From Father Beddingfield: Five Years Later
Last week I ran into a person I had not seen in almost eight years. Though he still looks very much like I had remembered, I was surprised at the changes that had taken place in his life. He left a relationship of almost ten years. He now lives in a different part of town, and he works in advertising. When I asked about his painting (eight years ago, he was showing his work in several downtown galleries and selling paintings regularly), his facial expression changed. It grew more serious than I had ever remembered seeing. “After 9/11 everything changed,” he said. Relationships, values, vocation and identity: all had shifted slightly. Some aspects of his personality had deepened and become more pronounced while others were allowed to shrink, were left behind or were deliberately cast off.
I don’t think my friend’s experience was that unusual. Life changed for many of us on September 11, 2001. For some, that morning simply intensified the direction in which we were already heading. I was in ecclesiastical limbo at the time—not serving a Presbyterian Church as a minister but not yet ordained in the Episcopal Church. I was working in the office at Saint Mary’s and I remember feeling very strongly that morning that people did not need an administrator or an organizer nearly as much as they needed a priest, someone who could mediate the sacraments, someone who could sit with them in silence or in prayer. My calling to a life shaped by prayer deepened that day and has continued to deepen ever since. Other things changed, as well. From that day onward, I always look up when I hear a loud airplane. I worry slightly when I hear multiple sirens. And December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, has an added layer of meaning for me, putting me closer to those who mourn the deaths of the innocent in every time and place.
For those who lost loved ones in Pennsylvania or Washington or New York, there are perhaps still no words to describe the rupture, the break, the death. But for others, changes have come almost like aftershocks, and they have taken various forms. One person I know had been thinking seriously about Christianity, but it was only after September 11 that she was moved to be baptized. Another person was a successful investment banker. After the eleventh, he decided to travel for a few years, re-connect with family and pursue a career in teaching. Some people sought out relationships and tried to move closer to other people after September 11. Others have perhaps grown more cynical or colder, careful not to expect too much from anyone, lest they be disappointed or hurt.
September 11, 2006, five years later, presents us with an opportunity. It is a good time to take a deep breath, pause for a moment and reflect on the past five years. As a mentor of mine used to say, it is a good time for us to “be gentle with ourselves.”
Being gentle can involve being aware. Notice the ways in which you may have changed over the last few years. To what extent did the terrorist attacks act as a catalyst for change in your life? In what ways are you different? Are there things you need to mourn? Are there things you need to celebrate? Are there things you simply might need to notice and acknowledge and name? Perhaps, also, it is an important time to be gentle with one another. We don’t know what others might be grieving, feeling or re-living, and so it’s a good time to give one another a little more space.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” As we remember and reflect on the events of September 11 and the years since, may we have the faith to allow God to come closer. May we receive the rest, the life and the salvation that Christ offers us. John Beddingfield
SEPTEMBER 11 SERVICES . . . On Monday, September 11 we offer Morning Prayer at 8:30 AM and the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM. A Sung Requiem Mass is offered at 12:10 PM. Evening Prayer is at 6:00 PM and a Said Requiem Mass follows at 6:20 PM.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for George who is hospitalized and for Harold, Hillary, Robert, Gloria, John, Mansell, Terry, Sandra, Grace, Tony, Michelle, Ray, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, John, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Hilary, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, George Blackshire is at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan . . . Help is needed by Father Mead on Saturday, September 23, to organize the basement. The workday begins at 9:00 AM . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, September 24, and for some Sundays in October and November. Please contact the parish office if you would like to provide flowers . . . The Rector will be at the Leadership in Ministry course from Sunday evening, September 10, through Wednesday, September 13. . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 9, by Father Mead and on Saturday, September 16, by Father Gerth . . . Attendance Last Sunday 333.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘St. Denio’ (Immortal, invisible, God only wise). The postlude is Toccata in Seven by John Rutter (b. 1945). The cantor is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano. The anthem at Communion is Virgen Madre groriosa, a thirteenth century Spanish cantiga (a specific type of narrative song) in praise of Mary from Cantigas de Santa Maria. Compiled during the reign of Alfonso X “el Sabio”, they are among the largest collection of monophonic (solo) songs from the Middle Ages. The King had some role in the conception of the project, and may be the author of some of the texts . . . On Holy Cross Day, the recital at 5:30 PM is played by Oliver Brett, currently organ scholar of King’s College, Cambridge, England. The music at the Solemn Mass is sung by New York Polyphony, a new group founded by Geoffrey Williams, a parishioner of Saint Mary’s and member of the choir of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. A medieval English Mass setting and an anthem by early American composer William Billings (1746-1800) will be offered. Robert McCormick
MISSION THROUGH MUSIC IN SOUTH INDIA . . . On Sunday, September 17, come and meet Dr. Randall Giles, director, Madras Diocese Department of Liturgy and Music, Church of South India. Dr. Giles is an appointed missionary of the Episcopal Church. Since 2000, he has been working with the Church of South India’s Madras Diocese. He has offered workshops and courses for musicians in the diocese, an annual Summer School of Music. Admission is free but we would be grateful for a $10.00 donation per person to help Dr. Giles’s mission in South India. The program begins at 1:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
FALL RETREAT AT HOLY CROSS MONASTERY . . . Join a group from Saint Mary’s beginning Friday night, October 13, through Sunday, October 15, at West Park, New York, beautifully located on the Hudson River. The cost is $140.00 per person, and includes room and meals. Holy Cross is easily accessible by taking the Metro-North train to Poughkeepsie and then a taxi from the train station to the monastery. Since space is limited, reserve your spot with Father Beddingfield as soon as possible. Optional discussions on the retreat will center on the book Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality by Esther De Waal (Morehouse, 1998). More information on Holy Cross can be found at www.holycrossmonastery.com.
MOVIE NIGHT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Join us in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Friday, September 22 at 7:00 PM, following Evening Prayer and Mass. We will watch Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon, which focuses on the early years of the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Food and beverages are provided for every movie night; we ask a few extra dollars to cover the cost.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION THIS FALL. . . Sunday School for children resumes on October 1 at 10:00 AM . . . Being Neighborly: Living into a Theology of Mission: Wednesdays, September 20, 2006 to October 18 at 7:00 PM. To learn more or register, see www.christianstudies.org . . . Revised Common Lectionary: Sunday, October 1 at 1:00 PM . . . Saint Francis: Sermon to the Birds and Hymn to the Sun: Monday, October 2 at 7:00 PM . . . Anglican Communion and Ecumenical Issues: Sunday, October 8 at 1:00 PM . . . From Inspiration to Illumination: An Introduction to the Saint John’s Bible: Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00 PM . . . Tuesday Night Bible Study on Genesis: Tuesdays in October and November at 7:00 PM . . . The Inklings: Sundays, October 22, 29 & November 5 at 1:00 PM . . . Please visit the adult education section of our parish website for details.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Remembrance of Victims of September 11, 2001
Sung Requiem 12:10 PM; Said Requiem 6:20 PM
Tuesday John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York, 1830
Wednesday Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258
Thursday Holy Cross Day
Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM
Friday Weekday Friday Abstinence
Saturday Ninian, Bishop in Galloway, c. 430
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said 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. 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