From the Rector: Joining the Mission
When people ask about the number of members at Saint Mary’s it’s not always easy to give an answer that tells the whole story. In the parish office we discuss with some regularity how we group the many different kinds of members and friends that we have. The whole story is more than the parts.
There are members in good standing who live in New York City and who live in many states of the union. The canons of the Episcopal Church do not require that a person be “a member in good standing” in order to attend (or give to!) a parish. I don’t know how to begin to count the regular weekday “members” of the parish. These are people who come to Mass during their lunch break or on the way home. I know some of their names but never very many. I know their presence, prayers and gifts enrich and enable the work of the parish. Our buildings would be lifeless without them.
There are 2,520 people who are in our database as “active,” one way or another, in Saint Mary’s parish community. 330 are official members in good standing. 720 we count as “national friends.” 1,417 copies of the Angelus go out each week, the vast majority of these by email. At present there are 1,398 active givers to the work of the parish. 89 people overseas are registered with us as “friends.” 57 people have joined Saint Mary’s Legacy Society. Of the people in our database for whom we have personal information, 601 are married, 80 are partnered, and 218 are single. At the moment, membership is pending for 17 persons. There are also 251 “clergy friends.” So, how should I answer when asked, “How many members does Saint Mary’s have?”
I usually try to say something about how many people are a part of the mission. I have known for a while that there are over 1,000 active givers. I now will answer about “1400.” Many have heard me say that one can only be a “member” of one parish but one can give and pledge to more than one.
This is the first year since I have been rector that I and the other members of the clergy have been playing an entirely secondary role in planning, preparing and conducting the Stewardship Campaign for the coming year. Five trustees are taking the lead on this- Steven Heffner (our treasurer as chair) and fellow board members MaryJane Boland, Thomas Jayne (our vice president), David Jette and Jane Daniels Lear. Not surprisingly, their leadership has led me to want to write and preach about stewardship more than ever before.
Money was never a problem for the New Testament church, never. It’s one of those things that the first Christians just understood. Needs were made known and needs were met. Period. One of the hardest things I do as rector is to know how many people who identify themselves as members of the parish give little or nothing to the actual work of Saint Mary’s. It’s like the knowledge of the confessional for me. I just “deep six” it. I can’t think about it. I can never let it influence me as a person or pastor – and I don’t. But it is very true, as I once heard Bishop Richard Grein observe, “I have never met a generous person who wasn’t a happy person.” Bishop Grein was clear, as I am, that what constitutes generosity for someone depends on the particular resources any individual has. It varies from person to person. It remains true that the less people have the more likely they are to give and to be generous about it.
I was sent to seminary by a small parish in the western suburbs of Chicago, Saint Helena’s Church, Burr Ridge. In addition to my childhood formation as a Baptist, where the tithe, that is 10%, was the normative expectation of that tradition, Saint Helena’s has shaped my own spiritual life profoundly. It was a parish where the people and priest were serious about religion. At that time, this largely working-class parish had the highest per capita pledging in the diocese. I thought being Anglo-catholic was a lot like being a Baptist, just better. Unfortunately the message about money didn’t get made at Saint Mary’s and a lot of other communities.
I ask you to pray about increasing your commitment to the mission of this place. I can write about how we have trimmed expenses. I can write about where the money goes. I can write about the fixed costs of just being here in the middle of Manhattan. And I will. But, our usefulness to Christ’s gospel begins with our hearts – and our hearts are hardwired to our wallets. You and I really can make the mission of Saint Mary’s grow. And only you and I can do that. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jack, Doreen, Fred, Gert, Virginia, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, Carl, priest, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve; and for the repose of the souls of Herb, Rose and Edgar . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 21: 1988 Philip W. Callanan; October 23: 1985 Adolphe Barreaux; October 26: 1987 Dorothea Moran
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Rose Mastroianni, Gary Blaettler’s aunt, died on October 16. Please pray for her, for Gary and for all who mourn . . .Edgar A. Gartrell died on Thursday, October 11. He was sixty-eight years old and a member of Saint Mary’s since 1983. His funeral will be celebrated at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Jersey City, New Jersey, on Friday, October 19, at 9:00 AM. Please pray for him and for all who mourn. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We have received a Letter of Transfer for William MacKenty. We are very happy to welcome Bill as a member of the parish . . . Many thanks to Ray DeVries, George Handy and Dennis Smith for their help with the All Souls’ mailing . . . The Centering Prayer Workshop led by Sr. Deborah Francis will be held on Sunday, October 21, at 12:45 PM . . . The Rosary Making Workshop is Sunday, October 21, at 2:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study continues on Wednesday, October 24, at 7:00 PM, in Saint Benedict’s Study, following the evening Mass. We are studying Saint Paul’s life and writings. Please note, we will not meet on October 31 . . . Tuesday, October 23, is the Feast of Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ & Martyr . . . The Church History 201 series begins next Sunday, October 28, at 12:45 PM. This will be a three-part series and the classes will be held in Saint Benedict’s Study: Sunday, October 28: Lancelot Andrewes & Richard Hooker (early Anglican priests, theologians and preachers), taught by Fr. Mead; Sunday, November 4: William White, Samuel Seabury and John Henry Hobart (bishops of the Episcopal Church in the 18th and 19th centuries), taught by our seminarian, Jed Fox; Sunday, November 11, 2007: Thomas McKee Brown (priest and first rector of Saint Mary’s), taught by parishioner and archivist, Dick Leitsch . . . An Introduction to the Enneagram will be offered by Sister Laura Katharine on Saturday, November 3, at 9:45 AM . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, October 20, by Father Gerth, on Saturday, October 27, by Father Smith and on Saturday, November 3, by Father Gerth . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, October 22, at 7:00 PM . . . The Rector will be on vacation from Tuesday, October 23, through Tuesday, October 30 . . . Attendance last Sunday 386.
OUTREACH PROJECTS . . . Once again this year we are inviting parishioners and friends of the parish to donate Christmas gifts to AIDS ACTION INTERNATIONAL (AAI). AAI collects gifts for people of all ages, who are living with HIV and AIDS, and who are homeless, in recovery, or who have special needs. AAI donates the gift items to St. Mary’s Episcopal Center, A Better Place, Bailey House, the Montefiore Family AIDS Home Care Program and the AIDS Family Outreach Program of St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital. We will set up bins in Saint Joseph’s Hall where gifts may be delivered. We will then bring the gifts to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in time for AAI’s annual St. Nicholas Celebration, to be held this year on Tuesday, November 27, at 7:30 PM. Gift ideas are: new clothing for men, women and children of all ages, games, basic cosmetics, disposable cameras, phone cards, dolls and toys of all kinds, scarves, gloves and hats. Note well: no used items and no food items can be given. If you have questions, please contact Fr. Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Pastorale, Opus 229 by Darius Milhaud (1892-1974). The postlude is Chant de joie from Neuf pièces (1943) by Jean Langlais (1907-1991). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Cuiusvis toni by Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497), an important Franco-Flemish composer of the generation between Guillaume Dufay and Josquin Desprez. His output included fourteen Masses, and this setting can be sung in any of the four primary church modes (the precursors of our modern major and minor keys), though it is most commonly sung, as today, in the Phrygian mode. The motet at Communion is Parce Domine by Jacob Obrecht (c. 1450-1505), a Franco-Flemish composer of the generation following Ockeghem . . . This Sunday’s offertory hymn is How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord (‘Foundation’). The text, by an anonymous writer only identified as ‘K’, first appeared in a 1787 collection of texts edited by John Rippon and published in London. It is a favorite of many because of its assurances of God’s presence and guidance, and is paired with an American folk-tune . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Pavel Kohout . . . Elizabeth Baber, soprano and a member of our choir, will present À la mode espagnole: Spanish Song in 17th-century France this Sunday, October 21, at 3:00 PM at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Avenue. Admission is $15.00/$10.00. Joining Elizabeth will be her fiancé Charles Weaver, lutenist and guitarist. Robert McCormick
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Eve of Saint James of Jerusalem
Tuesday Saint James of Jerusalem
Friday Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, ad 899 Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong and 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.
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.