A Place of Worship
Almost always when I speak with people who are new to Saint Mary’s or just learning about Saint Mary’s I am asked about Saint Mary’s mission. And almost always a puzzled look follows when I respond, “Worship.” Of all the things Christian churches can do or be, the idea that a church is primarily a place of worship is too often surprising in our day. My guess is that any layperson who tries to answer the same question in the same would also receive a similar puzzling look.
Christian communities have a long history of social outreach and mission. Much of the social work done by governments have their origins in the work of religious communities through the ages. You cannot understand the work and legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. without understanding his fundamental commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. To write about the American Civil War apart from reference to religion may appeal to many in our day, but, again, Christianity had an enormous role in the abolition of slavery. The prophetic work of Christian men and women continues – in our time usually outside the public eye. At the heart of it all, however, is worship.
Every community, like every human being, has its own challenges and opportunities to grow, learn and give to others. I believe our parish community will always be learning new ways to be of service. But I also think that our greatest witness will continue to be the clarity this community has always had about worship.
Father Thomas McKee Brown’s writings about the founding of this parish are not written in the same words as those who write about liturgy and worship usually write today. But fundamental understanding is the same. Saint Mary’s was organized for the renewal of worship that was “congregational” and “ceremonial” (Father Brown’s words). And his leadership gave this community an extraordinary space in which this happens.
Episcopalians generally through our history have prided ourselves on the quality and manner of our worship. This is the stated purpose of every American Book of Common Prayer (see the Preface, page 11). In a remarkable way, Saint Mary’s Times Square, with our doors open every day, with thirty-five scheduled services in an average week, fulfills the vision of the Prayer Book. This also happens to follow the best of the heritage of the wider Christian Church. Saint Mary’s Times Square is open daily for the gathering of people to hear the word of the gospel and to partake of the gospel sacrament. I am learning not to have any apology in my voice when I say the mission of Saint Mary’s is worship because worship makes everything else possible. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Martha, Tom, Doreen, Steve, Gilbert, Robert, Jason, Harold, Matthew, Virginia, Bart, Margaret, Marion, Hugh, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Jonathan, Jeffrey, Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, Colin, Christina, David, Nestor, Freddie, Matthew and Bennett . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 10: 1994 Malcolm Benton Wallace.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Acts 13:44-52 Psalm 145:1-9, Revelation 19:1,4-9; John 13:31-35 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 8 by Father Gerth . . . On Sunday, May 9, Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass. The Rector will be celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and the 11:00 AM Masses. The Reverend Canon Samuel Ndimbo will be the preacher for Solemn Evensong at 5:00 PM.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to Sean Cassidy and Pat Higgins for arranging the repair of one of our silver cruets. It was repaired beautifully . . . Especially as vacation season approaches, anyone interested in joining the rota of servers for weekday Masses or Sundays should speak with the Rector or with Father Beddingfield . . . Attendance last Sunday 309.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by associate organist Robert McDermitt, the voluntaries are from Suite Gothique by Léon Boëllman (1862-1897) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Ad regias Agni dapes (the Eastertide Office hymn) from Le Tombeau de Titelouze, Op. 38, No. 7 by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971). The postlude is Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des Heures de la cathédrale de Soissons, Op. 12 by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Messe ‘Cum jubilo’, Op. 11 by Duruflé. Based on the plainsong Mass of the same name (appointed for Marian feasts, and appropriate for the month of May), this stunning work is similar in concept to the composer’s famed Requiem. It is set, however, for unison men’s voices and organ, and is difficult for both singers and organist. One notes the particular demands of vocal range (very high and low notes) that Duruflé places on the singers. The motet at Communion is O salutaris Hostia, Op. 3, No. 1 by Jean Langlais (1907-1991) . . . The organ recital is played by Mr. Michael Diorio of Boston, Massachusetts, featuring works of Mendelssohn, Elgar and Vierne. At Evensong, Ms. Ruth Cunningham, a member of our choir and former member of the acclaimed ensemble Anonymous 4, will again offer a vocal improvisation before Benediction, using the text Vidi speciosam in honor of Our Lady. Robert McCormick
LEARN ABOUT THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN TANZANIA THIS SUNDAY . . . The Reverend Dr. Samuel Ndimbo, canon of Holy Cross Cathedral in the Diocese of Ruvuma, Tanzania, will be the preacher at Solemn Evensong & Benediction on Sunday, May 9. After the service there will be a reception with time for conversation and discussion. Canon Ndimbo has served the Anglican Church in Tanzania as physician and priest. The Anglican Church in Tanzania has its roots in the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) movement originally formed by students at Cambridge and Oxford in the 1800’s, whose theology of mission was deeply Anglo-catholic.
SUMMARY OF THE APRIL 19, 2004, BOARD MEETING . . . At its April 19, 2004, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Discussed plans for building development with the lawyer, Mr. Todd Pickard, who has assisted us in this matter. 2. Approved a proposal to repair the large, main doors at the front of the Church. These wooden doors, which hang from a rail mechanism that is behind the wall in the narthex, do not always close properly, and they have been in need of repair for some time. The cost of this repair is estimated to be $19,400.00. 3. Fixed two dates for long-range planning retreats for the Board of Trustees, Saturday May 22, and Saturday June 12. 4. Learned that the Treasurer, Mrs. Klett, the Bookkeeper, Mr. Vince Amodei, and the Parish Administrative Assistant, Ms. Sandra Schubert, will attend a training meeting for ACS business software, to be held in Charleston, South Carolina, from May 26th to the 28th. This is the software that is used for parish records and finances. Leroy Sharer, secretary
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Monday Easter Weekday
Tuesday Easter Weekday
Wednesday Easter Weekday
Thursday Easter Weekday
Friday Easter Weekday No abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, curate,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.