From the Rector: Fresh Paint
The sextons are painting in the Mission House. They’ve just begun and the difference is already amazing. It’s one of the many signs of new life that are coming our way this fall at Saint Mary’s. I want to make a few remarks about our parish’s direction and energy.
Saint Mary’s is a community of faithfulness and welcome, of tradition and today. Its witness at the present time to the wider Episcopal Church and the wider Christian community has never been more important. This fall you will be hearing a lot about stewardship. Saint Mary’s is not out of the woods financially. In short, our giving needs to grow by one hundred thousand dollars each year for the next five years. That’s a large amount of money, but we have a large mission and a large community of members and friends.
There is good news about the hundred thousand dollar annual increase in giving. It means our Board of Trustees has a plan that keeps our doors open and our ministries strong. It means our doors are open and our ministries are growing. Each successive year, the amount of the increase is a smaller percentage of our total giving. To balance the budget today means closing the doors six days a week and becoming a place where one priest and one part-time musician hold forth for a couple of hours on Sunday morning with perhaps a few low Masses during the week. I think we can do more.
Every era has its own ministry and challenges. For most of my time as rector, we have lived in the shadow of September 11, 2001. In addition, we have been living through a decade when the Anglican Communion is trying to sort out who is welcome to be a Christian. This controversy really began the summer before I became rector, at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I think the disputes in the Communion are not really about what has happened in the Episcopal Church or in Africa as much as they reflect the great divisions in the Church of England between fundamentalist Anglicans and almost everyone else. We are very clear about who we are and where we stand as a parish and a diocese. Saint Mary’s opens her doors to all people.
On September 12 each year the Episcopal Church commemorates the life and witness of John Henry Hobart, bishop of New York from 1816 to 1830. Hobart was born in Philadelphia in 1775. He was ordained deacon in 1798 and priest in 1801. He was consecrated to be assistant bishop of New York in 1811. With enormous energy, he established the Church throughout the state of New York. He did this in an era when the United States was still finding its way as a nation.
His childhood and early adult years were marked by the American Revolution. The American Republic was very much an experiment in government in the 1780s and 1790s. Thomas Jefferson would fight a small war with the Barbary pirates. A blockade during the Napoleonic wars in Europe would cripple the American economy. The stain of slavery was spreading with the cotton gin just as it was beginning to die out in the north. The War of 1812 would be fought. But Hobart clearly believed in the Church, its people and its future.
Our founding rector, Thomas McKee Brown, was born in 1841. After college in Hartford, Connecticut, he moved to New York to study at the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon in 1865 and priest in 1866. Almost immediately he began working with the bishop of New York to found Saint Mary’s. Ground would be broken on April 6, 1868. The doors of our first church building opened on December 8, 1870. Father Brown believed in this parish, its people and its future. It’s easy to believe in the future once you know New York and Saint Mary’s.
Now back to that fresh paint – as soon as the painting of the first two floors of the Mission House is complete, our adult classes will move to the “arch” room, if you will. (It’s going to get a better name.) It’s the room on the second floor of the Mission House with the beautiful archway with pocket doors that open on to the balcony in the Mercy Chapel. Our small nursery is no longer adequate. Saint Benedict’s, a larger and brighter room, seems ideal for that use. In this newsletter there are words about a new volunteer choir, the mission to Honduras and so much else that’s going on. I invite your love, prayers and gifts to keep Saint Mary’s and its many ministries growing and strong. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Narvel, Susanna, Doreen, Fred, Gert, Virginia, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, Susie, William, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, Thomas, priest; Bruce, priest; and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steve, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher and Marc . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 1: 1996 William Wolf; October 2: 1961 Beatrice Irwin Packington, 1985 Herbert Eric Schmidt.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Friday, September 28, the Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels, there will be a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Narvel (“Jim”) Crawford will have ophthalmic surgery on Thursday, October 4. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study continues on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:00 PM, in Saint Benedict’s Study, following the evening Mass. We are studying Saint Paul’s life and writings . . . The Introduction to Christianity Series continues on Sunday at 12:45 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study, following the Solemn Mass. Father Smith will conclude his three-part series on Church History with an overview and discussion of the period from the Reformation to the twentieth century . . . The Rector will travel to St. Louis on Saturday, September 29, to be guest preacher on Sunday, September 30, for the patronal feast of the Church of St. Michael and St. George. Many will remember their rector, the Reverend Andrew Archie, was preacher for us on Ascension Day 2006. Father Gerth returns to the parish Sunday night . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 29, by Father Smith and on Saturday, October 6 by Father Gerth . . . Saint Mary’s Guild will meet on Saturday, October 6, beginning with the 12:10 PM Mass. Saint Mary’s Guild works with the vessels and furnishings of the altar. If you are interested in joining, please speak to Sister Laura Katharine . . . Join a very jovial group of Saint Marians for a Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest in Saint Joseph’s Hall (and the organ loft!) on Saturday, October 13, at 6:00 PM. Questions? Please speak with Robert McCormick or Father Mead . . . Attendance Last Sunday 273.
RECEPTION FOR NEW AND PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS … On Monday, October 15, at 7:00 PM, following Evening Prayer and Mass, there will be a reception in the Rectory for the parish’s new and prospective members. Invitations to the reception will be mailed at the end of this week. If you do not receive an invitation, but would like to take this opportunity to meet others from the parish and hear some of what’s ahead, please call Father Smith at 212-869-5830, ext. 17.
HONDURAS MISSION TRIP 2008 . . . A group from Saint Mary’s and other churches in the diocese has gone on a week-long mission trip to the Church of San Juan Evangelista, Tegucigalpa, Honduras for the last few years. This year’s trip is scheduled for January 14-20, 2008. On Sunday, October 14, at 2:00 PM, there will be a photo and information presentation for all interested in making the upcoming trip, lending support from home, or just finding out what this journey is all about. Contact Rebecca Weiner Tompkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
A NEW CHOIR . . . Plans are underway to form a new volunteer choir at Saint Mary’s in January 2008. While the choir will probably rehearse weekly and will be a regular commitment of some sort, it will not necessarily sing weekly at a liturgy. Among the possibilities are for the choir to sing once or twice a month at a Sunday morning Sung Mass and/or Evensong & Benediction. I welcome suggestions and feedback, and would love to hear from any who might be interested. I can be found at coffee hour each Sunday following the Solemn Mass or by e-mail at email@example.com. Robert McCormick
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Psalm Prelude, Set 1, No. 2 (Opus 32) by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). It is based upon Psalm 37:11, “But the meek-spirited shall possess the earth, and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.” The postlude is an improvisation on ‘Woodlands’, our final hymn (Tell out, my soul). The cantor is Ms. Elizabeth Baber, soprano. The motet at Communion is Levavi oculos meos by Isaac Posch (d. 1622/23). The Austrian Posch was an early and little-known Baroque composer and organ-builder. This piece is from his Harmonia concertans of 1623 . . . Ted Hearne, a choir member and lauded young composer, presents a concert of some of his works on Friday, October 5, at 8:30 PM at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 Fourth Avenue (www.brooklynlyceum.com) . . . Ruth Cunningham has recently re-joined Anonymous 4 for upcoming tours. She was a founding member of the famed ensemble and toured and recorded with them for ten years. Ruth’s touring schedule will allow her to remain a member of our choir! R.M.
PAUL JACOBS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . On October 9, at 8:00 PM, concert organist Paul Jacobs, head of the organ department at the Juilliard School, will play Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement on our Aeolian-Skinner organ, uniquely suited to the music of Messiaen. This concert is sponsored by the Juilliard School and is free to the public. There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:30 PM. R.M.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530
Thursday Francis of Assisi, Friar, 1226
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday William Tyndale, Priest, 1536
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Mass. 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.
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.