The Angelus

Volume XI, Number 47

From the Rector: Our Mission Today

The New York City Fire Department has been inspecting our buildings on and off since I’ve arrived.  Through this summer and fall we received a rather thorough going over, for which I am thankful.  We’ve been given thirty days to make two necessary and important repairs.  First, we need to clean out and install proper lighting in the church basement.  Second, we need to repair the fire escape in the parish house.

I’ve known these repairs might be coming our way for a while now.  We actually have in hand a competitive proposal for installing proper lighting in the basement of the church.  The cost will be just under $10,000.  Several years ago Con Edison insisted that we do this for the basement of the parish house.  Now, it’s time for the larger basement that is under the church.  Some of the rubbish has been there for a century.  A lot of it dates back to the 1960s.  Our own staff has been taking out some of it regularly, but the city will not haul all of it away.  We will have to hire a truck and workers to get it cleaned up within the month.  The job is that big; it’s not a job for volunteers.

My sense from talking with contractors is that the work on the fire escape will end up costing $40,000.  I don’t know yet from where that money is going to come.  I hope the All Souls’ offering will cover the lighting cost and give us a start on the fire escape.  I know it’s a tough year for so many of us, so many people everywhere.  I dislike the words “have to” and “must.”  I know of no politician or editorial page that doesn’t use them carelessly.  But in fact, to stay open we “have to” do the required repairs.  I hope you can help.  I hope several in the parish community, local or national, can really help with substantial contributions.

I want you to know I am enormously proud of the way in which my staff colleagues are stepping up to keep Saint Mary’s strong.  They are doing more with less.  And for the most part, we are adjusting well to a leaner Saint Mary’s.  The newsletter is still going out.  Bulletins are produced.  A rich, daily liturgical life is fostered.  Christian Education goes forward.  A delightful Sunday School is beginning afresh for our youngest children.  Music always seems to find a way here.  Our buildings are busier than ever.

My own eyes remain focused on what I believe is our primary and minimum mission: to be about the regular prayer of the Church, with our doors open, seven days a week.  This city has too many congregations, Episcopal and other, whose doors are closed except when open for worship.  This year, and 2010, will be tough ones for us.  I believe the effort we make now will pay off in future ministry.  I have a hunch that churches whose doors are open daily in 2009 will still be open in ten years and beyond.  I fear, though I hope that I’m wrong, that those whose doors are closed throughout the week will not be open in a decade, even on Sundays.

As I write on Thursday morning, I confess I almost ran over a visitor in a side aisle this morning.  Father Smith and I had finished Morning Prayer and checked in with our building mechanic Hector Rojas.  We were heading from the back of the church to the front to check on a fuse box while conducting an animated conversation about the building issues of the day.  My almost collision made me stop, apologize and joke with the woman about a priests’ real work: raising money and maintaining buildings.  She was gracious and joined in our smiles.

I don’t know if she was just walking through or if God was speaking to her today in some way in this place of prayer.  I do not know the name of the homeless person who was standing up in the back of the church and participating in Morning Prayer yesterday.  I don’t know the names of the two visitors who were in the front of the church during Morning Prayer today.  I still have my eye on a person who likes to ring one of our bells as he leaves the church during Evening Prayer – I will get him soon enough.  I don’t even try to count the number of people who walk in or walk through the church during services.

I do know that a church home that is safe, clean and well cared for is a place where people can encounter Christ.  When I stop and think about it, I am in awe of the sacrifices that were made to keep this place open in the really dark days of Times Square.  I am thankful for the clergy and lay leadership that kept our doors open through those days.  The Episcopal Church does welcome you in Times Square, but we can only do that for others and for ourselves if we care for our church home and keep it open for all.  Stephen Gerth


SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Carol, Dennis, Josephine, Robert, Chris, Jane, Timothy, Rachel, Burt, Alex, Robert, Dorothy, Cindy, Margaret, Eva, Allan, Harold, Marcia, Stephen, Madeleine, William, Gert, Mary, Allan, Rick, and Emil, religious; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Marc, Omar, Benjamin, Steven, Andrew, and Patrick; and for the repose of the souls of George, David and Colin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 18: 1879 Otto Sundermeyer; 1899 Ann Wall; 1903 Maurice Pilgrim.


IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . George Blackshire, longtime parishioner and former member of the Board of Trustees, died on Monday, October 5.  His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, October 17, at 10:00 AM.  Please pray for George, for his family and friends, and for all who mourn.


THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Monday, October 19, Saint Luke the Evangelist (transferred), Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM, additional Holy Day Mass at 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 19, 7:00 PM, Meeting of the Board of Trustees, in the Arch Room, Mission House, Second Floor . . . Wednesday, October 21, 7:30 PM, Tenebrae Choral Ensemble Concert . . . Friday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM, additional Holy Day Mass at 6:20 PM . . . Saturday, October 24, 8:00 PM (Free Admission), New York Repertory Orchestra Concert.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION THIS WEEK. . . . Sunday School: Our class for younger children meets in the Morning Room (by the nursery and sacristy) on Sunday morning with Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins at 10:00 AM . . . Sunday Adult Forum: Father Smith speaks at 10:00 AM in the Arch Room of the Mission House on “     The Episcopal Church in the Post-World War II Era, 1945 – 1985” . . . Bible Study: The Wednesday Night Bible Study group met for the first time this season on October 7th.  There’s still plenty of time to join in.  For the next six weeks (October 21 and 28; and November 4, 11, and 18), the class will continue to explore the Proverbs.  The class meets in the Arch Room of the Mission House from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B leads the class.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . All Souls’ Day: Our Annual All Souls’ Appeal will be mailed this week.  The appeal letter is accompanied by a form used to list the names of the beloved departed to be remembered at Mass at the parish requiems in early November.  You may return the form by mail or by placing it in the offering basket at Mass . . . Stewardship 2010: The 2010 Stewardship letter and information packet will be mailed during the coming week.  If you have questions about this year’s campaign, please speak to MaryJane Boland, Steven Heffner, or Father Smith . . . New and Prospective Members: On Monday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, following the Solemn Mass, there will be a reception in the Rectory for those new to the parish or those who are thinking about making Saint Mary’s their parish home.  If you would like to find out more about the parish or would like to attend the reception, please contact Father Smith . . . Save the Date: Monday, December 14, 6:30 PM, following Evening Prayer, Members of the Saint Mary’s Legacy Society will gather for a reception in the Rectory.  The members of the Legacy Society have committed themselves to the parish and its future by making a provision for the parish in their estate planning.  For more information about the Society or about the December reception, please contact Father Smith . . . Flowers Needed: We do not yet have donors for flowers for the following dates: November 15 and 22.  Please contact the Parish Office, if you would like to make a donation . . . The Rector will be on vacation Tuesday, October 20 through Tuesday, October 27.  He returns to the office on Wednesday, October 28 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 273.


FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).  One of the most notable composers of the early Romantic period, Mendelssohn’s exceptional musical abilities were recognized early in his lifetime.  He toured Europe frequently, conducting premieres of his works and performing solo recitals.  In his relatively short life, he visited England alone on ten different occasions.  The prelude at Solemn Mass on Sunday is the Andante tranquillo from Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 3 in A Major.  Mendelssohn wrote six organ “sonatas” (they were originally called “voluntaries”) at the request of an English publisher, and they remain very much the backbone of the organist’s repertoire.  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Mendelssohn’s Mass for Double Choir.  Mendelssohn originally wrote several eight-part movements of the Mass ordinary in German for the services of the Lutheran church: the Kyrie, Ehre sei Gott (“Gloria”) and Heilig (“Sanctus”), but he omitted the Credo and the Agnus Dei.  The Agnus Dei was created by James Kennerley by setting the German text Lamm Gottes to the music of Mendelssohn’s eight-part Passiontide work, Herr, gedenke nicht unser.  At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Verleih uns Frieden, also by Mendelssohn.  James Kennerley


OUTREACH MINISTRIES: At the end of October, there will be a basket in Saint Joseph’s Hall, where toys and other gift items may be placed for the AIDS Action International Event at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.  Saint Mary’s has made significant contributions to this effort during the past several years, helping to support families in need who have been affected by HIV and AIDS . . . We continue to collect non-perishable food items and some clothing for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry.  Please look for the food basket in the back of the church before Mass or in Saint Joseph’s Hall at Coffee Hour . . . Looking for help: please contact Father Smith if you are able to spare around an hour and a half during the coming week to make a food delivery to Saint Clement’s Church.  The parish is on West 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Sunday, October 18, 10:00 AM, Studies in Church History: The Episcopal Church in the Post-World War II Era, 1945–1985. Taught by Father Jay Smith, curate.  October 18, Session 3: Following the upheavals of the 1960s, the Church faces a number of challenges during the period, 1970-1985 . . . Studies in the History of Christian Art: Sunday, October 25, and Sunday, November 8, 10:00 AM: “Icons, A Very Brief History”.  Prof. Dennis Raverty, Ph.D., friend and neighbor of the parish, will teach a class on the history and theology of icons in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.  Prof. Raverty received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University and his B.A. from the University of Minnesota.  At present, he teaches in the Art History Department of New Jersey City University in Jersey City.  As an educator, Prof. Raverty is a generalist.  He has taught courses on the art of a number of different cultures and time periods, including the art of the Byzantine tradition; as a scholar, his specialty is in modern and contemporary art history, theory and criticism.  Session 1 (October 25): “Origin of the Icons” – An examination of the early development of the icon within the context of late antiquity, early Christian art and the veneration of relics of the martyrs.  Session 2 (November 8): “Iconoclasm and the Triumph of Tradition” – Iconoclasts (“image smashers”) during the eighth and ninth centuries threatened the very existence of icons, and in response to this crisis an orthodox theology was formulated.  A later stylistic crisis resulted in the decline of the tradition in the seventeenth century, but the second half of the twentieth century witnessed a veritable renaissance of the tradition . . . Studies in Christian Doctrine: Sunday, November 15, and Sunday, November 22, 10:00 AM, “What are we talking about when we talk about ‘revelation’, our conviction that God acts to reveal himself to us and to the world”?  Led by Father Jay Smith . . . Studies in Christian Liturgy: Sunday, December 6, 10:00 AM, The American Editions of the Book of Common Prayer.  Led by the Rector.


REMEMBERING COLIN WHITE . . . On Sunday the flowers on the altar are given to the glory of God and in memory of Colin White by the American Friends of the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, England.  On Wednesday, October 21, some of those friends will gather at the 12:10 PM Mass, where prayers will be offered in thanksgiving for Mr. White’s life and for the repose of his soul.  Mr. White, who died on Christmas Day 2008, often worshiped here at Saint Mary’s when he was in New York.  He worked at the Royal Naval Museum for many years and was appointed its director in 2006.  He was one of England’s leading experts on Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and was instrumental in planning the events which marked the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005.


2009 CONCERTS & RECITALS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Thursday, October 29, 1:00 PM (Free Admission), Sounds Spectacular: The Choir of Wakefield Cathedral, Wakefield, United Kingdom; Thomas Moore, conductor and Jonathan Bielby, organist.  The Choir will present a program of both sacred and secular music, including works by Stanford, Mendelssohn, Leighton, John Scott, Cole Porter and George Gershwin . . . Saturday, November 21, 3:00 PM, Cameron Carpenter, organ.  Music to include the Trois Chorales of César Franck and the Études of Jeanne Demessieux.  For further information and ticketing, please visit the following website: . . . Friday, December 5, 2009, 7:30 PM, “Jubilee Christmas”: Treasure House Chorale and Orchestra Annual Christmas Concert.  Works by Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Billings, Rutter, among others.  For further information and ticketing, please visit the following website, or call 914.318.3268 . . . Saturday, December 12, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre at Columbia University Early Music Series: The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director.  Music to include works by Josquin des Prez, John Nesbett, Thomas Tallis, and William Byrd.  For tickets, please contact the Miller Theatre Box Office, 2960 Broadway (at 116th Street); Phone: 212.854.7799; Hours: Monday-Friday, 12:00 PM-6:00PM, and two hours prior to performances . . . Saturday, December 19, 8:00 PM (Free Admission), Annual NYRO Benefit Concert, David Leibowitz, music director and James Kennerley, organ soloist.  Music to include Virgil Thomson, The Plow That Broke the Plains; Francis Poulenc, Concerto for Organ; and Camille Saint-Saëns, Symphony No. 3 (“Organ Symphony”).



The Parish Clergy

The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector.

The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate.

The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon,

The Reverend John Merz, assisting priest.

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. 


Parish Staff

Aaron Koch, business manager.

Mr. Hector Rojas, building mechanic.

Mr. Mario Martinez, Mr. H. Tony Santiago, Mr. Timothy Zimmerman, sextons.


Questions about the Angelus newsletter 



Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Sunday School and Adult Forum, 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 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 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick. Holy days as announced.


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 at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM or by appointment.