FROM THE RECTOR: SMOKELESS MARY'S
On Sunday, January 22, after Evensong, thurifer Ric Miranda was burning off the residue in the removable metal cup that holds the charcoal inside the thurible. The soot or residue on one of the blades of the exhaust fan caught on fire. Because of his background, Ric knew how to deal with the fire directly and quickly. At his suggestion, the Fire Department was called to make sure the fire was entirely out-no residual smoldering particles to set something else on fire. Until we have a new exhaust system and the right kind of fire protection system in the smoke room, our prayers will rise to God without incense.
For the record, the present set-up in the smoke room was the result of an inspection-perhaps 10 years ago-by the fire marshal. Office Manager Chris Howatt has been working this week with two firms that work with restaurants for new equipment of the kind we think we need. I certainly hope that it will be no more than a couple of weeks before we are back in business. One thing will be new: our new equipment and exhaust vents must be of the kind that can be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
In other not entirely unrelated news, Michael Devonshire and his team at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates (JHP), our architectural conservators, have submitted a grant proposal to New York Landmarks Conservancy for a fire escape for the rectory on its south wall, in the courtyard behind the rectory. It will connect to the fire escape on the north wall of the parish house. This connection will have the benefit of providing safe access to the gutter above the hallway that runs from Saint Joseph's Hall to the sacristy.
The major problems with the façade of the church on 46th Street and the limestone that wraps around the sanctuary can be traced to the lack of provision for the regular cleaning of the gutters of the church roof. It turns out, there's room for the installation of safety rails that workers can clip onto and clean the gutters safely. It turns out also, and it's no surprise once one thinks about it, that there are firms in the city that specialize in this kind of maintenance work.
Some years ago, I heard a bishop from another diocese suggest that congregations in our diocese consider closing the doors of our churches and that we spend our efforts on weekdays doing ministry in the world. I don't think he really knew how important church buildings are if their doors are open. People come first; but people need shelter. Christians believe God uses places where people pray to help people. Our doors are open daily "for all sorts and conditions of men [and women]," to use a traditional Prayer Book phrase. I know people encounter God here, often in times of great need. Of course, far more often those encounters are known only to God. The conservation and maintenance of our building enables the church, that is, the people of God, to have a place of witness, worship, and welcome to share with others.
After a stone fell from the limestone of the 46th Street façade on Easter Day 2010, the board of trustees commissioned a survey of existing conditions of the church complex's interior and exterior. No one expected the priority project to be the replacement of the rectory's slate roof, but it was. (At some point since 1895, slates were turned and some new slates were installed.) With the right weather, we are hopeful that with completion of the final (and unexpected) job of this project (connecting the north wall of the Lady Chapel to the rest of the building), the scaffolding will be down very soon-perhaps this week.
On Wednesday, February 1, I will begin my eighteenth year of service as rector. I remain excited about the life and witness of Saint Mary's. Beginnings often are a clue to the shape of the future. On Candlemas, February 2, 1999, I discovered the church was not clean. I spent a considerable part of that day helping the-then sexton to wash the pews and clean the prayer books and hymnals. I also managed to be celebrant and preacher that night for the first time at the altar of this church. I hope many of our friends and members who are near will be able to be here this week for the services on the eve and the day of the Feast of the Presentation. I close with profound thanks to all who make the continuing the witness of Saint Mary's to the resurrection of Jesus Christ possible. Happy Candlemas. -Stephen Gerth
OUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Claudette, Elsa, Paula, Christopher, John, Andrew, Alexander, Shawna, Rocco, Krystal, May, Robert, Nicole, Heidi, Barbara, Jean, Sam, Wilbert, Sharon, Donald, Linda, Burton, Takeem, Toussaint; Sidney, deacon; Horace, Hamilton, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, Edgar, and Carl, priests; all victims of war, poverty, famine, and disaster; the repose of the soul of Mary O'Leary; and the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 29: 1873 Myra Alberta Burckmyer; 1881 Julia Tidjien; 1902 Elizabeth Littell; 1909 Wilhelmina Stadler; 1935 Willard Augustine Baldwin; 1937 Cora Ethel Stevenson; 1943 Robert Howard Hirsch.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THE BLESSING OF THROATS on the day the church commemorates Saint Blase is a traditional catholic devotion that was revived in Anglo-Catholic parishes, like Saint Mary's. It dates to the eighth century. Blase was a fourth-century bishop of Sebaste in Armenia. Tradition holds that he cured a little boy who had a bone caught in his throat. A pair of crossed candles are touched to the throat as the blessing is given. Blessings will be offered on February 3, 2017, during the 12:10 Mass and during Evening Prayer.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S. . . Adult Forum: The Adult Forum scheduled for Sunday, January 29, at 10:00 AM, has been cancelled due to illness. Dr. Charles Morgan will teach his third and final class on anger on Sunday, February 5, at 10:00 AM in the Arch Room, on the second floor of the Mission House . . . Sunday, January 29, Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on Wednesday, February 1, the Eve of the Presentation of Our Lord. The class will meet on February 8 . . . Sunday, February 5, Super Bowl Party 6:00-9:00 PM, Saint Joseph's Hall.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . A Mass of Resurrection for Julie Kuipers Sandri was offered on Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 2:00 PM . . . Several members of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory attended Solemn Mass and Evensong on Sunday, January 22. As always, it was very good to see them. Please keep the brothers, including our own Brother William Jones, in your prayers. More information about the Brotherhood is available online . . . Last week we received a large gift of clothing from our neighbors at Forever 21. Some of the clothing will be put to use in our own Homeless Ministry, the rest will be shared with our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement's . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: February 12, 19, and 26. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The pictures of the firefighters were taken by Ric Miranda. All other photos were taken by Sr. Monica Clare . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 186.
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . This week Saint Mary's (SMV) signed a Linkage Agreement between the parish and Breaking Ground (BG), an organization in our neighborhood that, since 1990, has been providing permanent affordable housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The scope of the agreement is as follows: BG will accept referrals of homeless individuals from SMV; SMV will alert BG to homeless individuals and/or conditions in/around the premises of SMV in an effort to provide case management and housing placement services to those in need and where SMV has programming for people in need. BG and SMV will partner to provide case management and housing placement services to homeless individuals being served by SMV.
SUPER BOWL PARTY. . . Super Bowl 51 will take place on Sunday, February 5, 2017, beginning at 6:30 PM EST. Once again, we will mark the occasion with a party in Saint Joseph's Hall. Beverages will be provided. Dinner is potluck. Please contact Father Smith or Grace Bruni if you are planning to come to the party and are able to bring a dish to share. We will not have an oven available for warming dishes up, so we would ask you to plan accordingly. Cash donations at the door will be accepted in order to cover the costs of food and beverages. Please be generous! The hospitality budget needs your help! Remember: you don't need to know anything about football to come to the party. Come for the fellowship, the comfort food, and the half-time show!
FROM DR. DAVID HURD . . . The setting of the Mass this morning is Missa Petre ego pro te rogavi by Alonzo Lobo (c. 1555-1617). Lobo was one of the most highly regarded Spanish composers of polyphony in his time, being a slightly younger contemporary and friend of Tomás Luís da Victoria (c.1548-1611). Having previously been named a canon in the collegiate church of his home town of Osuna, Lobo was appointed assistant to Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) in Seville in 1591. Two years later Lobo was elected Chapelmaster at Toledo Cathedral. In 1604 he returned to Seville as Chapelmaster, where he served until his death. His surviving works, published in 1602 in Madrid, include six Masses and seven motets. Missa Petre ego pro te rogavi, dated 1595, is based on Guerrero's motet of the same name, composed for the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Lobo's Mass is for four voices until the final Agnus Dei where the addition of a second soprano part expands the texture to five voices.
Richard Proulx (1937-2010) was one of the most gifted and prolific twentieth-century American composers, editors, and arrangers of church music. Proulx was a Roman Catholic, but his work and influence were broadly ecumenical. He was an active member of the commission that produced The Hymnal 1982, and he modeled the highest standards as director of music for many years at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral (Roman Catholic). His Prayer of the Venerable Bede was composed in 1982 for Trinity Church, Princeton, and is dedicated to James Litton, who was music director at that time. The text is as it appears inscribed upon a wall of Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral. Proulx's setting has a haunting quality. The choir introduces an antiphon in Latin against which a soloist (Sharon Harms) alternates singing the text in Latin and English.
The organ prelude is one of several orchestral concerti that Bach adapted for organ. Characteristic of these concerti is the dialogue between a larger and smaller instrumental force. The Italians called these two groups ripieno and concertino respectively. These larger and smaller forces, usually of stings, are well replicated on the organ by the use of two keyboards with correspondingly larger and smaller registrations. Johann Ernst (1696-1715), the original composer of this one-movement concerto, studied as a child with Bach in Weimar. Obviously the master was taken with the work of his young student, as he was moved to create the organ version in which it is now known. One wonders what the young Duke and pupil of Bach might have composed had he lived past the age of nineteen. -David Hurd
ADULT EDUCATION . . . On February 12, 19, and 26, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will lead the series Hagiography in the Early Church. Matt writes, "In some ways, hagiographies are similar to biographies, but in many ways they are very different. Hagios is a Greek word used often in the Bible that can be translated as 'holy' or 'set apart,' and it is also used to describe the saints. Christian hagiographies therefore are writings that tell the stories of the lives of the saints. This thee-part class will explore the genre of hagiography, focusing on texts from the first five centuries, both as a means to learn more about some early saints as well as the genre itself to better understand the early Church." On Sundays in Lent March 5, 12, 19, 26, and April 2 and 9, Father Pete Powell will continue his class on the Acts of the Apostles; and, during Eastertide, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will present a series of classes entitled "Rising / Rose / Risen: Readings on Resurrection from Scripture into Poetry" . . . Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . The class will not meet on February 1, the Eve of the Presentation. The class will meet on February 8 at 6:30 PM. The class will not meet on February 15, when Father Smith is away from the parish. The class will meet on February 22 at 6:30 PM.
HOSPITALITY . . . The Budget Committee and the Board of Trustees expects thatwe will need to raise around $4,000.00 in 2017 in order to supplement the funds allotted in the budget for hospitality. Our hospitality efforts include Sunday Coffee Hours and Evensong receptions, holy-day receptions, and special events such as Quiet Days, Oktoberfest, the Super Bowl Party, and birthday and anniversary celebrations. Since we welcome so many visitors to the parish, the hospitality ministry is crucial to what we do and who we are. If all our members and friends were to make a regular donation to this ministry, we would easily cover our shortfall. No donation is too small! If you make a donation by check, please include the words "Hospitality Ministry" in the memo line. We are grateful to all those who continue to support this ministry.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, February 4, 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 PM), The Trident Ensemble presents "Crossroads: Music from Georgia." From the ensemble's website: "Surrounded by the Black Sea, situated between Europe and Asia, the nation of Georgia lies at a meeting point between West and East. Having survived occupations by the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and even annexation by Russia in the 1800s, the country maintains a completely unique language, alphabet, culture, and musical practice. Join Trident as we explore the rich history and polyphonic tradition of Georgia, from folk music to contemporary classical a cappella repertoire." Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, February 11, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Program includes music by Pfitzner, Ravel, and Bruch. Admission is free. A donation at the door is encouraged. More information is available online.
ORGAN RECITALS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Thursday, February 2, 5:30 PM, Gregory Eaton, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas; Friday, March 24, 5:30 PM, Richard Robertson, Church of the Holy Ghost, Denver, Colorado; Sunday, April 16, 4:30 PM, Timothy Pyper, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Thursday, May 25, 5:30 PM, David Hurd, organist and music director.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . March 1, Ash Wednesday . . . Sunday, March 12, Daylight Saving Time begins . . . Fridays in Lent, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM . . . Monday, March 20, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, March 24, Eve of the Annunciation, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, March 25, The Annunciation, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM and Mass 12:10 PM.
Click here for this week's schedule.