FROM THE RECTOR: TRINITY SUNDAY 2015
The Middle Ages gave Western Christians two new major feasts, Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. Both reflect very much the spiritual life of their times; and both represent a significant departure from the liturgical tradition of the church. They are “feasts of ideas” (A. Adam, The Liturgical Year , 167); neither is associated with an event in the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in one of the gospels.
The heresy we call “Arianism,” the belief that God the Father created God the Son, emerged at the end of the third century. It was the great theological issue of the fourth century. Athanasius (c. 295–373) was the most important champion of “the full godhead of the son: ‘of one Being with the Father’” (Lesser Feasts and Fasts , 232). The theological struggle against Arianism carried over into the political life of the eastern and western empires. It managed to cast its shadow over areas of Spain and France for many centuries. Parts of a votive Mass of the Trinity is in the Gelasian Sacramentary, generally dated to the middle of the eighth century. A Sunday votive Mass appears in manuscripts around the year 1000.
Various popes resist its introduction. While the papacy is in France, John XII introduced the feast in 1334 (Adam, 168). Thomas Becket is credited with its acceptance in England (M. Shepherd, The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary , 186). Trinity Sunday survived the Protestant Reformation in England; Corpus Christi did not. (It began to return among Anglicans in the wake of the 1834 Oxford Movement. Corpus Christi has been celebrated annually in this parish since the doors of Saint Mary’s first church opened on December 8, 1870.)
Before the first Sunday after Pentecost was Trinity Sunday, it was the octave Sunday of Pentecost. Its gospel lesson was Jesus speaking to Nicodemus about the need to be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:1–15). After the Reformation, Lutherans and Anglicans continued to use this gospel on Trinity Sunday until the revisions of their lectionaries in the 1970s.
Growing up Southern Baptist, I learned to sing the first hymn in the Baptist Hymnal (1956) Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty. Reginald Heber’s (1783–1826) text was matched to the tune Nicaea by John Bacchus Dykes (1823–1876) in 1861. I think it’s fair to say that it remains one of the most widely sung hymns of Christian churches. Episcopalians have been singing it since the Hymnal (1871).
(Hymnal 1982 rant: Episcopalians of my generation grew up with The Hymnal 1940. Its first hymn is the great Advent hymn Come, thou long expected Jesus. Can any reader name the first hymn in The Hymnal 1982 without looking it up?)
The other hymn Episcopalians associate with Trinity Sunday I don’t remember singing before I started attending the Episcopal Church, “I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity.” The Hymnal 1982 Companion states that the text has been attributed to Saint Patrick (372–466) since the end of the seventh century. It notes, “Although this text matched with this tune appeared in the 1916 edition of the Hymnal, it was not until the late 1940s that the hymn began to gain extensive usage” (Volume 3A, hymn 370).
The metrical translation we know was done by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895) for the Irish Church Hymnal (1891)—the “Irish Church” in the title is our Anglican church in Ireland. Her text was set to the tunes “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “Deirdre” by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) for the English Hymnal (1906). It’s a difficult tune to sing. That said, though we only sing it once a year, the singing is always “strong.” I don’t want anyone to stay away from the Said Eucharists this weekend, but the music at 11:00 AM will be great. I’m sorry I will be away from Saint Mary’s this weekend—to attend the wedding of the daughter of a friend from seminary and Indiana days. I confess, when I am away, I always miss Saint Mary’s. Happy Trinity Sunday. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR John, Thomas, Judi, Edward, Brian, José, Sam, Victoria, Catherine, Dennis, Mazdak, Trevor, Andrew, Barbara, David, Abalda, Linda, Takeem, Arpene, Deborah Francis, religious, Pamela, religious, Paulette, priest, Harry, priest, and James, bishop; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty; and for the repose of the soul of John McGrath . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 31: 1890 Kate Meek; 1891 Fannie Mills Prentice; 1913 Percy St. George Townshend; 1919 Morgan Adams; 1934 Herbert Guppy; 1995 Louis Stephen Stancill.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEARS 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, May 31, Trinity Sunday, Solemn Mass & Te Deum 11:00 AM . . . Monday, June 1, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . On Saturday, May 30, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith. On Saturday, June 6, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.
SUNDAY RECITALS & SOLEMN EVENSONG . . . As is our custom, Trinity Sunday is the final Sunday of organ recitals at 4:40 PM and Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM. Organ recitals and Sunday Evensong return on the first Sunday in October. During the summer months, Evening Prayer is read at 5:00 PM. I want to thank everyone who attends, especially the regular congregation, servers, cantors, and colleagues who make it possible. I continue to be deeply thankful for the witness in Times Square not only of our building but of the church at prayer. I believe God makes good use of it. Again, thank you. —S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Erwin De Leon was awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy from the New School for Social Research last week. The title of his doctoral dissertation was “Gay and Racial/Ethnic Identities, Perceived Discrimination, and Participation in Collective Action.” Erwin lived here at the parish from 2003 until 2007, when his husband, Father John Beddingfield served as curate. Congratulations, Erwin! . . . Parishioner Tom Kerr is now at CareOne, an assisted-living facility in Morristown, New Jersey. Please keep him and his wife Judi in your prayers . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Friday morning, May 29, through Sunday afternoon, May 31, and from Tuesday, June 2, through Thursday afternoon, June 4 . . . Hospitality Ministry: We hope to receive donations for the reception on the Eve of the Assumption, Friday, August 14. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 239.
COMMUNITY OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST . . . Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., made her first vows during Mass on Tuesday, May 26, at the Convent in Mendham, New Jersey. The Right Reverend Prince Singh, bishop of Rochester and the community’s bishop visitor, was the celebrant and preacher. Several members of the Order of the Holy Cross came from West Park, New York, for the Mass. Their presence was rich in symbolism: the sisters of the Community of Saint John Baptist provided encouragement and crucial material support to the founders of the Order of the Holy Cross in the 1880s. I went to Mendham for the Mass and to witness Sister Monica Clare’s vows. Following the Mass, Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B., gave me a tour of the sacristy and showed me part of the community’s exquisite, and extraordinarily well-preserved, collection of vestments. Please keep Sister Monica Clare and all the members of the community in your prayers. —James Ross Smith
VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . There is a new exhibition in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall: Photographs by Catherine Rehkamp. There will be a reception to mark the opening of the exhibition on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 7:00 PM. All are welcome.
LGBT PRIDE MARCH . . . The Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Episcopal Diocese of New York is arranging for a float and DJ for the 2015 LGBT Pride March. The march will take place on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Exact details of where and when to gather will not be announced by the march organizers until about a week before the March and will be added to the Diocese of New York’s website as soon as that information is available. The diocesan representatives have asked to be towards the end of the march so that those with Sunday-morning duties will be able to participate. It is not necessary to register separately. All you need to do is show up! All are encouraged to come and to join the march. The Diocese has provided some funding to support the diocesan contingent, but help is still needed to pay for the float, the DJ, and the march’s registration fees. A total of $5000.00 is needed! Checks should be made payable to: The Episcopal Diocese of New York, with the notation “LGBT Pride” in the memo section. Checks should be mailed to: The Ven. William Clay Parnell, Archdeacon for Mission, The Episcopal Diocese of New York, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025.
AIDS WALK 2015 . . . The Walk took place on May 17, but you can still make a contribution to this important effort, since donations will be accepted up until June 12. You may make a donation online, or you can give a check to Father Jay Smith (checks should be paid to the order of AWNY). In late June, we will give a report of the final numbers and the details of our success. Questions can be referred to Father Smith or to co-leaders MaryJane Boland and Clark Mitchell. In the meantime, all the members of the Saint Mary’s Team would like to express their gratitude to all of you. —MaryJane Boland & Clark Mitchell
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . William Walton (1902–1983) was a native of Oxford, England. He became a chorister at Christ Church, Oxford, at the age of ten and later received a degree from Christ Church College. He was actively composing by the age of fifteen, and, while he received no formal training in composition, Walton continued to write, fulfilling commissions, in time presenting a work for the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. His Coronation Te Deum received great critical acclaim, but it is a series of motets on religious texts for which he is best remembered. In these works there is an instinctive, nonintellectualized style of composition, with no obvious dogmatic motivation, nor any evidence of denominational loyalty. There is, however, a religious sensibility to his work and a forthright, immediate approach to the setting of text. The Mass setting that we will hear on Sunday morning, Walton’s Missa brevis, was a commission from the Friends of Coventry Cathedral in 1966 and was first presented in the new cathedral there. This is his only Mass setting, and it has the distinction of having a wildly demanding organ accompaniment to the Gloria in excelsis, while the remaining movements of the Mass are sung a cappella. During the ministration of Holy Communion at the Solemn Mass, we will hear an anthem, The Cherubic Hymn, by the Russian composer Mikhail Glinka (1803–1857). Although he was known primarily as an orchestral composer, Glinka did compose a few choral works, among them The Cherubic Hymn, which was written in 1837 during Glinka’s tenure as Kapellmeister (“music director”) of the Imperial Chapel in Saint Petersburg . . . On Sunday afternoon at 4:40 PM, Matthew Phelps will play the organ recital, the final organ recital of the season. His program includes works by César Franck (1822–1890), Paul Benoit (1893–1979), and Herbert Howells (1892–1983). Matthew is the director of music at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Matthew will also be assisting, and playing the postlude, at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. Evensong and Benediction resumes on Sunday, October 4, at 5:00 PM. —Mark Peterson
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 . . . If you would like to find out more about the work of Saint Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, please speak to Father Gerth . . . Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) is responding to immediate needs for food, shelter, and clean water in earthquake-impacted Nepal through the ecumenical ACT Alliance, and is exploring further opportunities for action through other partners in the region. You can make a donation to ERD online.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, June 7, The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi. Our summer service schedule begins at Evening Prayer on Corpus Christi . . . Thursday, June 11, Saint Barnabas, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, June 24, Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM . . . Monday, June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, July 22, Saint Mary Magdalene, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Saturday, May 30, 2015, 12:00 PM–4:00 PM, African Burial Ground National Monument, 290 Broadway, Pinkster Celebration. The word “Pinkster” is derived from the Dutch word “Pinksteren,” which means Pentecost. Pinkster is recognized as the oldest African-American holiday, dating back to the colonial period. The African influence on Pinkster dates from the fifteenth century in the Bantu regions of Congo and Angola. Since the 1970s, New Yorkers have resurrected Pinkster festivals throughout the metropolitan area. The African Burial Ground National Monument and the African-American Pinkster Committee of New York invite all New Yorkers to a commemorative celebration on Saturday, May 30. More information is available online . . . June 26–27, 2015, 7:00 PM, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street, Voodoo: A Harlem Renaissance Opera, by Harry Lawrence Freeman: “Rediscover the operas of Harry Lawrence Freeman (1869–1956). [Freeman was] dubbed the ‘colored Wagner’ by contemporary journalists. His music blends Western classical music with spirituals, popular dance music, and jazz. Voodoo tells the story of a love triangle between three former slaves on a Louisiana plantation during Reconstruction. A Harlem resident, Freeman gained acceptance in classical music between the 1920s [and the] 1940s. The opera is being produced by Morningside Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and the Harlem Chamber Players.” Tickets may be purchased online.