The Board of Trustees and the Search Committee published a very attractive booklet called "Parish Profile" to send to persons like me who had shown an interest or who might show an interest in serving this parish as rector. I understand that the booklets were for sale in the bookstore and that many people purchased them. I believe some are still for sale at a modest cost. I have read and reread the booklet because it continues to seem to me to be a very useful "snapshot" of Saint Mary's as the parish began to look for a new rector.
Things at Saint Mary's, of course, continued to develop, change and grow even as the profile was being written and published. It is a human illusion that change can be prevented from happening. It can't. Ask Peter Pan. Human society generally is structured to promote conservative change. Perhaps this disposition promotes the appearance that change is not constant. It is. What you and I can do, however, is have some considerable choice about how we respond to change, even when we seem to have little choice over the reality of change itself.
The parish profile begins with the wonderfully straightforward statement of the mission of Saint Mary's, which is "setting forth Catholic doctrine and ritual within the Episcopal Church." The introduction prescribes that candidates for the position of rector "must show missionary zeal, a willingness to build our congregation, a progressive understanding of the Catholic tradition, strong administrative talents and a willingness to work with the laity in running the parish, and a sense of spiritual purpose grounded in the Catholic principles preached and celebrated here for more than a century."
I think the page in the parish profile that I asked the members of the search committee most about was the page that gave a summary of the parish's operating budget for the last five years. Between 1993 and 1997 $1,011,869.00 was spent from endowments to operate the parish. An average of $200,000 a year was required to support an operating budget that grew from $535,792 in 1993 to $660,434 in 1997. In 1999, the capital drawdown is budgeted to be $266,042. Yes, extraordinary returns in the endowment accounts because of the growing American economy meant that the endowments were still growing after these drawdowns occurred. Yes, during this period the parish undertook the restoration and completion of the organ and the renovation of the church's interior. But at the beginning of 1999 there were only 67 pledging units at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin who had made total pledges of $114,577 to running the parish.
I care deeply about Jesus Christ. I love my work. I feel extraordinarily honored to have served in four wonderful parishes. I am not discouraged in the least about the future of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. I have been publishing a monthly summary of the operating budget since I arrived. I have had many people ask helpful questions and make helpful suggestions about many things. There is every reason to think and believe that there are extraordinary opportunities for this parish community to grow in serving Christ and others. But how are we going to do this? What is our best understanding of what God might want us to do? What makes sense for us at this time?
People don't however speak to me about how they think Saint Mary's is going to grow and change. You and I know the parish will change. I think you and I should have every reason to expect our parish to grow. I think that by being purposeful and clear about the mission and ministry of Saint Mary's to ourselves and to newcomers and by weaning ourselves from our capital drawdowns we will put the parish in a position to grow even more in service to others. What do you think? S. Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Gladys who is gravely ill and for Helen, Walter, Eileen, Maxine, Edward, Mary Ann, Margaret, Scot, Shirley, Mark, Dorothy, Warren, Karen, Victoria, Frank, Florinda, Myrian, Charmaine, and Rodney, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 1: 1969 Mabel Upson; August 4: 1966 Harold Anderson Worrell.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Nehemiah 9:16-20, Psalm 78:14-20,23-25, Romans 8:35-39, Matthew 14:13-21 . . . 9:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Shin, 10:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher The Rector . . . On Saturday, July 31, Canon Garrison will hear confessions. On Saturday, August 7, the Rector will hear confessions.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Mass was said for the repose of the soul of Mary Webster, of Toulon, Illinois, on Wednesday evening, July 28. The requiem was requested by Michael Newman.
FROM THE PARISH REGISTER . . . In July a letter of transfer was received for Thomas Jayne from the Church of the Ascension, New York City, and a letter was received for Deborah Fluker from Saint Stephen's Church, Oak Harbor, Washington. In July three persons became members of the Episcopal Church and this parish by having the fact of their baptism in another Christian denomination recorded in the Register of Baptized Persons of our parish. They are Alexander Feldman, Iris Feldman, Ann Sokolowski, and Michelle Sokolowski. No letters of transfer were sent to other parishes in July.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Phil Burgess returned early from a holiday in England after receiving word that his mother, Gladys, is gravely ill. She is hospitalized in Nashville. Phil is there. Please keep Gladys, him and his family in your prayers . . . As we go to press this week, the parish office is aware that the July -August 1999 issue of AVE still has not arrived in the homes of our local parishioners. It has been mailed. We are working to insure that this does not happen again! . . . Father Shin will be away Friday, August 6, through Tuesday, August 10, for the Episcopal Asian Youth Conference in San Francisco. This is Father's last commitment to national church ministry from his work at the Episcopal Church Center . . . Attendance last Sunday: 132.
THE TRANSFIGURATION . . . The Episcopal Church celebrates the Transfiguration twice during the church year. Since the adoption of the new Prayer Book in 1979 one of the accounts of the Transfiguration is the gospel for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. The Transfiguration as a fixed major feast is a relatively recent development. Just before the Reformation it was adopted in thanksgiving for a victory of the Christian West over the Ottoman Turks. It is not at all clear why this feast was dropped in Anglican Prayer Books at the Reformation. It is entirely scriptural! This observance returned to the American Prayer Book in 1892 largely through the efforts of the Reverend William Reed Huntington, rector of Grace Church, New York City. The Transfiguration is a "Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ." It's observance is fixed on August 6 and takes precedence over the normal Sunday observance if it falls on a Sunday. The Prayer Book provides that it and other feasts of this rank begin with Evening Prayer on the eve of the feast. Therefore, on Thursday, August 5, Morning Prayer and the noon Mass will be for the "weekday." Evening Prayer will be the proper appointed for the Eve of the Transfiguration and the Mass will be for the Transfiguration as well. On Friday, August 6, all Offices and Masses will be for the Transfiguration.
NEW MEMBER RECEPTION . . . The parish clergy and the board of trustees have invited newer members of the parish to a reception at the rectory on Tuesday, August 3, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. The purpose of the gathering is to give a particular welcome to newer members of the parish and to give newer members a chance to meet the clergy and trustees in a more informal setting. If you are new, you are welcome! It is entirely possible that you aren't on our "new" list and were not properly invited. If this has happened, forgive us and call us and let us know you can come. Thank you!
NEW MASS SETTING . . . Beginning this Sunday, August 1, we will be using A Community Mass by Richard Proulx (b. 1937) at the Solemn Mass. We will probably continue to use this until the full choir returns in October. Richard Proulx was most recently the music director at Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago. This particular setting was written in 1970. Only the setting for Sanctus is included in The Hymnal 1982. The rest of the Mass setting is equally good. The ushers will be passing out a music card with the setting on it, although we suspect that in a very short while most people will not need the cards to sing the setting. This setting has been widely used since the 1970s by Episcopalians as well as Roman Catholics. If it seems familiar to you it probably is.
Worship at Saint Mary’s
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A Solemn Mass is offered at 11:00 AM. Monday through Friday Mass is said at 12:15 PM and 6:15 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:40 AM and Evening Prayer at 4:45 PM. Monday through Friday Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. On Saturdays the Noonday Office is offered at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Confessions are heard on Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. Appointments can also be made with members of the parish clergy for the Reconciliation of Penitents at other times.
The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar of the Ninth Week after Pentecost
Thursday Weekday & Eve of the Transfiguration
Friday The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Saturday John Mason Neale, priest
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend Allen Shin, curate,
The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.