From the Rector: Salvation History
Some years ago, just before Ryan Lesh, then a member of this parish and now vicar, Christ Church, Red Hook, was ready to be ordained to the transitional diaconate, yours truly had a question about the celebration. The service was to be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saint Joseph’s Day. Members of the clergy were invited to vest and to wear red stoles for the service. Red? Saint Joseph wasn’t a martyr. His day gets white vestments. When I checked to see why red was the color desired, I was told that the service of ordination was not a celebration of Saint Joseph and that red was the color for ordinations.
Of course, the color, red or white, was not the issue that interested me. What matters is how we understand our lives in relationship to the unfolding through history of the kingdom of God. I had been shaped by my experience of worship and by my seminary training to believe that our lives unfold as part of God’s plan for us through time.
I was ordained deacon on the Feast of Saint Barnabas the Apostle, June 11, 1983. The day was observed as Saint Barnabas’s Day at the Cathedral of Saint James, Chicago. Red vestments were worn because Saint Barnabas was a martyr; white vestments would have been worn had it been Saint Joseph’s Day.
I have always been glad I was ordained on the feast of an apostle. The ordination of me and my colleagues was entirely secondary to the major event the Church commemorates on June 11, the apostleship of Paul’s colleague Barnabas. The commemoration enriched the meaning of the prostrations those who were being ordained made during the service. We really were not worthy on our own to stand before the assembly. The service wasn’t about us as much as it was about Christ and his Church. We weren’t alone. We stood in the history of the saints. We newly ordained were simply Christians with new ministries.
I am thinking about calendars and how we Episcopalians do church in part because the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is meeting in Anaheim, California. The General Convention meets every three years. My guess is that most of the energy at the convention will be about the status of homosexual persons in the Church. That has been what the conventions have been about since the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That year, the then archbishop of Canterbury George Carey engineered the passage of a resolution to continue discrimination against homosexual persons in the Anglican Communion. Since then, the American Church has allowed its agenda to be set by the deep divisions that exist within the Church of England over the place of homosexual persons in the life of the Christian community. I’m not sure we can come to clarity as an American Church until England decides what kind of Church it is going to be.
Meanwhile, there are other issues that will not get the attention they deserve. The last General Convention ended up adopting a new Sunday lectionary with legislation drafted so carelessly that many significant editorial problems remain – and will remain at least until 2012. There is an important proposed revision of the clergy disciplinary process that needs more attention than it has received. Most likely the convention will adopt a denomination-wide health plan for all clergy and lay employees. And you don’t even want to get me started about the liturgical nonsense that is planned for us.
Saint Mary’s was founded by a generation of men and women who were inspired to seek their way forward by looking to the past for the best of what had gone before. Sometimes they got things right, sometimes not. One of the things they and others who, like us, would come to call themselves Anglo-catholics did get right was to order their lives around the regular, ordinary worship of the Church. The great, universal commemorations of the Church year helped them, as they continue to help us, have perspective on life. Ultimately, our lives have meaning because like Saint Joseph and Saint Barnabas we are part of God’s plan for the unfolding of his kingdom. Ultimately, God will bring all to know him and to enjoy his kingdom for ever. Ultimately, it’s about sharing the life of God. Stephen Gerth
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Carol who is hospitalized; for Daniel, Frances, Margaret, Eva, Allan, Allan, Dorothy, Harold, Marcia, Stephen, Madeleine, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Rick, and Roy, priestFrances who is hospitalized; for Jenny, Murphy, Allan, Jewell, Aaron, Charisse, Dorothy, Rick, Jean Marie, Kirk, Jack, Alice, Harold, Marcia, Richard, Mary, Stephen, Laura, Donna, Madeleine, Marc, William, Gert, Mary, Daisy, Colleen, and Rick; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Marc, Omar, Christopher, Benjamin, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick; and for the repose of the soul of Robert, priest Len, Pablo, Ian, Nancy Brook. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 12: 1926 Emily Bromberg, 1953 James Wallace.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Reverend Robert Daniel Duffy, who served as curate here from 1961 to 1965, died on July 4, 2009. He was born on December 12, 1935. Father Duffy died in Providence, Rhode Island. Except for his service at Saint Mary’s, his entire ministry was spent in the Diocese of Rhode Island. Please pray for him, for his family and for all who mourn. S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . James Kennerley and Hector Rojas both return from vacation on Sunday, July 12 . . . Father Smith and Deacon Weiner Tompkins both return from vacation on Monday, July 13 . . . Father Mead will be away Sunday, July 19 . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, July 11. Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, July 18.
MUSIC IN CENTRAL PARK . . . Grace Bruni is leading an expedition of parishioners and friends to Central Park to picnic in style and to hear the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn on July 14 and July 17. These free concerts feature different programs of Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Mahler, with a fireworks display at the end of each concert. Those who are able can meet MaryJane Boland at Saint Mary’s for Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM and travel together to the park. Otherwise, come straight to the park and call Grace for the blanket location. Please inform Grace by noon on the day of the concert to ensure sufficient blanket space! For more information contact Grace (firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-303-1604) with any questions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, we have received word that Carol Selle is at New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Frances Geer continues in rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Please keep her in your prayers . . . Praying with HIV/AIDS, a Forward Movement pamphlet by the Reverend Randolph Lloyd Frew, is available on the ushers’ table . . . Attendance last Sunday 194.
AIDS WALK FINAL REPORT . . . Congratulations to Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk team – all 33 people who walked – and heartfelt thanks to the dozens of Saint Marians who supported our team with prayer and donations. Saint Mary’s team ranked No. 27 of 2,885 teams walking! We raised $17,782, and the Walk raised more than $5,600,000. More than 45,000 people walked. The Saint Mary’s team is thrilled to have made such a big contribution to the success of the walk and hopes that even more people will join us next year on May 16, 2010, when we try again to make it to Gold Team status, the top 20 teams. Thank you, Saint Mary’s!
DAILY MASS . . . Attendance at daily Mass has significantly increased so far this summer over last year. The 12:10 PM Mass is averaging over 30 people each day. The largest attendance is usually on Wednesday for the Sung Mass, followed closely by the Thursday Mass which includes Anointing of the Sick. In recent years we have only cracked 50 once at a daily Mass that was not a major feast – and that happened last week! Last summer the combined attendance for both the 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM Masses was lower than the attendance at the 12:10 PM Mass this year. Special thanks to members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild who have made it possible for every Mass this summer to have an altar server and incense nearly every Wednesday. Extra-special thanks to Dick Leitsch who has served as usher at the 12:10 PM Mass for the last few months. The presence of helpful members and friends of the parish in the pews, at the high altar and as ushers truly expresses the motto: The Episcopal Church Welcome You! Matthew Mead
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the chorale prelude on Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). At the ministration of Communion, the responsory Ave Maria by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) will be sung. Hildegard was a German abbess, author, composer and philosopher, and she has an extant contemporary vita that was begun under her supervision. Between 70 to 80 compositions survive, including a collection entitled Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (“Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations”), many of which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Postlude is Fantasia in G Major, BWV 572 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The work was probably composed around 1712, when Bach was organist at the ducal court in Weimar (1708-1714), and is commonly entitled Pièce d’orgue, a name given in one of the source manuscripts. It is in three sections, which may be seen to represent the Trinity, with further symbolism of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection in the chromaticism and resolution of final section. James Kennerley
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Wednesday Bonaventure, Bishop and Friar, 1274
Friday William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836 Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer. Childcare is available from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM all Sundays of the year.
Monday–Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer. The Wednesday Mass is sung. The Thursday Mass includes 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 on Saturdays 11:30-11:50 AM & 4:00-4:50 PM.