FROM MARK RISINGER: PLEDGING, PAST & PRESENT
“I shall, I fear, be dark and cold with all my fire and light; / Yet when thou dost accept their gold, Lord, treasure up my mite.” These words of the poet John Mason appear in a hymn that the boys at my school love to sing. As a teacher, I enjoy the challenge of explaining the sentiment they express with their reference to the parable of “The Widow’s Mite” that we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel. It is often tempting to compare our own situation and resources to those of others who have more, to feel that our own ability to contribute doesn’t amount to much. But the message of the hymn and the Gospel is clear: God values us more for the content of our hearts than that of our wallets; and one of the ways we demonstrate his value in our lives is by supporting his Church.
Some of my earliest memories of going to church as a child are the pre-departure rituals of a Sunday morning: Do you have your Bible? Check. Sunday School lesson book? Check. Have you put your offering in your envelope? Check. Attending to those matters was of vital importance before we left home, and they remain in my consciousness week by week (though I’m now rehearsing in the choir room rather than attending Bible study in the hour before Solemn Mass). I have sung and spent time in many churches in New York City, but there has always been something different about Saint Mary’s, a feeling that I’ve not experienced anywhere else. Over my twelve years here, I have become increasingly aware of the obligation and privilege we have as members of the parish to contribute to its life through a commitment to regular giving. I love to sing here. I was confirmed here. This place and its people have come to matter deeply to me, and I therefore have an obligation to sustain and nurture it.
I am greatly excited by the sense of new energy in the building and the recent additions to our congregation, particularly Simon Whalley and Sister Monica Clare, and by the opportunities we have before us. While we are engaging in a capital campaign to secure our future, our annual tithes and offerings are what provide for the here-and-now: so many of the elements that make our worship beautiful and pleasing to God, from candles to vestments to guest musicians, are provided through annual pledging. In a world that seems to grow ever more puzzling, diffuse, and inexplicable, the presence of Saint Mary’s at the “crossroads of the world” in Times Square is more vitally important than ever. Your pledge makes a difference both within our walls and without, as it enables us to reach out in love and faith to those who come through our doors day by day. With the faithful involvement of all who call Saint Mary’s their parish home, next Sunday, November 22, will be a day of great celebration. Please join us for worship on Christ the King Sunday, and plan to bring your pledge card in a gesture of thanksgiving, both for the blessings of the past and for the year ahead. —Mark Risinger serves the parish in a number of ways. He sings in the parish choir and is a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. He served on the Board of Trustees between 2010 and 2014, and he was vice president of the Board in 2014.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Emil, José, Walter, David, Brian, Kara Rae, David, Martha, Willy, Lisa, Sally, Barbara, Daniel, Nargis, Sam, Albert, Peggy, Maxine, Jean, Quinn, Mala, Mark, Gerry, Kenneth, Heidi, Rasheed, Catherine, Babak, Mazdak, Trevor, Takeem, Arpene, Dennis, Pamela, religious, Sidney, deacon, Lawrence, deacon, Paulette, priest, Gaylord, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 15: 1881 Theodore Codwise Mitchell; 1887 Laura Chambers Sutton; 1898 Mary Dow; 1907 Sadie Adams Smith; 1939 Anna J. Daingerfield; 1949 Richard Davis Campbell; 1951 Elizabeth Congdon Mason; 1954 Florence Louise Farson Dawson; 1956 Etta Jane Willsie; 1972 Wallace Charles Taylor; 1973 Estell Moore; 1983 Ralph Burus Smith; 1997 Noel Julian Blackman.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . JoAnn Hughes, the aunt of Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, died on November 2. Her funeral took place on Cape Cod on Saturday, November 7, at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, Massachusetts. Please keep JoAnn, Rebecca, their family and friends and all who mourn in your prayers.
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 . . . The 2015-16 Stewardship Campaign is well underway. Pledge packets were mailed on Friday, October 16. As of Tuesday, November 10, we have received pledges from 61 households. $214,913.00, 51% of our $425,000.00 goal, has been pledged to date. A few other statistics are encouraging: 7 households are pledging for the first time or are pledging after some time away; 16 households have increased their pledge this year; 29 households have been able to maintain their pledges at the same level as last year; and only 9 households have had to reduce their pledge thus far this year. The month of November is a crucial time for the pledge campaign. We need to maintain the momentum of the campaign’s first three weeks. Commitment Sunday is November 22, and we hope to receive the majority of pledges by that date. We urge all members and friends to return their pledge cards as soon as possible, either by mail or by placing your pledge card in the collection basket at Mass on Sunday morning. You may also call the finance office to discuss your pledge. The staff will be happy to fill out a pledge card for you. If you have already returned your pledge card, we thank 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; and please pray for the success of this year’s Stewardship Campaign.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, November 14, 8:00 AM–4:00 PM, 239th Annual Diocesan Convention at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The parish clergy will be in attendance. The parish’s lay delegates are Brendon Hunter and Mary Robison. Alternate lay delegate, J. Grace Bruni, will also attend the Convention. Father Jim Pace will be on duty here at the parish that day . . . Saturday, November 14, 2015, 8:00 PM, Miller Theater at Columbia University presents New York Polyphony. The concert is entitled Songs of Hope: Sacred Works from across the Centuries. Tickets are available online or by calling 212-854-7799 . . . Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 PM, Saint Joseph’s Hall, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class . . . Sunday, November 22, Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King & Commitment Sunday. Please bring your pledge card and place it in the offering basket . . . On Saturday, November 14, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace. On Saturday, November 21, confessions will be heard by Father Stephen Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Emil Bretzger was admitted to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Monday of this week for tests. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett has been continuing physical therapy at Amsterdam House, across from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, following surgery on her right shoulder. We are told that she has been making great progress. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Mother Paulette Schiff continues her recuperation at home on Long Island following surgery. Please keep her, and her husband Walter, in your prayers . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sundays, November 22, and for all of the Sundays in January If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Tuesday, November 17, until the morning of Thursday, November 19 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 215.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Food Pantry at the Church of San Andres, Yonkers: For the past several years Saint Marians and their friends have been responding to Mother Yamily Bass-Choate’s call to help with her parish Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving dinner effort. A donation of $20.00 buys a turkey for a family in need. If you would like to donate, send a check to San Andres, 22 Post St., Yonkers, NY 10705 and put “Turkey Drive” in the memo line . . . The Help Network is a nonprofit organization and an agency of the Global Change Project. It is looking to recruit volunteers who are willing to commit one hour per week to help out at a number of partner organizations located throughout New York City. The Network works with its partners to pair volunteers with the sick, elderly, and with disabled persons based on availability, skills, and particular client needs. For more information, please contact the Network by phone or e-mail . . . 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).
FROM THE ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Book of Common Prayer of 1549 established a pattern for saying, singing, or hearing the entire Book of Psalms each month through attendance at the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. The psalmists touch on so many human states of mind in their poetic articulation of worship, from exhilaration and joy to deep sorrow and unrest and, for many, this monthly cycle is a source of huge comfort and reassurance. For composers also psalm texts have been a great source of inspiration, and Psalm 130—with its sentiments of both despair and ensuing hope—has been especially attractive. We hear parts of the text at the Solemn Mass on Sunday at both the Gospel acclamation and the offertory proper. Thomas Morley (1558–1602) set this text twice; once as a verse anthem, in which a countertenor accompanied by chamber organ declaims the verses with choral interjections; and secondly in the Latin version that we hear as our Communion motet on Sunday, unaccompanied and with a six-voice texture that allows for great harmonic richness. The Mass setting at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is by the twentieth-century British composer Kenneth Leighton (1929–1988). Leighton wrote in a variety of forms, including symphonies and chamber music, but is most often thought of as a choral and organ composer. Leighton’s Missa brevis was written in 1968 for the choir of Liverpool Cathedral. There is music of great energy and exhilaration here (in the openings of the Gloria and Sanctus, for example) as well as some poignantly expressive contours in the Agnus Dei. —Simon Whalley
ADULT EDUCATION . . . Sundays, November 15 & 22 at 10:00 AM, The Succession Narrative: 2 Samuel 11-20; 1 Kings 1-2, led by Father Peter Powell. Father Powell writes, “This series will ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be faithful when one has power?’ The Succession Narrative has much to say to Christians who live in a nominally Christian society . . . What does the Bible have to say about being faithful when one is in the majority and does not belong to an oppressed minority? . . . This year, both on most of the Sundays in November and during Lent, we will explore the story of the transfer of power from David to Solomon during a time of disunity and political stress. Examining this history may help us to think about our own situation during this particular moment of discord and political polarization.” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on November 18 at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class will continue its reading of the Book of Isaiah beginning at 44:21. The class will not meet on Wednesday, November 25, the Eve of Thanksgiving Day . . . Sunday, December 6, seminarian Matthew Jacobson will discuss the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd in early Christian art . . . Sunday, December 13, Father Jay Smith will discuss the Icon of Christ Pantokrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful”) . . . January 10 and 17, Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church, will lead the class in a discussion of Episcopal polity and governance. (This will be a very useful class for those preparing for Confirmation or Reception, as well as for those who want to learn more about what our church believes and how it works.) In this series, Canon Barlowe will address such topics as the workings of General Convention, legislation passed at this summer’s convention in Salt Lake City, the role of the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the mechanism for electing a Presiding Bishop in our church.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:00 PM, Trident Ensemble, Tim Keeler, conductor: Cast Away—A Journey into the Unknown, a Discovery of Experiences on the Sea. Tickets are available at the door or online . . . Friday, December 4, 2015, 8:00 PM, Young New Yorkers Chorus, Michael Kerschner, artistic director: The Triumph of the Sky—A Fifteenth-Anniversary Holiday Concert. Tickets may be purchased online . . . Saturday, December 5, 2015, 8:00 PM, Miller Theater at Columbia University presents The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director: Sacred Muses—An Exploration of the Works of William Byrd. Tickets are available online or by calling 212-854-7799.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . October 18–November 22 at The Theatre at Saint Clement’s, 423 W. Forty-sixth Street (Between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), New York, New York, The Hummingbird’s Tour: “1970, Northern California. Three opinionated siblings in their sixties (an Episcopalian, an agnostic and a seeker of everything under the holy sun) along with their ancient childhood nanny, are thrown into a philosophical comic frenzy by an unexpected guest bearing mysterious predictions . . .” Off Sides Entertainment & On Your Way Home Productions are offering members of The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin discounted tickets ($30.00). Tickets can be purchased online. RLW is the discount code.