From the Rector: Generous Vision
As the sun sets on Saturday, November 26, in this year of grace 2005, the Church will enter its new year. In contrast to the world outside, a rich simplicity will take hold of the Church. Advent’s purple will adorn our altar. There will be no flowers save for one Sunday when the purple softens to rose. Advent is not Lent, the penitential season of the Church. Advent is the season of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. This year, because Christmas Day is a Sunday, Advent is as long as it can be. A certain kind of energy surrounds life at this time of year. But the Church’s heart is not anxious, especially now. The Church’s heart rests and trusts in the Lord.
I begin the year with what I think is an increasingly generous vision of God’s work in my life and in this world. For all of its challenges, the world is filled with love and opportunity. And love seems to live, and even to thrive in the face of evil. Advent worship will call you and me over and over to lift up our hearts to God and to put our trust in him (Psalm 25:1). Trust in God can give our human hearts a generous vision. God’s vision of us is extraordinary. Because of God’s love, we share in the work of the unfolding of his kingdom.
During Advent I invite you to participate in the breadth of the Church’s worship. And because your gifts and your commitment keep Saint Mary’s open, we are able to embrace the richness of the Christian tradition as few places in the world.
I invite you to order your life during Advent by attending a service at Saint Mary’s that you’ve never attended before. I invite you to order a Sunday so that you might attend Evensong and sing the great Advent office hymn, Creator of the stars of night. Christians have been singing this text since the ninth century. Its great plainsong tune has been associated with it in many parts of Europe since the twelfth century, if not earlier. In the beauty of Saint Mary’s on a dark Sunday evening, nothing speaks of our longing for the coming of the Christ better than this hymn.
Each of the weekdays of Advent has its own Mass – and we celebrate few lesser feasts during this time. The “O Antiphons” – familiar as the verses of “O come, O come Emmanuel” – are really refrains used at Evening Prayer beginning on December 16 through December 23.
Four celebrations do break in on Advent at Saint Mary’s. November 30 is the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle. December 8, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the patronal feast of this parish church. December 12 is the anniversary of the consecration of our second and present church home. December 21 is the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle. If we were a Swedish congregation we would have a huge celebration for Saint Lucy on December 13. We observe very few lesser feasts at the beginning of the month to keep us focused on preparing for Christmas.
I invite you to give, work and pray for God’s kingdom in his new year. I invite your support for Saint Mary’s. I invite you to come here to worship. I invite you to trust in God’s providence and plan for his world. I invite you to let the integrity of our common life help to carry you into this Christian new year. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Susan, Josephine, Ida, Eugene, Brian, 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; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher, David, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie and Derrick . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 30: 1970 Sarah Lucille La Bosse; December 1: 1977 Calvin Nash, 1989 George William Johnson, Sr., 1992 Margaret Louise Rigler; December 3: 1990 Francis Timothy Dlugos, 1991 Mrs. Olga Edgar; December 5: 1989 Lorelle D. Brownell Britt.
CLERGY NOTES . . . The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery has been called to be rector of All Saints’ Church, Palo Alto, California. We are going to miss him and his family very, very much. Since the dedication of his new parish is “All Saints’” the vestry asked him to start on the Sunday after All Saints’ Day – which his new parish observes as their principal celebration of the feast. But, after two Sundays in California, he and his wife Diane Montgomery needed to return to New York to move. He was with us last Sunday and we will say good-bye to them on the First Sunday of Advent. I’ve asked Ian to officiate at Solemn Evensong on Sunday night. Again, we are going to miss him very much. We are also honored and proud that a priest associated with Saint Mary’s will be going to serve the Church in such a good place . . . Our preacher this Sunday evening at Evensong is the Reverend Peter R. Powell. Father Powell is the president of the Interfaith Housing Corporation, Westport, Connecticut. He is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and holds advanced degrees from Princeton and the University of the South. He and his wife, Barbara Powell, are often here for the Solemn Mass – except when Pete has been called to be a guest celebrant and preacher elsewhere. Evensong of the First Sunday of Advent is particularly beautiful. I hope many may be able to join us. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Vestments at the Met: 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 the vestments displayed 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 . . . The Christmas crèche figurines are being restored. Gifts to help offset the cost are most welcome . . . The Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle is Wednesday, November 30 . . . Attendance last Sunday 374.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme, BWV 645 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The postlude is Bach’s Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 661 (the third of three settings of this Advent hymn from the same collection, found in our hymnal as number 54). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Plainsong Mass for a mean by John Sheppard (c. 1515-1559/60). Sheppard, along with such composers as Thomas Tallis and Christopher Tye, was among the English musicians whose careers spanned the Reformation and the resulting changes in liturgical practice. His sacred output includes Latin and English music. This mass is relatively simple in style; its name reflects the use of plainsong (Gregorian chant) in alternation with polyphony and, in addition, the low range of the highest voice. In Sheppard’s time the “treble” part in a choral work was the highest (soprano is a rough modern equivalent) and the “mean” part was slightly lower (somewhat equivalent to mezzo-soprano). In this piece the mean is the highest voice. The motet at Communion is Lo, in the time appointed by Healey Willan (1880-1968) . . . The recital at 4:40 is by Paolo Bordignon, associate organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York. Robert McCormick
CHRISTIAN FORMATION IN ADVENT . . . This Sunday, join members of the Sunday School at Coffee Hour after the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass as we make our own Advent wreaths! “Kids” of any age are welcome to make wreaths, but we do ask that those over 18 years old who make wreaths donate $5 to help pay for supplies. Members of the Sunday School will begin their wreaths during the regular Sunday School time at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . At 10:00 AM on three Sundays in Advent, December 4, 11 and 18, join the Reverend James Ross Smith and explore what the role of Christ’s humanity is in God’s plan of salvation. On those same Sundays at 1:00 PM, join the Reverend Peter R. Powell and learn the basics of Saint Mark’s gospel . . . On Tuesday nights throughout Advent (November 29, December 6, 13 and 20), Father Mead’s Bible Study will explore the birth of the Messiah by studying the infancy narratives in the gospels.
OUR PATRONAL FEAST . . . On Thursday, December 8, Saint Mary’s celebrates its patronal feast, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our principal celebration is at 6:00 PM. Our guest celebrant and preacher is the Reverend David Stancliffe, bishop of Salisbury. The liturgy, the music and our fellowship afterwards will be phenomenal. If you are new to our community you may not know that this is one of the great days of the year at Saint Mary’s. Mark your calendars now if you have not already done so.
CHRISTMAS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . New this year on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, will be a 5:00 PM Sung Mass of the Nativity. Christmas music for congregation and choir will be offered at 4:40 PM. The Rector will be celebrant and preacher . . . We are honored that the Presiding Bishop & Primate of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, will be celebrant and preacher at the 11:00 PM Procession & Solemn Pontifical Mass of the Nativity. There will be Christmas music for congregation and choir beginning at 10:30 PM . . . On Sunday, December 25, Christmas Day, there will be one service only, Solemn Mass & Procession to the Crèche at 11:00 AM. The Reverend John Beddingfield will be celebrant and preacher.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The First Sunday of Advent
Monday Kamehameha and Emma, King and Queen of Hawaii, 1864, 1885
Tuesday Advent Weekday
Eve of Saint Andrew’s Day 6:00 PM
Wednesday Saint Andrew the Apostle
Thursday Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, 1637
Friday Advent Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Advent Weekday
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