The Angelus

Volume 5, Number 23


In September 2003 Father Jay Smith will be leaving his position with us as assistant to return to New Haven so that he can complete his dissertation.  He feels like he needs to dedicate more concentrated time and effort to it, and simply get it done.  And we are going to miss him very, very much as an active member of the parish clergy staff.  I can’t recall now when he and I started talking about this but it was sometime during Lent when there was too much going on for us to focus on anything but Holy Week.  There are many schedule details to work out, but he and I have tentatively set Sunday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, as his final Sunday with us as an assistant. He will celebrate and preach the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Masses that day.  Though he will have no formal relationship with Saint Mary’s, we hope to see him frequently as a great friend of this parish.

In the meantime, it became clear to the trustees and me after the Annual Meeting on March 9 that there were two areas of parish life where we needed to add staff to make something significant happen.  These areas are membership and development.  In some significant ways the staff at Saint Mary’s is largely organized around the same principle which in my opinion has been at the heart of things here since the neighborhood began radically to change in the 1950s.  That principle was survival.  The parish has survived but we won’t grow without organizing to grow.  We can’t raise money if we aren’t organized to raise money.  The trustees and I believe that this means we need to hire two very fine people to work with us.  I expect during the summer to begin a search for someone to help with development.  We have found the person the trustees and I believe to be just the right person to help with membership.

Over the course of the last year or so, I had always thought Father John Beddingfield would leave us the day he was ordained deacon for a clergy position in another parish.  At the end of last year, he and I were simply hoping that he would be able to stay through Holy Week and the Easter Triduum because the Presiding Bishop would be here.  John has a particular interest in church growth and experience as the pastor of two congregations when he was a minister of the Presbyterian Church.  We weren’t at all sure that, were we to have a position available here, the Bishop would want John to stay at Saint Mary’s.  Happily, the bishop has agreed that there is probably no one who could step into this new position as John can.  I am very, very honored that Father Beddingfield will become a full-time curate of the parish as of June 1, 2003.  His title will be curate: assistant for parish life development and outreach.  Father Matthew Weiler’s title will become curate: assistant for liturgy and education.

When Father Smith leaves us as assistant in September, the part-time assistant’s position will not be continued.  Saint Mary’s will have three full-time priests for the first time in many decades.  John, the trustees and I are still working on the scope of his position.  He has been our administrative assistant.  My goal is to have another person in that position as of July 15, 2003.  Over the summer, the liturgical work John has done, because of his particular gifts and experience, will be taken over by Matthew.  John will work with me and others to develop a job description for a new parish administrative assistant, to be hired by July.  It should be an exciting time for the parish staff and the parish as we organize our common life to grow the parish.

Most parishioners are very understanding that on Sunday mornings the clergy spend most of their time with newcomers because this parish needs to grow to survive.  I want you to know that I expect this to continue!  You and I can’t begin to know in advance all of the changes that you and I will encounter as the congregation grows.  I believe we will grow and that Father Beddingfield will provide the kind of leadership and energy to help us be a place where more people can know the Lord and to be a place through which more people can serve the Lord.

Father Beddingfield and his partner, Erwin de Leon, are well known to the local parish community.  Some work, but not a lot, will need to be done on the fourth-floor apartment in the parish house for them before they can move in.  The Weilers and I will be very happy to have more residents in the church complex!

Mark your calendars now: Celebration for Father Smith, Sunday, September 14, here at Saint Mary’s.  Saturday, September 20, Father Beddingfield’s ordination to the priesthood, at the Cathedral.  Sunday, September 21, 11:00 AM, Father Beddingfield’s first celebration of the Eucharist as an Episcopal priest.

More later.  I believe that God always provides the people a parish needs for the work God wants to be done.  I think John Beddingfield is absolutely the right person for the work of the community at this time.  I’m sure God has plans for Father Smith – but I’m not entirely happy about this at the moment.  I know growth and change are a signs of new life.  But it’s going to be very hard not to have Father with us all of the time.  Again, more later.  Stephen Gerth


PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Margaret who is hospitalized, and for Joan, Rachel, Leah, Loretta, Joanne, Eva, Nicholas, Bart, Brett, Nora, Nicole, Jack, Thomas, Sarah, Grover, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick, Charles, priest, and Paul, bishop, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Jonathan, Patrick, Edward, Keith, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Mark, Ned, Timothy, David, John and Colin. . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 4: 1995 Alexandrina Patricia Hunte; May 5: 1965 Elizabeth Perrigo; May 6: 1991 Homer Lee Hennig; May 10: 1994 Malcolm Benton Wallace . . . IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The parish office received news that Robert L. Patterson, a longtime friend of the parish, of New Haven, Connecticut, died on April 3, 2003, after a long illness.  Pray for Robert, his friends and family, and all those who mourn.


NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This week at the Sung Mass, played by assistant organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude will be Prelude in G Major by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and the postlude will be Christ lag in Todesbaden, BWV 625 by J.S. Bach (1685-1750).  At the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be Christ ist erstanden, BWV 627 by Bach, and the postlude Präludium in C-dur by Georg Böhm (1633-1733).  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Il me suffit’ by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594) and the motet at Communion is a setting of Regina coeli by Ludovico da Viadana (1560-1627).  We continue our organ recital series before Solemn Evensong & Benediction.  This week, we welcome Miss Maxine Thevenot, organist of Christ Church, Manhasset, New York, who will play works of Vierne and Dupré.  Miss Thevenot is a doctoral student at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with McNeil Robinson, and you are also welcome to join us at 7:30 on Wednesday, May 7, when she will present her degree recital here at Saint Mary's. 


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 3 and on Saturday, May 10, by Father Gerth . . . One of our younger members, Elizabeth Gillespie, is participating in the “Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer” walkathon on May 10.  The walk was started several years ago by a classmate of Elizabeth’s and the funds raised go to the organization, Hope Street Kids, for research and treatment of pediatric cancer.  Checks should be made out to Hope Street Kids and can be sent to the church, or given directly to Elizabeth when you see her on Sunday . . . Fred G. Peelen, one of our present trustees, was honored at a special program at Cornell University by Cornell’s president and by the dean of the School of Hotel Administration for gifts establishing a professorship in Global Hospitality Strategy in the Hotel School and for a scholarship fund to enable students from Third World countries to attend the school . . . Attendance last Sunday 358


The Calendar of the Week

Sunday               The Third Sunday of Easter

Monday                     Easter Weekday

Tuesday                     Easter Weekday

Wednesday               Easter Weekday

Thursday                  Dame Julian, anchoress

Friday                        Gregory, bishop                        No Abstinence

Saturday                   Of Our Lady



The Parish Clergy

The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,

The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,

The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest,

The Reverend John Beddingfield, The Reverend Robert Rhodes, assisting deacons,

The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.