FROM THE RECTOR: GERALD JAMES CAMPBELL McKELVEY, 1943–2015
Gerald McKelvey died on Monday, March 16, 2015, at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 71 years old. He had been a member of Saint Mary’s for 29 years. His funeral will be on Thursday, March 26, at 10:00 AM here at his parish church. His ashes will be interred in the vault in the Lady Chapel at the end of the Mass. He is survived by his wife, Maria-Liisa Lydon McKelvey, and his three children. May he rest in peace.
I met Gerald on Wednesday, November 18, 1998, when I came to New York to be interviewed by the board of trustees for the position of rector. He was not only a member of the board, but, as vice-president, he was acting president until the next rector began his service. I met him and Linda Bridges, chair of the search committee, at a restaurant, no longer there, off Fifth Avenue in the 50s. In my mind, I will always be able to hear his strong voice very clearly. I’m sure that night he extended his hand and said, “Gerald McKelvey.” My hand went out as I said, “Stephen Gerth.”
We were seated. Drinks and meals were ordered. Questions began. The initial exchange remains fixed in my memory: Gerald, “What are you going to do to save Saint Mary’s?” Stephen, “What are you willing to change?” Gerald, “Everything is on the table.” Stephen, “Everything?” Gerald, “Everything.” Stephen, “Even music?” Gerald, “Especially music. The most important thing is that Saint Mary’s be saved.”
Gerald joined the parish’s board of trustees in March 1996 and was elected vice-president in December 1996. When Father Edgar Wells announced his retirement to the board in July 1997, Gerald began presiding over the meetings that dealt with the call of the next rector. When Father Wells’s retirement began at the end of 1997, Gerald became the acting president of the board until I became rector on February 1, 1999. No interim period is without its challenges. As I looked over the minutes of the board meetings of that time, it was not surprising to read how Gerald provided clear and steady leadership.
Gerald was what Episcopalians used to call a “churchman.” He had grown up Episcopalian and was both loyal and proud of his church as it moved forward in his lifetime. When he had turned to the church at significant times in his life, his rectors had been men who spoke his language. I know from our conversations that their pastoral care was a great help to him.
He was also a “high churchman.” Saint Mary’s ceased to be a neighborhood church by the middle of the last century. People came here because of the commitment of this parish to the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Gerald lived in Brooklyn. He traveled past many parishes to be at Saint Mary’s when he came here on Sundays. Epiphany was a special day for him; he loved the Te Deum sung solemnly on Trinity Sunday. I think it’s fair to say that praying the Angelus meant a lot to him both because of its theological content and because it was a marker of his commitment to Anglo-Catholicism.
Gerald had had a really interesting professional career. He was press secretary for nine years for Robert Morgenthau, the long-serving Manhattan district attorney. When I came to Saint Mary’s, he was an executive vice-president at the great Manhattan public relations firm Rubenstein Associates. It always made me smile when I saw Gerald on television standing behind someone who was facing the media. I miss him. His voice is one I will never forget. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Jim, Brayden, Mazdak, Trevor, Lawrence, Darrell, Penny, Vanessa, David, Dennis, Larry, Angel, Anna, Dee, Emily, Ben, Abalda, Linda, Eric, Barbara, McNeil, Takeem, Arpene, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty; and for the repose of the souls of Gerald McKelvey and Kenneth Wayne Cross . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 22: 1889 Sarah Lee; 1914 Katherine Ott and Katherine Kopf; 1930 Emma Crego Pierce; 1971 Mary E. Fargher.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Parishioner Kenneth Wayne Cross died in Monroe, Georgia, on Sunday, March 1. Ken was an active acolyte here at the parish in the mid-2000s, before he moved to Georgia to be with his family. His ashes will be interred in the Vault in the Lady Chapel on Friday, March 20. Parishioner Gerald McKelvey died at Mount Sinai Hospital on Monday, March 16. His funeral will be here at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, March 26, at 10:00 AM . . . Please keep Kenneth, Gerald, their families and friends and all who mourn in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY WEEKDAYS OF LENT are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial. The Fridays of Lent are also observed traditionally by abstinence from flesh meats. Abstinence is not observed on Sundays in Lent (or on the Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, or the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25).
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Friday, March 20, 6:30 PM, Stations of the Cross following Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, March 24, Eve of the Annunciation, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, March 25, The Annunciation, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:00 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM, 7:30 PM Reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Thursday, March 26, 10:00 AM, The Burial of the Dead: Gerald McKelvey . . . Friday, March 27, 6:30 PM, Stations of the Cross following Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 21, by Father Jay Smith, and on Saturday, March 28, by Father Stephen Gerth. Confessions will also be heard by the parish clergy following the Good Friday liturgies.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B., was admitted to Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey, this week to receive treatment for pneumonia. She hopes to return to the convent in Morristown this coming weekend or early next week. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Parishioner Jim Dennis was admitted to NYU Langone Medical Center last week for tests and treatment. He is now at home. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The Flower Guild is beginning to make plans for Holy Week and Easter. If you would like to volunteer to help decorate the church for Easter, please speak to a member of the Flower Guild . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 214.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . During the season of Lent, the organ is used only to provide accompaniment and, even then, it is used very sparingly. The great literature written for the organ is reserved for Easter and the season that follows. The weekly organ recitals that precede Evensong and Benediction will likewise resume on Easter Sunday . . . William Byrd (c. 1540–1623), one of the most prolific of English composers, was also one of the most celebrated composers of the English Renaissance. His entire life was marked by contradictions, and as a true Renaissance man, he cannot be easily categorized. He lived well into the seventeenth century, spanning a time of great change and much upheaval. He produced a good deal of music for the new Protestant Church at court, and was organist of the Chapel Royal at Windsor for a number of years. Despite a number of indications to the contrary, it appears that Byrd was, or became and remained, a staunch Roman Catholic. It is thought that at the behest of a circle of well-positioned friends, Byrd embarked on a program to provide a cycle of liturgical music covering all the principal feasts of the Catholic Church calendar. The first stage in this undertaking comprised the three Mass settings (in four, three and five parts, respectively), which were published by Thomas East between 1592 and 1595. The editions are undated, do not name the printer, and consist of only one vocal part per book to aid in concealment, all signs of secrecy: reminders that the possession of heterodox books was still highly dangerous in Elizabethan England. Byrd’s three settings reflect the practice of the Continental Tridentine liturgy by including settings of the Kyrie, which was rare in pre-Reformation English settings because of the various troped Kyries required in Sarum usage. The Kyrie of the three-part Mass, which we hear sung today by the gentlemen of the choir, is set in a simple litany-like style, sung today alternately with chant, but the other Kyrie settings employ dense imitative polyphony. At the distribution of Holy Communion we hear a wonderful motet, Si iniquitates observaveris (“If Thou, Lord, should’st mark iniquities”), by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1766–1837), son of one of the Protestant reformers, again sung by the men of the choir. —Mark Peterson
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on Wednesday, March 25, or on Wednesday, April 1. The class will resume on April 8 and will begin reading at Isaiah 28 . . . On the Fifth Sunday in Lent and on Palm Sunday (March 22 & 29) Father Pete Powell will continue his series on The Gospel of John. Part of the discussion in the class will focus on discipleship and the ways in which the Gospel of John helps one to understand the life of the disciple . . . During Eastertide (April 19, 26, and May 3), Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will be leading the class, once again, in a discussion of the links between theology and the arts: “And the angel said, ‘Be not afraid’ ”: God’s Ministering Messengers, From Scripture through the Arts and Literature. All the Sunday-morning adult-education classes begin at 10:00 AM and are held in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. —Jay Smith
HOLY WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . March 28 & 29, Palm Sunday: (Saturday) Liturgy of the Palms & Vigil Mass 5:00 PM; (Sunday) Sung Matins 8:30 AM; Liturgy of the Palms & Sung Mass 9:00 AM; Liturgy of the Palms, Procession to Times Square, & Solemn Pontifical Mass 11:00 AM, Sermon by the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold; Solemn Evensong, Litany & Solemn Benediction 5:00 PM . . . April 2, Maundy Thursday: Sung Matins 8:30 AM; The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper 6:00 PM, The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, celebrant, The Very Rev. Andrew McGowan, preacher; The Watch before the Blessed Sacrament . . . Friday, April 3, Good Friday: Sung Matins 8:30 AM; The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord 12:30 PM & 6:00 PM. Confessions will be heard by the parish clergy after both liturgies . . . Saturday, April 4, Easter Eve: Sung Matins 8:30 AM; The Great Vigil of Easter 7:00 PM; Sunday, April 5: The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM; Said Mass with Hymns 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM; Organ Recital 4:30 PM; Solemn Paschal Evensong 5:00 PM.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Thursday, March 26, 2015, 7:30 PM, at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Great Music in a Great Space: Verdi Requiem. Kent Tritle, director of music and organist at the Cathedral, conducts a splendid cast of soloists, leading a first-ever collaboration with the Oratorio Society of New York and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and Symphonic Chorus. Please visit this link for additional information on the evening’s soloists, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Oratorio Society of New York. Tickets can be purchased online.