From Father Smith: Stewardship Campaign 2010
Our 2010 Stewardship Campaign began two and a half weeks ago, on October 19, when the stewardship packets were mailed. Commitment Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, November 22, is just over two weeks away. This is perhaps an opportune moment to reflect on what we have achieved so far and what we still need to do.
First, some facts and figures: our financial goal for the 2010 Campaign is $535,044.00 (please note that the figure that appeared in last week’s Angelus was incorrect). As of November 1, fifty pledge cards have been returned and we have achieved 27% of our financial goal (in other words, $144,779.00 has been pledged as of November 1). We were encouraged during the first week of the Campaign, because a significant number of cards were returned within a few short days of the Campaign’s launch. Returns have slowed during the last few days, which, with Commitment Sunday two and one half weeks away, is not a cause for alarm, but it is a fact of which we cannot help but be aware. As of last Sunday just 25% of those who pledged last year have returned their pledge cards this year. We very much hope that 100% of those who pledged last year will have returned their pledge cards on or before November 22.
Some other facts worthy of note: 3 households have made pledges for the first time or after a long gap; 1 household has again made a pledge this year, though they were not able to do so last year; and, while 17 households have had to keep their 2010 pledge at their 2009 level (or have found it necessary to decrease their pledge), 29 households have been able to increase their pledge this year. This last figure is noteworthy, especially given the state of the economy and we find it encouraging. However, it must be said that no friend or member of this parish should ever feel uneasy because he or she has decided to decrease a pledge or has decided to maintain the pledge at the previous year’s level. The members of the Stewardship Committee have been struck again and again by the serious and prayerful thought that Saint Marians bring to this aspect of their commitment to this parish. We respect the decisions made by every member of this community.
Which leads me to another of our goals for the 2010 campaign: we hope that we will be able to increase the number of pledges that we receive this year. This is an important goal for the parish, since, for the most part, we cannot and do not rely on large gifts, but rather on more moderately-sized gifts from a large group of people–and at the end of the day that is a very good thing, since it is a sign of commitment and of broad-based support. In order to achieve this goal, we significantly increased the number of households to which we mailed packets. Furthermore, the Stewardship Committee is planning to launch an e-mail-based appeal to supporters of the parish whom we describe as “web friends,” those who care about Saint Mary’s, but who are unable to be with us except on very rare occasions. Saint Mary’s is blessed by having a community of friends around the country and, indeed, around the world. In the next year or two, we hope to do a better job of serving them and, also, of asking them for their support.
A few other considerations beyond the facts and figures: many of you who are reading this received a “fact sheet” in your stewardship packets. The sheet begins, “Yes, pledging involves money. It’s something that takes us into the world of revenue and expenses. But pledging is not just a matter of ‘nuts and bolts,’ or rather, it’s a matter of ‘nuts and bolts’ looked at through the eyes of faith. When we pledge to support our church financially, we promise to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us. No matter what our resources may be in a given year, by making a pledge we do something tangible to thank God for all that we have and we commit ourselves to give our time, talent, and treasure as a way of acknowledging our gratitude to God and of sharing our gifts for the spread of his kingdom.”
We began in this way to remind ourselves that a parochial stewardship campaign is meant to be more than just another fundraising campaign by yet another non-profit organization. We hope that this year’s Stewardship Campaign will allow each of us to do some careful and prayerful thinking about who we are, what our priorities are, and what our relationship is to God and our neighbor; but we are unapologetic about insisting that part of that reflection must include a conversation about money. A successful stewardship campaign allows us to create an annual budget, and a realistic budget enables us to plan staffing, mission, and ministry for the coming year.
At the reception for new and prospective members on Monday night, we kept our promise: no long speeches. However, there was one short speech The Rector welcomed our guests, talked about the importance of Saint Mary’s and what it meant to him and many other people; and then he went on to say a few words about stewardship. He talked about money. He was saying, it seemed to me, that we are not a community that is ashamed to talk about finances, budgets, and the everyday joys and challenges of our individual lives and of our life together. I saw all that as a very healthy thing. After all, our Lord talked about money (stay tuned for this Sunday’s gospel reading) and signaled to us over and over again that being a disciple means being unafraid to face the realities of life in this world.
Saint Mary’s is a deeply Eucharistic community. At least once a day we gather to give thanks to God for all his many blessings and we share the gift of his Son’s Body and Blood. Living in a Eucharistic community has a way of changing you: it gives you hope, even in hard times; it makes you aware of abundance, even in a time of scarcity; it gives birth to generosity, even in a time of anxiety. The members of the Board of Trustees, the clergy, and the staff of this parish are immensely grateful to all of you who have supported Saint Mary’s and we rejoice to be able to work together with you, so that the parish we love will not only survive, but also grow and flourish, and all to the greater glory of God. James Ross Smith
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Carol, Naveen, Josephine, Robert, Chris, Timothy, Burt, Alex, Aaron, Dennis, Dorothy, Sharon, Margaret, Harold, Marcia, Stephen, Madeleine, William, Gert, Mary, Allan, Rick, Emil, religious, Ian, priest, and Carl, priest; for the members of our armed forces on active duty, especially Kayla, Marc, Benjamin, Patrick, and Andrew; and for the repose of the soul of Duane . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 8: 1882 Isabella Bissell; 1992 Edna Chaney.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . There will be a Mass of the Resurrection for Duane R. Smith, faithful friend and supporter of Saint Mary’s, on Saturday, November 7, 10:00 AM, at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 W. 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues . . . Saint Mary’s Guild will meet this coming Saturday, November 7, 1:00 PM, Mission House, 2nd Floor. The Guild is the parish’s altar guild. If you would like more information or if you think you would like to help with this work, please speak to one of the sisters or to Marie Rosseels . . . Sunday, November 8, Evensong & Benediction, 5:00 PM, preceded by an organ recital at 4:40 PM. Katherine Meloan, New York, NY, is the recitalist. The Rev. Dr. Ryan Lesh, Vicar, Christ Church, Red Hook, NY, will preach at Evensong . . . Wednesday, November 11, Veterans’ Day: the regular schedule of services is maintained and the parish office will be open . . . There will be a retreat for the clergy and the members of the Board of Trustees on Saturday, November 14, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at Diocesan House, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue . . . The Rector returns to the office from vacation on Wednesday, November 11 . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, November 7 and Father Merz will hear confessions on Saturday, November 14.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thank you to all who worked so hard to provide gracious and generous hospitality – by bringing food and acting as greeters and hosts – to our new and prospective members at the reception on Monday, November 2. Their hard work was very much appreciated, by the staff and by all our guests . . . There will be a Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, November 16, 6:30 PM, Arch Room, Mission House, 2nd Floor . . . Father Jay Smith will be on retreat November 17-19. He returns to the parish on Saturday, November 21 . . . Saturday, November 21, 233rd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 9:00 AM-4:15 PM, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine . . . Attendance: All Saints’ Day 292; All Souls’ Day 175.
FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Voluntary No. 1 in D Major by William Boyce (1711-1779). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa Nasce la gioja mia by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). Palestrina was born in Rome and spent most of his life in and around that city. Palestrina’s work is regarded today as marking the summit of Renaissance polyphony. Palestrina published hundreds of works, including some 104 masses and 300 motets (interestingly, he published no instrumental music, even though he was an organist). The Missa Nasce la gioja mia is a “parody mass.” That term refers to a compositional technique in which parts of the music are based on an already existing work or melody. This mass is an early work and it was probably the last time that Palestrina used a madrigal (a secular part song) as a model for a mass setting. (The madrigal, entitled Nasce la gioja mia, was composed by Giovan Leonardo Primavera [c. 1545/50–after 1585]). At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings Palestrina’s motet Exultate deo, a five-part setting of several verses from Psalm 81. James Kennerley
PARISH REQUIEMS . . . On November 6 & 9 there will be two Masses each day, at 12:10 PM and at 6:20 PM. Continuing the custom of many years, prayers will be offered for the departed at both Masses on those days according to the following schedule, by the last name of the person making the request: Friday, November 6: last names N–R; Monday, November 9: last names S–Z (plus late additions).
OUTREACH MINISTRIES . . . There will be a Meeting of the Outreach Committee on Sunday, November 15, at 1:00 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall, after Coffee Hour. A light lunch will be served. Please contact Father Smith if you’re planning to attend the meeting . . . On Sunday, 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.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Church School for Children continues on Sundays at 10:00 AM in the Morning Room, just outside the sacristy. This year, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins is the Church-School teacher. She is beginning to work with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The children have already been busy in the Morning Room on Sundays, constructing a small altar, and creating art work and other items related to the Sunday readings and the liturgical year. They have also been listening to and practicing the hymns appointed for the day. We welcome young children to join the Church School at any time. The children need not have attended earlier sessions. For more information, please contact Deacon Weiner Tompkins or the Parish Office . . . Adult Education: Studies in the History of Christian Art: Sunday, November 8, 10:00 AM: “Icons, A Very Brief Introduction.” Prof. Dennis Raverty, Ph.D., friend and neighbor of the parish, teaches the second part of his two-part series on the history and theology of icons in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Sunday, November 8, 10:00 AM, in the Arch Room, Mission House, 2nd Floor, 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 Sacred Scripture: Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, led by Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., Wednesday, November 11, 6:30 PM, following Evening Prayer. The class is studying the Book of Proverbs. All are welcome . . . Studies in Christian Doctrine: Sunday, November 15, and Sunday, November 22, 10:00 AM, “What do we mean 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 . . . The Adult Education Class will not meet on Sunday, November 29, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
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.
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 Vigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions are normally heard on Saturdays at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM or by appointment.