From The Rector: Sabbatical
Just after Easter Week 2008, several lay leaders and I began to work on a proposal to the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for a grant that would fund a three-month sabbatical for me this winter. I’m very pleased and proud to say that the Lilly Endowment has awarded Saint Mary’s this grant. The award will provide money for study and travel and to cover some of the expenses the parish will incur for assisting clergy while I am away. I will be away from the parish from January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2009. My first Sunday back will be Palm Sunday.
When I came to the parish, the “Letter of Agreement” between me and the Board of Trustees provided for a three-month sabbatical after every five years of service. I did not feel free to be away for three months in 2004 after my first five years of service. On February 1, 2009, I will have been rector of this parish for ten years. On December 21, 2008, I will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. The Board of Trustees and I think the time is right for me to take this sabbatical. This will be my first proper sabbatical after twenty-five years of active, full-time service as a parish priest.
I invite you to visit the webpage of the Lilly Endowment to read more about its history and mission. The Endowment, “seeks to strengthen congregations by providing an opportunity for pastors . . . to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection.” The Endowment was founded by three members of the Eli Lilly family in 1937 with a mission of serving religious, educational and community development needs. The patriarch of the family was Eli Lilly (1839-1898). In 1876, he founded a company in Indianapolis that is today one of the great pharmaceutical corporations of the world. The Lillys are an Episcopal family and their generosity to the Church and others has been and continues to be extraordinary.
My plans for the sabbatical were shaped in part by the experience that the Lilly Endowment has gained through making these grants and from conversations over the years. In particular, my uncle, the Reverend Lawrence E. Matthews, was pastor of Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, Virginia, for thirty-two years. I remember asking him after his retirement in 1998 how he had managed to do so well in the same congregation for so long. He said that every ten years or so he had had a major change of focus and interest. It kept him fresh and looking forward.
From January 1 until February 28, 2009 I will be in Berkeley, California. I plan to register as a special student at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. My principal project for these two months is to relearn New Testament Greek – in which I was fairly proficient by the time I left seminary. The registration at the Church Divinity School will permit access to its resources. I confess to a genuine desire to deepen my knowledge of Biblical texts and, I hope, to be a better preacher.
Of course, I am excited by the gift of time away from the ordinary work as rector of this parish. My excitement is not just about being away but about future service here. I have known since I was called here that the usual pattern for Saint Mary’s rectors has been for them to complete their active service to the Church as rectors of Saint Mary’s. I want very much to be as useful as I can be as rector for Saint Mary’s in the years to come. This will not happen without purposeful attention.
I am working with Father Mead, Father Smith and the Board of Trustees to organize things while I am away. Details will be forthcoming. The Lilly Endowment’s theme for their 2009 grants was, “What Will Make Your Heart Sing.” I wrote in the proposal, “I sense the time is right for a new direction in my study and preaching – and the thought of it helps to make my ‘heart sing.’” But nothing in my life has ever made my heart sing a gladder song than the opportunity to be your rector, your pastor, your parish priest. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Samuel who is hospitalized, for Scott, Troy, Frank, James, Donna, Laura, Madeleine, Marc, Janelle, Joanne, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Rozalind, Connie, Rick, Robert, priest, and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 16: 1874 William Elliott; 1963 Carolyn Jeanette Whiteley.
STEWARDSHIP MATTERS . . . We began the 2009 Stewardship Campaign last week. Pledge cards were mailed to members and friends of the parish, along with a letter from the Board of Trustees. As of Wednesday, November 12, 2008, more than two weeks before Commitment Sunday, we have already received eighteen pledges. We are encouraged by our members’ and friends’ eagerness to signal their support of the parish and its ministries. We urge all who read this to give the appeal your prayerful consideration and thanks so very much to all for your generosity. . . Frequently Asked Questions. . . How do I make a pledge? After carefully and prayerfully considering what amount you can pledge on an annual basis, fill out your pledge card, providing your contact information (this will help us to update your entry in our database, if necessary) and indicate how frequently you intend to make payments and whether you would like us to provide you with weekly envelopes. If you plan to make a single, annual payment, please indicate an approximate date on which you plan to make that payment. The Board of Trustees and the Budget Committee will then be able to make decisions based on an estimate of income. If you would like to make a gift of securities or if you would like to add Saint Mary’s as a beneficiary in your will, please contact the Finance Office and ask for Barbara Klett. She will be able to answer any questions you might have. Is a pledge a legally binding promise or contract? No. When you make a pledge to your parish, you are not entering into the kind of relationship that you have, say, with a credit card company. If your financial situation changes during the year, you are entirely free to contact the Finance Office and inform us that you would like to decrease or increase the amount of your pledge. Also, be aware that after the end of the calendar year you may continue to make payments on your prior year’s pledge. Of course, the tax benefits of any donations or gifts can be applied only to your tax return for the year in which the gift is made. We send out regular statements so you can track the progress of your giving and your pledge balance. However, if at any time you would like to get an update on your balance, simply contact the Finance Office or me. Jay Smith
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The organ and choral music at Solemn Mass this Sunday is drawn from the great corpus of works by Spanish composers. The prelude before Mass is Tiento de 1o Tiono de Mano Derecha by Pablo Bruna (1611-1679), and the setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Simile est regnum coelorum’ by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 16th century. Unlike the more famous Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), the vast majority of Guerrero’s career was spent in Spain, much of it as maestro de capilla of Seville Cathedral (Victoria spent many years in Rome). This mass, published in 1582, is among Guerrero’s eighteen, of which our choir has sung seven in recent years. It is based upon Simile est regnum coelorum, a motet by Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500-1553), a great composer who was one of Guerrero’s principal teachers. This motet is sung during Communion . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers rehearses this Sunday, November 16, from 3-4:30 PM. If you would like to join, please come along to any of our rehearsals – no audition necessary! James Kennerley
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The choir of the Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension will sing at Solemn Evensong, under the direction of Preston Smith. . . The November Adult Forum: “Outward & Visible Sign, Inward & Spiritual Grace: The Sacraments” continues on Sunday, November 16 at 10:00 AM . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday, November 17, at 7:00 PM . . . The 7:00 PM Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study on the Prophets meets on the second floor of the Mission House on November 19. A minimum donation of five dollars donation is requested in order to defray the costs of dinner . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, November 22, and on Saturday, November 29.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thanks so much to Jim Dennis for planning, executing and hosting the reception on October 31, the Eve of All Saints’ Day. Thanks also to Jon Bryant, John Delves, and sexton, Antonio Sanchez, for their able assistance at the reception. The reception was funded through the gifts of two generous parishioners. (Please note: Feast-day receptions are not funded through our operational budget. If you or your guild would like to sponsor a reception or make a donation to the parish’s hospitality fund, please speak to Father Smith.). . . We will continue to collect gift items for AIDS Action International this coming Sunday, November 16. This will be the last Sunday on which you can make a donation. Gift ideas are: new clothing for men, women and children, games, basic cosmetics, disposable cameras, phone cards, dolls and toys, scarves, gloves, and hats. . . Attendance: Last Sunday 320.
COMING EVENTS. . . Father John Beddingfield preaches at Evensong on Sunday, November 23. . . Mother Mitties de Champlain preaches at Evensong on Sunday, November 30. . . Members of the Sunday School are invited to make an Advent Wreath on Sunday, November 30 at 10:00 AM. . . Sister Laura Katharine will lead an Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 6, from 10:15 AM to 3:30 PM.
AT THE CATHEDRAL. . . On Sunday, November 30, the celebration of the restoration of the interior of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine begins. For full details see www.stjohndivine.org. The Cathedral has offered reserved seating for all guests from parishes in the diocese that plan to attend the Choral Evensong at 4:00 PM on Sunday, November 30. Though the parish clergy will be here at Saint Mary’s for our own service of Evensong, if you are interested in putting together a group and reserving seats, please coordinate your group and contact the Parish Office by Friday, November 14, 12:00 PM
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Twenty-seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200
Tuesday Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Wednesday Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1231
Thursday Edmund, King of East Anglia, 870
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Cecilia, Martyr, c. 178
Eve of the Last Sunday after Pentecost:
The Feast of Christ the King
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Christian Formation & Sunday School, 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.