FROM THE RECTOR: PATRONAL FEAST 2016
On Wednesday, November 30, I was in West Feliciana Parish, north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to visit a retired bishop of Louisiana, Charles Jenkins, and his wife, Louise Jenkins. They have been friends of mine since I served as Father Jenkins' curate in Baton Rouge. They are also friends of Saint Mary's. If memory serves, the bishop has known Saint Mary's since he was a seminarian. I continue to be thankful for the friendship, encouragement, and advice they have given me over many years.
After reading Morning Prayer for Saint Andrew's Day with the bishop, he and I went into St. Francisville for breakfast at Birdman Coffee and Books. While there he introduced me to a friend as the rector of Saint Mary the Virgin in New York. Though Charles didn't know it, his friend already knew about Saint Mary's. His brother was a priest. Many years ago, a rector of Saint Mary's helped rescue his brother's son from a cult. From the short early morning conversation, I think it was Father Edgar Wells who made all the difference in that young man's life. The story was an unexpected reminder about the importance of the work, witness, and wider ministry of this parish.
This week Saint Mary's will celebrate the 146th anniversary of the opening of the doors of Saint Mary's on Thursday, December 8, 2016, the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche, the bishop of New York, will be celebrant and preacher for the 6:00 PM Solemn Mass. Organist and Music Director Dr. David Hurd will play his first recital as our parish musician at 5:30 PM. Earlier in the day, Morning Prayer will be sung at 8:30 AM. The Noonday Office will be at 12:00 PM. There will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM.
On Wednesday evening, the Eve of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Evensong will be sung at 6:00 PM. A quartet from the choir will sing the canticles and a motet. There will be a reception following Evensong on Wednesday night and one following the Solemn Pontifical Mass on Thursday night. All are invited.
I might also have entitled this week's newsletter, "Lost and Found," not just in relationship to our souls, but to terra cotta. On the day before Thanksgiving I learned that one piece of terra cotta needed to complete the work on the rectory roof was missing. We would need to wait four months for the replacement. We were offered the possibility of using another material for that one missing piece- but that would still mean at least two months of waiting. It seemed right to me that we finish the job with original materials. But this week we had the very good news that the missing piece was found. If there are no more surprises and the weather is clement, the Forty-seventh Street work should be complete before Christmas.
Many know the attached photograph, an enlarged copy of a photograph of the steel frame of the church under construction in the late winter or early spring of 1895. I did not realize how detailed the original was until Lewis Gleason, architectural conservator at Jan Hird Pokorny, Associates, Inc., pointed it out to me. One can see the individual rivets in the steel columns. And I never realized there were people in the photograph until Lew pointed them out to me.
Scanning technology is now available that will capture all of this detail. I'm hopeful we can have the new scan done on short order and a new print in the frame that often hangs in Saint Joseph's Hall-it gets moved when exhibits are installed. Then, I hope we can begin scanning all of our historic architectural drawings.
We have much to celebrate with our bishop on our patronal feast this year. Four persons will be presented for confirmation. Our music program has a new glorious voice. We have received over three million dollars in pledges for our capital campaign. The gracious work of our Lord and Savior continues among us daily because so many for so long have given to keep the doors of this church open to all. -Stephen Gerth
OUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Robert, Julie, May, Penny, Donald, Linda, Eileen, Mona, Carol, Shareeda, Barbara, Jean, Sally, Cliff, Antonia, Sharon, Robert, Nicole, Robin, George, Joanna, Jason, Dolly, Melissa, Juliana, Heidi, Catherine, Sam, Burton, Takeem, Toussaint, Abraham; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Hamilton, Gaylord, Harry, and Louis, priests; and all victims of war, poverty, famine, and disaster; the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas; and for the repose of the soul of Arpene . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . 1907 Howell L. Clarke, Mary Schnorr; 1908 William Maron Hicks; 1914 Elizabeth J. F. Parkman; 1919 George W. Ritter; 1939 Constance Enid Smith; 1944 Lillian Rucker; 1968 Washington Irving.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Audrey Arpene Davies, mother of parishioner Virginia Davies Taylor, died on Tuesday, November 29. Please pray for Arpene, for Virginia, and for all who mourn.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Our pledge campaign continues. Here are some statistics: $300,755.00 has been pledged so far. This is 71% of our pledge goal for 2017. We hope to achieve three goals between now and the end of the year: (1) to encourage all Saint Marians prayerfully to consider how they can offer their time, talent, and treasure to God here at Saint Mary's during the coming year; (2) to raise $425,000.00 during this year's pledge campaign; and (3) to have all those who made a pledge for 2016 fulfill that pledge no later than December 31, 2016. To make a pledge for 2017, please fill out a pledge card and mail it to 145 West Forty-sixth Street, New York, NY 10036; or place your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass; or make a pledge online.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Saturday, December 3, 2016, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Annual Benefit Concert . . . Adult Education in Saint Joseph's Hall 1:00 PM (note change of location and time) . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on December 7. The class resume on December 14, after which it begins the Christmas recess . . . Miller Theatre, Columbia University School of the Arts, will present a concert, "A Renaissance Christmas," at Saint Mary's by the Tallis Scholars on Saturday, December 9, at 8:00 PM. Click here for more information and tickets . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 229.
MUSIC NOTES . . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is the Short Communion Service by Adrian Batten (1591-1637). Born in Salisbury, Batten was subsequently a chorister and organ scholar at Winchester Cathedral. He moved to London in 1614 to become a lay clerk of Westminster Abbey. He later assumed a similar position at Saint Paul's Cathedral where he also played the organ. As a music copyist in London, Batten is credited with preserving much significant church music of his time, his copies being the only surviving source. Ironically, much of his own music has been lost. However, Batten's surviving compositions show him to be a thoroughly skilled-if not daring or original-composer of liturgical music. His modest Short Communion Service for four voices models the restraint that was typical of Batten's church music. Maurice Bevan has edited a modern edition that provides Kyrie (nine-fold), Benedictus qui venit, and Agnus Dei using music derived from other parts of Batten's service in order to accommodate modern liturgical needs.
O Heavens, Open from Above, sung during the administration of Communion on Sunday, was composed by David Hurd in 2004 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Reverend William Greenlaw as rector of The Church of the Holy Apostles, Chelsea, New York City. The text is by Sister Genevieve Glen, OSB, of the Abbey of Saint Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado, and a prolific contemporary hymn writer. Sister Genevieve's Advent-themed poem takes its inspiration from Isaiah 45:8. The musical setting suggests an urgency of hopefulness.
Today's organ voluntaries are, as they were last week, based upon Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland ("Come now, Savior of the Gentiles"). The chorale (#54 in The Hymnal 1982) is Martin Luther's sixteenth-century adaptation of the fourth-century Latin hymn Veni Redemptor gentium attributed to Ambrose of Milan (#55 in The Hymnal 1982). The Prelude is an extended Choral fantasia by Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697) in which each of the chorale's four melodic phrases (the last of which is identical to the first) is elaborately developed in four distinct sections to be played on two manuals and pedals. Bruhns was a highly regarded virtuoso of both keyboard and stringed instruments of the generation before J. S. Bach (1685-1750). The Postlude is the third of three settings of Nun komm from the Great Eighteen Leipzig Chorales of J. S. Bach (BWV 661). This setting is a vigorous fugue for the hands under which each of the four phrases of the chorale in turn is stated boldly on the pedals. -David Hurd
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, December 4 and 11, Keeping the Season of Advent with Handel's "Messiah," led by Dr. Mark Risinger. Note change of location and time: The classes will take place in Saint Joseph's Hall at around 1:00 PM, at the end of Coffee Hour. During this series Mark will use portions of Handel's great oratorio to help us enter in the season of Advent and prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Mark is a member of the parish and of the Saint Mary's Choir, and a former member of the parish's board of trustees. He is also an accomplished musicologist and Handel scholar. He teaches at Saint Bernard's School here in Manhattan . . . Sunday, January 15, 22, and 29, Dealing with the Hard Stuff: Talking about Anger, led by Dr. Charles Morgan. Charles is a member of the parish. He is a psychiatrist affiliated with the Northeast Medical Group and the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Bridgeport Campus. He has a particular interest and expertise in the treatment of alcoholism, mood disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Over the course of twenty years at Yale University and the Neurobiological Studies Unit of the National Center for PTSD, Charles's neurobiological and forensic research has established him as an international expert in PTSD, in eyewitness memory, and in human performance under conditions of high stress. Charles also teaches the human sexuality course in the Physician Associate Program at the Yale School of Medicine.
FLOWER GUILD NEWS . . . The Flower Guild is making plans to decorate the church for Christmas. This year the effort will be led by Guild members Rick Austill and Marie Rosseels. Decorating the church is hard work, but it is also a lot of fun, and there is a great sense of fulfillment as the church is made ready for the liturgies of Christmas. If you would like to help out, or if you would like to find out more about what the Guild does and how it does it, please speak to Marie or Rick . . . On Sunday, December 11, the Third Sunday of Advent ("Gaudete" or "Rose" Sunday), the members of the Flower Guild will host a Flower Guild Fair during Coffee Hour. The members of the Guild will be introduced and will be available to answer questions. Photographs of the Guild's creations will be on display, and the members of the Guild will give tours of the Flower Room in the basement. During that time, they will discuss some of their plans for Christmas. Members of the parish will have an opportunity to ask additional questions about the Guild's ministry, to discuss membership in the Guild, and to sign up to volunteer to decorate the church for Christmas. We are very grateful to the members of the Guild for their dedication to their ministry and for the ways in which they enhance our worship.
FOR MARINERS AT CHRISTMAS . . . One of the great ministries of the Episcopal Church is its association with the Seamen's Church Institute, which ministers to merchant ship sailors in New York City; Newark, New Jersey; the San Francisco Bay area; and in the Gulf of Mexico. You can read about their work and ministries here. We've been asked to collect travel-size toiletries (as one finds in hotel rooms) that can be distributed at Christmastide to the men and women who sail, men and women who often don't have a visa to permit them to shop ashore. There is a basket in Saint Joseph's Hall for collection of items. Money is welcome too. Make your checks payable to Saint Mary's, and note that it's for Seamen's Church Institute.
HOMELESS MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Plans are moving ahead for our first Drop-In Day. The plan is this. On a weekday afternoon in January, two or more volunteers will greet our homeless guests in the Mission House, and two or more volunteers are needed also to accompany them downstairs to our clothes closet. They will then have the opportunity to receive needed clothing items, as well as a bag with toiletry items, our recently designed book of prayers, as well as some information about the parish. At some point, if not in January, we hope to have a social worker or two present on these Drop-In Days to discuss other services. We hope also to have a chance to talk to our guests to hear more from them about the struggles they face in the Times Square neighborhood and to discover ways to shape our ministry based on the actual needs of the homeless in our area . . . Our Wish List: as the weather grows colder, we are looking for donations of socks, blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, toothpaste, toothbrushes, coats, backpacks, gloves, winter hats, earmuffs, rain ponchos, and, most important, gift cards for McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts. If you'd like to volunteer to help distribute clothing and other items, please contact Sister Monica. -Members of the Homeless Ministry Committee
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Sunday, December 11, Third Sunday of Advent, Flower Guild Fair during Coffee Hour . . . Wednesday, December 21, Saint Thomas the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve, Music 4:30 PM, Sung Mass 5:00 PM; Music 10:30 PM, Solemn Mass 11:00 PM . . . Sunday, December 25, Christmas Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM . . . On Sunday, January 1, 2017, The Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church will be open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. There will be only one service, Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM . . . Thursday, January 5, Eve of the Epiphany, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Friday, January 6, The Epiphany, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM, the Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, celebrant and preacher.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Morgan Library, 225 Madison Avenue, at Thirty-sixth Street, October 7, 2016, until January 22, 2017, Word and Image: Martin Luther's Reformation. From the museum website, "Word and Image includes more than ninety objects, highlighted by one of the six existing printed copies of the Ninety-Five Theses, and nearly forty paintings, prints, and drawings by the celebrated German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. Also on view will be Luther's manuscript draft of his famous Old Testament translation, sculptor Conrad Meit's exquisite statues of Adam and Eve, and over thirty of Luther's most important publications. The majority of the works in the show are loans from German museums and have never before been exhibited in the United States."