From the Rector: Epiphany Complex
The Church remembers in its worship its earliest traditions. Three ancient great feasts of the Church take precedence over all other commemorations. They are, in order of precedence: Easter, Pentecost and Epiphany. Of the three, the last is the richest in its layers of celebration. Epiphany is, first, the “manifestation” of Christ in his birth to the wise men who journeyed, second, Jesus’ baptism and, third, the first miracle in John’s gospel at Cana in Galilee. It is in a real sense the ancient feast of Christ’s kingship, the kingship of the Child. The wise men asked, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” Epiphany is not about the wise men or the star. It’s about Jesus’ revelation of himself to us in history and his revelation to us and through us today.
Our lives are rich and complex. The potential that you and I have to enjoy God and the world he has made for us is tremendous. The potential you and I have to grow in our relationships with God and each other is tremendous as well. The Solemn Mass on Epiphany concludes with the Proclamation of the Date of Easter – and the dates of the other major festivals of the year. The chant tone is the same one used for the Easter Proclamation at the Easter Vigil. Another year is upon us, another year to live more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s gift of life to us in this world and in the world to come.
The Church is always looking forward, even when it is recalling salvation history. Life is lived within the mystery of God’s most mysterious creation: time. We bring the past into the present and carry it to the future. All along our lives are being transformed and changed.
I love to listen on Christmas Eve to the BBC broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. (Rant: I didn’t hear the opening this year because WNYC decided for the first time to broadcast the service at 8:00 PM instead of carrying it live. It took several minutes for me to get to a computer where I could listen to the service from the BBC.) I confess I like the words read by the dean at the beginning of the service, “Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels: in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.” But of course the liturgy doesn’t put it that way. We don’t go back to the past, to Bethlehem or anywhere else. We remember the history of our salvation. We live it out now.
I invite you to look forward to the blessings and challenges that will come our way in this new year of grace. As we go to press there is a new schedule for Sunday morning – the clergy and staff have been working hard to get organized for it. We are very close to finishing the repainting of the first three floors of the Mission House. A special and unsolicited gift in December has been made to repair several stained glass windows in the church – and they will be going to the shop shortly to be reworked. Perhaps most crucial, the 2008 Stewardship Campaign continues. So far, $427,442.00 or 77.7 % of our $550,000.00 has been pledged. Follow-up letters have started to go out. Phone calls are planned. Our trustees are resolved to meet our budget targets for 2008 with the full support of yours truly.
Many things go into enriching our journey as a community in Christ. It’s a tremendous privilege for all of us, near and far, to be associated with this parish and its traditions. Looking ahead, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be with us this year as celebrant and preacher for the Easter Triduum. And then shortly after Easter, on the Feast of the Annunciation, April 1, 2008, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church., will be with us as celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. But the ongoing life of the parish is sustained by the continuing prayers, gifts and work of people like you and me. Happy Epiphany! Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Doreen, Delia, Martina, Lois, Terry, Mary, Jane, José, Gert, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Emil, religious, Carl, priest, Thomas, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Terrance, Steven, Andrew, Patrick, Brenden, Christopher, Marc and Steve . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 10: 1994 William F. Lata; January 11: 1967 Sarah Bedell McDonald; January 13: 1994 Thomas E. Holz.
A NEW ASSISTING PRIEST . . . We welcome the Reverend John Merz, chaplain to Episcopal students at New York University and other schools in downtown Manhattan, as an assisting priest. Father Merz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Divinity School. He and Father Mead were classmates at Yale and were ordained at the same time here in the Diocese of New York. Please welcome Father Merz to Saint Mary’s! S.G.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT FATHER BEDDINGFIELD’S INSTITUTION . . . Father John Beddingfield’s institution service as rector of All Souls Memorial Episcopal Parish, Washington, D.C. is on Saturday, January 12, at 10:00 AM. On Friday night Father Mead, Father Smith and I will be in Washington so we can attend John’s institution. This will be the first night since I have been rector that at least one priest has not been in residence overnight at the parish. In case of emergency please call my telephone number that is listed in the Manhattan white pages under my own name, 212-764-4089. I will check the answering machine on this line the last thing on Friday night and the first thing on Saturday morning. Jay, Matt and I will all be back early Saturday evening. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 12, by Father Merz and on Saturday, January 19, by Father Gerth . . . Many thanks to all who donated coats to the New York Cares Coat Collection. Just in time, given these temperatures! . . . Volunteers are needed to help un-decorate the church this Sunday, January 6, immediately following Evensong . . . The parish kitchen remains closed as renovations proceed. Beverages only are served by the parish staff. Food cannot be served until the kitchen reopens . . . Flowers are needed for the Sundays in January. Please contact the parish office if you wish to donate . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 345, Holy Name 84.
2008 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . To date, $427,442.00 has been pledged. We are 77.7% of the way. A second mailing to the parish community is underway. The pledge form can now be filled out online. Steven Heffner, treasurer
HONDURAS MISSION TRIP 2008 . . . Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will leave for Honduras on Saturday, January 12, 2008. Saint Marians Julie Gillis and Michael McNett, as well as a number of other volunteers from the Diocese of New York, will join her in Honduras on January 14. Once again this year, the group will be working with the parishioners of the Church of San Juan Evangelista, Villanueva, just outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital city. They will be in Honduras until Sunday, January 20. If you have questions or would like to make a donation to this year’s mission trip, please contact Rebecca (email@example.com). Honduras Mission gift cards are still on sale in the Gift Shop. The cards are a very nice way to honor or remember a loved one, while supporting this important outreach program. Please keep, Rebecca, Michael, Julie and all the volunteers in your prayers during the next few weeks. J.R.S
CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . Father Smith begins a three-part series on the Creeds on Sunday, January 6, at 10:00 AM . . . Father Mead’s Bible Study will resume on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 7:00 PM. The class continues studying the letters of Saint Paul . . . These classes meet in the second floor room of the Mission House.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before Mass today is Prélude sur l’Introït de l’Épiphanie, Opus 13, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986), based upon the Entrance Chant sung immediately afterward by the choir. The postlude is Noël Suisse (Grand Jeu et duo) by Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Cantuariensis, Opus 59 by the English composer Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986). Rubbra, who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1948, is perhaps best known for his instrumental works, especially his eleven symphonies. This work, a setting in English for double choir, was written in 1945 for the choir of Canterbury Cathedral (as the title indicates), while the composer was still an Anglican. The anthem at Communion is Ivor Atkins’s (1869-1953) arrangement of Peter Cornelius’s (1824-1874) The Three Kings, Opus 8/3, featuring a baritone solo atop a choral harmonization of the Epiphany hymn How brightly shines the morning star . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is by Ted W. Barr . . . The choir of Christ’s Church, Rye, New York, directed by Andrew Sheranian, sings music of David Hogan and Stephen Cleobury this Sunday at Evensong & Benediction . . . Many people’s favorite Epiphany hymn, We three kings of Orient are (tune: Three Kings of Orient) will be sung this Sunday at the 9:00 AM Sung Mass and at Solemn Evensong & Benediction (but not at the Solemn Mass; this is a good reason to come back to church for Evensong!). Text and tune are by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., and were written in 1857. Hopkins taught music for a time at the General Theological Seminary, New York . . . Reminder: the first “official” rehearsal of Saint Mary’s new volunteer choir is next Sunday, January 13, at 3:00 PM in the choir room. Interested persons are very welcome; please e-mail me for further information or to let me know you plan to attend (firstname.lastname@example.org). Robert McCormick
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Epiphany
Thursday William Laud, Archbishop, 1645
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Aelred of Rievaulx, Abbot, 1167
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.
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Christian Education, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Evensong & Benediction