FROM THE RECTOR: LOOKING AHEAD A LITTLE
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, Board Vice President Marie Rosseels and I accepted the resignation of Simon Whalley as organist and music director. The hearts of all of us in the parish leadership are heavy. Simon made a real contribution to our common life in the short time he was with us. I’m sure all who read this will join me in wishing him the very best.
On Wednesday, I wrote the eight singers who are scheduled to sing at the Solemn Mass this coming Sunday, February 28. They already have their music. It turns out that one of them had already been assigned as cantor for the service. Those who attend the Solemn Mass know what very fine musicians they are. I asked them that, for this Sunday, they work out among themselves who will conduct the music. The Solemn Masses on the first two Sundays in Lent have been awesome. The organ has been silent. The sound of the unaccompanied voices of the congregation and choir has been beautiful and powerful.
I also began contacting a few musicians in our city for their assistance and recommendations for covering the organist and music director position(s) for Holy Week and Easter Day. When I get that sorted out, I will work on interim assistance for the rest of the choir season. Then, we will start the search process, and I don’t think we will need to start from the beginning. I am confident that we can build on the work we did in 2014 and 2015. I would like to have a new musician in place by August 1, 2016.
Some of you have heard me refer, both in my writing and in my preaching, to a book I have been rereading very slowly, The Hidden Lives of Congregations: Discerning Church Dynamics (2004) by Israel Galindo. As I near the end of this very helpful book, I’m reading more slowly and more reflectively. I’ve been making a lot of notes along the way. Near the beginning of the book, Professor Galindo writes, “Being part of a community is a powerful, basic human need” (page 28). Saint Mary’s is parish that is a home community for many who are near and many who are far from Times Square.
Congregations (the fundamental religious community) are shaped by their common language and by how they come together for worship, education, and mission. Music is very much at the heart of the language of this parish. The kind of music heard during worship here has changed a great deal since 1870, but I’m not sure that the role of music at Saint Mary’s today is much different than it was back then: to help us know God, praise God, and proclaim life in Christ to others.
Music remains an essential way that we, in the words of the prophet, “hear new things, hidden things which you have not known” (Isaiah 48:6). Hearing new things and responding to what we believe is God’s call to the future is fundamentally more a matter of faith than of fear. As I write on Thursday afternoon, February 25, I can’t be sure what the music will be like during Holy Week and Easter, but I am sure that, with God’s help, music offered to God’s glory will be heard at Saint Mary’s during this sacred season. I ask for your presence, your prayers, and your faith in the future as we are led forward, we pray, by the Holy Spirit. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Pat, Louise, Julie, Alice, Daniel, Kris, Francesca, Mary, Sylvia, Pearl, Stephen, Walter, Martha, Sally, Sam, Jean, Quinn, Heidi, Rasheed, Billy, Karen, Catherine, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, Mazdak, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, Peter, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 28: 1900 Mary Ann Holman; 1910 Charles Gallagher; 1918 Margaret Merti; 1921 Frances A. Post; 1924 Vallie B. Marin; 1930 Thomas J. Reid; 1941 Anne Sylvia Cairns; 1943 Edith Mead Slocum Culyer; 1949 Lucy W. B. Kempson.
THE 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 Saint Joseph’s Day, Saturday, March 19. (This year, the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, will be celebrated on Monday, April 4. When March 25 occurs during Lent, the day is not observed by abstinence.)
FRIDAYS IN LENT . . . Stations of the Cross will be prayed weekly on Fridays at 6:30 PM. You are invited to join us.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saint Mary’s on Sunday: February 28, the Third Sunday in Lent: Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Adult Forum 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will continue on March 2 at 6:30 PM. The class will begin its reading at chapter 55 of the Book of Isaiah . . . Friday, March 4, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM & Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, February 28, at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House, Father Peter Powell will continue his series on The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11–20; 1 Kings 1–2. This class will continue throughout the season of Lent, meeting on Sunday, February 28, and on March 6, 13, and 20 . . . Next up: Beginning on Sunday, April 3, Matthew Jacobson will begin his four-part series, Reading the Fathers: An Exploration of the History, Spirituality & Theology of the Early Church. Matt writes, “This four week class will examine early Christian writings from the first and second centuries in order to explore the history, theology, and spirituality of the early Church. We will look at several different genres of Greek writings in translation such as a letter, a liturgical text, and a martyrdom account of an early saint. The class will be structured in a way that we will focus on a different text each week and, therefore, participation will not be dependent on having attending a previous week.” A notice about the class has now been posted on the parish website. Take a look at the icon there of Saint Polycarp, who was martyred around the year AD 155. An early and important account of Saint Polycarp’s martyrdom will be read during this series . . . On Sunday, May 8, Stephen Morris will give a presentation on his new book, When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (McFarland, 2015).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Saturday, February 20, sixteen members and friends of the parish gathered for a Lenten Quiet Day, led by Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. It was a good day; and we are very grateful to Sister Monica for her leadership and her helpful words . . . We heard this week from our friends at Saint Paul’s Church, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, that Father Peter Cullen, rector of Saint Paul’s, became ill during Mass last Sunday. He was taken to Methodist Hospital for tests and treatment. He is now at home and, we are told, is doing well . . . Pat Rheinhold recently received treatment at a hospital in New Jersey. She is now recuperating at home. Daniel Okobi was in church last Sunday. He will need to keep his weight off his ankle for some time, however. Alice Manning was also in church on Sunday. She is recuperating at home and continues to do well. Please keep Pat, Daniel, Alice, and Father Cullen in your prayers . . . Flowers are needed for all the Sundays in Eastertide. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . If you would like to make a donation to help pay for the receptions after the Easter Vigil (March 26) or on Ascension Day (May 5), please speak to Father Jay Smith or contact the parish office . . . Sermons by the parish clergy, including recent sermons by Father Powell and the Rector, have been published on the parish webpage . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 202.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2016 . . . This year’s Campaign is going well, but there is still some work to do. We are very close to meeting our goal! As of February 22, we have received $405,934.00 in pledges for the coming year. This is 95% of our 2016 goal of $425,000.00. If you would like to make a pledge, please call the finance office. Our staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for 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.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves) for distribution here at the parish. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, March 13, Daylight Saving Time begins . . . Saturday, March 19, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 PM . . . March 19 and March 20, The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, The Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Vigil Mass on Saturday at 5:00 PM. On Sunday, Liturgy of the Palms and Sung Mass at 9:00 AM. The Liturgy of the Palms, Procession to Times Square, and Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM. There is no 10:00 AM Eucharist on Palm Sunday.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Thursday, March 10, 7:00 PM, at the Gerald Lynch Theater of John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street, Songbirds 2: A Celebration of African-American Women in Theater: In Honor of Gertrude Jeannette. Ms. Jeannette played an important role in the history of The American Negro Theater (ANT). Angeline Butler, a great friend of Saint Mary’s, will perform at this event. Please call 212-237-8764 to reserve tickets. General Admission: $20.00; Seniors $15.00; Students $10.00; John Jay Students: Free Admission.