalf of the parish on Wednesday, September 30, returning Friday, October 2 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 207.

 

52ND ANNUAL FALL CONFERENCE of the Episcopal Church Women will be held Friday, October 23, 3:00 PM–Saturday, October 24, 4:00 PM, at Stony Point Center, 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, New York: “Stir Up the Spirit—Rise Up My Dearest & Fairest, And Go!” Keynote Speaker: The Reverend Canon K. Jeanne Person, canon for Pastoral Care, diocese of New York. For more information or to register, please visit the diocesan web site.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Last Sunday’s organ music featured works of the Low Countries from the late Renaissance. The prelude at this Sunday’s Solemn Mass is from the same era but with music composed by a north German, the Hamburg-born Hieronymus Praetorius (1560–1629). His work takes a plainchant Kyrie melody and reveals it in different voices and with different embellishments. The plainchant will be played on the Trompette stop between the movements. The postlude is a work by another German, Samuel Scheidt (1587–1654), who had studied in Amsterdam under Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1621). His piece displays an echo effect that was a hugely popular compositional device with organ composers of this time. On a typical three-manual instrument, a plain sound—a simple background to the other sounds—is used as the starting point with musical conversations between two contrasting sounds on the other manuals. For our postcommunion anthem on Sunday, bass Mark Risinger will sing “Lord God of Abraham,” from Elijah, the great oratorio composed by Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847). This aria appears in the work as Elijah is refuting the cries of the worshippers of Baal, who have turned against their true God and toward the worship of idols. In this aria Mendelssohn creates some fine word-painting to heighten the meaning of the text. Most melodies tend to start toward the lower end of the range of a singer or instrumentalist and rise up to a climax about three quarters of the way through. Mendelssohn, though, puts “Lord God” as the highest note at the very start of the phrase, descending to “Abraham” to give a musical hint of Elijah’s perspective when addressing his God. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . October 4 & 11, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum: “The Michelangelos”—Dr. Dennis Raverty discusses the idealistic vision in the religious art of Michaelangelo Buonarroti, the great Renaissance painter and sculptor, in the first of a four-part series. On October 18 & 25, Father Jay Smith will discuss the religious art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 (not October 7), at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Sunday, September 27, 3:00 PM, Trinity Church, Allendale, New Jersey, Evensong and Dedication of Church Renovation and Building Project. The rector of the church is the Reverend Michael Allen. Saint Mary’s parishioner Penny Allen, among other things, teaches the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at Trinity. She is married to Father Allen. Please keep Trinity Church in your prayers as they celebrate this milestone in the life of their parish.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Sunday, November 1, All Saint’s Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM; Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 43

FROM THE RECTOR: FALL 2015 ARRIVES

 

The fall equinox this year will occur on Wednesday, September 23, at 5:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time. It will arrive for me in Lost River, West Virginia, where I will be attending a workshop, Leadership in Ministry. I have participated in this workshop twice a year since before I became rector of Saint Mary’s. Most of the participants, but not all, are members of the clergy.

 

The workshop is organized around the principles of Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST). The theory is not at all about what one might call leadership styles. BFST is a theory about how human beings function in relationship to others. The theory has a lot to say about how individuals can work on managing themselves (and the anxiety that comes with being alive) in relationship to others; it’s pointedly not about fixing other individuals or the systems to which one belongs, like one’s family or one’s church.

 

Murray Bowen (1913–1990) was a psychiatrist who developed a theory to explain the behavior he observed in his research families. His work lives on. There’s a lot of information available online about him. He trained many therapists and psychiatrists. Edwin Friedman (1932–1996) was a rabbi who trained with Bowen. He applied BFST to congregational life, especially with regard to the role of leaders in religious communities. Friedman’s Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (1985) continues to be a standard work in pastoral theology. I still read it from time to time as I have discovered the power of reconnecting regularly through books and colleagues who share an interest in working with this theory.

 

I like to remember how my work with BFST began. After Thanksgiving dinner in 1988 at my mother’s house, my uncle, Lawrence Matthews, and I took a walk. Father Charles Jenkins, then rector of Saint Luke’s Church, Baton Rouge, and I, then one of his curates, had attended a meeting of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in New Orleans and had heard Friedman speak. Friedman lived in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. My uncle was then senior pastor of Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, Virginia, also just outside the capital. I asked him if he knew about Friedman. It turns out he had gone to Ed for coaching some years before and was working as part of Ed’s faculty for his workshops. Larry (as he’s known outside his sister and brother’s families) was the only member of the clergy among the ten members of Ed’s faculty; the rest were practicing BFST therapists.

 

I also like to remember what it was like when I attended my first workshop that Ed ran in Bethesda. He worked out of a small house—with enough room for 25 participants, as I recall. We brought outlines of our family systems (genograms) and short case studies to present in small groups. During the last break of the first session I attended, I was outside with everyone else, drinking coffee or a soda. I looked around and I saw smiles everywhere. We’d all been talking about the hard stuff of life with, in my case since I was new, strangers. There was something about working with the theory that helped us be on the side of the emotional health we already had. Smiles can be an important sign of a healthy and appropriate distance from, again, the hard stuff of life.

 

By the time of Ed’s death, my uncle had founded the Leadership in Ministry workshops. I switched from going to Bethesda to attending these workshops at Lost River Retreat Center, Lost River, West Virginia. I’m glad I did. Working with the theory continues to challenge me to grow in many ways, to be responsible for myself and my work. It has helped me keep my smile.

 

I look forward to these workshops also because they give me the opportunity to see and catch up with my uncle and my aunt, Jean Matthews. I’ll go down to Virginia after the Solemn Mass on Sunday and spend the night with them before heading to Lost River on Monday morning. There is always good food at their table, and there are always many laughs. I’ll be back in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Bowen never resolved his issues with religion. But, staying connected to others in the right way is a very Christian concept, one used by Jesus (“I am the true vine . . . you are the branches.” [John 15:1–11]) and by Paul—think of his words about the body (1 Corinthians “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [1 Corinthians 12:12]). In our bodies, healthy cells are in right relationship to the other cells around them. Healthy cells are not invaded by other healthy cells. Each has a role to play. So, one can say, every formal parishioner, informal friend, and visitor of this parish is part of this branch of Christ’s vine, all members of Christ’s body. And all of us are called to work, pray, give, and live for the increase of the kingdom of God. —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Lisa, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, Priscilla, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Sam, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew, and for the repose of the soul of Margaretta Kraft, religious . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 20: 1878 Elizabeth Curtis; 1880 Frank Hernandez; 1950 Robert Gilman Dort.

 

IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We received word this week that Sister Margaretta Kraft, S.H.N., died on Thursday, February 10, in Ripon, Wisconsin, after a long illness. She would have been ninety years old on November 1. Sister Margaretta was a member of the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, a religious order of women in the Episcopal Church founded in 1882 by the Reverend Charles Chapman Grafton, afterwards the second bishop of Fond du Lac. For many years, members of the sisterhood, including Sister Margaretta, lived and exercised their ministry here at Saint Mary’s. We believe that Sister Margaretta was stationed here for six years, perhaps while Father Garfield was rector. She is survived by her brother, Father Harry Kraft, who is a great friend and supporter of our parish. Please keep Sister Margaretta, Father Kraft, and all who mourn in your prayers; please remember in your prayers all the men and women religious who have served Saint Mary’s so faithfully throughout the years, those in the nearer presence of God and those who are with us still.

 

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 . . . Monday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist: Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . On Saturday, September 19, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth, and on Saturday, September 26, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith.

 

OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are planning to attend and if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch has finished his physical therapy at Amsterdam House and has returned home. He was in church last Sunday and has been serving as usher and acolyte at Mass this week. It is very good to have him back with us at the parish. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Music director and organist Simon Whalley will be away from the parish this weekend. He will be in Bruges, Belgium, conducting an Oxford chamber choir at two separate and long-planned appearances, a concert at the Sint Gilliskerk and Sunday Mass at Sint Anna Kerk. In his absence, Parker Ramsay will be playing at our own Solemn Mass on Sunday, September 20. Simon returns to the parish early next week . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish at a Leadership in Ministry conference from the afternoon of Sunday, September 20. He will return to the parish on Wednesday, September 23. He will be away also for vacation from Friday morning, September 26. He will return to the rectory on Sunday evening, September 27 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 174; Holy Cross Day 57.

 

A SIGN OF THE TIMES . . . I have asked our sextons to remove the shrine candle stands from the Lady Chapel and from before the Vault. These boxes for donations have both been broken open by thieves. I will be working with our metalsmith to see if they can be made secure. I hope we do not have to install video surveillance. —S.G.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . For the organ music at the Solemn Mass on Sunday we travel to the Low Countries and hear contrasting works before and after Mass from two leading composers of keyboard music. Pieter Cornet (1575–1633) was for a time organist at the Church of Saint Nicholas in Brussels (in modern-day Belgium) and became a principal figure in the music of the court of Archduke Albrecht. His “Salve Regina” is a profound and stirring work, with the opening theme imitated and embellished respectfully as other voices enter. Perhaps more well-known is Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1621), who, like Cornet, came from a distinguished family of musicians and whose keyboard music is especially noteworthy. Sweelinck also excelled at vocal writing; we shall hear choral works of Sweelinck’s at Christmastide. His ricecar style—a fantasia featuring free passage-work interweaving with more solid homophony—shows the influence of contemporaries across Europe. Our postcommunion hymn at the Solemn Mass is an interesting example of how hymnody can reflect changing times and tastes and the pervading theologies of the day. In the original version of this hymn the opening line was “O Master let me walk with thee/Before the taunting Pharisee;/Help me to bear the sting of spite/The hate of men who hide thy light.” To echo the theme of Father Gerth’s September 6 Angelus article, it is good to note that an enlightened “clarity and consensus” guided the editors of the Hymnal 1940 away from so cynical and negative a perspective. Today’s verse is much to be preferred. At Communion cantor Chris Howatt will sing Ned Rorem’s simple and moving setting of “Love”—sometimes known by the title “Love Omnipresent”—by Thomas Lodge (1557–1625). The themes of the text perhaps remind us of George Herbert’s famous poem, combining themes of spiritual and erotic love, “Love bade me welcome.” I am grateful to Parker Ramsay, who will be playing at the Solemn Mass while I am away. Parker is a student at The Juilliard School. He was formerly an organ scholar at Kings College, Cambridge, UK. —Simon Whalley

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . October 4, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum: “The Michelangelos”—Dr. Dennis Raverty discusses the idealistic vision in the religious art of Michaelangelo Buonarroti, the great Renaissance painter and sculptor, in the first of a two-part series . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 (not October 7), at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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).

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Tuesday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, October 4, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Summer worship schedule ends: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with full choir, 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM, Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM.

VOLUME 18, NUMBER 42

FROM FATHER SMITH: THINGS TO COME

 

It is a rainy and muggy day here in New York as I sit down to work on this edition of the newsletter. Friends from England report that it has been chilly in London, but not here in New York, not yet. Still, there are signs of autumn in the air at Saint Mary’s, despite the late-summer heat. The Stewardship Committee is hard at work on the fall campaign. The Capital Campaign Committee has also been busy, preparing for a launch toward the end of the year.

 

Father Gerth and I, and the other members of the staff, including our new organist and music director, Simon Whalley, are trying to get ready for the 2015–2016 season that begins on the first Sunday in October. October 4 is the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, though we will no doubt also whisper a prayer or two to Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast day normally falls on the fourth. On that day our summer worship schedule comes to an end: Matins will be sung at 8:30 AM. The parish choir will return for the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. The Mass setting will be the Missa brevis of Andrea Gabrieli (1510–1586). The motet during Communion will be a setting of the Ave Maria by Robert Parsons (c. 1535–1571), an English composer of the Tudor period; and we will once again offer Solemn Evensong and Benediction at 5:00 PM on Sunday. This will be our worship schedule until Trinity Sunday, May 22, 2016.

 

I’ve also been working to finalize the adult-education schedule for fall and early winter. As I reported in last week’s newsletter, on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM during the month of October, Dr. Dennis Raverty (October 4 & 11) and I (October 18 & 25), will discuss the work of “the two Michelangelos,” Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564), famed painter and sculptor of the Italian Renaissance, and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), the great Italian painter of the early Baroque period. We hope to learn something about our faith by comparing these two very different artists, both of whom created powerful, well-known pieces of religious art. What should a saint look like? What should images of Jesus look like? How do you tell a biblical story using paint and stone? How has art been used to teach and inspire?

 

Following the October series, the Adult Forum will focus once again on the Bible. On November 1, 8, 15, and 22, and then on the Sundays in Lent, Father Peter Powell will be teaching a class on the portion of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings known as the Succession Narrative. Father Powell writes, “[This series] will ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be faithful when one has power?’ The Succession Narrative has much to say to Christians who live in a nominally Christian society . . . What does the Bible have to say about being faithful when one is in the majority and does not belong to an oppressed minority? . . . This year, both in November and during Lent, we will explore the story of the transfer of power from David to Solomon during a time of disunity and political stress. Examining this history may help us to think about our own situation during this particular moment of discord and political polarization.”

 

Following the Thanksgiving break, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will teach a class (December 6) on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd in early Christian art. This image was the most common way of portraying Christ during the first four centuries of the church’s life. The following week (December 13) we will look at a very different image: Byzantine icons of Christ Pantokrator (“All-mighty” or “All-powerful”). Comparing these two images may teach us something about our own images of Christ, as well as the church’s evolving proclamation about Jesus Christ’s work and person.

 

Following the Christmas break, on January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will talk to the class about how the national church is structured and governed. Canon Barlowe will be coming to us after having organized and guided this summer’s General Convention in Salt Lake City. We hope that he will walk us through the national church’s electoral and legislative procedures. However, the class will be more than just an ecclesiastical civics lesson. We will also get an overview of the state of the Episcopal Church at the present moment and consider where our church might be headed.

 

Later in January and in early February, on dates still to be determined, we will welcome two other guest speakers in the Adult Forum. New parishioner Lorna Woodham will speak to the class about a topic much in the news these days: patterns of incarceration in the United States and the effects those patterns have on family life and the wider social fabric. Lorna is a middler in the combined M.Div./M.S.W. program at the Union Theological Seminary. The class will also have a chance to meet and hear the Reverend Jake Dell talk about evangelism in our digital age. Father Dell works at the Episcopal Church Center. His title is a long one, but what he does is help the church to use digital media to get its message across. He believes deeply that the Episcopal Church has something to say and something to offer, and he wants to get that message out. Father Powell will then continue his series on the Sundays in Lent, beginning on February 14. We will announce the Eastertide class schedule shortly.

 

I am very pleased that such an interesting, diverse, and capable group of teachers has agreed to lead the Adult Forum this year. They have a variety of gifts and exercise a range of ministries. I hope that they will help us on our own journeys as we try to discern what God is calling us to do in our parish and in the world. The Adult Forum meets on Sundays at 10:00 AM in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. —Jay Smith

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, Priscilla, JoAnn, Quinn, Dick, Mala, Mark, Natasha, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Linda, Sam, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the repose of the souls of John Scott and Bob Gordon; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 13: 1898 Susan Ann Widmayer; 1917 Jacob Vetter; 1918 Matthew Carey; 1940 Faith Ralph; 1944 Emma Schneider Snyder; 2009 Thomas O’Rourke.

 

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 . . . Monday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM, sermon by the Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain . . . On Saturday, September 12, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace. On Saturday, September 19, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Saturday, September 5, at 3:00 PM in the Lady Chapel, Barbara and Gerald Gould renewed their marriage vows. Father Jay Smith was the officiant. Jerry is a member of the parish, and he and Barbara live in Tenafly, New Jersey, and Ithaca, New York. They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at the end of August. Please keep them in your prayers . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch has continued to improve rapidly following surgery and several weeks of physical therapy at Amsterdam House. We expect that he will be returning home soon. Please keep him in your prayers . . . We’ve recently had visits from several longtime friends of Saint Mary’s. Father Alan Moses and his wife Theresa Moses have been in New York and staying in the Rectory. Father Moses is the vicar of All Saints, Margaret Street, London. Mrs. Moses is on the administrative staff of the diocese of London. Father David Wood is the rector of the Anglican Parish of Fremantle in the diocese of Perth, Australia. Like Father Moses, he has often visited Saint Mary’s and has preached here on a number of occasions. He will be staying at Saint Mary’s until the end of September. It has been lovely to have such good friends with us once again . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 (not October 7, as reported in last week’s newsletter), at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish at a Leadership in Ministry conference from the afternoon of Sunday, September 20, until Tuesday, September 22. He will return to the parish on Wednesday, September 23 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 212; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary 57.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The poet Christopher Smart (1722–1771) might forever have remained little known and rarely read were it not for the interest of English composer Benjamin Britten (1913–1976). In 1942 Britten was commissioned by Walter Hussey (1909–1985), who was then the Vicar of Saint Matthew’s Church in Northampton, a town about sixty-five miles northwest of London, to write a work celebrating the parish’s fiftieth anniversary. At that time Britten was exploring the poetry of a number of lesser-known writers—he was an avid reader—and he chose to set a series of verses from “Jubilate Agno” by Smart for choir, organ, and soloists. Born of a wealthy family, Smart won a scholarship to study at Pembroke College, Cambridge, UK. Thereafter, he spent much of his early life as a writer and translator. For various reasons he accumulated serious debts, and his bizarre behavior, triggered by intense religious devotion, caused him to be confined to a lunatic asylum in 1757. While he was there, accompanied only by his cat Jeoffry, he wrote the lengthy poem, “Jubilate Agno.” The poet’s remarkably colorful life is reflected in his eccentric and engaging poetry. A number of creatures are viewed as reflections of God’s glory, and chief among these is Jeoffry. Britten sets these verses in his musical setting with a frisky organ part, perhaps emulating a cat playfully trying to catch a thread from a ball of wool. Soprano Sharon Harms will sing this section of the piece as our Communion anthem at the Solemn Mass on Sunday. Hussey’s legacy to church music was remarkable. He left Northampton when appointed Dean of Chichester Cathedral, UK, and while there he also commissioned the Chichester Psalms from New Yorker Leonard Bernstein. The organ postlude on Sunday, the Gavotte from the Concerto in G minor of Matthew Camidge (1758–1844), suggests a Georgian gentility. —Simon Whalley

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street . . . 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).

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Saturday, September 12, 11:00 AM, Solemn Funeral Liturgy for John Scott, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City. The Fifth Avenue doors of the church, which is located between Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth Streets, will open at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Mr. Scott was organist and director of music of Saint Thomas Church and its Choir School from 2004 until the time of his sudden and unexpected death on August 12, 2015 . . . Sunday, September 13, 5:15 PM, John Scott Memorial Recital, Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City. The recitalists are Saint Thomas’s own Stephen Buzard, acting director of music, and Benjamin Sheen, acting organist. Stephen and Benjamin will present a recital in memory of John Scott, which will include some of Mr. Scott’s favorite works for organ and also a new work written specially in memory of Mr. Scott by the English composer, Andrew Carter. The program will last around forty-five minutes and will include music by Mendelssohn, Buxtehude, Duruflé, Demessieux, and Whitlock.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 41

FROM THE RECTOR: “CLARITY AND CONSENSUS”

 

The 2015 General Convention directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music “to prepare a plan for the comprehensive revision of the current Book of Common Prayer” and to present that plan to the 2018 General Convention. And if this were not enough for them to do, the convention also asked the Commission “to prepare a plan for the comprehensive revision of the Hymnal 1982.” So, I went to the web page of the Archives of the Episcopal Church to look at the records of the Reports to the General Conventions (the so-called “Blue Books”) and the Acts of General Convention.

 

When the 1994 General Convention asked for a plan to revise the Prayer Book, the Commission replied in 1997 that it was “premature . . . until the present and proposed provisions for trial and supplemental use have brought us to a place of greater clarity and consensus” (Blue Book, 253). This phrase “clarity and consensus” caught my attention.

 

When the question of a new hymnal was mandated to be reviewed in 2009, a large portion of the church was surveyed. The survey was conducted by the Church Pension Group. Forty-four percent of the congregations of the church were represented in the responses. You can read that report here. The Commission concluded, “While the data does not point towards revision at this time, it does indicate the need to begin an in-depth process of discernment as to what new music beyond the current set of authorized resources will inspire and revitalize our congregations” (Blue Book [2009], 165).

 

But if I’ve read the report correctly, this conclusion about a “need to begin an in-depth process” depends on the assumption of the report’s editors that, “Nevertheless, to do nothing threatens the long-term viability of the denomination” (page 66). Count me among those who don’t think The Hymnal 1982 or The Book of Common Prayer (1979) contribute to the continuing decline of the size of our church or to “the long-term viability of the denomination.” However, I think the need to achieve theological “clarity and consensus” before we try to revise either the Prayer Book or the hymnal will have an impact on the future of the Episcopal Church.

 

There are two significant theological issues that increasingly divide the church today: (1) what is called, “communion without Baptism,” and (2) how we address the Trinity in our Eucharistic Prayers. Both issues have been around for quite a while now. But the theological and ecumenical ramifications of those issues have still not been adequately addressed.

 

The practice of inviting those who are not baptized to receive communion, now common in cathedrals and congregations in many dioceses, including our own, makes me very, very sad. What is most surprising to me about this development is that communion without Baptism diminishes the significance of what many of us think is the most significant accomplishment of the 1979 Prayer Book: a unified initiation rite. That is, Baptism now admits one to the reception of communion—and it is Baptism that does this, not Confirmation. We now have a couple of generations of Episcopalians who grew up as full members of Christ’s Body, the church, welcome to share in communion along with everyone else.

 

As a matter of discipline, when I attend a church service and the Eucharist is celebrated using authorized inclusive, or expansive, language materials, I participate in the service. Yet, I do not welcome Christian prayer that deliberately avoids Trinitarian language. Certainly, traditional Trinitarian language—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—doesn’t exhaust the possibilities for speaking about the Trinity, but it is the language of the New Testament. It’s the language of Christianity.

 

That said, those who have heard me preach over the years know I am increasingly careful about the way I quote Scripture, especially the New Testament, in the pulpit. I work to quote more accurately—and I simply did not realize how much of our most respected English translations continue to defer to the linguistic conventions of the English that was used in the King James’ version of the Bible, first published in 1611. Looking back, I regret my generation of clergy weren’t required to learn to read the New Testament in Greek when we were in seminary. I’d like to think I would have been a more careful preacher from the beginning.

 

I am very aware that liturgical scholarship since the 1970s has moved us in new directions, but that doesn’t mean the 1979 book has begun to need immediate revision. The church grew using its 1789 book for 103 years before it got a second one in 1892. The church actually made very few changes in 1892, and it continued to grow. In 1928 they made a few more, and it continued to grow. But in 1928 they also established the Standing Liturgical Commission to prepare for the next revision. Studies continued until the end of the 1960s when the church was finally ready to begin drafting a new book. As a result, those charged with drafting what would ultimately become the 1979 book actually used the 1928 book for thirty-nine years—not “authorized” or “trial services”—before they began praying with the first alternative service in 1967, “The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper” (Prayer Book Studies 17 [1966]).

 

The present Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has been given neither the time nor the resources to prepare itself or the church for Prayer Book and hymnal revision. They’ve been allocated $30,000 for the next three years for planning for a new Prayer Book, $25,000 for planning for a new hymnal. It will be interesting to see if the present Commission takes the bait or if they have the wisdom to insist that we work first for “clarity and consensus.” —Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Peggy, Bob, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Robert, Josephine, Tanya, Veronica, Jean, Priscilla, JoAnn, Quinn, Dick, Mala, Mark, Natasha, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Sam, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 6: 1893 Nellie G. Thompson; 1910 Edna Grace Rescousie; 1916 Robert Walker; 1917 Melissa McFall; 1989 Martha McElveen Jones.

 

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 . . . Sunday, September 6, Brazilian Day. Vendors and others will be setting up booths on 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues . . . Monday, September 7, Labor 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 . . . Tuesday, September 8, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Morning Prayer 8:30 AM, Noonday Office 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass 6:00 PM, sermon by the Reverend Mitties DeChamplain . . . Friday, September 11: Requiem Mass, 12:10 PM . . . On Saturday, September 5 and September 12, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace.

 

SEPTEMBER 11 REQUIEM . . . The 12:10 Eucharist on Friday, September 11, will be offered with thanksgiving for those who were killed here in the city, in Washington, D.C., and on United Airlines Flight 93, that crashed in Pennsylvania. Since 2001 our Masses on this day have been celebrated wearing purple vestments. This year, we will wear white. My thinking has been influenced not only by our church’s teaching that our burial rites are Easter liturgies. The formal recognition last year by the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, commemorated on April 24, brought to our attention that within their tradition martyrs are remembered not as victims, but as victors. On September 11, nearly 3,000 people from 93 nations were killed. Like others, I will never forget that day and its aftermath. I will never forget that the fires burned for 99 days. The approach of the Armenian Church to martyrdom recalled me to our Easter faith. I think it’s time for us to be in white on this day. —S.G.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Father Matthew Mead, his wife Nicole Mead, and his sons Liam and Nicholas were in church last Sunday. It was wonderful to see them. Father Mead’s Institution as the fifteenth rector of the Parish of Christ the Redeemer in Pelham Manor, New York, will take place on Tuesday, September 29, at 6:30 PM. New Yorkers who do not wish to drive may travel to Pelham on the Metro North, Harlem Line . . . The Rector will be away from Friday, September 4, through Friday, September 11 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 146.

 

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD . . . The American Italian Cancer Foundation will be holding a Mobile Care Clinic at 10 East 46th Street on Friday, September 4, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The clinic will provide no-cost, digital mammograms and clinical breast exams to women aged 40 and older, who currently reside in New York City, and who have not had a mammogram in the past twelve months. The clinic is hosted by the Consulate General of Colombia in the City of New York. Please call 1-877-628-9090 to make an appointment.

 

THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST . . . Sister Deborah Francis is getting settled in and re-accustomed to the rhythms of life at the convent in New Jersey. We trust that she is enjoying the silence in Mendham, though we hope that she will not forget Times Square entirely. . . Sister Monica Clare will be moving to Saint Mary’s on September 10. Sister writes, “I'm looking forward to being at Saint Mary’s so much! Before I came to the Convent, believe it or not, I worked for twenty-three years in movie advertising in Hollywood as a photo editor.” Sister apparently has a sense of humor. She continues, “One might say I have gone from hell to heaven!” . . . Sister Laura Katharine has been busy in the sacristy getting ready for the “fall season.” Starting next week, she will return to the Mendham convent on Monday evening, attend community meetings on Tuesday, and return to New York that evening. We are grateful to all the sisters for their ministry. Please keep them in your prayers.

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The communion anthem at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, offered by cantor Gregg Carder, is by a nineteenth-century composer. It is a setting by Anton Bruckner of a text translated by the Lutheran scholar Walter E. Buszin (1899–1973), who taught for many years as professor of hymnology and liturgics at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, Missouri. Bruckner treats the text with a fervent and passionate expression that suggests the intensity of his Austrian catholicity. The sentiment of the hymns we sing on Sunday also reflects a fervor but articulated here in the manner of two leading eighteenth-century poets and theologians. “O for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer’s praise,” exclaims Charles Wesley in his 1739 verse marking the anniversary of his conversion, which we sing at the offertory. Isaac Watts wrote metrical versions of the complete psalter; “From all that dwell below the skies,” our postcommunion hymn, is his imitation of Psalm 117. While we enjoy the richness of thought that shines so often through Watts’s poetry we should also reflect upon that most venerable of tunes, The Old Hundredth, to which we sing it this week. This finely crafted and pleasingly harmonized tune is by Louis Bourgeois (1510?–1561?), one of the main contributors of hymn tunes to the Genevan Psalter. Throughout the histories of both metrical psalmody and modern hymnody, this is the only tune that has been preserved intact, and indeed celebrated by a number of composers, including Mendelssohn, Britten, Hindemith, and Vaughan Williams. This week, the music for the voluntary picks up on the Anglican spirit that is brought to mind in both our offertory and postcommunion hymns. The short Cornet Voluntary by English composer John Travers (1703–1758) has a grand opening that leads to a sprightly solo on the Cornet stop. —Simon Whalley

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We sent a donation this week to the diocese of New York’s “Rebuild the Churches Fund.” On July 2, Bishop Dietsche invited the people of the diocese to help rebuild a number of African-American churches that have been destroyed by fire. If you would like to make a donation, you may send a check to the Mission Office, Episcopal Diocese of New York, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025. Put “Rebuild the Churches Fund” in the memo line . . . 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) . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street.

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 7, at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. We will continue our reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40. In the Adult Forum on Sunday mornings we have offered a number of classes in recent years that explore the links between religion, spirituality, and the arts, thanks to our able corps of teachers, which have included Dr. Dennis Raverty, Mr. Zachary Roesemann, and Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. This year, on Sundays during the month of October, Dr. Raverty (October 4 & 11) and Father Jay Smith (October 18 & 25), will discuss the work of “the two Michelangelos,” Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564), famed painter and sculptor of the Italian Renaissance, and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), the great Italian painter of the early Baroque period, who was known for his use of light and dark as well as his naturalistic portrayals of the human figure. Both painters had strong views about the relationship between body and spirit, the portrayal of biblical themes and stories, and the proper way to depict Christian heroes and saints. The Adult Forum meets at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. All are welcome to attend all of our adult-education classes. No prior experience is necessary. Following the October series on these two great artists, the attention of the members of the Adult Forum will turn, once again, to the Bible. On November 1, 8, 15, and 22, Father Peter Powell will be teaching a class on the so-called “Succession Narrative” in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. A fuller description of Father Powell’s class, and other fall and winter classes, will appear in an upcoming edition of the newsletter. —Jay Smith

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM. Sermon by the Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain . . . Monday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Tuesday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, October 4, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Summer worship schedule ends: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with full choir, 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM.

VOLUME 17, NUMBER 40

FROM THE RECTOR: MORE FROM SAINT MARK

 

Until Father Pete Powell introduced me to Ulrich Luz’s commentary on Matthew, I never found the commentaries I owned very useful for preaching. Luz changed my mind about how I think about commentaries and how I read them. Now I have another one that I value highly, Joel Marcus’s two-volume commentary on Mark (Anchor Yale Bible series). The current lectionary year is the second time I have been working with it. Marcus gives his readers a sense of the perspective and the unity of the whole of Mark’s gospel. Unfortunately, this sense is missing from the structure of our lectionary, both of the original 1979 lectionary, which we use, and of the Revised Common Lectionary, now used in most parishes. Fortunately, there is something we can do about it. The Prayer Book gives us this permission, “Any Reading may be lengthened at discretion. Suggested lengthenings are shown in parentheses” (BCP, 888).

 

So, this Sunday, August 30, the appointed gospel passage is Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23. One immediately wonders what was left out. First, by editing the passage this way it makes it seem as if Jesus is speaking to “the people” from verse 14 on—the initial verses in the passage were addressed to “the Pharisees” and “some of the scribes.”

 

These are the omitted verses 17 and 18a: “And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples ask about the parable. And he said to them, ‘Then are you also without understanding?’ ”

 

This is what the disciples did not understand, Mark 7:14–15: “And [Jesus] called the people to him again, and said to them, ‘Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.’ ”

 

Now, the whole passage which we are going to hear at the Sunday Masses, Mark 7:1–23, will sound familiar. Matthew’s use of Mark is heard in Year A, when Matthew 15:10–20 is the Sunday gospel. But Mark used this material first. Matthew’s Jesus does not say, “There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him.” Matthew’s Jesus also does not say in the parallel passage, “Thus he declared all foods clean” (Mark 7:19b).

 

Ulrich Luz notes, “The Matthean changes of Mark’s text are relatively minor, but significant in content” (Matthew 8–20: A Commentary [2001], 326). Mark and Matthew understand the law differently—and scholars have no clear agreement about many of the obvious differences (p. 327). Well okay, I would like to know more, not less about Mark. So, I have been reworking the gospels for the remaining Sundays of the church year—only two are not lengthened. We will hear all of chapter 7 and more from chapters 8, 9, 10, and 12.

 

For example, on Sunday, September 20, we will hear a passage from Mark that echoes very much for me the merciful understanding we find in John’s gospel for the slow journey to belief made by those who knew Jesus. For reasons completely unclear to me, the 1979 lectionary makes this story from Mark of Jesus healing a boy the disciples could not heal (Mark 9:14–29) optional; the new lectionary omits it entirely. The parallel passages in Matthew 17:24–21 and Luke 9:37–43a are not used in either lectionary. I think this is a significant loss.

 

Matthew and Luke both omit dialogue between Jesus and the father of the boy. The father says to Jesus, “ ‘If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ ” Those are words the disciples who left Jesus did not know; those are words I hope I can always say when I need them.

Stephen Gerth

 

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Rick, Jean, Priscilla, JoAnn, Quinn, Dick, Robin, Jane, Mala, Mark, Natasha, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Sam, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Erika, priest, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 30: 1905 Mary Oakley Place; 1914 William Washington; 1915 James Robert Adams.

 

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 . . . On Saturday, August 29, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith. On Saturday, September 5, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . The members of the Stewardship Committee are hard at work, planning this year’s campaign. Stewardship packets will be mailed in mid-October. If you have questions about stewardship or pledging, please speak to a member of the committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels, or to Father Gerth or Father Smith. We are grateful to all those who support Saint Mary’s so generously . . . Matthew Jacobson, a middler at the General Theological Seminary, will be joining us in mid-September as our seminarian intern for 2015–2016. Matt, who is also a physician, is a member of Christ and Saint Stephen’s Church and a postulant for holy orders in the diocese of New York. Some members of Saint Mary’s will have met him last spring since, on occasion, he served at the altar. Matt has been a good friend of the parish for many years. Before he entered the ordination process, he often worshipped with us during the week. Matt will be serving at the altar, reading at Mass and the Daily Office, learning the ropes in the sacristy, teaching a class in the Adult Forum in early December, and helping with outreach. Please introduce yourself to him and make him welcome. We are happy that he is joining us . . . The Rector will be away from Friday, September 4, through Friday, September 11 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 177.

 

ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 7, at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. We will continue our reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40. In the Adult Forum on Sunday mornings we have offered a number of classes in recent years that explore the links between religion, spirituality, and the arts, thanks to our able corps of teachers, which have included Dr. Dennis Raverty, Mr. Zachary Roesemann, and Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. This year, on Sundays during the month of October, Dr. Raverty (October 4 & 11) and Father Jay Smith (October 18 & 25), will discuss the work of “the two Michelangelos,” Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475–1564), famed painter and sculptor of the Italian Renaissance, and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), the great Italian painter of the early Baroque period, who was known for his use of light and dark as well as his naturalistic portrayals of the human figure. Both painters had strong views about the relationship between body and spirit, the portrayal of biblical themes and stories, and the proper way to depict Christian heroes and saints. The Adult Forum meets at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. All are welcome to attend all of our adult-education classes. No prior experience is necessary. Following the October series on these two great artists, the attention of the members of the Adult Forum will turn, once again, to the Bible. On November 1, 8, 15, and 22, Father Peter Powell will be teaching a class on the so-called “Succession Narrative” in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. A fuller description of Father Powell’s class, and other fall and winter classes, will appear in an upcoming edition of the newsletter. —Jay Smith

 

FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . There is a current of nineteenth-century music flowing through this Sunday’s Solemn Mass, evoking a variety of moods and attitudes. Before the service we shall hear two movements from Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata No. 2 in C minor. A grandiose and stern opening Grave precedes a gently flowing Adagio, highlighting the “hautbois” stop and this will prepare us well for the introit, quoting the supplicatory words of Psalm 85. The majestic fugue from the close of the Mendelssohn sonata will be played as the postlude, and this will follow happily from the stirring tune by George James Webb (1803–1887) that we sing to the words of George Duffield, Jr. (1818–1888): “Stand up, stand up for Jesus.” The splendor of this closing hymn, with its images of royal banners and valiant hearts triumphant, contrasts with the more delicate sentiments of John Keble (1792–1866), whose words “Blest are the pure in heart” are sung as our postcommunion hymn. His gently poeticized invocation of the Beatitudes, written originally as part of a hymn of seventeen stanzas for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has none of the muscularity of Duffield’s words. Keble was a gentle and humble man, and in much of his poetry we can detect a voice that echoes the psalmists at their most self-effacing. Precisely this sentiment is heard in our communion anthem. Cantor Brittany Palmer, soprano, will sing the solo “O for the wings of a dove!” from the Mendelssohn setting of words derived from Psalm 55, “Hear my prayer.” —Simon Whalley

 

LIFE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD . . . Many friends and longtime members of the parish know that the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School across the street and down the block from Saint Mary’s used to be the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the setting for the 1980 hit movie Fame. On Tuesday night, there was a screening of the popular film in a field between the Sheep Meadow and the 72nd Street Cross Drive as part of the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival. Apparently, nearly 6,000 people, including a large contingent of LaGuardia alumni, showed up to watch the film. The New York Times published an article about the event in Thursday’s newspaper. The article is both a joyous and a bittersweet reflection on the school, its history, and its students’ pursuit of fame and artistic fulfillment. Saint Mary’s is mentioned in the article, because, it turns out, our church building “doubled for entrances and exits.” Parishioner Clint Best, who alerted us to the article, remembers that Saint Joseph’s Hall was used for costume and make-up changes during the shooting of the film and that “it helped us balance our budget that year.”

 

REPORT ON GENERAL CONVENTION . . . The deputation of the diocese of New York to the General Convention will give a report on its activities and actions on Thursday, September 24, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM in Donegan Hall, located in Diocesan House on the close of the cathedral, Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street. (There is a guard stationed in the driveway to the right of the Cathedral who can provide directions.) The General Convention took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 25 to July 3, 2015.

 

OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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) . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street.

 

AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Looking for some light theatrical fare at summer’s end? Our friends at the Peccadillo Theater Company at Saint Clement’s Church (“where classic American theater lives!”) are currently presenting a comedy by Erasmus Fenn, starring Everett Quinton (of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company), and directed by Joe Brancato, entitled Drop Dead Perfect. The production’s original run in 2013 at another theater was very well received. The play opened in mid-August for a limited run at Saint Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. The Peccadillo’s artistic and managing directors, Dan Wackerman and Kevin Kennedy, are well-known to the members of Saint Mary’s, since they worship with us frequently on Sunday mornings. Call (845) 786-2873 to buy tickets and for more information. Discounted tickets are now available through September 2.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, September 7, Labor 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 . . . September 8, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Monday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Monday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Tuesday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, October 4, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Summer worship schedule ends: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with full choir, 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM.

Volume 17, Number 39

FROM THE RECTOR: OUR CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

On Easter Day 2010, when I came down from the rectory for Evensong, parishioner Hardy Geer met me in Saint Joseph’s Hall with what looked like small rocks. He told me that some small chunks of stone had fallen from the 46th Street façade of the church. Within a day or two a sidewalk shed was put up. Architects were hired. The lay leadership of the parish and I began the long journey to the capital campaign.

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Volume 17, Number 38

FROM THE RECTOR: PLANNING FOR CHALLENGE

Part of my daily reading since last April has been a paragraph or so from a book about Bowen Family Systems Theory. The first book was Your Mindful Compass (2013) by Andrea Maloney Schara. Right now, I’m just about finished reading Perspectives on Congregational Leadership: Applying Systems Thinking for Effective Leadership (2009) by the Reverend Israel Galindo. An American Baptist minister, Galindo is now an associate dean at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). His title is “associate dean for lifelong learning”—another name for “continuing education.” In addition to his academic background and service as a parish minister, he has been a student of Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) since the early 1990s.

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Volume 17, Number 37

FROM THE RECTOR: ASSUMPTION & TRANSITIONS

Our principal celebration for the Feast of the Assumption will be on its eve, Friday, August 14. There will be an organ recital at 5:30 PM by David Macfarlane. I will be celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. We’ve been blessed with better weather lately, and I hope I won’t feel moved to begin my sermon on this evening, as I did one year, with the words, “Gentlemen may remove their jackets.” It’s a lovely Mass—and always a special one. This year it is also parishioner Mark Peterson’s last service as interim organist and music director. He’s done a great job for us, and there will be a special reception in his honor after the service.

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Volume 17, Number 36

FROM THE RECTOR: WHICH LECTIONARY? WHICH PRAYER BOOK?

Since we use the original 1979 Prayer Book lectionary, over the last two Sundays we heard Mark’s accounts, first, of the feeding of the five thousand, and then, of Jesus walking on the sea. In the new Prayer Book lectionary, adopted in 2006, which the great majority of parishes use, last Sunday they heard John’s account of the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on the sea. For the next four weeks, all of us will be hearing almost all of the rest of the sixth chapter of John. This Sunday, August 2, we will all be hearing the same passages from Exodus and from John—though we will have different psalms and different passages from Ephesians. Sunday’s gospel begins with the crowds seeking Jesus. It ends with this verse:

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