Truth and Unity
The Rev. Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A., born Lewis Wattson, was still an Episcopal monk and priest, in 1908 when he suggested that the week between the January feasts of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (now known as the Confession of Saint Peter on January 18 and the Conversion of Saint Paul on January 25) be observed as a “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” But Wattson by this time was on his way to Rome. And in 1909 his Episcopal religious community, the Society of the Atonement, was received into the Roman Catholic Church. He continued to work for reunion throughout his life. He died in 1940.
Wattson’s ecumenical ministry is all the more interesting because he was moved to leave the Episcopal Church because of a change in our Church’s canon law. In 1907 it became possible for rectors and bishops to invite members of the clergy of other Christian churches, including Protestant ministers, to preach during worship. Although it may seem quite normal for us Episcopalians for guest clergy to preach in our pulpits, recall that a leader of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was put on trial by his church for participating in an ecumenical service at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001.
I don’t worship often in churches of other Christian denominations. When I am at worship with others of a different tradition it is immediately apparent how truly welcome I am or am not. It is not difficult to convey welcome or wariness to guests in worship. I am quite at home in our Episcopal Church that welcomes other Christians and believes that God is at work as much in the life of their church community as he is in our own.
Next week the Reverend Louis Weil is giving a lecture at the Centro Pro Unione in Rome. I’m going hear him speak (and to take a vacation!). His lecture is entitled, “Rome and Canterbury: Steps Toward Reconciliation through the Sharing of Gifts.” I’m looking forward to it for many of reasons. The lecture will be followed by an ecumenical service of the Word. Too many Christian leaders of too many different Christian denominations would be appalled if we sat down and ate together the Supper of the Lord. One suspects that many Christian leaders would prefer not to sit down for supper of any kind with others they consider outside their understanding of what a true Christian church is.
The late James E. Griffiss, a priest who taught philosophical and systematic theology when I was a student at Nashotah House and a former assistant priest here at Saint Mary’s, used to quip concerning ecumenism, “Let’s eat first and talk later.” One might observe that Jesus himself often seemed comfortable with this order of events. It ought to shock all Christians that there is no older New Testament tradition than excommunication.
I believe our Anglican Communion will continue to have a leading and prophetic role in calling other Christians to the table to eat together. I think this is the case in large part because there is something self-correcting about a tradition that places reason and truth among its primary values. Most of Anglicans simply are not afraid of the intellectual challenge the past, the present or the future present. Most believe God is more understanding than any of us ordinary human beings are wont to be. Count me among those who believe truth is more important than unity. Count me among those who believe there will be no unity without truth. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for John, Deborah, Nicholas, Tanya, Tony, Cecil, Ibo, Mary, Rick, Pamela, Charles, Gloria, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Jason, Bart, Hugh, Marion, Mamie, Judith, Thomas and Charles, priest, for those on the mission trip to Honduras, 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 and for the repose of the souls of Nelson and Linda . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 15: 1983 Faith Trumbull Cleveland Booth; January 17: 1967 Letitia Fidelia De Sousa, 1998 John Zippler Headley; January 21: 1977 Edward Parker Amos.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-10, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 John 1:29-40 . . . The Rector will be the celebrant and preacher for all of the Sunday morning Masses . . . Father Mead will preach at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . On Saturday, January 15, the Rector will hear confessions. On Saturday, January 22, Father Mead will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The parish office will be closed on Monday, January 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Day. The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The only services will be Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Mass at 12:15 PM . . . Rebecca Weiner and Father Beddingfield return from the diocesan mission trip to Honduras late on Sunday, January 16. Please continue to keep them and the mission trip 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 . . . The Rector will be on vacation January 18 through January 27 . . . Attendance Last Sunday 277.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by Dale Bonenberger, parishioner and gifted organist, the prelude is Kleine Präludium und Fuge F-dur, BWV 556 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (though the authenticity is doubtful). The postlude is Psalm 19 by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739) . . . At the Solemn Mass, played by associate organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Andante tranquillo from Sonate A-dur, Opus 65/3 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and the postlude is Trumpet Tune in C by David N. Johnson (1922-1987). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Le bien que j’ay’ by Claude Goudimel (c. 1514-1572). This parody Mass (a Mass setting based upon another piece of music) takes as its model the chanson Le bien que j’ay by Jacques Arcadelt (?1505-1568). Goudimel, a French composer once believed to have been Palestrina’s teacher (now this is known not to be so), may be known best for his psalm settings, which became greatly used in the Reformed tradition. He also wrote numerous chansons, motets and Masses. The motet at Communion is Tu solus qui facis mirabilia, a setting of a vernacular hymn to Christ, by Josquin Desprez (c. 1440-1521). Josquin is one of the most important composers of the high Renaissance and is generally included in the Franco-Flemish school (born in present-day Belgium, died in France), though he also worked in Italy for a time . . . The organ recital at 4:40 on Sunday is by Mark A. Cole of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania . . . Plan to attend the concert by the Quink Vocal Ensemble at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, February 6 at 7:30 PM. This internationally renowned group, with many recital and recording credits, will sing a diverse program entitled Pour vos plaisirs, including Alexander Agricola’s rondeau Pour vos plaisirs, as well as chansons and madrigals by Clément Jannequin, Adrian Willaert, Nicholas Gombert, Pierre de Manchicourt, Orlande de Lassus and others. Also featured is Samuel Barber’s To be sung on the water, Three Short Elegies by Gerald Finzi and Randall Thompson’s Fare well. Purchase tickets now for what promised to be an amazing program – print and fill out the form found at www.stmvirgin.org/MusicatSaintMarys or phone 212.869.5830, extension 25. 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 Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Monday Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
Martin Luther King Day: One Mass only 12:15 PM
Tuesday The Confession of Saint Peter The Apostle
Wednesday Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
Thursday Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome, 250
Friday Agnes, Martyr at Rome, 304 Abstinence
Saturday Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa and Martyr, 304
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.