From the Rector: News and Good News
The Episcopal Church Medical Trust, which administers medical insurance programs for employees of Episcopal churches and institutions, publishes a monthly newsletter called “Health News.” It is a basic summary of readily available knowledge on various topics, information already reported. The next issue is advertised to be on “smoking.” The last issue on arthritis got me thinking about the value of this kind of publication, of the utility of “news” and “Good News.”
If I had arthritis I would have already made it my business to learn more about it; and if I were a person who wasn’t motivated to learn on my own, I’m not sure what would change my basic approach to life. I also found myself wondering what useful information is and when is information useful. Later, I found myself wondering whether information is the problem many have with giving. Quite frankly, I don’t think it is a problem at Saint Mary’s.
The parish publishes fairly comprehensive reports on its finances at the annual meeting of the congregation. The parish’s books are audited every year by certified public accountants and these reports are forwarded to the Diocese. All the parish treasurers I have known at Saint Mary’s gladly share information about income and expenses. Yours truly and others write in this newsletter about costs from time to time. Only a very new newcomer to the parish community, member or friend, local or national, would not know that Saint Mary’s needs to grow its base of support to stay in business. That’s the “news.” The Good News, I believe, can change our lives over and over again.
I sometimes joke that I’m the rector of a quiet parish on a side street in Manhattan. Most days and most of the time that’s the truth. Yes, sometimes an organist might be practicing when people walk in. Yes, there are at least five services a day each day of the week. But most of the time our open doors simply welcome all to come in and feel the power and presence of God in this world and in their own lives. I think if I were a layperson, I would love Saint Mary’s and I would make it my business to give to it as sacrificially as I do with my own salary as a priest. I would want truly to be a part of keeping the doors open to all because I know there is Good News at Saint Mary’s
The parish has never been supported by endowments; there’s just never been enough to do that. It’s always been supported – or not – by those who worship here. I don’t think very much about the people who have so much and give so little – or people who pretend to be serious about Saint Mary’s when they really aren’t. I try to focus on those who love this place and show it by their commitment. True, time and talent are always needed in a parish community, but time and talent by themselves do not keep the doors of Saint Mary’s open. Treasure does. It’s as simple as that.
The Episcopal tradition is at its best a generous one. God has been generous and open to us with the gift of life. We have been called to try to respond to that gift by being generous in every way we can. Our ethos as a denomination is to make it as easy as possible for all to join us wherever they are on the journey of life. What makes all this possible are generous gifts from people who believe in the mission of Christ in our tradition.
If you want more information about what is needed or what is spent here, please ask. But after over eight years as the rector of this parish I am sure a lack of information is not our general problem. The question is whether you and I are choosing really to follow the One who has called us to be his in this place to live and share Good News. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Wayne, Frederick, 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 soul of Virginia . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 6: 1988 Beatrice Emily Clark; November 7: 1986 Bruce Taylor; November 8: 1992 Edna May Chaney.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Introduction to the Enneagram, Saturday, November 3, beginning at 9:45 AM in the third-floor conference room of the Parish House . . . Eastern Standard Time returns on Sunday, November 4, at 2:00 AM- set your clocks back one hour . . . Church History 201 continues this coming Sunday, November 4, at 12:45 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Jedediah Fox, Saint Mary’s seminarian, will lead the second part of this series with a class on William White, Samuel Seabury and John Henry Hobart . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study will meet on November 7, 14 & 28. We are reading Second Corinthians . . . The Visual Arts Program (VAP) invites you to take a look at its latest exhibition in Saint Joseph’s Hall: a number of dramatic paintings by Noni . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 3, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, November 10, by Father Smith . . . Attendance last Sunday 326.
OUTREACH PROJECTS . . . AIDS Action International (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 five local hospitals and social service agencies. Boxes are set up in Saint Joseph’s Hall where donated gifts may be placed. 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. Please note: no used items or food items may be donated. If you have questions, please contact Father Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . The Dwelling Place, at 409 West 40th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), is a transitional shelter for homeless women who are 30 years of age and over. In addition to counseling and housing, The Dwelling Place offers meals seven days a week for women over 30. If you would like to know more about joining its work, please speak to Sister Deborah Francis.
ALTAR SERVERS . . . All members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild: please mark your calendars. We will meet immediately after the Solemn Mass on Sunday, December 2, the First Sunday of Advent, for detailing and a tune-up! We will go over every aspect of Said, Sung, and Solemn Masses, Processions and Evensong & Benediction. Lunch will be provided. If you are interested in serving at the altar, please speak to me. This will be a wonderful time to learn the ropes. Matthew Mead
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Cantilène from Troisième symphonie en fa dièse mineur, Opus 28 (1911) by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The postlude is Marcheby Louis-James-Alfred Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869). The full choir does not sing today. Mr. Alan Champion, bass-baritone, is the cantor. The motet at Communion is Cantemus Domino by Lodovico Viadana (c. 1560-1627) . . . The Postcommunion hymn, There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (tune: ‘St. Helena’), is a nineteenth-century text by Frederick Faber, an English Roman Catholic, matched with a beautiful twentieth century tune (composed specifically for this text) by Calvin Hampton (1938-1984). Hampton was one of the finest church musicians living in New York in the twentieth-century, and wrote this tune while organist and choirmaster at Calvary Church, New York. It highlights the reassuring words of Faber’s text . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is by David Jernigan . . . Now available in the Gift Shop: A new CD, I Sing the Birth, by vocal ensemble New York Polyphony was just released on the Avie label and is available for purchase. Three of the group’s four members, Scott Dispensa, Craig Phillips and Geoffrey Williams, are former members of the Saint Mary’s choir (and still join us on occasion) and now sing in the choir of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. In addition, Ruth Cunningham and Elizabeth Baber, sopranos in our choir, join New York Polyphony for portions of this recording, as does former choir member Emilie Williams. Robert McCormick
DAILY OFFICE READINGS ON OUR WEBSITE . . . The Bible readings for all Masses and Offices are on our parish website. Go to “Liturgical Calendar.” (Many thanks to Father Mead for his leadership and for his work in getting this done!) We hope this may be of help to many who wish to join in the regular prayer of the Church. S.G.
FROM THE STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE: What Saint Mary’s means to me . . . “I came to Saint Mary’s on Corpus Christi 2004 mostly to observe what I thought would be a very strange ritual: people pouring out of the church to stroll around Times Square. By sheer serendipity, my friends and I fell in right behind the canopy, the monstrance, the thurifers and part of the brass band, and during that walk through Times Square I stopped being an observer and became a participant. I fell in love with Saint Mary’s. I realized that the “stroll” around Times Square was really the people of God in procession, trying to demonstrate their love of the Lord and of each other. At each corner, Father Gerth looked back to be sure that his charges were okay – along with Dick Leitsch, who held up his arms to stop traffic making sure we didn't get run over. When we came back and knelt in the cool and quiet of the church, I believe the Holy Spirit came to me to charge me with a commitment to the Saint Mary’s community, and I transferred my membership that very week. My husband’s ashes are in Saint Mary’s columbarium, my life is enriched by the many friends I’ve made here, and I give as much of my time, talent and treasure to Saint Mary’s as I am able.” MaryJane Boland (MaryJane is a member of the Board of Trustees and serves on the Stewardship Committee.)
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Parish Requiem
Tuesday Parish Requiem
Wednesday Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht, Missionary to Frisia, 739
Thursday Parish Requiem
Friday Parish Requiem Abstinence
Saturday Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461
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.