From the Rector: Seen and Unseen
Last winter I began a serious effort to get the heating pipes underneath the church insulated to reduce heat loss. Since coming to Saint Mary’s, I have been working with our plumber to repair and replace leaking pipes and valves. But I had been told repeatedly since arriving at Saint Mary’s that nothing could be done about the heat loss. The church uses Con Edison steam for heating. The system was installed years ago. Any insulation job would be too big and too expensive to do. I didn’t train to be a building manager, but I’ve learned to be persistent over the years. As I write, the job is basically complete for a little less than $6,000.00.
The amazing thing to me was that it took so long to get the job started, to get through to companies who do the work, to get a proposal, and to get the workmen on the job. One wonders where this perversity comes from. In the end, we got the job done.
In the course of doing the work we discovered a few more leaky valves, some of which were our responsibility, some Con Edison’s responsibility. The last time Con Edison came, they arrived with an inspector. They insisted that we put new lighting in the steam room, clean out the steam room and put a lock on the door. This job too is basically complete, with the lighting (and new electrical lines) coming in at about $4,000.00.
We discovered a couple of more pipes that needed insulating that we didn’t know were there. They had been covered with piles of discarded items for decades, perhaps from fifty years ago. Fortunately, our own sextons can do the insulation work on those pipes at minimal cost. We also discovered another doorway and another alcove that I didn’t know existed until we got the lights on. Once I saw the rooms with the new light, I found myself very thankful for the Con Edison inspection.
It’s easy to think of gospel passages that use the imagery of light and dark. I have in mind especially Saint Matthew’s commentary on the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He quotes Isaiah, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).
As the rector of Saint Mary’s, it’s easy to raise money for some things, e.g.,, things for the church used for worship, but not so easy for others, like maintenance and repairs. But of course things that are unseen are as important a part of creation as things that are seen. Next on my hit list, there’s a water line that needs to be replaced. The estimated cost is between $4,000.00 and $5,000.00. (The bishop who ordained me said nothing about this part of my job!)
Keeping things in the dark, or in the closet, doesn’t make things go away either. Instead, things become “like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
We have been told daily for quite some time now that our nation is in the middle of financial crisis. This is not the first or the last crisis of my adult life. I expect this one to be resolved. Life will go on. Then, there will be another. But no real resolution to the problem will take place until the truth about the balance sheets is known. As I write on Thursday morning, October 2, my own sense is that a large part of what is operating is a desire by most corporate and political leaders to hide the truth.
Saint Mary’s is not on the high end of the food chain, as it were. The corporate and political mismanagement of our nation’s economy will affect the shape of our community’s future. It’s hard not to worry about the future; there’s anxiety in the air. But life goes on and will go on. Things are hard and will be hard for many. As a nation we are a generous people and a people that has always responded to need and challenge. I’m not betting in any way against the future of the United States. I’m just hoping that we will want light to shine sooner than later in every way. 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 . . . October 5: 1881 Elizabeth Rice; 1896 Edna Lena Farson; 1950 Anita Powers; 1955 Eleanor Harris Burgen; 1957 Marion Raymond; 1958 Grace Bauln; 1963 Martha Adams Reese.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Kevin Farley’s funeral will be celebrated at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, October 4, at 10:00 AM. The family will receive at Morehead-McKim-Gallaher Funeral Home, 424 West 51st Street, on Friday, October 3, between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Father Wells will be the celebrant for the Mass and Father Gerth will preach. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, October 4, 6:00 PM, Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest, Saint Joseph’s Hall & Organ Loft . . . 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 . . . The Rector will be away on behalf of the parish from Thursday, October 9, until Saturday, October 11 . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, October 4; Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, October 11.
JOINING SAINT MARY’S . . . Father Smith is preparing several people to be presented to the Bishop at the Solemn Mass on the Eve of All Saints’ Day to mark their formal affiliation with the Episcopal Church or with Saint Mary’s. If you would like to know more about baptism, confirmation, or reception into the Episcopal Church, please contact Father Smith.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, our seminarian Jedediah Fox is to be ordained deacon on Sunday, October 5, in the Diocese of Montana. Jed will serve as a deacon at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, October 12 . . . Many, many, many thanks to all who made the Primary Things Conference such a success! . . . By long parish tradition, the flowers on the first Sunday in October are given to the Glory of God and in memory of the departed rectors of the parish . . . Altar flowers are still needed this month for Sunday, October 12, and Sunday, October 26. Please contact Sandra Schubert in the parish office if you would like to donate flowers or to learn about what’s involved in making such a donation; and thank you! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 249; Michaelmas 459.
COMING EVENTS . . . 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 . . . Monday, October 20, the Board of Trustees meets at 7:00 PM in the Mission House . . . Mark your Calendars: Friday, October 31, 2008, the Eve of All Saints’ Day, Solemn Pontifical Mass, 6:00 PM, the Right Reverend Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York, celebrant and preacher.
FREE FOOD!!! . . . Christian Education for Adults begins this Sunday, October 5, at 10:00 AM. 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. All classes meet on the second floor of the Mission House. Coffee and donuts will be available for you to eat and enjoy. Matthew Mead
BIBLE STUDY RESUMES OCTOBER 8 . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study will resume on October 8 at 7:00 PM, after the evening Mass. This Fall and Spring we will study the prophets. All classes meet on the second floor of the Mission House.
CHILDCARE & SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN . . . 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. Childcare 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 for Children resumes October 12 at 10:00 AM, and meets in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to the Morning Room), and will be led by Deacon Jedediah Fox.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers will rehearse this coming Sunday, October 5, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and will then sing at Solemn Evensong and Benediction at 5:00 PM. We would love to have you join us – if you are interested, please contact me at email@example.com . . . This Sunday also marks the return of the parish choir, which will sing until Corpus Christi (June 14). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Bell’ amfitrit’ altera’ by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594). The Flemish-born Lassus was one of the late Renaissance’s most cosmopolitan composers. Much of his training was in Italy; later he worked for almost forty years as Kapellmeister at the royal court in Munich. This setting is for two choirs of four voices each, and it reflects some influence from the Venetian style of Giovanni Gabrieli and others. A “parody mass,” it is probably based upon an unknown madrigal . . . At the Sung and Solemn Masses on Sunday we will be singing one of the great devotional hymns of the Church. The text “O thou who camest from above” was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and the tune by one of his grandsons, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876).J.K.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Monday William Tyndale, Priest, 1536
Thursday Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, 1253
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Philip, Deacon and Evangelist
Eve of the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
4:40 PM Organ Recital, 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.