From Father Powell: Enjoying the Gift
I never intended to become a regular at St. Mary the Virgin. I knew the church existed and had read about it from time to time but I figured it was a precious anachronism that would never appeal to me. I was wrong. From the first Sunday I dropped in, I have been hooked on St. Mary the Virgin and worshiping here, even as infrequently as I do, has deepened my faith.
I have been a priest since 1976. I am a member of a congregation in Westport. I run a nonprofit that provides housing and shelter to the homeless. From time-to-time, I need my spiritual batteries recharged. For several years now, I have been doing this at St. Mary the Virgin.
It took a year or two before I got serious about pledging to St. Mary the Virgin. I was a spectator on the edges of the life of the parish. I am committed to tithing and I do so, but split it up between several nonprofits. Over time, and not a long time, it became apparent to me that everything that happens at St. Mary the Virgin is more meaningful to me than anything that happens in any other setting. How could I participate meaningfully in the work of St. Mary the Virgin?
Given the demands of my schedule, the only way I can participate on a daily basis at St. Mary the Virgin is through my pledge. It is vitally important to me that St. Mary the Virgin exists daily and maintains its presence on Times Square for me and for others like me who value the seriousness, integrity, joy, and care this congregation has for all that it does.
I was probably converted my first Palm Sunday. After a lifetime as an Episcopalian, I was actually going to do something other than greet Episcopalians on Palm Sunday. I love giving out palms as we walk around the TKTS booth. The Hispanics take them eagerly, the Jews look at us quizzically, the Irish look guilty, and the Protestants sometimes look annoyed, and at other times seem to have an epiphany. For the first time in my life, I understood Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem.
I came to Palm Sunday and the Great Vigil before attending an Ash Wednesday service. Then I heard the Miserere. I cannot imagine Lent without a beginning at St. Mary the Virgin. I cannot imagine Easter without the Vigil at St. Mary the Virgin.
We enjoy this great gift and supporting it financially is an important way we can enjoy it. St. Mary the Virgin receives the largest single donation I make to any church, cause, or nonprofit. I hope the same is true for you too.
We need to give more. I raise money for a living and I know that no one gives to pay the heat bill, run the copier, or any of the important and necessary, but unexciting, tasks that must be done. We all give money because we believe the mission is important and it helps us transform the world into a better place. I hope you will pledge if you have not already. Pledge more if you have already pledged but have not increased your pledge or perhaps even decreased it. We would not choose to worship here if we did not believe it was vitally important. Please ask yourself if your contribution reflects the importance St. Mary the Virgin has for you.
I envy those who live closer to St. Mary the Virgin and can get to it more frequently. I am pleased that you have always welcomed me when I attend. With your help, we can insure that the church will continue to welcome the newcomer and provide a place to develop a mature and exciting faith to those who worship regularly. Peter R. Powell
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Lawrence, Alice, Harold, Patrick, Sean, Jocelyn, Mimi, Marcia, Richard, Deloris, Mary, Gloria, Stephen, Brooke, Donna, Laura, Margaret, Madeleine, Marc, Janelle, Jennie, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Rozalind, Rick, Charles, Priest, and Stephen, Priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Omar, Curtis, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew, and Brendan; and for the repose of the souls of Joanne Griffin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 8: 1882 Martha Manelly Cody; 1886 Robert McKinley; 1897 Mabel Pauline Stevenson; 1937 James Gorham, O.H.C.; 1939 Mary Morse Clarke; 1943 James Johnston; 1949 Christine Palmer.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the chorale prelude on Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele, BWV 654 (text: Hymn 339), by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) . The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis C-dur, KV 220 (‘Spatzenmesse’) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) The mass takes it’s nickname, “Sparrow Mass”, from the ‘chirping’ musical figure heard at the opening of the Hosanna in excelsis sections of the Sanctus and Benedictus. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Laudate Dominum from Vesperae solennes de confessore, KV 339 by Mozart, with it’s famously elegant solo for soprano voice. The postlude is Praeludium in D major, BuxWV 139 by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Charles Brand, parishioner, who has been very kindly volunteering his time to start sorting the Music Library in preparation for our relocation to the Mission House. The next Saint Mary’s Singers rehearsal is on Sunday, February 8, at 3:00 PM, followed by Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM. We now have a wonderful core group which I very much want to expand upon. Why not invite a friend or two to sing with us next week? If you haven’t sung with us before, please just come along to a rehearsal. James Kennerley
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Rector began his sabbatical on January 1. He returns to New York at the end of March and to the office on April 1, in time for Holy Week . . . Father Merz will hear confessions on Saturday, February 7, 11:30-11:50 AM and 4:00-4:50. Father Merz is the Episcopal chaplain at New York University and an assisting priest here at Saint Mary’s . . . The Saint Mary’s Guild will meet on Saturday, February 7 . . . Sunday, February 8, at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House: Father Mead will teach part five of a seven-part series on the Revelation to John. This week’s class will begin in the text at chapter 12 . . . Tuesday, February 10–Saturday, February 21: Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., will be accompanying parishioner, Dr. Michael McNett, on a mission trip to South Africa . . . Father Mead’s class on the Prophets will meet on Wednesday, February 11, at 7:00 PM, after the evening Mass . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, February 14, 11:30-11:50 AM and 4:00-4:50 PM. Confessions are also heard by appointment . . . Saturday, February 14, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre Presents Early Music at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin: “Songs of Love, Lust & Lamentation”: The Vox Vocal Ensemble, George Steel, conductor. Music of Palestrina, Forest, Clemens non Papa, Gibbons, Crequillon, Cornelius, Certon, Payen, Lassus, Howells, Sermisy, and Daniel-Lesur.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all who helped make Candlemas such a wonderful day here at the parish: to James Kennerley and our choristers; to the acolytes and members of the flower guild who readied the altar for the Solemn Mass and who served so capably during Mass; to Heather Peskin, who baked such wonderful confections for the reception; to MaryJane Boland, Terry Carlson, Steven Eldredge, Brenda Morgan, Heather Peskin, Grace Treiman, and José Vidal, who took care of preparations for the reception and who provided hospitality; and, finally, to the very generous parishioner whose donation paid for the refreshments . . . Thank you to Andrew Smith, who delivered food and clothing to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry this week . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following Sundays: February 15 and 22 . . . If you would like to donate flowers for the altars and shrines, please contact Father Mead. There are no flowers on the altar during most of Advent and Lent . . . Sunday, February 15, Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM. Choristers from Guildford Cathedral will sing the service and the cathedral’s dean, the Very Reverend Victor Stock, will preach. Guildford is in Surrey, in the United Kingdom, southwest of London . . . Sunday, February 22, Solemn Mass at 11:00 PM. Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart, Jr., IX Bishop of Montana, will be the celebrant and preacher. (The Diocese of Montana was established as a mission diocese in 1863 and as a diocese in 1904; it has forty-two congregations in twenty-six of the state’s fifty-six counties. The cathedral and the diocesan offices are in Helena, the state capital, located in the west-central part of the state, on the Missouri River) . . . February 16, Presidents’ Day: Federal Holiday Schedule – the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM, only the noon services are offered, and both the Parish and Finance Offices are closed . . . The Board of Trustees will not meet on Monday, February 23 . . . February 25, Ash Wednesday: Said Masses at 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM, Sung Mass at 12:00 PM, Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. Ashes are distributed between the Masses throughout the day. Father Smith will be the celebrant and preacher at the Solemn Mass . . . Friday, February 27, 7:00 PM, Stations of the Cross. The service of Stations of the Cross is offered on Fridays during Lent . . . Attendance: Last Sunday, 4 Epiphany 287; Candlemas 241.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE . . . John Updike, well-known, prolific American writer, author of fiction, verse, essays and criticism, died in Massachusetts on January 28, 2009. Born in 1932, Mr. Updike was raised in the Lutheran Church and apparently attended a Congregational Church in Massachusetts as a young man. In later years, he attended St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly, Massachusetts. In a 2004 interview in the Washington Post he made the following comment, “The Episcopal church is a good place for a half-assed Lutheran to settle….I need the pinch of salt that religion gives.” A member of Saint Mary’s shared the following quotation with us this week. It is taken from Mr. Updike’s Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories (1962): “There was a time when I wondered why more people did not go to church. Taken purely as a human recreation, what could be more delightful, more unexpected than to enter a venerable and lavishly scaled building kept warm and clean for us one or two hours a week and to sit and stand in unison and sing and recite creeds and petitions that are like paths worn smooth in the raw terrain of our hearts? To listen, or not listen, as a poorly paid but resplendently robed man strives to console us with scraps of ancient epistles and halting accounts, hopelessly compromised by words, of those intimations of divine joy that are like pain in that, their instant gone, the mind cannot remember or believe them; to witness the windows donated by departed patrons and the altar flowers arranged by withdrawn hands and the whole considered spectacle lustrous beneath its patina of inheritance; to pay, for all this, no more than we are moved to give – surely in all democracy there is nothing like it. Indeed, it is the most available democratic experience. We vote less than once a year. Only in church and at the polls are we actually given our supposed value, the soul-unit of one, with its noumenal arithmetic of equality: one equals one equals one.”
CHRISTIAN FORMATION & EDUCATION FOR ADULTS . . . All classes meet in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House (133 West 46th Street). Sunday classes meet at 10:00 AM. Coffee and doughnuts are provided. The Wednesday Night Bible Study and other weeknight classes meet at 7:00 PM. Detailed information on upcoming classes is below. All are welcome at every class. One need not have attended earlier sessions in order to drop in on later sessions in the series. Matthew Mead
THE REVELATION ACCORDING TO JOHN . . . On Sundays during Epiphany Season (February 8, 15 & 22) Father Mead and Father Smith will lead a class examining the most famous apocalyptic book of the Bible.
THE PROPHETS . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study resumed on January 21, after the Christmas break, and will meet again this week on February 11. During the autumn, the class, led by Father Mead, studied the narrative accounts of the prophets in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. The class has now begun to read the prophetic books, beginning with the Book of Amos, and then moving on to Hosea and the later prophets.
THE PSALMS . . . The Reverend Peter Powell will lead a class on the Psalms in Lent 2009 (Sundays, March 1, 8, 15, 22). Father Powell is the president of the Interfaith Housing Corporation, Westport, Connecticut. He is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and holds advanced degrees from Princeton and the University of the South.
STEWARDSHIP MATTERS . . . As of January 27, we have received pledges from 170 households. The total amount pledged thus far is $442,620.00, which is 87% of our goal of $518,970.00. Eighty-three households have been able to increase their pledge from 2008 (which is not an insignificant figure in these hard times). Twenty-seven households are pledging for the first time or are returning after some time away. We are still waiting to hear from 26% of those who pledged for 2008; and we would like to hear from a number of active friends and members, who did not, or were not able to, pledge in 2008. We would especially like to encourage all new members and all members of our parish guilds to pledge this year. Our church is an important part of the community and, we hope, an important part of your life. We join in God's love and sacrifice for us by our personal sacrifices for others. Your help is needed. Please keep the parish and the Stewardship Campaign in your prayers. If your financial situation is clearer now that the New Year has begun and if you now feel ready to make a pledge, if you need another pledge card, or if you have questions, please speak with Father Jay Smith, MaryJane Boland, or Steven Heffner. We are very grateful to all those who have pledged; we are inching our way closer to our goal! We really believe that we can reach that goal, working together, and, as always, with God’s help. Jay Smith
MISSION & OUTREACH . . . Saint Marians are invited to bring non-perishable food items on Sundays and place them in the basket at the ushers’ table in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall during Coffee Hour. The food is then delivered to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry on 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. (We made our second delivery to Saint Clement’s at the end of last week.) Cash donations can also be made: please write the check to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and put “Fr. Smith’s Discretionary Fund” in the memo line. (Both diocesan and parish guidelines stipulate that such funds are only to be used for outreach and for those who are in need. They are not used for personal reasons. Here at Saint Mary’s the clergy’s discretionary funds are administered by the Finance Office.) Lightly used clothing may also be donated and should be placed on the table near the Kitchen in Saint Joseph’s Hall. During the winter months, coats and sweaters, hats and gloves are particularly welcome. Thank you to all who continue to give so generously to the Food Pantry! Jay Smith
COME AND SING WITH US! . . . Saint Mary’s Singers is looking for members. We are a group of parishioners and non-parishioners who now sing twice a month at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square. The church has one of the finest acoustics in the city, as well as one of the city’s greatest organs. Why don’t YOU consider taking a break from work on Sunday afternoons to come sing and socialize with a group of Saint Mary’s neighbors, friends, and parishioners? (Trips to the local pubs and restaurants of Hell’s Kitchen immediately follow the rehearsals and performances!) If you are able to match pitch and have a desire to sing, especially some of the great Anglican choral repertoire, why not consider being part of our new choir? We promise that you will have fun! If you would like to join, or just come along for a rehearsal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. James Kennerley
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saint Mary’s offers a wide variety of concerts each year. In addition to concerts offered by our music department, we also host a number of outside groups who offer concerts in the church. See below for upcoming concerts at Saint Mary’s . . . Every Sunday, 4:40 PM (October to June, except during Lent): Before Sunday Evensong & Benediction Saint Mary’s offers a weekly organ recital by a visiting musician. For more details, please see the current music schedule HERE . . . Saturday, February 14, 8:00 PM: “Songs of Love, Lust, and Lamentation”: The Vox Vocal Ensemble, George Steel, conductor. Music of Palestrina, Forest, Clemens non Papa, Gibbons, Crequillon, Cornelius, Certon, Payen, Lassus, Howells, Sermisy, and Daniel-Lesur. (From the Miller Theatre website, “This Valentine’s Day, Vox Vocal Ensemble performs sacred and secular music in which the spiritual and erotic find common expression, as well as works of heartbreaking lament. This alternatingly moving and racy program spans five centuries of composition, including a rare performance of Crequillon’s Lamentations of Jeremiah.”) Ticket price: $7-$35. To order tickets by phone: 212-854-7799 . . . Saturday, March 21, 1:00 PM: Lenten Recital by the Choir of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Calne, England, in the Diocese of Salisbury. Admission is free . . . Thursday, April 2, 2009, 8:00 PM: Music for Double Choir, The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director.
CHILDREN AT SAINT MARY’S . . . 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 for younger children is available 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 . . . Sunday School for children meets on Sundays during the academic year at 10:00 AM, in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to the Morning Room). Sunday School is led by Deacon Jedediah Fox and Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Friday Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818 Abstinence
Saturday Cyril & Methodius, Monk & Bishop, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869, 885
Eve of the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Sunday School & Adult Christian Education, 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: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass. Confessions are heard Saturdays at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM or by appointment.