FROM DEACON REBECCA WEINER TOMPKINS: ABIDE IN LOVE
Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins now spends part of the year in Nashville, Tennessee, where her son, Emery Dobyns, is living. While there, she has assisted from time to time at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Nashville. Recently, she was asked to contribute a Lenten reflection for the parish's website. In this reflection, she discusses one of the readings appointed in some Episcopal calendars for the commemoration of John Henry Newman on February 21.
In the passage from John's gospel, read at the Eucharist last Wednesday, February 21, the day commemorating John Henry Newman, the nineteenth-century priest and theologian, we hear that "God is love, and those who abide in God abide in love, and God abides in them" (1 John 4:16). It is easy for us believers to hold that in our hearts. The sentiment shows up in everyday life, everywhere from bumper stickers to church billboards to Christian-themed t-shirts. Yet there is more to it, as further on in the scripture, strong words announce:"Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen" (1 John 4:20). This does not just say we mustn't hate, but that we must love. Being neutral toward others, feeling no prejudice or intolerance or negativity is not enough. Such passivity isn't what God gives to us or expects from us. It is activity that is called for-love in action. When we pray the Prayers of the People, we use the words "love one another as He loves us." This gospel passage refers to that idea as a commandment, which we found our faith upon. We are to show others what God shows us; it is how we will embody God's love, being the Body of Christ. In the words of John Henry Newman: "God has created me to do Him some definite service . . . I have my mission . . . I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons."
We are to be that "link" of love, if, as explained in John's gospel, we profess to love God. By actually serving and loving others in concrete ways, especially those most in need, or most disenfranchised, we do God's will. As Newman once put it, "I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: 'Go down again-I dwell among the people.'" Then we truly abide in God, and in love.
—Rebecca Weiner Tompkins
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Bob, Randy, Mary, Colin, Rich, Isabella, Tiffany, Alex, Mary Hope, Greta, Carlos, Bill, Mickie, Jerry, Dick, Eleanor, Wendell, Karen, Eugenia, May, Heidi, Takeem, David, Sandy, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Clayton, David, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, Edgar and Vern, priests; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and James; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Jon Bryant, Woody Winborn, and Peter Colapietro, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 25: 1905 Helen Wallace Northrup; 1909 Dutilly A. F. Harrison; 1938 Ruth Clara O'Brien; 1956 Helen Mosher.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Jon Bryant, a longtime member of this parish, died on Sunday, February 18, while in hospice care in Washington, D.C. Before his retirement and his move to Connecticut and then to Washington, Jon was involved in the life of this parish in many ways. He served as an usher, as a manager of the Gift Shop, and as a member of the Board of Trustees. He served on the Search Committee that called Father Gerth as rector of the parish. He helped decorate the church at Christmas and Easter. In the 1980s, he took an active role in the parish's ministry to People with AIDS. Jon's funeral, The Burial of the Dead, will take place here at Saint Mary's on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 10:00 AM. Jon's ashes will be laid to rest in the Vault in the Lady Chapel at that time. The Mass will be followed by a reception in Saint Joseph's Hall...Woody Winborn, the brother of parishioner Cooki Winborn, died recently while in hospice care in Detroit, after a long illness . . . The Reverend Peter Colapietro, pastor of the Church of Saint Malachy, West Forty-ninth Street, died on Monday, February 5. Father Colapietro also served for many years-twenty-one in all, eighteen as pastor and three as parish administrator-at the Church of the Holy Cross on West Forty-second Street. He was, therefore, for many years, a neighbor of this parish. Father Colapietro was known for his pastoral sensitivity, his ability to converse easily with both the famous and the not-so-famous, and for his knowledge of this city and its people. Please pray for Jon, Woody, Father Colapietro, their family and friends, for their communities, and for all who mourn.
DAYS OF SPECIAL DEVOTION . . . Ash Wednesday and the other weekdays of Lent and of Holy Week are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS are prayed on the Fridays in Lent at 6:30 PM. All are welcome.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, February 24, Saint Matthias the Apostle, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Saturday, February 24, 2:00-4:00 PM, Drop-in Day, Mission House, 133 West Forty-sixth Street . . . Saturday, February 24, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre at Columbia University presents New York Polyphony: The Tallis Lamentations. For more information, visit the Miller Theatre website . . . Sunday, February 25, The Second Sunday in Lent, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on February 28 at 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict's Study, in the Parish House . . . Friday, March 2, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM . . . Friday, March 2, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium in the Parish House.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . On Sunday, February 25, at 10:00 AM, Father Peter Powell will continue his series on the Gospel of Matthew in Saint Benedict's Study. Father Powell writes, "On February 18, we resumed the study of Matthew and will continue our study of that gospel on all the Sundays in Lent. This is a great time to join the class, since we begin with the portion of Scripture you probably know best, the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. We will spend time looking at the Sermon and what it teaches us about how to be faithful Christians. The advantage of the class over, for instance, a sermon, is that you get to ask questions and challenge anything and everything I say. I find that this leads to better learning for all of us. Your contribution is important. The only preparation is to come with an open mind. While not necessary, reading the text, Matthew 6, beforehand is always helpful, and I urge you to bring your own Bible. I promise you a lively and engaging study" . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on February 28. The class will be reading the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Mark, which we will hear this year on Palm Sunday. This coming Wednesday we will be reading the portion of the Passion Narrative dealing with Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and his arrest.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are very pleased to be able to announce that parishioner Reha Sterbin gave birth to a daughter on Thursday, February 22. Reha, and her husband, Ben Slusky, have named their daughter Lillian Rose Slusky Sterbin. Lillian's older brother is Jacob Andrew Slusky Sterbin. Please keep Reha, Ben, Lillian, and Jake in your prayers . . . Dennis Smith recently underwent surgery and is now recuperating at a rehabilitation center near his home in West New York, New Jersey . . . Parishioner Barbara Klett is at home and continues to do well after a recent hospitalization. She was with us for the noon Mass on Ash Wednesday. Please keep Dennis and Barbara in your prayers . . . We are grateful to Father John Beddingfield, who led the Lenten Quiet Day here at the parish last Saturday. His addresses were very well received. We had an excellent turnout for the event, and it was a good way to begin the season of Lent . . . On Friday afternoons at 1:00 PM, between March 2 and June 8, Saint Paul's Chapel, Broadway and Fulton Street, is offering a series of free recitals to showcase their new organ. David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary's, will play the second recital in the series Pipes at One on Friday, March 9, at 1:00 PM. Saint Paul's new organ was recently featured in an article in the New York Times . . . Donations for the parish's Hospitality Ministry are always welcome. Such donations support an essential ministry here at Saint Mary's, since we welcome so many visitors to the parish. Our hospitality budget helps us to provide refreshments on Sunday mornings and afternoons, at holy-day receptions, and at such special events as Oktoberfest and Quiet Days. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Thursday, February 22. He returns to the parish office on Wednesday, February 28 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 160.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The choral music at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is English in origin. The setting of the Mass is by Charles Wood (1866-1926). Wood had a decided influence on the development of English church music in his time. His principal composition teachers were Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918), and his students included Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and Herbert Howells (1892-1983). Irish by birth, Wood received his early musical training as a treble chorister in the choir of the Church of Ireland's Saint Patrick's Cathedral. In 1883, he became a member of the inaugural class of the Royal College of Music. His career included teaching music, directing, and playing the organ at several colleges. After Stanford's death in 1924, Wood succeeded his mentor as Professor of Music at Cambridge. Wood's compositions are varied and include eight string quartets, but he is chiefly remembered for his church music and his arrangements of carols. His Short Communion Service, sung this morning, is described as "In the Polyphonic style, written for unaccompanied singing, chiefly in the Phrygian mode." As such, Wood has done what church music composers throughout the centuries have done by returning to a stilo antico ("antique style") for inspiration.
Bob Chilcott (b. 1955) has had a long and deep involvement with choral music. He was a chorister and choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge. He was also a member of The King's Singers for twelve years. Much of his work is for young singers, and he has conducted choral festivals worldwide. John 3:16 is arguably one of the most frequently quoted verses in the New Testament. Musical settings of this text, in various languages, can be found among the past several centuries of choral literature. Of all the settings of this text from the Gospel of Saint John, that of Sir John Stainer (1840-1901) from his 1887 Passion Cantata The Crucifixion is almost as familiar to many English-speaking Christians as the scripture verse itself. Chilcott's 1999 setting of this beloved scripture verse, sung today as the Communion motet, was commissioned in memory of Dan and Pat Jacobson for the Lovers Lane United Methodist Sanctuary Choir, Dallas, Texas. Curiously, it imitates Stainer by repeating the word "believeth" in the course of the text. This sort of word repetition, presumably to accommodate a predetermined musical idea, was a typical liberty taken by Victorian composers that was critiqued by a later generation. However, perhaps in part because of this familiar resonance with Stainer, and also because of its simple and expressive beauty, Chilcott's setting of God so loved the world has taken a place of prominence among musical settings of this familiar scripture verse. — David Hurd
THE VISUAL ARTS PROJECT . . . On Sunday, February 18, a new art exhibit opened in the Gallery in Saint Joseph's Hall, Scenes from a Natural Bar, works by Matthew Fogarty. Matt is originally from Santa Rosa, California. He received his B.F.A. degree from the Pratt Institute in 2003. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and his dog, who looks very much like a chihuahua, in Brooklyn. Matt is also a neighbor of Saint Mary's. He works at Oceana, a restaurant on Forty-ninth Street. Matt appears to be a lover of animals. They figure largely in his art, as is clear from his work in the Gallery. When asked about his dog by e-mail, Matt wrote back, "My dog (who is a rescue and only looks like a chihuahua; don't tell him) is Dean." For prices, or if you have questions about the work, please contact the curator of the exhibition, José Vidal.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our March and April Drop-in Days and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. As always, the number of those who are homeless who seek refuge in the church and who ask for assistance increases when the weather grows colder. In order to meet some of those requests, we are hoping to receive donations of the following items: blankets, razors, shaving cream; packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, and sweatshirts. Such basic items will prove to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . 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 . . . The Episcopal Diocese of New York has created its own Caribbean Recovery Fund to pay for the work that the diocese is proposing, or hopes to support, in the region. This is distinct in nature and purpose from the activities of Episcopal Relief & Development, which directs funds toward the Episcopal Church's broader efforts in recovery. The Caribbean Recovery Fund will be available for individuals and churches to make requests for specific infrastructure and ministry projects, partnerships, and mission with the Diocese of Puerto Rico and other areas in the Caribbean. For more information, please click here. If you wish to make a donation online, please complete the form on the website.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Sunday, March 11, The Fourth Sunday in Lent: Laetare Sunday . . . Sunday, March 11, Daylight Saving Time begins. Clocks move forward one hour . . . Monday, March 19, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 and 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, March 24, Eve of the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Blessing of the Palms and Vigil Mass 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, March 25, Palm Sunday, Blessing of the Palms and Sung Mass 9:00 AM, Blessing of the Palms, Procession to Times Square and Solemn Mass 11:00 AM. (Please note: the Feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated this year on Monday, April 9.) . . . Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week, March 26-28, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Mass 12:10 PM, Evensong 6:00 PM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, New York, NY, until April 22, 2018, Zurbarán's Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle. The Frick Collection is now presenting an exhibition of Jacob and His Twelve Sons, an ambitious series of thirteen paintings that depict over-life-size figures from the Old Testament that are on loan from Auckland Castle, long the residence of the bishops of Durham, located in County Durham, England. The story of the composition and the provenance of these paintings is a fascinating one and should make the series of interest to Christians, perhaps especially to Anglican Christians; to Jews and Muslims; to students of the history of Spain, England, and the New World; and to those interested in the history of the "emancipation" of the Jews in England. From the museum website, "These works by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) have never before traveled to the United States. The iconography of Zurbarán's remarkable series is derived from the Blessings of Jacob in [Genesis 49], a poem that has significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. On his deathbed, Jacob called together his sons, who would become the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He bestowed on each a blessing, which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. Jacob's prophecies provide the basis for the manner in which the figures are represented in Zurbarán's series." For more information, and to read about the history of this collection, you may visit the Frick's website.