The Angelus

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 7

From the Rector: Baptism of Christ

Some of you have heard me say in different contexts how much I enjoy watching very young children learning to walk at Saint Mary’s.  For those who may not know New York well, our church and many of its rooms are by far the largest space young children are usually in and free to walk around in.  I’m talking babies who are just beginning to walk.  When turned loose, they will walk as far as they can until their muscles tire.  Then they collapse with, almost always, a huge smile.  Their whole beings are experiencing something new and they love it.  They aren’t talking yet.  But they are growing and changing and anyone looking at them can see this.  It’s truly natural, truly our nature that God made.

I’m not so sure the first Christians tried to articulate very much when they first gathered at a river or when they first sat together at table.  I suspect we were very much like children, discovering something new in our bodies, minds and souls.  We were being led to something new by God’s action in our lives, by the way God had created us.  The Church developed a vocabulary for speaking about what God had done and was doing in its life, a vocabulary that speaks truthfully but doesn’t presume to control or exhaust the mystery of God’s work.

Like children, we are all shaped by growth, much of it we can never see, much of it we just presume, take for granted.  In some ways, the Church takes its growth for granted.  And it has been easy for the Church to forget from time to time some of the amazement and some of the importance of its first steps.

The Feast of the Baptism of Christ on the First Sunday after the Epiphany is in some sense a new celebration.  Before the revision of the Prayer Book, Jesus’ baptism was not celebrated as a Sunday feast in its own rite.  In the 1928 Prayer Book, the gospel for the First Sunday after Epiphany was the young Jesus teaching in the temple in Jerusalem from Luke.  The Second Sunday was Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism.  But the collect of the day and the epistle (remember, there’s no Old Testament lesson in the old Prayer Book) had no mention at all about baptism.  Somehow, however, the Church in its deepest memory recalled that after Christmas and Epiphany, Jesus learned to walk, I mean, Jesus was baptized.

The calendars of various Christian communities do say something about how a particular community is evolving.  In our American Church, Epiphany is never celebrated on Sunday unless Sunday is January 6 and the First Sunday after the Epiphany is always the Feast of the Baptism of Christ.  This is not true in many churches of the Anglican Communion and is no longer true of the Roman Church, where the commemoration will occasionally happen on a Monday.  But for us Episcopalians our commitment to a renewed sense of baptism continues to bear much fruit.  I think it will continue to invigorate our sense of mission and our identity as God’s children in ways that we, like young children who are beginning to walk, cannot speak about.  As the Church gathers on Sunday to celebrate Christ’s baptism, we inevitably recall our own, whether we can remember it or not, like our first steps, it is always a part of us, so much so, that we don’t exist apart from it.  Stephen Gerth

 

PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Joan, David, Alison, Doreen, Martina, Lois, Terry, Mary, Jane, José, Gert, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, 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 15: 1983 Faith T.C. Booth; January 17: 1967 Letitia Fidelia De Sousa, 1998 John Zippler Headley.

 

AROUND THE PARISH . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 12, by Father Merz and on Saturday, January 19, by Father Gerth . . . Many, many thanks to Rick Austill, Dale Bonenberger, Christian Henning, Conor Hickey, Dick Leitsch, Mary Robison, Marie Rosseels, and Cooki Winborn, who worked until late in the evening last Sunday, Epiphany, taking down Christmas decorations and cleaning the church. All that hard work was an enormous help to the staff. . . The parish kitchen remains closed as renovations proceed.  Beverages only are served by the parish staff.  Food cannot be served until the kitchen reopens. Though we appreciate the thought and the effort, please do not bring food or drink for Coffee Hour until further notice . . . Flowers are needed for the Sundays in January.  Please contact the parish office if you wish to donate . . . Attendance: Last Sunday, The Epiphany, 432.

 

2008 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of press time, we have received $438,917.00 in commitments for 2008, which means we’re just under 80% of our goal.  So far, returning pledgers have, on average, increased their 2007 pledge by 10%!  Thank you so much!  We still haven’t heard back from everyone yet, though, so if you’ve forgotten to make your pledge, please do so.  If you’ve misplaced your pledge card, please call the church office at 212.869.5830 or stop by the website at www.stmvirgin.org and pledge online.  We’re getting very close to meeting our target in this vital campaign.  Please send in your pledge as soon as possible.  Steven Heffner, treasurer

 

HONDURAS MISSION TRIP 2008 UPDATE . . . The day has finally arrived: Rebecca Weiner Tompkins leaves 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 Rebecca on January 14.  The group will be working with the parishioners of the Church of San Juan Evangelista, Villanueva. Saint Mary’s has donated $5000 this year to construct and rebuild parishioner housing.  The Gift Shop just presented the mission team with a check for $250 and a number of other parishioners have made donations during the past week.  Those donations will be used for basic needs such as food and water and for equipment for the parish’s bakery cooperative.  The team will also be bringing school supplies for the vacation Bible School and some clothing items.  The team returns to New York on Sunday, January 20.  If you have questions or would like to make a donation to this ongoing mission effort, please contact Rebecca (rwtstmv@mac.com) or Father Smith.  Please keep Rebecca, Julie, Michael, and all the volunteers in your prayers during the next week.  JRS

 

CHRISTIAN FORMATION . . . A special word of thanks to Bishop Richard Grein, who volunteered to teach the fourth and final session of his series on the Gospel Parables, on Sunday, December 23, right before Christmas, after the December 16 class had to be cancelled because of inclement weather . . . Father Smith leads the second part of a three-part series on the Creeds on Sunday, January 13, at 10:00 AM  . . . Father Mead’s Bible Study continues on Wednesday, January 16, at 7:00 PM.  The class is studying Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans . . . Both classes meet in the second-floor room of the Mission House.

 

NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (“Christ our Lord to the Jordan came”), BuxWV 180, by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707).  The postlude is Buxtehude’s Fuge C-dur, BuxWV 174.  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Messa a quattro voci da cappella (1650) by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643).  Monteverdi wrote a great deal of music, both sacred and secular, and served as maestro di cappella of St. Mark’s, Venice, where he revolutionized a deteriorated music program.  This work is composed in what is known as stile antico, or a Palestrina-like polyphonic style that by the early seventeenth century was decidedly old-fashioned.  It is one of only two masses surviving from Monteverdi’s years at St. Mark’s (he was contracted to compose one each Christmas).  Though organ continuo and various instruments typically would have accompanied a performance in Monteverdi’s day (with instruments doubling the vocal parts), on Sunday organ alone will be used.  The motet at Communion is Videntes stellam Magi by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594) . . . The recital at 4:40 PM is by Jangoo Chapkhana from Perth, Australia.

 

VOLUNTEER CHOIR . . . Reminder: the first “official” rehearsal of Saint Mary’s new volunteer choir is this 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 (rmccormick@stmvnyc.org).  Robert McCormick

 

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY CENTENNIAL . . . The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, observed between the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter, January 18, and the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, celebrates its centennial this year.  The observance was the idea of a Roman Catholic Franciscan, formerly an Episcopal priest, who longed and worked for the reunion of the Anglican and Roman Communions.  I suspect that non-Roman Christians probably agree with Paul VI, “Le Pape, nous le savons bien, est sans doute l’obstacle le plus grave sur la route de l’œcuménisme” (from a speech given in French on April 28, 1967 – and available only in French on the Vatican website).  My own rough translation of this is, “The Papacy, we know well, is without a doubt, the most serious obstacle on the road to ecumenism.”  In my opinion, what Paul VI said in 1967 is still true today.  That said, it was our Lord’s prayer that we would all be one.  For this many of us will continue to work and pray despite the divisions we have inherited.  SG

 

The Calendar of the Week

Sunday            First Sunday after the Epiphany: Baptism of Our Lord

Monday             Weekday

Tuesday             Weekday

Wednesday       Weekday

Thursday           Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356

Eve of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle

Friday             The Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle             Abstinence

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today.

Saturday           Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095

 

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

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.

 

The Calendar of the Week

Sunday            The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Monday             Agnes, Martyr at Rome, 304–Federal Holiday Schedule: Martin Luther King Day

Tuesday             Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa and Martyr of Rome, 250

Wednesday       Weekday

Thursday           Weekday

Eve of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle

Friday              The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle             Abstinence

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity concludes today.

Saturday             Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul

 

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

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.

 

The Calendar of the Week

Sunday           The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Monday             Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Friar, 1274

Tuesday             Weekday

Wednesday       Charles, King and Martyr, 1649

Thursday           Weekday

Friday                Brigid of Kildare                              Abstinence


 EVE OF THE PRESENTATION

Saturday          THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

 

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

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.