I'm spending a fair amount of time and energy, but not as much as I would like, meeting new people, trying to see if they sense they are being called to be a part of this community and to see how you and I can help them respond a call to be here. Almost every Sunday someone asks me about how he or she can join the parish. Almost every week now someone asks to join. I'm learning a lot about Saint Mary's by listening to the stories of the people who are coming here.
I don't mean at all to imply that those of us who are already here don't have stories to tell and needs to serve and to be served. I have heard much and, again, not as much as I would like. This will change over time! In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, however, the workers who are last are as valued as those who have arrived first. I think you and I have a lot to learn by listening to the people the Lord is sending to us, just as newcomers will have a lot to learn from us.
Almost everyone who is new tells me what a wonderful surprise the physical space here is. Saint Mary's church is a holy place. People don't talk a lot before Mass, or even after. This building was built to help people recognize the presence of the Holy One, and it does that.
People tell me they are welcomed and feel welcome, and not just by the parish clergy. I was surprised to hear a recent visitor tell me he expected not to like Saint Mary's. It turns out that he had been in more than one traditional Anglo-catholic parishes where he did not perceive whether any one cared whether he was there or not. He expected not to like us and was completely surprised by the worship and the fellowship. I think the Holy Spirit may be trying to tell us something about how important our ministry of hospitality really is in addition to the care we give to worship.
People come to Saint Mary's to follow Jesus Christ. You and I can be instruments of Jesus' ministry in many ways. What is the environment that will make it easy for people to join us in ministry? A genuine desire to see and to welcome new sisters and brothers in Christ is at the top of my own list.
Our music is tremendously important to newcomers. Choral and organ offerings should be the best we can offer. We have a great space for music. Our organ is one of the great instruments in the United States and is, in fact, irreplaceable. Most important are hymns and service music sung by the congregation. I do expect to be born again during almost every hymn we sing, born again in glory by the hymn at the preparation, by devotion by the hymn after communion, and for mission by the final hymn.
Some of you have noticed that the parish clergy work the room at coffee hour before being drawn into long conversations. I have noticed several parishioners doing the same thing. The admonition of Saint Benedict that all guests are to be received as Christ is one which we can try to follow every Sunday.
The other day a newcomer asked me what my own "agenda" as the new rector was for Saint Mary's. He was asking about any particular outreach ministries. I answered that I had no agenda other than trying to help Saint Mary's in my own way be a place where people would continue to grow as members of the Body of Christ. I think many ministries will grow and flourish if you and I are trying to live the words we say in worship.
What kind of reputation do you want us as a parish community to have? What would you say to someone who said, "What is Saint Mary's about?" I hope the words "love" and "life" get mentioned. I hope the word "holiness" comes to mind. And in the very first sentence it's probably a good idea to mention the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for William who is hospitalized and for Hilda, Elwyn, Shirlah, Margaret, Shirley, Mark, Dorothy, Warren, Karen, Victoria, Florinda, Myrian, Christopher, Helen, Thomas, Katherine Rose and Rodney, priest.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 5: I964 Joseph Henry Schuman; September 6: 1989 Martha McElveen Jones; September 8: 1952 Gwendolyn Eugenia Sands, 1989 Ruth M. Hinckley, 1989 Herman E. Blackman.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Ezekiel 33:1-11, Psalm 119:33-40, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 18:15-20 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector. 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector. 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Shin . . . On Saturday, September 4, Father Shin will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, September 11, Canon Garrison will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . William Poston is recovering from a second surgery during his stay at Beth Israel Hospital. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Please note: Monday is Labor Day, a federal holiday. On ordinary federal holidays the church is open only for Mass at 12:15 so that most of our staff can observe the holiday too . . . The Rector met with George Blackshire last week to make plans for a gathering of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, a devotional society in the Anglican Communion for members of the Episcopal Church. They are beginning to plan an evening meeting for discussion and fellowship to see how the Saint Mary's Ward can again become active. If you would like to know more about "C.B.S." please speak with George . . . Sunday School and the Catechumenal Process: A Journey in Faith will start on September 19. Next week's Angelus will give full details . . . The Board of Trustees will be having a conference Friday evening, September 10, and Saturday morning, September 11, at the House of the Redeemer to work on planning their ministry for the coming year. The Reverend Charles Fulton, president of the Episcopal Church Building Fund, will be the moderator for the meeting . . . There is a supper for parishioners and friends who are in their 20s on Wednesday evening, September 8, from 7:00 to 9:00 at the rectory. Friends are most welcome . . . We understand that parishioners did receive AVE on time! A great deal of effort made this possible and we are thankful to our editor, Linda Bridges, and our production manager, Phillip Burgess, for their volunteer work on our bimonthly parish magazine . . . Attendance last Sunday: 131.
LAY READER NEEDED . . . A small group of parishioners are licensed by the bishop to serve regularly as lay readers at Evening Prayer and then as servers for the 6:15 Mass which follows. Because of a change in his schedule David Crommett is going to take a leave of absence from this ministry on Monday nights. If you might be interested in learning about serving as a lay reader please speak with the Rector.
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 Sixteenth Week after Pentecost
Monday Labor Day (Federal Holiday Schedule: 12:15 Mass Only)
Wednesday The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Thursday Commemoration of Constance and Her Companions, Martyrs
Friday Commemoration of Alexander Crummell
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Allen Shin, curate, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant,
The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.