The Angelus

Volume 12, Number 50

From the Rector: Making It All Work

Since the 2009 General Convention ended, my colleagues and I have been preparing to use the new Episcopal Church version of the Revised Common Lectionary.  It’s already in use in most places.  We are now required to use this new lectionary beginning with the new Church year, despite our own Bishop’s efforts to get a general permission for the continued use of the original one.  This will be November 28, 2010, the First Sunday of Advent in this year of grace.  Newly printed Prayer Books now include this lectionary – the Prayer Books already in churches and homes do not.  Along with the transformation of Lesser Feasts and Fasts into Holy Women, Holy Men, one will no longer be able to look at any 1979 Prayer Book to know what day it is or what lesson will be read on Sundays and the greater feasts of the Church year.

I’m sure there are some who will make use of the new lectionary without challenging it in any way.  But I’ve spoken to no one who plans to use the new extended – yes, longer – versions of the passion narratives during Holy Week.  Going forward, that’s only one of many issues the new lectionary presents.  Another issue: sloppy editing.  We now will have readings on the Feast of the Holy Name, not for the Holy Name, but the Roman Catholic Church’s choices for their celebration on January 1, Mary the Mother of God.  The Roman Church is not a part of the Revised Common Lectionary project, which is composed of Protestant churches.  What happened?  And did I mention that the new lectionary for Holy Week in the back of the Prayer Book no longer matches the lessons and collects provided for Holy Week in the front of the Prayer Book?

Moving on: since 1981, the Church has been adding new, optional commemorations to the Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.  Fine.  New is one issue.  The Prayer Book calendar remained unchanged.  One knew where to look for optional additions: in the most current edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.  But that’s all changed.  Depending on the date of the publication of the 1979 Prayer Book one has in one’s hands, the dates for lesser feasts can be different.  For example, July 31 no longer belongs to Joseph of Arimathea, but to Ignatius of Loyola.  If you want to check quickly online, don’t go the web site of the Episcopal Church.  The Prayer Book, current or past, or Calendar, current or past, is not there.  (What’s that about?)

In the original 1979 Prayer Book calendar, there were roughly 224 days without a “fixed” commemoration.  (Christmas Day is a “fixed date”; Easter Day is moveable.)  Before Holy Women, Holy Men we were down to 179 days in Lesser Feasts and Fasts without a fixed commemoration.  Now, we are down to 79 – even February 29 has one.  For the record, at Saint Mary’s we keep roughly 200 days without a fixed commemoration.

Because the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has been “inspired” by the lives of non-Anglican Christians (The Blue Book, General Convention 2009, 193), we now have lots of Roman Catholics and Protestants in our calendar.  Serious questions that arise from these inclusions are not addressed.  Then, there’s the new commemoration for Cecilia (November 22) for whom there is no reliable historical record.  I will leave a wider exploration of ecumenical and interfaith considerations – and also practical consequences of the new requirements about which lessons can be used – for another article on another day.

What all of these changes mean for us and for other parishes with daily worship is an enormous amount of clerical work with little apparent benefit.  This past summer our seminarian Rem Slone spent hours and hours editing texts for the first year of the three-year cycle – and getting the new texts online.  There are two more years left to do.  What it also means for the wider Church is less prayer in common.  One can’t help but think that there is a better way to do things.

Final rant: I haven’t figured out yet how we are going to handle the proclamation of the gospel at solemn celebrations.  An executive at Church Publishing told me there was no market for a “Book of Gospels” in the Revised Standard Version.  It is only being published in the New Revised Standard Version.  Well, I am happy to let others “give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s” (Mark 12:17, NRSV), but, we will find a way to continue to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17, RSV).  We will find a way to make it all work.  Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Margaret, Carol, Alan, Awilda, Ann, Joaquin, Margaret, Averie, Lin, Tom, Sharon, Mary, Owen, Joan, Paul, Sylvia, Robert, Thomas, José, Daisy, Gerardo, Cesar, Chris, Rolf, William, Gert, Rick, and Emil, religious, and Ryan, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially James . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 7: 1921 John Curry Charles; 1931 Ernest Hopkins; 1937 Reuben Ravinet Fernandez Richardson; 1953 Rusche Lynn Carter; 1986 Bruce Taylor.


THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, November 7, 2:00 AM: Daylight Savings Time ends (clocks are set back one hour) . . . The Adult Forum meets on Sunday, November 7, at 10:00 AM, in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House . . . Father Peter Powell begins his three-part series on First Corinthians . . . Wednesday, November 10: Wednesday Night Bible Study, 6:30 PM, Arch Room, Mission House, 2nd Floor . . . Saturday, November 13, 1:00 PM, Meeting of Saint Mary’s Guild . . .  Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, November 6; on the regular Saturday schedule.  On November 15, confessions will only be heard at 4:00 PM.  Father Gerth will be on duty.


SPECIAL SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 . . .On Saturday, November 13, the parish clergy, our lay delegates MaryJane Boland and Marie Rosseels, and Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., will be attending 234th Diocesan Convention at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.  The noon services at Saint Mary’s will not be offered so that the clergy can attend Convention.


PARISH REQUIEMS . . . On November 4, 5, and 8 there will be two Requiem Masses each day, one at 12:10 PM and one at 6:20 PM; on Saturday, November 6, there will be one Requiem Mass at 12:10 PM (the 5:20 PM Mass is a Vigil Mass for Sunday).  Continuing the custom of many years, prayers will be offered for the departed at the Masses on those days according to the following schedule, by the last name of the person making the request: Thursday, November 4: last names A–G; Friday, November 5: last names H–M; Saturday, November 6: last names N–R; Monday, November 8: last names S–Z . . . The prayer lists for these services were printed on the morning of All Souls’ Day.  If your list was received at either of the Masses that day or anytime after, the people on your list will be read at the Masses on Monday, November 8.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all those who worked so hard and did so much to make All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day so special, once again, at Saint Mary’s.  A special word of thanks is due to our musicians who played, conducted and sang so very beautifully; to our acolytes who worked so hard and performed so well, and all during a normal work week; to Wayne Mahlke, who assisted Sister Laura Katharine in the sacristy; to Heather Peskin, who baked such delicious desserts for the All Saints’ Day reception; to Violet Greene, Dick Leitsch, Heather Peskin, José Vidal, and our sextons, who organized the reception and provided hospitality; to Terry Carlson, who continues to work on lighting around the church; and to the parishioner whose generous gift made the All Saints’ Day reception possible . . . Thank you also to Dick Leitsch, who took on the onerous task of collating, typing, and proofreading the list of the faithful departed for All Souls’ Day and the parish requiems.  Much hard work is involved in that task, but the result means a great deal to many members and friends of the parish . . . Thank you to Scott Holman, who has begun working on a project to reorganize our system for labeling the keys and locks throughout the complex . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, November 7; Sunday, November 14; and for the one Sunday in Advent when flowers are used, this year, December 12.  If you would like to give them, please contact Aaron Koch in the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 274; All Saints’ 244; All Souls’ 134.


FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude this Sunday is an improvisation in the style of Herbert Howells (1892–1983).  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Communion Service in A minor by Harold Darke (1888–1976).  An English composer and organist, Darke was organist of Saint Michael’s Church, Cornhill, London for fifty years.  He was acting organist of King’s College, Cambridge, during the Second World War, substituting for Boris Ord.  Darke’s modally inflected harmonies are typical of the composer and reflect the English tradition of cathedral music, of which he was a part.  At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the anthem O pray for the peace of Jerusalem by Howells, which inhabits a similar musical vein to the Darke Mass setting . . . On Sunday evening, Eugene Lavery, associate director of music and organist at The Reformed Church, Bronxville, New York, will play the recital at 4:40 PM and accompany Solemn Evensong.  Mr. Lavery is a graduate of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and the Juilliard School of Music.  With the restoration of the great organ at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, a new series of organ recitals was started there.  I am honored to have been asked to play the recital at the Cathedral this Sunday, November 7, at 5:15 PM.  I am delighted Mr. Lavery can play for us.  James Kennerley


STEWARDSHIP 2011 . . . Stewardship Packets were mailed on Monday, October 25.  The packet includes a pledge card, a return envelope, a letter from the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, and a fact sheet that addresses a number of frequently asked questions about stewardship and pledging.  On the reverse side of that sheet, there are three extracts from the “Why I Love Saint Mary’s” series.  Commitment Sunday is November 21, the Feast of Christ the King . . . Stewardship Campaign Progress Report: It is still very early, however initial results are encouraging.  As of November 3, we have received pledges from 18 households, for a total of $84,510.00.  Thanks to all for their generosity.


STEWARDSHIP 2011, PART II: WHY I LOVE SAINT MARY’S . . . The latest offering in our ongoing series is by Jim Tuffin.  Jim and his wife Susan Sheroff live in Wantagh, New York.  Jim worships at Saint Mary’s early on Sunday mornings, at the Sunday Solemn Mass and on feast days.  He writes, “I love Saint Mary’s because it gives a central place to the Eucharist, where I am fed and sustained from week to week, day to day, and season to season.  While I have no doubt that God accepts all who earnestly seek him, I feel I encounter our Risen Lord in the grace that emanates from the altar and suffuses the daily prayer and liturgical seasons of our catholic tradition.  Experiencing communion with the saints who have gone before does not provide escape from this world, but, by God’s grace, strength to meet it.  Although I neither live nor work in Manhattan, I passed by Saint Mary’s one day and stopped in for a weekday Mass.  I then tried to make a point of stopping in when I happened to be in the city.  When my small suburban parish went defunct (and that not without many tears by the last parishioners), I decided that Saint Mary’s was right for me.  The special traditions of Saint Mary’s have become familiar to me over the past few years, but their impact has not diminished.  The combination of patient instruction (adult-education programs) and lived experience deepens the meaning.  Someone once said, “There is no bottom to this thing.”


It is especially comforting to know that there are lots of people who feel as I do.  I may not always talk to them much, but I see them week after week, Easter after Easter.  When we line up to approach the Table, we are all together: those with more money, and those with less; men and women, gay and straight, tuxedos and sneakers, young and old, firm in faith or doubting, jubilant or mourning, bosses and workers, every color of the rainbow; and as I take the Body of Christ into my hand, I sometimes blink back a tear to think that God loves each and every one of us enough to suffer, die, rise, and then keep feeding us with himself, no matter who we are, no matter what we did during the week before.  I’m sure this happens in lots of places, and I sure hope we can keep it happening here.  With God’s help, let us do what we can.  Jim Tuffin


ADVENT QUIET DAY . . . On Saturday, December 11, Father John Beddingfield will be returning to Saint Mary’s to lead a quiet day.  John will offer three meditations during the day, which begins at 10:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM.  Those attending are invited to celebrate the Eucharist together at noonday.  A simple lunch will be provided and will follow Mass.  Please e-mail Father Jay Smith at if you think you would like to attend so he can figure out how much soup to make.  Father Beddingfield was sponsored for ordination by this parish; he worked here as the parish administrator before his ordination and as curate thereafter.  We are very happy, and grateful, that he has agreed to be with us in December.


CELEBRATE A NEW MINISTRY . . . On Saturday, November 20, at 11:00 AM, at Saint John’s Church, Huntington, New York, the bishop of Long Island will institute and induct the Reverend Allen Shin as rector.  The preacher will be the Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold.  Members of the Saint Mary’s community are invited to attend.  Visit for directions by car.  The Huntington Station of the Long Island Railroad is near but not within walking distance of the church – allow time to take a cab if you plan to travel by train.  Father Shin was a member of the Saint Mary’s staff, first as assistant and then as curate, from 1996 to 2001.  Please keep Allen and his wife, Clara Mun, in your prayers.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . On Sunday, Father Peter Powell will begin his three-part series on Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.  The series is designed to be an introduction to this very important letter.  During Lent 2011, Father Powell returns and will do a close reading of 1 Corinthians 15.  The fall series will be good preparation for the Lent series, but it is not a prerequisite . . . The Adult-Education Class will not meet on Sunday, November 28, the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day . . . Sunday, December 5, “Bishop Anthony Bloom’s Beginning to Pray.  A brief introduction to a well-known work by a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain.  Led by Father Jay Smith.


CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, November 13, 8:00 PM, Riverside Choral Society.  Patrick Gardner, conductor & James Kennerley, organ.  Music by Britten, Bernstein, and other works for chorus and organ . . . Saturday, November 20, 2010, 8:00 PM, The Early Music Series of the Columbia University’s Miller Theatre : New York Polyphony.  Music of Taverner, Ockeghem, Dunstable, Brumel, des Prez, and others . . . Saturday, December 11, 2010, 8:00 PM & Monday, December 13, 2010, 8:00 PM: Voices of Ascension: Christmas Concert, Dennis Keene, artistic director.


OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are now collecting toys and other holiday gift items for children and adults which will be donated to AIDS Action International and the New York Foundling Hospital . . . We are now collecting new or very lightly used and well-laundered coats for the New York Cares Coat Drive . . . Sunday, November 7, Saint Joseph’s Hall, Book Sale.  All proceeds are used to benefit those in need.  We continue to collect non-perishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry.  Please look for the basket in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall.  We also hope to make a cash donation to the Food Pantry to help out during the holiday season.  For more information about any or all of these projects, please speak to Father Smith.


LOOKING AHEAD . . . Sunday, November 21: Commitment Sunday: Offering of 2011 Pledge Cards . . . Also on November 21, Father Alan Moses, Vicar, All Saints Church Margaret Street, London, England, will preach at Evensong, 5:00 PM . . . Tuesday, December 7, 6:00 PM, Solemn Evensong and Legacy Society Reception . . . Wednesday, December 8, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM, the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, XV Bishop of New York, celebrant and preacher . . . Saturday, December 11, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Advent Quiet Day, led by Father John Beddingfield . . . Sunday, December 26, 5:00 PM, Christmas Lessons and Carols.



The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector
The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate
The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus


Saint Mary’s Mission House
Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B.
The Community of St. John Baptist


The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator


The Parish Staff
Mr. Aaron Koch, business manager

Mr. Miguel Gonzalez, Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Antonio Santiago, sextons