FROM THE RECTOR: A PARISH CALENDAR
In 1789, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America adopted its first Prayer Book. The statement of "Ratification" and the "Preface" of that first Prayer Book are still reprinted at the beginning of all of our American books. If you don't know the Preface, I think you will like reading it. It's helped to shape the thinking of our American church since its organization after the American Revolution. Here's one of its most important paragraphs:
It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and amendments. They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them also, upon a comparison of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In which it will also appear that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local circumstances require. (The Book of Common Prayer , 11.)
One important alteration between the English 1662 book and the first American book was the omission in the calendar of what we commonly call "lesser feasts." No lesser feasts would appear in the calendar of an American Prayer Book until 1979. No lesser feasts were even authorized for commemoration until 1964. The now familiar companion to the Prayer Book, Lesser Feasts and Fasts, was first authorized for "optional use" in 1979.
In the wake of the Oxford Movement, congregations like Saint Mary's expanded their parish calendars to reflect the wider Western Christian tradition. There was no feast of the "Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in the American Prayer Book when Saint Mary's doors opened in its first church home on West Forty-fifth Street on December 8, 1870. But it was in the English book. It still is-although it's never made it into the American Book (another story for another day). That said, since 1979 the General Convention has continued to add to the authorized commemorations of our church. One practical matter is that no published Episcopal Church calendar reflects the actual practice of any individual congregation.
For years I have used the calendar of Saint Gregory's Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan. Saint Gregory's is an Episcopal Benedictine community. But it's not a parish calendar; it's a calendar that reflects the Benedictine monastic tradition. When our Flower Guild mounted a fair to recruit new members and support on the Third Sunday of Advent 2016 (when flowers are used and rose vestments are worn), their display of photographs of their work inspired me to think that it is time for us to publish our calendar in a format that will be useful to members and friends of this parish.
Right now, there's a lot of proofreading of the calendar being done. The final selection of pictures is close. The calendar needs to go to the printer in a few weeks so that we will have it in hand, ready to mail and distribute, by the beginning of December. As the person responsible for clergy schedules and the monthly parish calendar on our webpage, I look forward very much to having this calendar on my desk and in the sacristy. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Barbara, Michael, Dick, William, Karl, David, Sandy, Pearl, Donald, Patricia, Dorothea, Olutoyin, Eugenia, Peggy, Kathy, Mike, May, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Mitties, Scott, Anne, David, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, Edgar, and Vern, priests; for all victims of poverty, famine, violence, and disaster, especially the people of the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 24: 1902 Mary Van Dyne; 1906 Henry Owens; 1960 Fabian W. Mayers.
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 . . . Wednesday, September 27, 6:30 PM, Bible Study Class, Saint Benedict's Study . . . Friday, September 29, Saint Michael and All Angels, Mass 12:10 PM and Sung Mass 6:00 PM. Father Matthew Jacobson is the celebrant and preacher at 6:00 PM . . . Friday, September 29, 7:15 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor. Please enter at 145 West Forty-sixth Street, just west of the main doors to the church, and press buzzer 1 in the vestibule. Then climb up one flight of stairs, make a U-turn, and climb up another small flight of stairs. The Atrium will be on your left.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett remains at the Upper East Side Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 211 East Seventy-ninth Street for physical therapy. Please keep Barbara and Dick in your prayers . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish attending a Leadership in Ministry Conference from the afternoon of Sunday, September 24, until Wednesday, September 27. He returns to the office on Friday, September 29 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday: 168.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Our pledge campaign continues. Here are some statistics: $404,936.00 has been pledged so far this year. This is 96% of our pledge goal for 2017. We encourage all those who have made a pledge for 2017 to remain current on their pledge payments. 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. We will be mailing pledge packets for 2018 during the month of October. This is a good time to think and pray about a pledge of time, talent, and treasure for the coming year. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary's and its mission.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . September 27, 6:30 PM, Saint Benedict's Study, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class: Reading Difficult Texts, led by Father Jay Smith. . . Sunday, October 1, 10:00 AM, The Nursery, Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson . . . Sunday, October 1, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, The Reformation: 1517-2017, Parishioner and resident iconographer, Zachary Roesemann, shows and discusses an icon that was recently commissioned by a Lutheran parish in Washington, D.C.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . .Soprano Ruth Cunningham will be the cantor at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning. During the ministration of Communion she will sing her own setting of the hymn "I heard the voice of Jesus say." The text of this hymn by Horatius Bonar (1808-1899) initially entered the Episcopal Hymnal in 1874. It had first been published in London in 1846, and was later included in Hymns of Faith and Hope (London, 1857) under the title "The Voice from Galilee." Bonar's hymn takes its inspiration from John 1:16, "From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." His hymn text has been revised slightly and has received several different musical treatments over the years. It has been paired with The Third Tune (1505-1585) by Thomas Tallis in the last two editions of the Episcopal Hymnal. Ms. Cunningham's setting reawakens Bonar's biblical reflection, yet again, with simplicity and freshness. -David Hurd
SAINT FRANCIS DAY ANIMAL BLESSING HAS BEEN CANCELLED . . . We had hoped to have an Animal Blessing this year in Duffy Square. However, we've discovered that the city's requirements for planning and carrying out even a small event in a public location are rather daunting for an institution of our size. We believe that, until we are able to address that issue, or until the scaffolding comes down on Forty-sixth Street, we will have to postpone the animal blessing.
OKTOBERFEST . . . The annual Oktoberfest Potluck Supper and Hymn Sing will take place on Saturday, October 7, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, in Saint Joseph's Hall and the Choir Loft. David Hurd, organist and music director, will play the organ at the Hymn Sing and will take requests from the assembled Saint Marians and their friends. Please join us. Bring a friend and a dish to share. All are welcome.
AFTER THE HURRICANES . . . If you are thinking about making a donation to help with relief and recovery efforts in Houston, southeast Texas, in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, Florida, and beyond, consider visiting the following websites: Episcopal Relief & Development, The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, The Church of the Holy Spirit, Houston, Texas.
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . Donations needed: For our Drop-in Days. We need blankets, razors, and shaving cream. We also need packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; and very shortly we will need cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, and sweatshirts. Such basic items are proving to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . We also continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.
SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S . . . Parishioner Michael Reid once again invites Saint Marians to join the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. There will be two Walks taking place in Manhattan in October. On Sunday, October 15, the Caring Kind Walk is scheduled to take place in Riverside Park. Then, on Saturday, October 28, the Alzheimer's Association will hold its Walk downtown starting at South Street Seaport and ending at City Hall. Michael is the captain of the Mount Sinai Team that will be participating in both Walks. If you would like to join him for one or both of the Walks, please send him an e-mail. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so either here or here.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Sunday, October 1, 2017, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Academic-Year Schedule begins: Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass with Choir 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Saturday, October 7, 6:00-9:00 PM, Saint Joseph's Hall, Oktoberfest and Hymn Sing . . . Wednesday, October 18, Saint Luke, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Mass 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, November 1, All Saints' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 2, All Souls' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass and Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 5, Daylight Saving Time ends.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Morgan Library, Madison Avenue between Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Streets, until January 7, 2018, Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings. From the Library's website, "Treasure bindings-book covers encrusted with gold, silver, and gemstones-were a luxury in the Middle Ages. Few survive, and some of the finest examples are in the Morgan's distinguished collection. [This exhibition] presents these masterpieces in context for the first time. The treasure bindings on view include star sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, pearls, and garnets, alongside illuminated manuscripts and printed books that depict two-dimensional representations of these precious materials. Among the exhibition highlights will be the ninth-century Lindau Gospels, one of the two finest Carolingian jeweled bindings in the world, and the thirteenth-century Berthold Sacramentary, the most luxurious German manuscript of its time. In these and other examples, we learn that the application of gemstones and precious metals served to venerate the texts inside and embellish church services, as well as reflect the status and wealth of the patrons who commissioned them. Images of "imagined" gems are also featured on the pages of manuscripts and printed books presented, including three examples of Venetian books, hand-painted by Girolamo da Cremona. The artist's frontispieces to Augustine's City of God (1475), Plutarch's Parallel Lives (1478), and Aristotle's Opera (1483) are masterpieces of trompe-l'oeil. The last has been called the "most magnificent printed book in the world."