From the Rector: Sabbatical Notes
One of the jokes I’ve been using since my return from sabbatical is that the word “sabbatical” has replaced the word “salvation” as a favorite. That’s not true, of course, but I’d like to think I was and am thankful for the special gifts of time and money that made study and travel possible. I am also very aware and thankful for the colleagues and lay leaders of our parish community who made this possible.
It was a three-month sabbatical. I spent New Year’s Eve, as I have since 1999, in the rectory. On New Year’s Day I flew to California and arrived about 10:00 PM at the small apartment in Oakland where I would stay for two months. For the next eight weeks, most days would involve work on the Greek New Testament. Father Louis Weil had found a tutor for me. The tutor and I met twice a week in Berkeley. It took five weeks or so before the Greek I had learned in seminary started to rejuvenate.
It won’t surprise many readers of this newsletter to learn that I worked mostly in John’s gospel. I had almost forgotten that any two languages represent two very different ways of communicating about the world. New Testament language that seems to be black and white in its English translation is often far more nuanced in the original. Lots of interesting questions arise too, some serious, some not. For example, I found myself wondering whether our English expression “throw someone in jail” comes from the Greek that was used for putting John the Baptist in jail. In John, he is “thrown” in jail – and the word used is the word one would use for throwing a ball. Beginner-level New Testament Greek is back. My goal is to continue to use it to prepare the Sunday gospel for preaching. I hope my Greek continues to improve and to be a part of my regular journey with the New Testament.
Just before I left New York a friend called to give me some advice for my sabbatical. He wanted to make sure that I knew that Saint Mary’s and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. were providing this opportunity for me and I should respect it. It was good advice, good reinforcement. I think it’s fair to say that whenever I was tempted to “work,” I remembered his words.
There were a very few phone calls to and from New York. I made a few to get information I had forgotten to bring with me. There were some calls in particular about the burial of a priest of our community, the Reverend Dr. Charles E. Whipple, II. I had once helped vest a priest for burial; Fathers Mead and Smith have now done so as well. Because of Matt and Jay’s work in particular, the parish’s common life just continued to move forward. I can’t begin to thank enough the lay leadership, the staff and all of our assisting clergy for all they did while I was away.
I went to church on Sundays and feast days while I was away. I have a collection of bulletins and stories for the future. I attended a liturgical conference at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific while I was in California – and heard Father Louis Weil give one of the most useful responses to why the Church insists that Baptism before Eucharist remain normative for Christians across denominational lines.
I also worshiped occasionally in cathedrals and churches of different denominations. (Bulletins collected there too.) At some point I want to take some time to reflect on what I experienced as a visitor. Sunday by Sunday I realized that we are clear at Saint Mary’s about the priority of congregational worship. I am so proud to be a part of this parish community and its work, ministry and witness.
Again, many thanks to all who have made this time away possible. I tried very hard to be a good steward of this sabbatical and I sense already that this will bear fruit for me personally and for our community. Stephen Gerth
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Dorothy, Charisse, Jeanne, Malika, LaVerne, Kirk, Jack, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Brooke, Laura, Donna, Madeleine, Marc, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Rozalind, and Rick; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Omar, Curtis, Benjamin, Marc, Terrance, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick; and for the repose of the soul of Angie Toriano . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 26: 1924 Juliet C. Dobbins; 1944 Mary Frances Kelly Rosenfield.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, April 25, is Sister Deborah Francis’s fifteenth anniversary of life profession for which we are most thankful . . . Sunday School for children continues this Sunday, April 26, at 10:00 AM . . . The Saint Mary’s Guild will meet on Saturday, April 25, 12:00 to 5:00 PM, for Noonday Prayer and Mass, and then for a meeting and a work session on the second floor of the Mission House . . . James Kennerley is away from the Parish for the afternoon of April 26 for a concert . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, April 27, at 7:00 PM, on the second floor of the Mission House . . . Father Smith will be away from the parish from Monday, April 27, until Monday, May 4. He returns to the office on Tuesday, May 5 . . . Father John Merz will hear confessions on Saturday, April 25. Father Montgomery will hear confessions at 11:30 AM on Saturday, May 2; Father Gerth will hear confessions at 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 2.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are grateful to parishioner, Kenny Isler, who traveled from his home in Arizona, once again this week, to mix a lovely new batch of incense. Thank you, Kenny, for your dedication and expertise . . . Altar flowers are needed for the following dates during Eastertide: May 10, 17; May 21, Ascension Day; May 24; and May 31, the Day of Pentecost. Please contact the parish office if you would like to make a donation . . . On Saturday, May 2, at 10:30 AM, Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will be ordained deacon at the Cathedral. All are invited . . . The Fridays of Eastertide are not observed by abstinence . . . Attendance: The Second Sunday of Easter 298.
RITES OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION . . . Sunday, May 31, is the Day of Pentecost. At 11:00 AM the Right Reverend Richard F. Grein, XIV Bishop of New York, will be celebrant and preacher for the service. Holy Baptism and Confirmation will be celebrated. If you are considering being prepared to join the parish community and the Episcopal Church please speak with one of the parish priests!
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is a selection of chorale preludes: Christ ist erstanden, BWV 627, Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag, BWV 629, and Heut’ triumphieret Gottes Sohn, BWV 630, from Das Orgel-Büchlein by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) . The setting of the Mass ordinary is Canterbury Mass by American composer Anthony Piccolo (b. 1946). This setting was written in 1980 for the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, a choir of which the composer was a member for a time. Piccolo’s accessible and appealing choral music has been equally popular on both sides of the Atlantic. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Wonder, a setting of words by Thomas Traherne (1636/7–1674) by Piccolo for upper voices and organ . . . This Sunday’s organ recital is given by Michael Smith, organist at Groton School, at 4:40 PM. At Solemn Evensong, the choir of Groton School will sing, directed by Mr. Smith and accompanied by Andrew Sheranian . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers will not meet on Sunday, April 26, or on Sunday, May 3. They will meet on Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 PM to rehearse for Evensong and Benediction. Please note that we have professional singers leading each voice part, so, if you were thinking of joining, do not be worried that you’d be the only one in your section! If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . On Monday, May 11, 7:30 PM there will be public (and free) organ recital by Andrew Yeargin of the Manhattan School of Music. All are invited. James Kennerley
MISSION & OUTREACH . . . AIDS Walk 2009: Please support us as 30 Saint Marians walk to support the struggle against HIV and AIDS on Sunday, May 17! Contribute to the Saint Mary’s team by clicking here. If you prefer, put a check made out to AWNY in the plate or give it to a priest or to the parish team captains, MaryJane Boland or Andrew Smith. To learn more, or to walk with us, contact MaryJane or Andrew . . . The Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church: 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. At its March meeting the Board of Trustees voted to designate the entire 2009 Maundy Thursday collection to benefit the Food Pantry. We now have a final figure: $2,604.00 was offered at the Maundy Thursday liturgy, a substantial donation indeed, all of which will be given to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. If you would still like to contribute to this effort, please send us a check in care of the Finance Office and write “Food Pantry” in the memo line. Thank you to all who have given and who continue to give so generously to this important parish mission & outreach effort. J.R.S.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday of Easter
Monday Easter Weekday
Tuesday Easter Weekday
Wednesday Catherine of Siena, 1389
Thursday Easter Weekday
Friday Saint Philip & Saint James, Apostles No Abstinence
Saturday Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373
Eve of the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Sunday School for Children, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction (through and including Trinity Sunday). 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 normally heard on Saturdays 11:30-11:55 AM & 4:00-4:50 PM.