From Father Beddingfield: Why Mission Matters
“Why should we do mission in far away places when there is so much need right here at home?” The question was asked at a meeting with Canon Sylvia Vasquez, last March at Saint Mary’s, when we first began to think and pray about a mission trip to Honduras. The person who asked the question went on to say, “I mean, there is hunger and homelessness and teenage pregnancy and drug abuse and poverty of all kinds right in our own neighborhoods. Why are we talking about going to another part of the world?” Canon Vasquez then said very gently to the person, “Can I ask you something? May I ask – are you already involved in addressing any of those local problems you just mentioned?” “Well, no,” the person explained, “It’s all just too overwhelming. I mean, where does one begin to address all these societal and systemic problems? I guess I just don’t know where to start.”
Canon Vasquez then began to explain that one reason we become involved in global mission is to learn from the people in other places, to see how they are tackling problems of almost overwhelming magnitude and to learn from their successes, their failures, their joys and their sorrows. Sometimes visiting another place can give us a sharper perspective on our own situation. Titus Pressler suggests this has to do with our perception of what God is already doing and what God might have us do.
God is the missionary at the heart of Christian mission – that is a central insight of scripture. Mission is not fundamentally something we do as Christians but a quality of God’s own being. It is not a program of ours but the path of God’s action in the world. The mission of the church, therefore, derives from the mission of God, and it has meaning only in relation to what God is up to in the universe. Already engaged in mission, God simply invites us to participate in what God is doing. (Horizons of Mission, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cowley, 2001) p.20.
I go to Honduras next week for several reasons. One reason is selfish. I have known in my own life how such experiences have changed me and helped me see God more clearly. In urban Washington, D.C., in the rural South, in Israel, Central America and India, I’ve been challenged and changed by what God is doing in other people’s lives. My faith has deepened. My resourcefulness and creativity have broadened. My values have shifted and my priorities have been clarified.
I also want this experience to in some way inform life at Saint Mary’s. Though I don’t know how, I pray that the trip to Honduras will be a part of the ongoing growth in mission at Saint Mary’s. I hope that something of what Rebecca Weiner and I learn in Tegucigalpa might help us see more clearly what God is doing in Times Square and how we can be more deeply involved. Perhaps the mission in Honduras will be ongoing and next year we take a dozen Saint Marians. We don’t know, but it’s one aspect of the faith that compels us to go.
We thank you who have contributed so generously to the work we will be doing in painting and building. Please pray for us as we go to Villanueva, Honduras January 10 through 16. And yes, we are taking incense as a small gift from Saint Mary’s! John Beddingfield
PRAYER LIST . . . John, Dale, Deborah, Nicholas, Tanya, Tony, Cecil, Ibo, Mary, Rick, Pamela, Charles, Gloria, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Jason, Bart, Hugh, Marion, Mamie, Judith, Thomas and Charles, priest; we pray for those on the mission trip to Honduras; and we pray for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Bruce, Paul, Brenden, Jonathan, Jeffrey, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, Colin, Christina, David, Nestor, Freddie, Matthew and Bennett . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 10: 1994 William F. Lata.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 89:20-29, Acts 10:3-34-38 Matthew 3:13-17 . . . Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass . . . The Rector will be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM Sung Mass . . . The Right Reverend Richard F. Grein will be the celebrant and preacher for the 11:00 AM Solemn Pontifical Mass. The Sacraments of Christian initiation will be celebrated . . . The Rector will preach at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . On Saturday, January 8, Father Beddingfield will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, January 15, the Rector will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Father Charles Whipple continues to recover from a broken hip. He is now at the Village Nursing Home . . . Our parishioner John Simon-Ash suffered a broken leg in an accident just after Christmas and recovers in a rehabilitation center. Parishioner Dale Bonenberger suffered cuts and bruises in a car accident. Please keep them in your prayers . . . The 2005 Ordo Calendars are here and will be available for $5.00 in Saint Joseph’s Hall after the Solemn Mass on Sunday . . . This Sunday shortly before 4:00 PM, Robert McCormick is the featured guest artist at Vespers for the Baptism of Christ at Corpus Christi Church, New York (529 West 121st Street). He plays the prelude and music during the service, which is sung by the professional choir of Corpus Christi (Louise Basbas, music director) . . . Attendance Holy Name 88, Last Sunday 270.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (“Christ our Lord to the Jordan came”) by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) and the postlude is La réjouissance from Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BuxWV 180 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707) and the postlude is Präludium und Fuge c-moll, BWV 546 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis F-dur, Opus 117 by Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901). Rheinberger is an important composer and teacher of the German Romantic period, and is especially known for his organ and sacred choral music. This work, composed in 1880, was written over a span of a mere five hours (clearly Rheinberger was marvelously efficient)! His aesthetic and style is in many ways similar to the great Johannes Brahms (both men wrote music in a classical disposition, as opposed to the freer and “wilder” music of composers such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner). The anthem at Communion, one of the composer’s most popular and beautiful carol anthems, is A spotless Rose by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). This is a setting of the text also translated as “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming” and “I know a Rose-tree springing.” Howells, with his incomparable compositional technique, paintsstriking images in this piece, particularly in the way in which he sets the words “blowing” and “cold” . . . The organ recital at 4:40 on Sunday is by David Shuler of the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, New York, a great colleague of mine and friend of Saint Mary’s. Robert McCormick
COLLEGIATE CHORAL TO PERFORM AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On Monday, January 17 at 8:00 PM, the Collegiate Chorale (Michael Conley, conductor) will present a concert at Saint Mary’s. Appropriate for the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the concert is entitled “Remembering the Dream . . . A Celebration of Freedom”, and will include works of Byrd, Pergolesi, Poulenc, Mendelssohn, John Knowles Paine, Britten, Michael Tippett and spirituals. Also featured is the world premiere of a new work, Tis not too late!, by New York composer (and former Saint Mary’s choir member) Nancy Wertsch. Tickets are $25.00 for general seating and $40.00 for premiere seating, available at 917-322-2140. More information is available at www.collegiatechorale.org.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . A new year brings new beginnings! Saint Matthew and Saint Luke tell us about Jesus’ earthly origins, but it is from Saint John that we learn of the Word that was “in the beginning.” Join Father Mead this Tuesday at 7:00 PM as we begin our thorough study of the Gospel and Epistles of Saint John. This Bible study will continue throughout the foreseeable future on Tuesday nights.
EPISCOPAL RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT RESPONDS TO TSUNAMI VICTIMS . . . In the first week of the crisis, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) sent $250,000 in emergency funds to affected areas. These allocations are the beginning of ERD’s long-term response to assist in rebuilding hard-hit regions. ERD has purchased 1,000 temporary shelters, which are being sent to the Diocese of Colombo in the Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka. The shelters are called ZeroFly and are approved by the World Health Organization. Along with being water-resistant, the material contains an insecticide that combats malaria and houseflies, said ERD staff member Daniel Conway. This shipment is being made via air and is in direct response to the great need expressed by the Bishop of Colombo, the Right Reverend Duleep da Chickera. ERD staff has been in telephone communication with the bishop since the tragedy of December 26. Because shelter materials are not readily available in Sri Lanka, this significant need was identified by ERD. One can donate online at www.er-d.org. To make a credit card donation by phone, call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o South Asia Relief Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, New Jersey 07101.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY:
THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
Monday William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645
Wednesday Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Thursday Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 367
Friday Weekday Abstinence
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, The Reverend Matthew Mead, curates,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.