From the Rector: Ducks, Cats and Dogs
I went online last week to locate the well-known children’s tale usually called “The Little Red Hen.” Of course it’s a story I’ve known all my life. But I couldn’t remember the details. Briefly, the hen finds a grain of wheat, plants it, tends it, harvests the crop, has the wheat ground into flour and then bakes bread. At every step she encounters a duck, a cat and a dog. None has time to help until the bread is out of the oven. Then, all have time to eat. But the little red hen isn’t sharing.
A Christian could hear the gospel parable of the Wedding Feast in this fable. It’s in Luke 14:15-24 and Matthew 22:1-14 (which we heard several Sundays ago). For me this is not an easy gospel. I don’t like the idea that God is going to slam the door on those who are not ready, on those who don’t have the right garment for the feast. But this is very much a part of the Gospel According to Matthew.
One more story: The Cleansing of the Ten Lepers, Luke 17:11-19. Ten lepers are healed. Nine, following Jesus’ instruction, go to show themselves to the religious leaders whose job it was in that community to certify that the lepers were no longer unclean. One, a Samaritan (that is, not a Jew), disobeys. He returns to Jesus, “fell on his face at Jesus’ feet” and gave Jesus thanks.
As I write materials for the 2006 Stewardship Campaign are just about ready to go into the mail. This is an enormous task and the organization of the mailing falls largely on Father John Beddingfield. It is hugely important for our future because without the sacrificial support of Saint Mary’s members and friends the work here cannot go forward.
I want to repeat something I wrote in this space last week. In 2004, the parish invaded the principal its modest endowment by $531,000. This year, 2005, the invasion is cut to $351,000. To continue on the road to financial responsibility we need to cut that invasion in half in 2006. I offer the story of the Little Red Hen, the Parable of the Marriage Feast and the Cleansing of the Ten Lepers as starting points for your meditations on what you are being called to do with your money for the work of this Christian community.
A long time ago I gave up as a Christian and as a pastor in trying to understand why a very few people give so much and so many give so little. In synagogues, the trustees generally divide the budget by the membership and send out bills. There are more than a few days in every year of my ordained service that I didn’t long for such a system for us. But that’s not the gospel. Jesus usually is content to teach, feed and heal. Then, he looks away. Could it be because almost no one ever returns to say thanks? Could it be that Jesus simply got tired of his human heart breaking? I confess I simply block out of my mind knowledge of what people give. It’s not that many are not generous – many, many are, but it’s people who have so much and give little or nothing that I don’t understand.
I ask you to dig deep into your heart and your wallet and to let your love for God help you to give thanks in a new way in 2006. I hope you are especially thankful for the new life that’s so abundant at Saint Mary’s these days. I hope you are proud of the lives that are touch by Christ because you help to keep the doors of a church open in Times Square. I hope you are confident of the love and faith of this community in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you believe that the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is doing Christ’s work and that you will want truly to give thanks to him by supporting his work here. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Mary Jean, Peter, Emil, Arnold, Naila, Mary, Will, Michael, Ray, Betty Ann, Mikhail, Matthew, Donna, Lloyd, Deborah, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Tony, Ibo, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Henry, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest, 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 for the repose of the soul of Carl . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 15: 1959 Irene Helen Williams, 1972 Wallace Charles Taylor, 1973 Estelle Moore, 1983 Ralph Burus Smith, 1997 Noel J. Blackman; November 19: 1990 Beryl Ermine Whittle.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Brother Emil Denworth continues at the Hospital for Joint Disease. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Join us on Friday, November 18 at 7:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall for Saint Mary’s Movie Night. This month’s event is hosted by Father Beddingfield and will feature the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife, with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. Bring a few dollars to contribute towards dinner and refreshments. . Saint Mary’s Gift Shop reopens on November 20. Offering new icons, books and other items, the gift shop carries t-shirts, baseball caps, tote bags and other items with a new Saint Mary’s design . . . Parish Guild Fair: Mark your calendar for a special day on Sunday, November 20. Not only will be this day be the Feast of Christ the King and the Sunday when our fall stewardship campaign comes to a close, but also we will celebrate life at Saint Mary’s with a Guild Fair. This will be an opportunity for all of the groups, committees and programs at Saint Mary’s to “show their wares” and invite and enlist new volunteers . . . Attendance last Sunday 258.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude before Mass is Fantasia g-moll, BWV 542 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The postlude is Bach’s Fuge g-moll, the counterpart to the Fantasia. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Simile est regnum coelorum’ by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 16th century. Unlike the more famous Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), the vast majority of Guerrero’s career was spent in Spain, much of it as maestro de capilla of Seville Cathedral (Victoria lived for many years in Rome). This mass, published in 1582, is among Guerrero’s eighteen, of which our choir has sung seven in recent years. It is based upon Simile est regnum coelorum, a motet by Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500-1553), a great composer who was one of Guerrero’s principal teachers. This motet is sung during Communion . . . The recital at 4:40 is played by Justin Bishof of New York.
ADULT EDUCATION. . . The Tuesday Night Bible study meets Tuesday, November 15. We will continue our reading of the Gospel according to John. Last week we finished the first half of the Gospel. This week we will begin the second half by reading chapter 13. . . During Advent there are a number of opportunities for Christian Education. At 10:00 AM on Sunday December 4, 11 & 18 join the Reverend James Ross Smith and explore one of the fundamental questions of Christian theology: What is the role of Christ's humanity in God's plan of salvation? Father Smith will focus on the NT and Early Church Fathers. At 1:00 PM on Sunday December 4, 11 & 18 join the Reverend Peter R. Powell and begin the new liturgical year by learning the basics of Saint Mark's Gospel as we explore the ways in which Saint Mark narrates his version of the Gospel. On Tuesday nights throughout Advent (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13 & 20), Father Mead’s Bible Study will explore the Birth of the Messiah by studying the infancy narratives in the Gospels.
VESTMENTS AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART. . . The Saint Mary’s Guild invites you to come to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 10, at 2:00 PM to view vestments. Ms. Deborah Kraak, an independent curator specializing in historical textiles and costumes, will direct us as we look at the ecclesiastical vestments and the precious fabrics used in those vestments in the Northern Renaissance paintings galleries and the Medieval galleries. Afterwards the entire group will retire to the Parish Hall of the church for wine, tea, cheese, and biscuits. This event costs $15 per person and is limited to twenty people.
CHILDREN AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Children are always welcome at all Masses. And like all of the baptized, children of all ages are welcome and expected to receive the Holy Communion. Sunday School is offered Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Sunday School ends at 10:45 so that children can attend Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM. If you are interested in Sunday School, please speak to Father Mead or stop in Saint Benedict’s Study on Sunday morning. . . Child care is also available in the Nursery on Sunday mornings from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Consecration of Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, 1784
Wednesday Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 1093
Thursday Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200
Friday Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680 Abstinence
Saturday Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1231
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass,
6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass. The 12:10 Mass on Wednesday is sung.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 4:00 PM Confessions,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass