From The Rector: You Welcomed Me
Many of you know that our parish kitchen has been closed since last fall. For the moment, there are too many other maintenance projects in the pipeline that must take priority over this one. Fortunately, we can still serve a few things from the kitchen -- coffee, tea, juice and light packaged refreshments – and at receptions on principal feasts, wine, punch and their accompaniments. But more than that, no. Curiously, coffee hour on Sundays lasts longer than when the kitchen was working. On the Sunday evening front, I was privately and completely skeptical when we introduced a half-hour for refreshments after Solemn Evensong last October. I was totally wrong. It turns out that my job at 6:25 PM on Sundays is to announce, “Last call,” and then to begin to dim the lights so that people leave. This seems to me to be a direct result of the way our community and our building welcomes people.
We are not perfect at this by any means, but we seem to be in a season when something very good is happening. People who are unfamiliar with Saint Mary’s, the Episcopal Church or even Christianity seem to be finding a community at prayer and an invitation to join in our prayer – and at our best, this invitation is made with a smile and an open bulletin or Prayer Book.
Was it around 1980 that someone, inspired by the “Preppy Handbook”, was selling t-shirts and aprons emblazoned, “Episcopalians: Before Truth, the Right Fork”? I don’t care about forks. But I do care that we are a community that cares deeply about newcomers and visitors. If we are not here for others, we can never really be here for Jesus. It was he who said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
One of my favorite prayers was regularly used by Episcopalians on Sundays when Morning Prayer and Sermon was the principal Sunday service is a prayer that is called “For All Sorts and Conditions of Men” (Prayer Book, page 814). Just those words “all sorts and conditions” are a sermon. The Church is graciously a place for everyone, the rich and the poor and everyone in between. We sinners by God’s grace and gift have been made God’s children, have been given his Spirit and have been predestined by him for eternal life.
I believe that our lives find their meaning in our response to God’s Spirit that has been given to us, that dwells in us. Unless people obviously commit their lives to evil, in thought, word and deed, I think you and I should presume God is seriously at work in some way in every person we meet. When I do this, it may or may not change anyone else. I think it changes me.
By the end of this week we will move into the last four weeks of summer. This year the fall equinox is September 22. As in past years, many of us will have vacation; some will have weekends away. I think you and I can expect opportunities every Sunday and every day to welcome people to Saint Mary’s who are being led here for the whole range of reasons people walk through our doors. Almost always one of the wonderful benefits of welcoming the stranger is the effect of our welcome, our Church and our spirit upon them. There’s more in Times Square than many ever imagined. There’s a church where God is worshiped and all are welcomed every day of the year. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Joanne, Carol, Kevin, Bill, Debi, Gary, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Katherine, Ovidiu, Rozalind, Marietta, Connie, Rick, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan; and for the repose of the souls of Jack, Gates and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . . August 22: 1947 Mattie Myrtle Jones, 1997 Charles Bertram Harmon.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We recently received word that John J. Musto and Llewellyn Gates Wray have died. John was a friend of the parish and Gates was a longtime member. Please pray for the repose of their souls, for their friends and families and for all who mourn. J.R.S.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Sunday, August 17, following Solemn Mass, at 1:00 PM, Randall Good will give a talk about his work and the tradition of the Stations of the Cross. His exhibit of paintings of the stations is now in the gallery of Saint Joseph’s Hall. More information about his work and about the stations-of-the-cross tradition can be found at http://www.bluemoonartgallery.com . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, August 18, at 7:00 PM, in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House, after the Evening Mass . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, August 16. Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, August 23.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . If you are going to be away during all or part of the summer, we would ask you to please remember to make pledge payments, by mail if necessary, so that we can avoid summertime cash-flow difficulties. . . Parish administrative assistant Sandra Schubert will be on vacation from August 18 until August 22. . . Dick Leitsch will be in the office that week . . . Seminarian Jed Fox continues to work on the lectionary project. A great deal of it is already online on the parish web site in the archive section. Soon, we hope to be able to link the calendar to the readings directly! . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish and on vacation from Friday, August 22, until Tuesday, September 9 . . . Flowers are needed for the altar the last Sunday in August and for all of the Sundays in September . . . Early registrations for “Primary Things” – our liturgical conference – are encouraging! Full details are available on the parish website . . . Attendance last Sunday 293.
COMING EVENTS . . . August feast days include Monday, August 25, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Wednesday, August 20, Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot, and Friday, August 29, the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist . . . Sunday, October 5, the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: the Saint Mary’s Choir sings at the Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM; there will be Christian Education for both adults and children at 10:00 AM; Solemn Evensong and Benediction at 5:00 PM.
ASSUMPTION APPEAL . . . If the parish office has an address for you, you should have received our annual special Assumption appeal letter in the mail; a copy of the letter was also sent via email to our international community of friends. Most years we have directed donations received from this appeal to a specific project. This year we are asking you to help the parish reach our stated goal of $548,000.00 for our 2008 pledge campaign. We need just under $40,000.00 to meet our goal – less than 10% of the total. We hope that the entire Saint Mary’s community, both members and our faithful friends will be able to help us close the gap. Steven Heffner, Treasurer
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . All members of the guild are cordially invited to lunch and a brief business meeting on Sunday, September 21, around 1:00 PM, following Solemn Mass and Coffee Hour, in the Smith-Vidal apartment on the fourth floor of the Parish House. Please let Father Smith know if you are able to come.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is the chorale prelude on Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (see Hymn 339 for a translation) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The postlude is Bach’s Fantasia in G, BWV 572. Probably written around 1708, when Bach was organist in Mühlhausen, the Fantasia show signs of the influences of French music on the young Bach (it is also sometimes known as the Pièce d’Orgue), particularly in the central section, with its intense chromatic harmonies. The cantor is Mr. Geoffrey Williams, countertenor. At Communion, Mr. Williams will sing Laude novella by English composer Gavin Bryars (born 1943). Bryars’ collection of laude has its origins in the world of early music, being based in spirit and feeling on the unaccompanied laude for solo soprano voice found in a collection from thirteenth- or fourteenth-century Cortona (in present day Umbria, Italy). The people who originally sang such things – the laudesi – banded together in confraternities, but were not usually associated with any particular church and this music was not part of any liturgy, although many of the laude texts are Marian. James Kennerley
CHILD CARE & SUNDAY SCHOOL . . . Children are always welcome at Mass at Saint Mary’s. The Rector encourages families with children to sit at the front of the church – so the children can see easily and clearly. However, there are some Sundays when young children might need somewhere else to go. The Saint Benedict’s Nursery & Playroom is staffed by Ms. Laura Minor, a professional childcare provider. The Nursery & Playroom is open and available every Sunday from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM. Sunday School begins in October.
NEW ALTAR SERVERS . . . I am on the lookout for new altar servers, and it is likely that I will speak to you at Coffee Hour this week. We need seven more altar servers. We have a cassock that fits you perfectly. Can you start next week? Let me know. Matthew Mead
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 20, 2008. . . in New York, Souvenir Gift Shopping, Subway Dog Collar or Skyline Butter Dish? . . . “Those who don’t believe in the division of church and T-shirt may consider a visit to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin’s gift shop near Times Square. They sell ‘Smokey Mary’ T-shirts in their gift shop on Sundays, but no cheating: the store doesn’t open until Mass is over. The church’s heavy use of incense explains the nickname, but not the flaming censer logo (ask for the story). A small bottle of the incense itself, made especially for the church by a parishioner who now lives in Arizona, is $10, and they’ve recently begun stocking what may be the worst possible New York City gift in history, a bound 320-page photocopy of Kyle Babin’s 2008 doctoral thesis about music at St. Mary’s from 1868 to the present.” . . . For the record, I have read Kyle’s dissertation twice – which the author of this article has not. Anyone interested in church music or the history of Saint Mary’s would enjoy it very much. It is excellent. I understand it is selling very well, as are t-shirts and incense! S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Wednesday Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 1153
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said Mass. Child care is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
Monday–Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass,
6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass. The Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include healing services.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass,
4:00 PM Confessions, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.