From Father Beddingfield: ROI at SMV
The other night I went to a college alumni/alumnae function. As I talked with old friends and met some new ones, they were intrigued that I serve a parish in Times Square. I talked with several people about weddings and talked about our music. I talked about the history of the church. And with several people, I talked about money.
You might wonder how giving money to a church might arise at a cocktail party, but like any good market tip -- how could I not pass on a sure thing to my friends? For several of these friends, the reason for my talking about Saint Mary’s was obvious: they have lots of money and I have something for them to invest in.
If people are serious about a return on investment, Saint Mary’s is the place. ROI at SMV is high.
Return on investment usually has to do with the ability of a company to provide profits to its shareholders. Yet, even among for-profit investors, there has been a recent movement to look beneath the balance sheet and also take into consideration certain intangibles that can make or break a company. Intangibles include a company’s people, ideas, know-how, relationships, systems, and work processes. Given the recent ethical and procedural problems faced by some of the nation’s most “profitable” companies, the importance of considering intangibles may seem even more important.
As a business, Saint Mary’s is failing. A 1.2 million budget with a deficit of over $750,000 does not sound like a good investment at all. Anyone looking solely at the balance sheet would recommend slashing the budget, firing the choir and staff and renting out every square inch of usable space. Not only would that be a faithless decision, it’s also a bad business decision. It ignores the intangibles.
Lives are changed at Saint Mary’s. People find a community here they never imagined existed. We fall in love, and fall in love again with God. Souls are shaped. Religious minds and hearts are formed. Ethics are instilled and mission moves us from piety to practice. Those who invest in Saint Mary’s receive a return on investment that multiplies exponentially. Saint Mary’s changes us. The worship, the daily offices prayed together, the smoke that gets in one’s clothes, the presence of the holy that is almost palpable—all of this changes us into new people. We influence our friends and families. We influence our workplaces. We influence the world.
At last week’s class on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins there were twelve people. They were old and young. They were Asian, African-American and Caucasian. They were male and female. They were gay and straight. There were several life-long Anglicans but also among us were those who were formerly Jewish, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic. All of our potential differences dissolved around our discussion of Hopkins and his convoluted yet exquisite vision of Christ. We left the class not only changed by our deeper discovery of poetry, but also by a deeper experience of the risen Christ living in each one of us.
Like in the financial market, there are those who might prefer to wait until there are clearer signs of progress. Before investing in Saint Mary’s they want to see the church full more often, or they want to see a vibrant Sunday School, or they want to hear publishable sermons at every Mass. Those who wait to invest are doing the spiritual equivalent of putting all their resources in T-bills or CD’s. They play it safe. They don’t risk. They wait. But the return they get on their investment will be low --measurable in the tentativeness of their involvement and more sadly in the fragility of their faith.
Unashamedly, confidently, and joyfully, I ask you to invest richly in Saint Mary’s. If you invest yourself, you will come to know the profits first-hand. If you invest your money, you will see the return on your investment not only in the mirror but also in the faces of all the others who are touched by the ministry and mission of this parish.
Over the next few weeks we are encouraged to pray and think about our commitment to Saint Mary’s. Before or on Sunday, November 21, the Solemnity of Christ the King, we will be asked to make our pledge to the operating budget of Saint Mary’s for 2005. Saint Mary’s matters. The real question is how much it matters to you. John Beddingfield
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked Gloria and Allen who are hospitalized, and for Samuel, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, 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; and for the repose of the soul of Sue . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October: 9, 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler, 1987 Barbara L. Coates; October 15: 1957 Lynda Beatrice Roberts; 1971 Florence F. Scheftel; 1987 Harold Polit.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Ruth 1:1-19, Psalm 133, 2 Timothy 2:3-15, Luke 17:11-19 . . . Confessions will are heard on Saturday, October 9 by Father Beddingfield . . . On Sunday, October 10, Father Mead will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9 AM Mass. Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant and preacher at the 10:00 AM Mass and the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass. The Reverend Canon John G. B. Andrew, rector emeritus of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, will be the preacher at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: The church will be open on a federal holiday schedule for Columbus Day, Friday, October 11. The Noonday Office is at 12:00 PM and Mass follows at 12:15 PM. Via Media will still meet on Monday at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . The Rector is on vacation through October 26 . . . Special thanks to our faithful threesome, George Handy, Dennis Smith, and Eileen Whittle, who mailed all of the concert flyers out this week . . . Special thanks to Lana Dougherty who designed the beautiful concert flyers . . . MONDAY: Via Media 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 to 8:30 PM) . . . TUESDAY: Weekly Bible Study led this week by Clare Nesmith and will be on the Book of Judith (Saint Benedict’s Study 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM . . . WEDNESDAY: Series on prayer with the Reverend Anne Richards (Saint Benedict’s Study 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM) . . . The Mission & Outreach Committee will meet on next Sunday, October 17 at 1:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. All are invited to attend this meeting.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Lied from 24 Pièces en style libre, Opus 31/17 by Louis Vierne (1870-1937) and the postlude is Prelude to ‘Te Deum’ by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1645/50-1704) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is A Meditation on ‘Brother James’ Air’ by Harold Darke (1888-1976). The postlude is Crown Imperial by William Walton (1902-1983) (transcribed for organ by Herbert Murrill, 1909-1952), the Coronation March composed in 1937 for George VI’s coronation. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Darke’s Communion Service in A minor. Darke was acting director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, England during the Second World War and for many years was organist of Saint Michael’s Church, Cornhill, London. He composed this setting in 1967 for the choir of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo, New York. The anthem at Communion is My soul, there is a country by C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918), a setting from his Songs of Farewell for unaccompanied choir. The anthems in this collection are some of Parry’s most heart-felt and intense music, written near the end of his life. Another of the Songs of Farewell (and a favorite of mine!) is the stunningly beautiful Lord, let me know mine end . . . The organ recital at 4:40, featuring works of Buxtehude, Böhm, Jongen and Parry, is played by the music director . . . Tickets are now on sale for the 2004-2005 season of Concerts at Saint Mary’s. The first concert, sung by our choir, is Thursday, November 18. Tickets may be ordered by credit card (phone 212.869.5830, extension 25) or by check (fill out the form in the brochure that should arrive in your mailbox shortly, or print and mail the form found at www.stmvirgin.org/MusicatSaintMarys).
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.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Weekday (Columbus Day)
Federal Holiday Schedule: One Mass only, at 12:15 PM
Thursday Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Bishop of Shanghai, 1906
Friday Teresa of Avila, Nun, 1582 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.