It’s remarkable that the way Saint Mary’s plays with the Church calendar is to observe the first Sunday in October as the Feast of the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church. It isn’t. Our present and second church home was consecrated by the Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Henry C. Potter, on December 12, 1895, four days after the first service was held in the building on December 8, 1895. From 1896, December 8 was celebrated as our patronal feast and as the anniversary of dedication, again curiously, since the Church calendar seems to have been followed very strictly, then as it is now.
We aren’t the only parish in New York to do this – even though I suspect there is no parish in the Diocese of New York that does not know when its church was consecrated. The provision to celebrate an anniversary of dedication at the beginning of October was provided, if I recall correctly, for congregations so ancient that no record remains of a date of consecration. For us, it has been the date that our choir returns for Solemn Masses and we resume Solemn Evensong & Benediction on Sunday nights. The readings and the hymns are great. This year we will not be having an indoor procession at the beginning of the Solemn Mass this Sunday. This doesn’t mean a much shorter service (see “Notes on Music”)! There will be a reception afterwards.
The thrust of Sunday’s celebration is our thankfulness for our parish community having this physical home. No words of mine can begin truly to describe its spiritual and physical power. It is more than right in so many ways. The building itself stands in judgment on every one who enters. The physical majesty here is spiritual. But of course Saint Mary’s is more than its buildings. It is this community in Christ, this part of his Body, living and dead, who have found in this place the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Saint Mary’s has always called for more from those who know her than most ordinary Christian communities. Right now, we need to grow our numbers and our money to sustain the ministry in this place. In 2005, we will need to find $300,000.00 in new gifts. You will be hearing and reading a lot more about the needs, opportunities and realities of our future. I for one don’t think New York needs another church where the doors are closed. I think our community and the wider Episcopal Church needs Saint Mary’s to be a growing witness to the priority of common prayer in the lives of all people. Saint Mary’s is not an accidental parish. We are a community that has chosen to live in faith in so many ways.
This Sunday, I hope you can be here to worship, morning and evening, in thanksgiving to God for the vision of men and women who built this home for our community. I hope you can be here as we dedicate ourselves anew to Christ. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Gloria and Allen who are hospitalized, and for Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Margaret, Jason, Bart, Hugh, Marion, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Bruce, Paul, Brenden, Jonathan, Jeffrey, Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, Colin, Christina, David, Nestor, Freddie, Matthew and Bennett . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 1: 1996 William Wolf; October 2: 1961 Beatrice Irwin Packington, 1985 Herbert Eric Schmidt.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 1 Kings 8:22-30, Psalm 84:1-6, 1 Peter 2:1-5,9-10, Matthew 21:12-16 . . . Confessions will are heard on Saturday, October 2 by Father Gerth and on Saturday, October 9 by Father Beddingfield . . . On Sunday, October 3, Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant and preacher at the 9:00 AM Mass. The Rector be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM Sung Mass and the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. The Very Reverend Joseph H. Britton, dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, will be the preacher at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM, sung this week by the full choir.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Mark Peterson, a member of our parish, has recently begun work as organist and choirmaster of Saint Paul’s Church, Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. Mark is our recitalist on Sunday night. Congratulations to him and best wishes in this exciting position . . . MONDAY begins Via Media, a Christian Education program for those who are new to the Episcopal Church, curious about the Christian faith or simply want to explore some of the basic Christian beliefs from an Anglican perspective (Saint Joseph’s Hall 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM) . . . TUESDAY begins the weekly Bible Study with Father Mead. This week’s study is on the Book of Jonah (Saint Benedict’s Study 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM) . . . WEDNESDAY begins a series on prayer and ways of praying with the Reverend Anne Richards (Saint Benedict’s Study 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM) . . . The Rector will be on vacation Monday, October 4, through Monday, October 25 . . . Attendance last Sunday 220, Michaelmas 71.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Passacaglia d-moll, BuxWV 161 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707) and the postlude is Bell Symphony by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is the Buxtehude Passacaglia, again played by Mr. McDermitt. The postlude is Buxtehude’s Präludium D-dur, BuxWV 139. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Tu es Petrus’ by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) and the music at Communion is Palestrina’s motet of the same name. This Mass and motet (based on Matthew 16:18,19: “You are Peter . . . ”) for 6-part choir are among Palestrina’s most rightly famous works: among other reasons, they are important because for much of his life Palestrina was master of the choir of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome . . . The full choir sings for Solemn Evensong this Sunday! Come early for the organ recital at 4:40 played by Mark Peterson. The canticles are Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in E minor (1957) by Leo Sowerby (1895-1968), once called “the dean of American Church music.” For many years Sowerby was director of music of Saint James’s Cathedral, Chicago. His wonderful music (this service is among his greatest) is not often performed today, though I believe it is neglected unjustly and will rise again to popularity. The anthem is the famed I was glad by C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918), written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 and sung at each coronation since. Choral music at Benediction is by Jehan Alain (1911-1940) and Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). Robert McCormick
TRUSTEE NOMINATIONS . . . In anticipation of the election of several new trustees within the next few months, the Board of Trustees recently formed a Nominating Committee. Trustees on the committee include Robin Landis, chair, Gloria Fitzgerald, Dan Franks, David Gillespie, Fred Peelen and the Rector. The committee is looking for two non-trustee parishioners to join it, on the understanding that committee members will not themselves be nominated. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please let me know. My telephone number at work is 212.474.1921. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee hopes to begin its work by November 1. Robin Landis, vice-president, Board of Trustees
WOMEN’S TEA WITH ARCHDEACON TAI . . . On Sunday, October 17, Saint Mary’s will offer a Tea & Talk for the women of the church from 3:00 PM to 4:45 PM. Our guest will be Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations. Archdeacon Tai will speak on women and global issues. She will also be our preacher that evening at Solemn Evensong. This is an excellent opportunity to bring a friend to Saint Mary’s.
CREATE YOUR OWN ICON . . . There are a few spaces left for Sacred Art, Sacred Breath: A Workshop in Icon Painting led by Patricia Miranda over two days on Saturday, November 6 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday, November 7 from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Join us in exploring sacred art and prayer. No artistic background is necessary and each participant will create a small illuminated painting on a wood panel to take home. For more information please pick up a flyer from the table in the back of the church or see the Visual Arts Program section of the church’s website. One can register online or call the parish office at 212-869-5830. If you have already given your name but have not sent in your payment of $45, please do so right away to secure your place in the workshop. Susan Miranda
HONDURAS MISSION TRIP: JANUARY 2005 . . . January 11-17 a group of people from the Diocese of New York will team up with a group from Trinity Church, Wilmington, Delaware for a mission trip to Villanueva, a village located just outside Tegucigalpa. The parish of San Juan Evangelista is a mission of the Cathedral of Saint Mary and All Angels and the priest-in-charge is the Reverend Maria Consuelo. Details of the mission will be formalized over the next month, but most likely the group will work with the children and the families of the village. Last spring the trustees of Saint Mary’s agreed to send our Maundy Thursday offering to San Juan Evangelista and we have mailed a check for over $700.00, which is being used by the parish to meet basic needs of the families of the village. The cost of the trip will be around $1,200 per person and those who are going should soon begin the necessary vaccinations. Is God nudging you to join us for the trip? If so, pray about it and some time soon speak with Father Beddingfield.
MISSION & OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . .Do you want to be part of a new Mission & Outreach Committee at Saint Mary’s? Do you have your own list of “I wish our church did . . . ”? Bring your ideas and your prayers and join us for a planning meeting at 1:00 PM on Sunday, October 17 in Saint Benedict’s Study. We’ll discuss our involvement in Jacob’s Tents, support for the Honduras trip, an alternative-giving fair for December and other ideas. John Beddingfield
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Dedication of the Church
Monday Francis of Assisi, Friar, 1226
Wednesday William Tyndale, Priest, 1536
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, The Reverend Matthew Mead, curates,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.