FROM THE RECTOR: EXCITEMENT
This Sunday the “regular” Sunday schedule returns. There are four changes from the summer schedule on Sundays: (1) Morning Prayer is sung not read; (2) the parish choir sings at the Solemn Mass; (3) Solemn Evensong, Sermon & Benediction is offered in place of reading Evening Prayer; and (4) Christian education resumes at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings (and at 6:30 PM on Wednesday evenings!). Since the time of the New Testament, worship and education have been among the fundamental characteristics of Christian congregations.
I’ve been thinking about education for many reasons. I remain very thankful for the Lilly Endowment grant that funded my sabbatical in 2009. The study not only renewed my interest in New Testament Greek, but it also kindled a renewed and unexpected excitement for study across a range of subjects. It has led me to read again books that I first read many years ago, this time, I think, with fresh eyes. One such book is The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years 1833–1845 (1891) by Richard William Church (1815–1890). [The University of Chicago Press published an edition of the book, along with a useful introduction, in 1970, in its Classics of British Historical Literature series. The book is still available for purchase from many used-book sellers.]
Richard Church was already a student at Oxford when the movement started. He became a fellow of Oriel College in 1836. Later, he was dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, from 1871 to 1890. The book centers mostly on the role John Henry Newman played in the movement before he became a Roman Catholic; yet Church, who did not abandon the Church of England, was also at the heart of things.
Rereading his book made me aware of how learning and prayer gave rise to the Oxford Movement. The learning began with a study of the past, but it quickly became more than study: it led to spiritual renewal and service to others in Christ’s name. Along with the Methodist Revival of the eighteenth century, the Oxford Movement continues to mark the lives of the churches of the Anglican Communion today.
Saint Mary’s was founded in the wake of this movement, and our parish has always been identified with it. Another name for this tradition has been “Anglo-Catholic”—a term first used in print in 1841, but as time passed and the movement spread not just from Oxford, but from England, it came into common use. I’m not sure it’s as useful today as it was before the liturgical renewal that arose across Western Christianity in the 1960s. The term now inevitably raises questions about support for the ordination of women and often for homosexual persons. In many places it reflects a commitment to a liturgical life shaped by the practices of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism.
I don’t know if we will see another widely influential renewal movement in our lifetimes. Yet, the gifts for worship and study are still open to us. Prayer Book worship is so richly shaped by Scripture and tradition that it stands in judgment, in a sense, on those of us who pray with it. And it begs to be used, to borrow a phrase from Saint Paul, “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
I am excited by the return to the regular church schedule. I’ve missed the wonderful choral music at Solemn Mass; I’ve missed Evensong on Sunday evenings. As rector of the parish, I’m very glad the Adult Forum on Sundays is back and that weekly Bible Study will resume on Wednesday evening, October 14. I invite you to join us as you are able at Saint Mary’s by your presence and your prayers every day of the year. Our doors are open and you will, I hope, find not only rest for your soul, but excitement about God’s place in your life and the lives of others today. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Pat, Nargis, John, Peggy, Dianne, Vicki, Maxine, Veronica, Jean, JoAnn, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Yves, Heidi, Nancy, Rasheed, Toussaint, Linda, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, David, Abalda, Takeem, Arpene, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 4: 1916 Isabella Atkinson; 1920 Virginia Wittens Blauchard; 1926 Henry Ammi Dows, priest.
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 . . . Sunday, October 4, the “regular” worship schedule begins. See Father Gerth’s article in this edition of the newsletter for more information . . . Saturday, October 3, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth, and on Saturday, October 10, they will be heard by Father Jim Pace.
OKTOBERFEST RETURNS . . . On Saturday, October 24, 6:00–9:00 PM, we will welcome the arrival of autumn with a potluck supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Supper will be followed by a hymn sing in the organ loft. Please bring a dish to share; and please contact Grace Bruni or Father Jay Smith if you are planning to attend and if you are able to bring a dish with you. Beverages will be provided.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Stewardship packets will be mailed October 12–13. We invite you prayerfully to consider your commitment, including your financial commitment, to the parish for 2016. If you have questions about pledging, please contact a member of the Stewardship Committee, MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Marie Rosseels.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Rita Ann Hanuschock and Sarah Friebert were united in Holy Matrimony on Tuesday, September 29, at 1:30 PM, in the Wedding Chapel. The officiant was Father. Jay Smith. Please keep Sarah and Rita in your prayers . . . The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan of the diocese of New York and former curate at Saint Mary’s, was a keynote speaker at the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries’ international consultation in Seoul, Korea, on Thursday, October 1. Further information about his presentation is available here . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following Sundays: November 8, 15, and 22. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish attending a Leadership in Ministry conference in Newton, Massachusetts, from the afternoon of Sunday, October 4, until Thursday, October 8. He will return home on Thursday afternoon and will return to the office on Friday, October 9. Father Gerth will be away from the parish attending a meeting of the Society of Catholic Priests in Denver, Colorado, from Wednesday, October 7, until Saturday, October 10. In case of emergency on Wednesday, October 7 please contact Father Jim Pace . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 168; Michaelmas 75.
FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Robert Parsons (c. 1530–1570) was one of the key musical figures of the early English Reformation. Comparatively little is known about his life, but he was certainly a “Gentleman of the Chapel Royal,” a role which might have involved singing, composing, and playing in a number of the chapels that served the spiritual requirements of his reigning sovereign, Queen Elizabeth I. Parsons’s compositions included some thick-textured and thrilling settings of the canticles for Morning and Evening Prayer, but his most compelling musical utterances are the settings of Latin texts. His Ave Maria will be sung as the Communion motet at the Solemn Mass on Sunday to mark the dedication of our own church building. It is a work of deft craftsmanship and careful contrapuntal thought employed to express intense personal devotion. A simple tenor opening tune is taken up by the other voices as the text is gradually revealed; above the lower voices, the sopranos sing the text at a slower pace, gently and poetically enhancing the vocal parts beneath. At the motet’s close there is an “Amen” of great beauty and power. The composer’s life was tragically cut short when he drowned in the River Trent at Newark in Nottinghamshire, England, at the comparatively young age of forty. Fellow composer Robert Dow wrote of him, “Qui tantus primo Parsonae in flore fuisti/Quantus in autumno in morere fores” (“Parsons, you who were so great in the springtime of life,/How great you would have been in fall, had not death intervened”). Before the service a Fugue on the Magnificat sets the tone for our remembrance of the dedication of our church building, and it seems fitting that to mark the return of the choir at the start of their new season this Sunday the postlude should be Wesley’s grand march, the Choral Song. —Simon Whalley
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 4 & 11, 10:00 AM, Adult Forum: “The Michelangelos”—Dr. Dennis Raverty discusses the idealistic vision in the religious art of Michaelangelo Buonarroti, the great Renaissance painter and sculptor, in the first of a four-part series. On October 18 & 25, Father Jay Smith will discuss the religious art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 14 (not October 7), at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah, beginning at chapter 40 . . . Sunday, November 1, 8, 15, 22, 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, Led by Father Peter Powell.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street . . . The Saint Mary’s Book Sale continues on Sunday mornings. All proceeds are used to serve those in need, at Saint Mary’s, in our neighborhood, and beyond . . . 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).
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 12, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule. Only the noonday services are offered . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Wednesday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Apostles, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM; Sunday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM; Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00