From the Rector: Who’s Coming to Dinner
Let me see if I have this right. Rowan Williams has asked Frank Griswold not to come to dinner because if he shows up Peter Akinola and his friends won’t come. Rowan Williams is the archbishop of Canterbury. Frank Griswold is our presiding bishop. Peter Akinola is the archbishop of the Church of Nigeria. Akinola thinks Griswold does not belong at the archbishop’s table any more. I wonder why Williams is letting Akinola get away with this.
Akinola isn’t the only bishop who thinks his way. Griswold isn’t the only bishop in favor of an inclusive Church. The primates have also asked the Anglican Church of Canada not to send representatives to meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council for the next three years. We are told this will give us the opportunity to explain ourselves. I find myself thinking about the opportunity Jesus was given to explain himself. But Jesus wasn’t on trial. Pilate was. And I don’t think the Episcopal Church is on trial. The Archbishop of Canterbury is. He has to decide who is invited.
I’m stunned that the Archbishop of Canterbury would go along with uninviting people to the table. He has never found it necessary not to invite divorced and remarried bishops to Anglican gatherings. I find it amazing that he has allowed himself to be held hostage over this issue of the sexual orientation of an American bishop.
When I was in France in 1999 I visited the British military museum in Normandy at Arromanches. While there I found myself wondering whether the political leadership of my own country in 1999 was more like the leadership of France in 1940 or England in 1940. I wonder where Canterbury is today. When Churchill first became prime minister his immediate problem concerned cabinet colleagues who wanted to make peace with the enemy.
I’m not suggesting that all of the issues raised directly and indirectly by the ordination of the Bishop of New Hampshire are simple ones. What concerns me has to do with the deeper issues of communion and excommunication. The Christian Church has no older traditions. Communion in a real sense goes back to Jesus himself. Excommunication does not.
If Paul’s New Testament letters are any indication, it took Jesus’ followers very little time to invent excommunication. I think at the beginning of the twenty-first century we should be very careful about making peace with persons who want to kick people out of the Church. I’ve been under the impression that in our day excommunication was a Roman Catholic answer to difficult questions, not an Anglican one.
I can’t help wondering whether Rowan Williams really wants to be held hostage by Peter Akinola and his friends over this issue. Does he really want the Anglican Communion to solve its problems by excommunication? Is Canterbury still in England or did it move? Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Patrick, Eileen, John, Virginia, Mary, Ruth, William, Jane, Thomas, Brian, Deborah, May, Tanya, Ibo, Pamela, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Jason, Kay, Bart, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Bruce, Joseph, Brenden, Christopher, David, Nestor, Freddie, Patrick, Derrick and Christina, and for the repose of the souls of Anita and Eleanor.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . March 9: 1951 Lenore H. Hibbard, 1965 Carolyn Elizabeth Allen; March 10: 1962 John S. Jarvis Beach, 1989 Marion Campbell, Jr.; March 11: 1994 Virginia Greene.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: I Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-38 . . . Father Mead will be the celebrant and Clare Nesmith, seminarian, the preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass . . . The Rector will be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Masses . . . Father Mead will preach at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . On Saturday, March 5, Father Beddingfield will hear confessions and on Saturday, March 12, Father Mead will hear confessions . . . The Fourth Sunday in Lent is known as “Laetare,” that is, “Rejoice,” from the historic text of this Sunday’s entrance psalm. Rose vestments are worn. Flowers are placed at the altar. There is restrained use of the organ. At the Sunday Masses the Daniels Memorial Chasuble will be worn. It is a fiddleback. The fabric is eighteenth century – originally used for a woman’s dress, in fact a very wealthy woman’s dress.
LENTEN DISCIPLINE . . . The weekdays of Lent are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. The Fridays of Lent are meatless.
THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CONGREGATION . . . For the last few years we have held the Annual Meeting of the Congregation on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. And it was scheduled for this Sunday again by the Board of Trustees. At the Annual Meeting the congregation receives the annual report of the staff and guilds of the community and elects its representatives to the annual convention of the Diocese of New York. This year, because of the growth of the parish, Saint Mary’s will need to elect two representatives and two alternates. (The next annual diocesan convention will be held on Saturday, November 19, at the Cathedral.) The meeting starts following the 11:00 AM Sunday Mass and usually lasts no more than one hour.
ORDINATION OF DEACONS . . . On Saturday, March 19, Saint Joseph’s Day, two members of Saint Mary’s, R. William Franklin and Ryan E. Lesh, will be ordained deacon at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The service is at 10:30 AM. A reception at the Cathedral follows. All members of the parish community are invited. Bill is presently associate for Christian Formation at Trinity Church, Boston. Ryan is a student at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Bill will be returning to Boston after the ordination to serve at his parish during Holy Week. Ryan will be with us until Easter Monday. (CDSP is on spring break.). As we’ve been expecting Ryan’s ordination on this date, he has been preparing all the music the deacon chants during Holy Week for sometime now! Bill, Ryan, congratulations. People of Saint Mary’s, your prayers and presence are requested.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Stations of the Cross continue on Friday nights in Lent at 7:00 PM . . . A Memorial Service for Eleanor Gould Packard will be held at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, March 8, at 3:00 PM. “Miss Gould,” as she was known, was for decades copy editor at The New Yorker . . . Father Charles Whipple is at home now. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Many thanks to all who continue to help with Stations of the Cross on Friday night . . . Father Mead’s Tuesday Night Bible Study continues on March 8 . . . A simple renovation of the men’s restroom is almost complete! . . . The Easter Offering Letter to the parish community will be mailed on Friday, March 10 . . . The service schedule for Holy Week is on the parish webpage under the Liturgical Calendar at www.stmvirgin.org . . . For further reading on the issues facing the Anglican communion visit http://www.dioceseny.org/index.cfm to read a statement from Bishop Sisk, along with a word from the Presiding Bishop and the Primates' Communique… Attendance last Sunday 287.
THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 5: A LENTEN LOOK AHEAD . . . Join Father Beddingfield and Robert McCormick from 9:30 AM to Noon to talk about the liturgies of Holy Week and to practice some of the music. We’ll be in Saint Joseph’s Hall and then move up to the organ gallery in the rear of the church.
BREAK THE FAST AND LEARN ABOUT THE LORD’S SUPPER . . . The Book of Common Prayer refers to the Holy Eucharist as “the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord's Day and other major Feasts.” Do you have any questions about the Holy Eucharist? Now you have a time and a place to ask them! Join Father Mead for a bite of breakfast in Saint Joseph’s Hall while we discuss the Holy Eucharist. This class will be offered twice: once in Lent and once in Eastertide, on Saturday, March 12, 2005 and Saturday, April 23, 2005, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . Our Lenten discipline of silence in place of organ music and improvisation is relaxed somewhat this Sunday . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the postlude is Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele, BWV 654 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis (1965-66) by William Walton (1902-1983). This Mass, written for the Choir of Coventry Cathedral, is for unaccompanied choir, with the exception of Gloria in excelsis Deo (which is not sung during Lent). The music achieves an overall mysterious effect through Walton’s unique harmonic language and voicing, though it becomes exuberant at “Hosanna in excelsis.” Walton, a versatile composer who wrote in many genres, was an important part of England’s musical establishment during his life, chronologically between Vaughan Williams and Britten. The anthem at Communion is his A litany, a heartfelt setting of Phineas Fletcher’s text Drop, drop, slow tears. It dates from 1916 (when the composer was only 14 years old). Though Walton matured greatly as a composer during his career, both A litany and Missa brevis, written 50 years apart, bear the stamp of the same man. Robert McCormick
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourth Sunday in Lent: Laetare
Monday Weekday of Lent
Tuesday Weekday of Lent
Wednesday Weekday of Lent
Thursday Weekday of Lent
Friday Weekday of Lent Lenten Friday Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent
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.