From the Rector: Episcopal Christians
Hardly a day goes by when I am not called upon by someone to describe Saint Mary’s. People who ask me the question are often not Episcopalian. When I’m in a group and the question is asked, someone who knows the parish will often respond before I can. Many people, it seems, like to talk about Saint Mary’s. The building, the music, the location, the services and, of course, the incense will be mentioned in some combination. Episcopalians, lay and clergy, who use the language of “high church” or “low church” or “Anglo-catholic” will often interject phrases like that.
As much as I like to talk about the parish and its traditions, and as much as I am proud to be the rector of the parish, I’m trying to teach myself to say something like, “I think we are a great Christian community” – and mostly to leave it at that. We’re about Jesus Christ. It is he who is proclaimed here. It is his life that we entered at baptism. It’s his love that transforms our lives in this world and the world to come. It’s by him that we are fed with Word and Sacrament. We’re Christians. We’re serious about Jesus. And through the accidents of history (Henry VIII, American Revolution) and our own lives (birth, family, friends), most but not all of us happen to be Episcopalians.
Our parish is from the generous and welcoming side of the Episcopal Church tradition. We have active members and friends of our parish who are not formally members by the registry of Church membership rules. It’s Christian baptism and participation that matter for us. I treasure the esprit de corps of hospitality in our parish community. It’s genuine. Of course, it’s not always perfect, but it is real. If I were to enter an extended conversation with someone about Saint Mary’s I would want to talk about how we encounter Christ through each other in this place.
Most of the people who read this newsletter are already friends or members of Saint Mary’s. Some will pick it up in the back of the church after having walked in from Times Square – having no idea what they would encounter once they entered this building. Almost without exception, all will be struck by the spiritual power of the space.
If you are one of these readers, I hope you experience Saint Mary’s as a place of prayer, and clearly a place of Christian prayer. I hope you may be entering the church as one of our daily services is being offered. I hope you feel welcome to join in the worship, even if you have never been in a service quite like ours before. Even on days of great solemnity, I hope you feel the smile of sincere welcome from all of us who find a spiritual home here. Increasingly, the Episcopal Church is a place of welcome for all. One of the great phrases in our own parish’s tradition is “Saint Mary’s opens her doors to all people.” I just love that.
Perhaps our own greatest challenge of welcome at the present time is that we still haven’t found the institutional will to make the Forty-seventh Street entrance accessible for persons who are physically challenged. Next on the list will be restrooms. For this I am perhaps more guilty than anyone else in the congregation – and you can count on me repenting of this as soon as we finish the current capital projects. It really is my next priority.
I like saying “I’m an Episcopalian” or “I’m an Episcopal Christian” or “I’m an Episcopal priest.” How many people do you encounter who know what “high church” or “Anglo-catholic” really means? When asked, “Are you high church?”, my favorite response is to smile and say, “Good church.” I not only like telling people I’m an Episcopalian (for all of our growing pains in this part of the Body of Christ), but I’m proud to be an Episcopalian, especially in a community where the doors are open for all people. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for George, Harold, Robert, Gloria, John, Mansell, Terry, Sandra, Grace, Tony, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Hilary, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest, for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick, and for those to be ordained, especially Ryan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 27: 1992 Howard R. Patch; October 1: 1996 William Wolf..
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 23, by Father Mead, and on Saturday, September 30, by Father Beddingfield . . . We will welcome the Reverend Ryan Lesh, who is to be ordained priest on Saturday, September 23, to Saint Mary’s on Friday, September 29, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, to be celebrant and preacher for the Sung Mass at 6:00 PM. Gifts for the new priest’s discretionary fund should be made out to and can be sent directly to Christ Church, 7423 South Broadway, Red Hook, New York 12571
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Due to a conflict in scheduling, September’s movie night has been postponed. We will watch Brother Sun, Sister Moon on October 20 . . . 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 Sundays in October and November. Please contact the parish office if you would like to give flowers . . . Please save Sunday, October 15, after Evensong for a parish baby shower for Matthew and Nicole Mead . . . Robert McCormick will play a recital this Saturday, September 30, at 4:45 PM at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Lexington Avenue and Fifty-fourth Street, New York, as part of the fourteenth annual Bach at Saint Peter’s Festival. Admission is $20. For further information call (212) 935-2200 . . . Join the Spirituality and Reading Group after Solemn Mass on Sunday, September 24, for a movie on the life and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The movie will begin immediately after Coffee Hour concludes . . . Attendance Holy Cross 243, Last Sunday 247.
MILESTONE AT SAINT MARY’S: CLERGY BABY SHOWER . . . The only rector of our parish who has been married was the first rector, the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown. He and Mrs. Brown had two sons. Father Matthew and Nicole Mead’s child will be the first child born in the parish since the 1870s. You are invited to Saint Joseph’s Hall after Evensong on Sunday, October 15, for a baby shower for the Meads. We invite all the members of the community to join in the celebration. We welcome your presence, your contribution of food or refreshment, your baby gift, or your contribution to a group gift.
Click here for more details or to RSVP http://www.stmvirgin.org/article11539c204698.htm
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Vater unser im Himmelreich by Georg Böhm (1661-1733). The postlude is Fantasia super ‘Komm, Heiliger Geist’, BWV 651 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The cantor is Dr. Mark Risinger, bass. The music at Communion is Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn from Bach’s Cantata No. 152. Dr. Risinger, who holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University, is a member of our choir and a frequent opera and oratorio soloist throughout the world. He is on the faculty of St. Bernard’s School, New York, and is a highly regarded scholar of the music of George Frideric Handel. Robert McCormick
THE FRICK BELLINI OF ST. FRANCIS AND HIS CANTICLE TO THE SUN . . . On Monday, October 2, at 7:00 PM the Visual Arts Program presents Dr. Pamela Tudor-Craig, Lady Wedgwood. For more information, see the Visual Arts section of the website.
FALL RETREAT AT HOLY CROSS MONASTERY . . . There are still spaces open for the retreat beginning Friday night, October 13, through Sunday, October 15. The cost is $140.00 per person, and includes room and meals. 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).
SAINT MARY’S ON THE ROAD . . . Benjamin Franklin said, “Beer is proof that God loves us.” Exploring this intriguing idea, a group of Saint Marians, led by Richard Theilmann, are taking a trip to the Brooklyn Brewery on Saturday, October 7. If you would like to join us, please RSVP to email@example.com.
SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION THIS FALL . . . Sunday School for children resumes on October 1 at 10:00 AM . . . For details on the following upcoming events please visit the adult education section of our parish website or pick up one of the bright red booklets in the church. Being Neighborly: Living into a Theology of Mission: Wednesdays, September 20 to October 18 at 7:00 PM . . . 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.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Sergius, Abbot of Holy Trinity, Moscow, 1392
Tuesday Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626
Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels
Friday Saint Michael and All Angels No Abstinence
Saturday Jerome, Priest and Monk of Bethlehem, 420
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