From Father Mead: What Can We Do?
In a sermon I read last week at Noonday Prayer Saint John Chrysostom stated that he was having an easy time bringing in money for decorations in the church, but having a hard time getting his congregation to help the poor. Then, as now, most of us love to see results, and when we give money or time to enhance the beauty of our worship space we often see immediate results. The poor, on the other hand, we sometimes view as simply part of normal life. Chrysostom admits that it is a great thing to decorate the Lord’s house—everyone experiences the beauty of worshipping God—yet he reminds his congregation (and us) that it is more important to make sure those in need are being helped. For him it is not an option of “either/or.” Both are good but one is better.
For the last few weeks I have been planning to write an article promoting the Saint Mary’s Guild: the guild that cares for, maintains, and raises money for the vestments, vessels, linens, and furnishing that are used at the altar at Saint Mary’s. When I initially read the sermon by Chrysostom I was hopeful that I might be able to use something from it for my article. It turns out that I can, but from a different angle than I imagined.
I am confident that over the next few months we will raise money and volunteers to further beautify the church. However, right now I hope that we as a parish will do all that is in our power, and then some, to help those who are in dire need. The winds from Hurricane Katrina have died down, but the devastation across the Gulf Coast is more horrific than can be imagined. As I write these words, the water level in New Orleans is still rising and the mayor expects the city to be completely submerged by week’s end. Many have died. Many are still trapped and await help. Millions, having escaped, now wait with no idea what, if anything, remains of their businesses, homes or possessions. Others look and wait and watch for their loved ones.
What can we do? Jesus teaches us very clearly that we aren’t just supposed to sit back and hope for the best. In the parable of the talents he warns that the man who buries his talent in the ground will receive a reward that is far from rewarding. He bluntly states that we feed Jesus when we feed someone who hungers, we clothe Jesus when we cloth someone in need, that we give shelter to God Incarnate when we offer shelter to the homeless.
Sometimes we are spurred by a horrific catastrophe and immediately ask, “what can we do to help?” The best most of us can do for those who need help on the Gulf Coast is to offer prayers and donate money. This is the right thing to do, but we cannot ignore that there are always people around us who need assistance, even in ordinary circumstances. Everyday we can offer our prayers, and everyday we can help to feed, cloth, and shelter those in need. To this end, we can donate ourselves as volunteers and our time to mission and outreach, and our money.
A great way to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding is through Episcopal Relief and Development. To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card at http://www.er-d.org/ or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.
A great way to get involved to help those in need locally is through Homeless Connect, a program hosted at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, September 13. Common Ground Community and the Times Square Alliance are bringing together city agencies, housing organizations, service providers and hundreds of people who will volunteer their time and services for a one-day mobilization to help Times Square’s long-term homeless obtain permanent housing, medical care and social services. All kinds of volunteers are needed. Please see one of the flyers in church, read more about the event, or sign up to help at www.homelessconnectnyc.org
Though we sometimes need tangible evidence, we also remember that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). And so we pray. We pray for victims of the natural disaster, for their families, and for all who suffer. We pray for emergency workers, officials and those who offer aid of any kind. We pray for our own neighbors who suffer in any way. And we offer ourselves and our resources to help feed, clothe and shelter all who are in need. Matthew Mead
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Patty and Betty Ann who are gravely ill, for Eileen and Derek who are hospitalized, for Kamil, Donna, Lloyd, Mikhail, Deborah, Anita, Erika, Rosemary, Rich, Lou, Michelle, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Virginia, Tony, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Henry, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Marc, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher, David, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Derrick and Christina; and we pray for the all who suffer as a result of the hurricane and flooding, and especially for those who mourn . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 5: 1964 Joseph Henry Schuman; September 6: 1989 Martha McKelveen Jones; September 8: 1952 Gwendolyn Eugenia Sands, 1989 Ruth M. Hinckley.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Ezekiel 33:1-11, Psalm 119:33-40, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 18:15-20 . . . Father Mead will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM and the 5:20 PM Masses . . . Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant at the 10:00 AM Sung Mass and Bishop Epting will be the preacher. Bishop Epting will be the celebrant and preacher for the 11:00 AM Solemn Pontifical Mass . . . On Saturday, September 1, Father Beddingfield will hear confessions and on Saturday, September 10, Father Gerth will hear confessions . . . Monday, September 5 is Labor Day. The church is open only from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and the Noonday Office and Mass at 12:15 PM are the only services offered.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Vater unser im Himmelreich (first setting) by Georg Böhm (1661-1733). The postlude is Fuge c-moll, BWV 546b by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The cantor this Sunday is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano. The anthem at Communion is Ms. Cunningham’s setting of verses from an office hymn of Our Lady, Ave maris stella. At Solemn Evensong on Thursday, September 8 the choir will sing Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Short Service) by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625). The anthem is God be in my head by John Rutter (b. 1945). Robert McCormick
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Rector is on vacation through Thursday, September 8 . . . On Thursday, September 8 at 6:00 PM, Saint Mary’s will again (as in years past) offer Solemn Evensong with particular intentions for victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The service is open to the public and takes place in response to a request by families and employees of Citibank, N.A. Music is sung by our choir . . . On Sunday, September 11 Robert McCormick will play an organ recital at St. Mark’s Church, Berkeley, California. For friends of Saint Mary’s in the Bay Area who might like to attend, Evensong is at 5:30 PM and the recital follows around 6:10 PM . . . Saint Benedict’s Study will be inaccessible for the next few weeks as it undergoes renovation of the floor and painting. This is in preparation for the children’s Sunday School which will begin on Sunday, October 2 . . . Attendance Last Sunday 203.
GIFT SHOP RENOVATION SALE . . . Beginning this Sunday in Saint Joseph’s Hall, during coffee hour after the Sung and Solemn Masses, gift shop items will be on sale at drastically reduced prices. The sale will be held every Sunday until inventory is cleared. The gift shop will remain closed for renovation until Sunday, November 20, the Feast of Christ the King. It will be reopened with fresh new interiors and exciting new merchandise.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION STARTS IN SEPTEMBER . . . On September 6, Father Mead’s Tuesday Night Bible Study begins for the new program year with a study of the Gospel according to John, chapters 7 and 8 . . . Poetic Devotion: Surveying the Christian Lyric in English, from the 17th century to the present, will be offered by Professor Rebecca Weiner. This class on poetic devotion will focus on reading and reflecting upon the work of numerous poets such as Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Blake, Rossetti, Tennyson, Browning, Eliot, Sitwell, Auden and many others. The class meets on Thursday evenings, September 8, 15 and 22 in Saint Benedict’s Study from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM . . . Join Father Mead at 1:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study on Sunday, September 11 for An Introduction to the Daily Office. The class will discuss such questions such as, “How do we know what Psalms to recite each day? Why do we recite them ‘antiphonally’ – and what exactly does ‘antiphonally’ mean? Why do we recite particular canticles each day?” Come and learn with us.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Labor Day – Federal Holiday Schedule
Thursday Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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 James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.