I want you to know how happy and excited I am that I have been called to be your rector. I never imagined such a ministry for myself. The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is one of the great American parishes. Saint Mary’s ministry and witness supports much work for Christ in the greater church. Thank you for calling me to be your pastor and your priest. I promise to try to offer my best efforts and my best love to the call you have given me.
The first time I saw the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin was the first day I arrived for an interview. It was the week before the Feast of Christ the King. Chris Babcock was at the organ practicing as I walked into this magnificent building for the first time. I couldn’t believe I was here. It was humbling just to be here as a candidate for the position. I know I didn’t really think about becoming the rector very much while I was here. I just tried to enjoy the experience of being here and I did enjoy it.
The day Gerald McKelvey called to tell me the Board had elected me rector is a day I will never forget. Many moments of that day are very fresh in my mind. That night I went to bed with a stack of AVEs that had been accumulating on my shelf since seminary days. (The Reverend Craig B. Johnson, who sent me to seminary, had been Father Wells’s first seminarian in Waukegan. He had me get on the AVE list way back then.) When I went to look for the oldest copy I had, I found an issue dated November 1980. I probably had not opened it since receiving it during my first year in seminary. In it was a note from Father Wells who was serving at that time on the board of trustees of Nashotah House. He wrote, Dear Stephen, It was a joy to meet you. Please visit us at St. Mary’s when you are in the East. Edgar Wells
The Angelus will not replace AVE. I intend The Angelus to be a weekly newsletter for the local parish community. Walter Morton has developed an initial mailing list for it. Copies will also be available on Sunday mornings for visitors and newcomers. Please have notes or notices for The Angelus in the parish office by noon on Mondays. I expect The Angelus will be mailed on Wednesdays.
I want you to know that I am honored and humbled by the invitation to be your rector. I have confidence that I can do the work you have called me to do, but I want to assure you that I am under no illusion that I can do this work alone. We are part of one Body. We have one King. The Kingdom belongs to him. Only together can we be who he has called us to be.
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Shirley, Tom, Mark, Donna, Maria, Ellen, Bernadine, Gloria, Louis, Tommy, Karen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ken, John, Nina, Rodney, priest, and Maurice, priest.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 7: 1954 John Von Runneau.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Habakkuk 3:2-6,17-19, Psalm 27:1-7, 1 Corinthians 2:1-11, Matthew 5:13-20. Celebrant & Preacher: 9:00 AM Father Parker, 10:00 AM Father Gerth, 11:00 AM Father Gerth, 5:00 PM Father Shin . . . On Saturday, February 6, Father Gerth will hear confessions. On Saturday, February 13, Father Shin will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Evensong & Benediction is offered on the first Sunday of the month. The liturgy is sung at the high altar. Chris Babcock is at the console in the chancel, where four choristers and the congregation are invited to sit. Please join us . . . The Rector has asked Linda Bridges to be the editor of AVE. Linda is the managing editor of the National Review and is also a member of the board of The Anglican Society. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and served as chairman of the search committee . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, February 14. Please call the parish office to donate . . . Bishop Grein will preside at a service of institution for Father Gerth as the ninth rector of the parish on the Feast of the Annunciation, Thursday, March 25. The celebration will be at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow . . . Beginning Monday, February 8, there will be a weekly staff meeting at 11:00 AM. The meeting will normally conclude before the noonday office. The exhibition Glory in Glass: Stained Glass in the United States continues until February 16 at the American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway (61st Street) . . . Attendance last Sunday: Morning Prayer 4, 9:00 7, 10:00 7, 11:00 139, Evening Prayer 5, 5:00 14. Total 176. Attendance on Candlemas Night 231.
E-MAIL ANGELUS . . . The Angelus is available via e-mail. Please send the rector a note at email@example.com and he will put you on the list.
THANK YOU . . . It could not have been more wonderful for me. The liturgy on Candlemas and the reception following were just splendid. I sensed so much warmth and happiness in this parish community. Every part of the evening spoke of the love and care people have for God and for each other in this place. There were many visitors who honored us with their presence. So many people worked so hard to make this a night to remember in the life of this parish community and in my own life. I am too new to Saint Mary’s to start to name names or even recognize groups within the community that worked so hard to make the evening a success. I know these things just don’t happen. Thank you so very much for such a splendid beginning. I can hardly wait for Sunday. S.G.
SHROVE TUESDAY . . . In some parts of the Episcopal Church Shrove Tuesday is associated with pancake suppers. At Saint Mary’s it has long been a day of preparation for Lent. This year confessions will be heard by the Rector from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Evening Prayer is at 6:00 PM. Mass follows at 6:15 PM. There will be a pancake supper in Saint Joseph’s Hall after Mass. The cost for adults is $8.00. Children can eat free. And at 8:00 PM Frank Morana will present a program of transcribed organ improvisations written by the late Pierre Cocheau, organist of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.
ASH WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE . . . On the first day of Lent Mass will be said at the high altar at 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11: 00 AM and at 12:15 PM. Solemn Mass will be sung at 6:00 PM. Father Parker will hear confessions from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Father Gerth will hear confessions from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. There will be a sign on the sidewalk in front of the church that says something like: Mass & Ashes, the service times, The Episcopal Church, Visitors Welcome.
SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THE ANGELUS . . . The Angelus is intended for active members of the local parish community. It is sent to them via first class mail. The Angelus will be available to others via e-mail free of charge. Because it is only available via first class mail, the annual subscription rate for The Angelus will be twenty-five dollars. (Fifty-two weeks of first class postage alone is $17.16.)
MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES . . . The parish has need of a calligrapher for work on the book of memorials and other projects. If you can do this kind of work please speak with the Rector or with Father Parker . . . Is there someone in the parish who has sound system expertise? How can we mike several of the ministers of the assembly during Mass and provide some speakers for the choir gallery? If this is an area where you can be of help please speak with the Rector.
MONTHLY AIDS TEA . . . One of this parish’s outreach ministries is to take a turn hosting the AIDs Tea that is held weekly at Roosevelt Hospital. Our next turn is Sunday, February 14, at 3:00 PM. The mission of the AIDs Tea is simple: To provide refreshments and a little diversion from the tedium of a hospital stay for patients, families, friends and caregivers. The demographics of the ward have changed. Now, about a third are elderly patients with cancer or other terminal illnesses. If you would like to help the sign up sheet is on the bulletin board in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Jon Bryant or Jim Dennis can answer questions about this ministry.