The Angelus

Volume 17, Number 39



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.


The board of trustees hired Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, an architectural preservation firm, to do a complete survey of the fabric of the buildings, interior and exterior. The trustees received their report in the fall of 2011 and began to plan for a capital campaign. Finding the right firm to assist us took quite a long time. In the end, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) seemed to get us, if you will. In the spring of 2014, we hired ECF for an evaluation and, then, a feasibility study.


We had an impressive 117 responses to the feasibility study survey, and 99% of those were in favor of conducting a capital campaign. That was very good news—for which we can all give thanks. The complete feasibility study has been posted on the parish’s main web page here. With this favorable response the board approved the campaign.


The capital campaign will be formally kicked off on December 8, 2015, our patronal feast. I’m delighted to announce that the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop, will be celebrant and preacher on this special day. Save the date! The plans and communications materials are in the works.


Clint Best, David Jette, and Marie Rosseels have agreed to serve as co-chairs for the campaign. Clint and David are both former board trustees; Marie is currently the board’s vice-president. The other committee members are MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, Clark Mitchell, and Mark Risinger.


Using the feedback from the feasibility study and recommendations from our architects, we have identified three urgent needs to address in this campaign.


·         First, the rectory roof needs to be replaced. An advanced gift has already been received which we think will cover the cost of replacing the roof. We hope the work can be completed this fall—though conservation of the terra cotta ornamentation may not be finished until the spring.


·         With the scaffolding as a constant reminder, the façade of the church needs extensive repair. There has been water damage to the iron clamps that hold the stone of the façade to the brick behind it. As I understand it, technology helps identify which clamps and stones need to be replaced. This is the most expensive project.


·         Finally, we are ready to address accessibility. Saint Mary’s exterior, you may remember, is landmarked by the city. Though we are unlucky that the 46th Street façade presents no straightforward way to provide an accessible entrance; the 47th Street façade does. In fact, there is room between the 47th Street church door and the rectory stoop for a ramp without a turn. It’s got to look right. That’s another expense, but one that’s entirely doable. The present women’s restroom is the only space that lends readily to conversion as an accessible restroom. Right now, we think restrooms for women and men need to be on the basement level. A larger staircase is needed to make that accessible, planned with a future elevator in mind—along with a new storage space for our very active flower guild!


The fall stewardship campaign will be conducted on our usual schedule, during the months of October and November, and remains our priority for funding our ongoing ministries. This parish matters, not just for us, but for others and for the work of Christ in this city. I believe in the future of Saint Mary’s. We have a great opportunity for many graces to accompany our journey. I ask for your prayers for the campaign and for our hearts. —Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Mark, Mala, JoAnn, Quinn, Babak, Mazdak, Dick, Robin, Jane, Natasha, Jerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, John, Thomas, Judi, Sam, Catherine, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Rebecca, deacon, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty; and for the repose of the soul of Emily Davenport . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 23: 1918 Charles Ambrose Coburn; 1920 Cornelia Colgate Hatfield; 1929 Harold McCleave Brown.


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, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . On Saturday, August 22, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth. On Saturday, August 29, confessions will be heard by Father Jay Smith.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Jacob Andrew Slusky-Sterbin, the son of Reha Sterbin and Ben Slusky, was baptized here at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, August 9. Jacob, whose nickname is Jake, was born on August 16, 2014. Please keep him and his family in your prayers . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch is still at Amsterdam House, 1060 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, New York, New York 10025, for rehabilitation following surgery. He continues to improve. Please keep him in your prayers. (When visiting Amsterdam House, a photo ID is required.) . . . On Sunday, August 16, we welcomed our new organist and music director, Simon Whalley, and said goodbye to Sister Deborah Francis Scott, C.S.J.B., who is returning to the convent in Mendham, NJ. Sister moved on Thursday. We now expect Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B., will be moving to Saint Mary’s on Thursday, September 10. We look forward to her arrival. More about Sister Monica Clare in a future edition of the weekly newsletter . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 184.


VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . There is now an exhibition of paintings by Humberto Rengifo-Rojas in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Humberto was born in Cali, Colombia, and studied there and in Madrid. He came to New York in 1968 and worked for twelve years designing and producing jewelry. He first showed his paintings in 1984 and has exhibited his work at a number of galleries, including the Hudson Guild Gallery and La Galeria at Boricua College. For more information, please contact curator José Vidal.


THE HISTORY OF SAINT MARY’S . . . On Tuesday, August 25, we will commemorate Louis, King of France (1214–1270). It was Louis who commissioned the building of Sainte-Chapelle, a medieval Gothic chapel on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. Louis built the chapel, in part, to house a collection of “relics of Christ” which are now kept at Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral. It is said that the design of the chapel inspired the firm of Napoleon LeBrun, the architect of our church building. A simple image search on Google will reveal how the interior of Saint Mary’s echoes that of Sainte-Chapelle.


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.


FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Before last Sunday’s Solemn Mass the plainsong melody from the introit was played on the organ stop called the “basson.” In this week’s improvisation before the Solemn Mass on Sunday, the initial presentation of the proper’s melody will be on the “flûte harmonique.” These two stops remind us that there is a distinctly French accent to the organ here at Saint Mary’s. Over the next few weeks I plan to continue to use a number of the distinctive sounds of the organ in the introductory improvisations. The noble, reedy qualities of the basson seemed apt for last week’s introit, with its stirring image of God our defender. The beautifully warm and tender sound of the flûte harmonique is chosen to match the gentle invocation of the introit text appointed for Sunday. At the ministration of Communion, soprano Sharon Harms will sing the famous “Panis angelicus” of César Franck (1822–1890). The text is from a Corpus Christi hymn by Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). Franck set these words of Eucharistic devotion to a simple and elegant theme, the harmonies changing just once or twice in each measure. The Sacramental signs that the words evoke is emulated in the musical method. As the singer repeats the words, the apparently simple theme is heard a complete measure later on the organ in canon—and you will hear this played on the flûte harmonique. Our postcommunion hymn “Blessed City, heavenly Salem” is another ancient text, set to the plainsong tune “Urbs beata Jerusalem” and is sung to the translation by the gifted high church priest John Mason Neale (1818–1866). It is a magnificent melody, with elegant shapes and expressive contours that draw us happily back to the home or “tonic” note. —Simon Whalley


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.


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.