From the Rector: Some Primary Things
Just the other day, when I stepped into an elevator, a lady asked, in what turned out to be a Columbus, Georgia, accent, “Are you an Episcopal minister?” I replied, “Yes, ma’am.” It reminded me of another elevator conversation I had shortly after coming to Saint Mary’s. A woman asked, “Are you an Episcopal priest? Does your collar mean you are ‘high church’?” Again, I was new to the parish – and in that moment, rather proud. I replied, “As a matter of fact, I’m the new rector of the highest parish in the land.” Even then, however, that’s not the way I would want to describe Saint Mary’s.
When I was in seminary, Nashotah House sent me to the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, as an intern. It was what was called in those days, “low church.” The main service on Sunday morning, most Sundays of the year, was Morning Prayer and Sermon, still, in 1981, from the 1928 Prayer Book. The Sacrament was reserved in an aumbry (“churchspeak” for locked wall safe) for the Communion of the sick and shut-in; but there was no veil or sanctuary lamp (traditional signs of the presence of the Sacrament).
One day the Rector, almost apologetically, made some remark about not having a burning candle lamp by the aumbry. I can’t remember my exact words, but I knew in my gut the lamp was not that important. What mattered, and would matter for the future, was that every day of the week, one of the parish priests carried the Sacrament to the sick. This is a primary thing.
On Sunday evening, the Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels, we resume weekly Solemn Evensong. This service marks the beginning of our liturgical conference for priests, Primary Things, on Monday, September 29, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. I’m delighted a few laypersons with a special interest in liturgics have registered as well. Everyone, of course, is invited to Evensong and the reception that follows. On Monday, everyone is invited to Solemn Pontifical Mass at 6:00 PM and the reception that follows. James Kennerley will play an organ recital before Mass at 5:30 PM, which marks the start of the parish choir’s season.
Many readers will already know that our conference keynote speaker is the Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Griswold is also celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. Our guest preacher for Solemn Evensong on Sunday is the Reverend Dr. Clayton L. Morris, Program Officer for Liturgical and Spiritual Resources, The Episcopal Church Center. It’s going to be great worship and a great conference.
Newcomers to the parish may not know about Sunday Evensong. It’s one of the great treasures of our Anglican tradition. During the summer months, Evening Prayer is said on Sunday nights, and a simple celebration of the Eucharist follows. During the academic year, Evening Prayer is sung (hence, “Evensong”). A sermon (on the short side!) is preached. The service concludes with Eucharistic Benediction, a brief thanksgiving on the gift of the Eucharist. The service is regularly over just after 6:00 PM. There is a low-key reception afterwards in Saint Joseph’s Hall – which ends promptly at 6:30 PM.
Forty-three people have registered for the Primary Things conference. Our absolute limit on number (because of the size of our facilities for meeting and catering) was fifty. Conference fees have covered all our expenses. Many who are attending are new to our wider parish community, and I look forward very much to meeting them and welcoming them to Saint Mary’s.
One key to understanding the mission of Saint Mary’s is the question, “What is the best thinking about Christian worship, community and mission today?” Looking back at the parish’s history, I think it is fair to say that in every decade of its history, clergy and lay leaders here have measured their work by this standard. It’s a question that keeps our community focused on our future. It’s a question that invites us to take from our treasure what is old and what is new.
If you look at the supports of the great beam that holds up the crucifix above the chancel, you can see carvings of Michael and Gabriel, symbols of the unseen messengers and presence of God, who upholds and fills all creation. Please join us to celebrate Saint Michael and All Angels. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Bill, Steven, Donna, Laura, Clare, Madeleine, Marc, Linda, Janelle, Joanne, José, Kevin, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Katherine, Rozalind, Marietta, Connie, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Benjamin, Christopher, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan; and for the repose of the soul of Kevin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 28: 1891 Amanda Haight; 1920 Emily Patten Dickinson; 1939 Madeleine Becca Thompson; 1943 Edith Maud Delleger; 1944 Evelyn Blanche Mary Kind.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Donald F. Farley, known to his friends and family as Kevin, died in Lakewood, New Jersey, early on the morning of September 25 after a long illness. He was eighty-six years old. Kevin joined Saint Mary's in 1980. As we go to press, funeral plans have not been finalized. Please pray for Kevin, for his family and for all who mourn. S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saint Mary’s Singers meet at 3:00 PM on Sunday, September 28. Newcomers most welcome! . . . Sunday Evensong resumes on Michaelmas Eve, September 28, at 5:00 PM. On Monday, September 29, James Kennerley will play at 5:30 PM. Solemn Pontifical Mass is at 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, October 4, 6:00 PM, Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest, Saint Joseph’s Hall & Organ Loft . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, September 27; Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, October 4.
BACK TO THE HIGH ALTAR . . . The 10:00 AM Sunday Mass, like all of our regularly scheduled services, will be celebrated at the high altar beginning this Sunday, September 28. This Mass was moved to the Lady Chapel in January 2008, when the 9:00 AM Mass became a Sung Mass and the 10:00 AM Mass became a Said Mass. There is something especially lovely about the Lady Chapel. And I know a few of the regulars at this service will be disappointed. Yet at this point in our parish’s life, growth remains “Job Number One.” Despite our dedicated ushers and our signs, it is easier for newcomers to join us at the high altar. I appreciate very much the understanding of all. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, October 12, and Sunday, October 26. Please be in touch with Sandra Schubert in the parish office if you would like to donate flowers or to learn about it. Thank you! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 278.
COMING EVENTS . . . Sunday, October 5, The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, Summer Schedule ends: Sung Matins at 8:30, Sung Mass at 9:00 AM, Said Mass at 10:00 AM, Christian Education at 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM, Organ Recital at 4:40 PM, Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, October 12, Sunday School begins at 10:00 AM . . . Monday, October 13, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule – the Parish Office is closed, only the noon services are offered, and the church closes at 2:00 PM.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR. . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers will have its first rehearsal THIS SUNDAY, September 28, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. We would love to have you join us – if you are interested, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. The cantor this Sunday for Solemn Mass is Ruth Cunningham. The prelude is an improvisation on the first hymn, “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!.” Ruth and I will improvise the offertory and communion propers. The Sanctus is a setting by Ruth, as is the Communion motet, composed to the words of hymn 692, “I heard the voice of Jesus say.” Improvised music means that no pre-conceived or notated music is followed during the performance. Instead, the musicians will agree on a mode (a particular type of melodic scale which will determine the range of notes that can be played), and follow the suggestions of the text, dwelling on important words. In the offertory proper, for example, the word “flevimus” (wept) might be characterized with a repeated motif, perhaps a sigh figure, in the voice, and cascading scales in the organ part, also suggestive of the rivers of Babylon. James Kennerley
MARIAN HYMN SING & OKTOBERFEST . . . Join a very jovial group of Saint Marians for the second annual Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest in Saint Joseph’s Hall (and the organ loft!) on Saturday, October 4, at 6:00 PM. We hope you can join us! James Kennerley & Matthew Mead
CHILDCARE & SUNDAY SCHOOL . . . Children are always welcome at Mass at Saint Mary’s. The Rector encourages families with children to sit at the front of the church – so the children can see easily and clearly. Child care is for younger children in the Saint Benedict’s Nursery & Playroom which is open and available every Sunday from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM . . . Sunday school resumes October 12 at 10:00 AM . . . Sunday School for children meets in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to reach the Morning Room) and will be led by Deacon Jedediah Fox.
ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION RESUMES OCTOBER 5; BIBLE SYUDY RESUMES OCTOBER 8 . . . During October, Father Mead and Father Smith will teach Opening the Good Book: Reading & Interpreting the Bible. This four-session class (October 5, 12, 19, 26) aims at helping participants feel more confident and comfortable when they are reading, interpreting and discussing the Bible. We will propose some solutions to a number of commonly asked questions about reading and interpreting the Bible . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study will resume on October 8 at 7:00 PM. This Fall and Spring we will study the prophets.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels
Monday Saint Michael and All Angels
Tuesday Jerome, Priest, and Monk of Bethlehem, 420
Wednesday Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Francis of Assisi, Friar, 1226
Eve of the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
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 Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick.
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.