From the Rector: America’s High Church
Earlier this year I had more than a few interesting e-mail exchanges when we launched the appeal for the Momentum Fund. Some members of the wider parish community found it hard to believe that a new water heater for the church complex was going to cost $25,000.00. The e-mails reminded me of conversations about costs I had with friends when I moved to Manhattan almost eight years ago. Many things just cost more in the middle of the city than they do elsewhere.
Last week, as we began our 2007 Stewardship Campaign for the annual operating budget, I wrote about our progress and goals in reducing the excess drawdown from very limited endowments and the progress the parish must make in giving and growth to move to financial stability. The budget is published in some detail annually at the congregational meeting on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. I think it might be helpful this week just to say something about the costs of being a parish in Times Square.
Personnel costs (not including our choir and associate organist) are the largest single part of our budget, at $612,695.00. Additionally, the choir, associate organist and sheet music costs are budgeted at $84,909.00. Utilities and insurance for 2006 will be $215,024.00. The diocesan assessment is $69,097.00. Building repairs for 2006 were budgeted at $25,000.00 – yet through the end of September the actual cost is $47,978.00. (This does not include the new water main connection that had to be installed in October at a cost of $13,000.00.) That’s a total of $1,006,725.00.
Other costs (office expenses, program expenses, professional services and miscellaneous costs) account for the balance of $139,912.00. Again, the excess drawdown for 2006 is budgeted at $279,549.00. You can expect appeals during Christmas to keep this number below $300,000.00 . Today I write to ask again for all of members and friends of Saint Mary’s to pledge generously and sacrificially to the operating budget for 2007.
Your gifts support a church with open doors and daily worship of integrity and grace that represents the very best of the Episcopal Church. It is our mission to be “America’s High Church” – as one of my great friends, a Presbyterian pastor – calls Saint Mary’s. Daily much that is best of our Episcopal Church tradition shapes the lives and mission of everyone who passes through our open doors. I believe the friends and members of Saint Mary’s can grow to keep these doors open and to sustain our mission.
Quite honestly, it would be easier for me to sleep at nights if there were a simple way to balance the operating budget. There isn’t. Saint Mary’s personnel costs for clergy and staff are modest for living in Manhattan. It costs money to have good music. It costs money to keep the doors open and the church clean. Saint Mary’s has a mission and an imperative to grow.
I’m not at all sorry that the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown and the first lay leaders of this parish made – in Daniel Burnham’s famous phrase – “no little plans” for this church in what would become Times Square. Since its inception, the size, location and deep personal commitment to Christ of this parish community have made it the leading liturgical congregation of the Episcopal Church. I ask you to support this mission in a new way in 2007. When we grow and balance our budget, I believe the Lord will be able to make use of us in ways that we can only begin to imagine. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Eleanor, Arturo, Elwood, Mary Ellen, Ana, Gert, Chip, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, William, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, 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 . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 15: 1959 Irene Helen Williams, 1972 Wallace Charles Taylor, 1973 Estelle Moore, 1983 Ralph Burus Smith, 1997 Noel J. Blackman; November 19: 1990 Beryl Ermine Whittle.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Tuesday Night Bible Study is reading Genesis. This week we will begin at chapter 31 . . . The Rector will be away on Monday, November 13, through Wednesday, November 15 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, November 11, by Father Smith and on Saturday, November 18, by Father Gerth . . . Attendance last Sunday 304, All Souls’ Day 361.
LITERATURE AT SAINT MARY’S: THE INKLINGS . . . Join us at 1:00 PM this Sunday as the Reverend Anne Richards leads a gathering on The Inklings, the famed literary discussion group formed by Oxford dons C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, among others. We will discuss the friendships formed in the group and read excerpts from their work. We will also discuss the group’s theological orientations. Please contact Father Mead if you would like reading materials for this class in advance.
BIBLES STUDY AT THE MOVIES: GOSPEL OF JOHN . . . What happens when Bible Studies combine? They watch a movie and eat Middle Eastern food! The Saint Mary’s Tuesday Night Bible Study is gathering together with the Saint Thomas Church Adult Bible Study in Saint Joseph’s Hall to watch a film version of the Gospel according to Saint John. The movie is over three hours long and will be shown in two parts on Tuesday, November 21 (part one) and Tuesday, November 28 (part two). The movie is a word-for-word adaptation of the Gospel (NIV translation). All are invited to attend. Food for each session is pot-luck with a Middle Eastern (or Eastern Mediterranean) theme.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Nettleton’, Come, thou fount of every blessing. The postlude is Hyfrydol from Three Preludes founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Osculetur me’ by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594). The Flemish-born Lassus, sometimes called the princeps musicorum or “prince of music,” was one of the late Renaissance’s most cosmopolitan and respected composers. Much of his training was in Italy; later he worked as Kapellmeister at the court in Munich for almost 40 years. This mass for double choir, among Lassus’ seventy settings of the ordinary, is a parody upon the composer’s motet of the same name, on a text from the Song of Songs. As in all of Lassus’ music, the music is always subservient to the meaning of the texts. The motet at Communion is Iesu dulcis memoria by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 is played by Dr. David Lamb . . . The choir of men and boys of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, sings this Sunday at Solemn Evensong under the direction of Mr. James Kennerley, organ scholar of Christ Church. Robert McCormick
GIFTS ARE NEEDED FOR SAINT NICHOLAS CELEBRATION . . . AIDS Action International needs help gathering gifts for approximately 2000 children and adults who are living with HIV/AIDS. UNWRAPPED holiday gifts for children and adults should be placed in the marked box in Saint Joseph’s Hall. They will be taken to the cathedral on November 28 for the Saint Nicholas Celebration that evening at 7:30 PM. Recipients include Saint Mary’s Children’s Hospital AIDS Home Care Program, Montefiore Medical Center’s AIDS Family Center, Saint Mary’s Episcopal Center, Bailey House and A Better Place.
2006 PATRONAL FESTIVAL . . . December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has been the parish’s patronal feast since it began. This year, December 8, is a Friday. The Solemn Mass of the day will be at 6:00 PM. The Rector will be celebrant and preacher. On Thursday, December 7, Solemn Evensong will be celebrated at 6:00 PM. The preacher will be the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, the bishop of New York. The full parish choir will sing at Evensong and, of course, at the Solemn Mass on December 8. Evensong on December 7 will also mark the official beginning of Saint Mary’s Legacy Society. If you have made a bequest through a will or another financial instrument to Saint Mary’s, not only your rector but your bishop too asks that you allow yourself to be thanked and your intention to be recognized. If you have any questions about a bequest to Saint Mary’s, please speak with Father Gerth.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
Tuesday Consecration of Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, 1784
Thursday Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 1093
Friday Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200 Abstinence
Saturday Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & 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. 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