FROM THE RECTOR: APPROACHING HOLY WOMEN AND MEN
We’re getting a new Lectionary beginning with Advent 2010. This summer, our seminarian Rem Slone has been working to re-format all of the texts and files we will use for the first year of this new three-year Sunday cycle. At Saint Mary’s, that’s a really big job. It not only includes producing the readings we will use at the lectern, but amending what we call in the office “The Complete Information File” for every Sunday and Principal Feast of the year. I’ve also asked Rem to replace the Sunday lessons on our web page with the new ones – another big job.
For the record, I have yet to meet anyone with responsibility for daily worship in a parish who is enthusiastic about the change. It will be interesting to see how faithful the Church is to the new lectionary after a couple years of use. There are so many practical problems. One significant example: the Lectionary printed in the newest editions of the current Prayer Book will no longer match the provisions for the major liturgies of Holy Week in the Prayer Book. You won’t be surprised that quite a number of problems arise because very few of our ecumenical partners who participated in shaping this lectionary have a tradition of daily worship. Few of these partners use all of the readings the lectionary provides even on one Sunday a year.
For some years now, continuing liturgical changes in the Church have been made possible by the Church Pension Group, the present name for the pension fund for clergy and lay employees of the Church. It performs its primary mission very well indeed. Even in the present economic climate, the fund’s pension obligations are more than fully funded. According to its Annual Report 2010, the fund has $1.833 billion in addition to its required reserves. (Interestingly, no one I know in the Church’s leadership is talking about reducing the assessment tax on parishes in light of the fund’s performance.)
The extra reserve that has been generated by investments and assessments is being used to fund so-called “wellness” initiatives, liturgical change, and to subsidize the rollout of a new health plan for Church employees. These are all issues the Church needs to address, but not, in my opinion, with the Pension Fund, even if its authority has evolved to cover them. The Pension Group’s situation strikes me as something akin to the system here in the State of New York where independent government authorities take on a life of their own and go on for ever, always finding a way to spend or hoard whatever money comes their way.
Church Publishing, established in 1918 as “The Church Hymnal Corporation,” is a subsidiary of the Pension Fund. Originally, publishing profits on the sale of Prayer Books and Hymnals were intended to help the Church keep pension assessments low. It hasn’t worked out that way. Church Publishing doesn’t make money – in 2009 it lost five million dollars.
Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints is now being rolled out by Church Publishing. The Pension Fund is even bankrolling the evaluation of the new book. It’s a new version of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Church’s book that makes provision for different options for weekday and daily Eucharistic worship. The principle of local optional commemoration is generally a good one. But I think it’s gotten out of hand. By my rough count, the 2009 General Convention added 139 names to the Calendar, and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has already identified 19 more for future consideration.
Saint Mary’s has never rigidly followed the Prayer Book calendar. I note Saint Mary’s Patronal Feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8), which appears in the calendars of most of the Anglican Communion, hasn’t found a home in Holy Women, Holy Men. Of the 139 new commemorations, two (Lucy – December 13 and John of the Cross – December 14), are already in our calendar. I don’t think any more from the 139 will be added.
At present, there are only four commemorations in our parish calendar that are not in Lesser Feasts and Fasts: Charles, King and Martyr (January 31), Blase, Bishop and Martyr (February 3), the Beheading of John the Baptist (August 29), and the Nativity of Mary (September 8). I intend for us to continue to observe them. In the last couple of years, my own approach has been to choose to do fewer commemorations, especially those of non-Anglican origin, even if they are listed in Lesser Feasts and Fasts.
I’m not worried about Holy Women, Holy Men. At present, it’s for optional “trial use.” I expect the next General Convention will adopt it pretty much as it is. But even with the Pension Fund’s money behind this liturgical change, it’s hard to think the book will do much to increase weekday worship in the Church. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Thomas, Judi, Madeleine, Carol, Sharon, Bryant, Daisy, Gerardo, Cesar, Chris, Rolf, Nicholas, Elsa, William, Gert, Rick, Emil, religious, Pegram, priest, and Edgar, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, and Benjamin; and for the repose of the soul of Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 22: 1901 James F. DeVoe; 1907 Catherine M. Ellis; 1922 Phoebe E. Simonson; 1997 Charles Bertram Harmon
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Matthew Kerr, the son of parishioners Thomas and Judith Kerr, died in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, August 14. A memorial service will be held at Saint Peter’s Church, Morristown, New Jersey, on Friday, September 24, 2010 at 11:00 AM. Please keep Matthew, Tom, Judi, their daughter Madeleine, and all who mourn in your prayers.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, August 21. Father David Wood will hear confessions at 11:30 AM on Saturday, August 28. Father Smith will hear confessions at 4:00 PM on Saturday, August 28 . . . Father Gerth will be away from the parish from Monday, August 23, until Monday, September 6. He returns to the office on Wednesday, September 8.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
A SPECIAL ASSUMPTION . . . Thank you to all those who made the Feast of the Assumption a special and memorable day. At the risk of leaving anyone out, and I ask for your understanding, I want to mention a few names: Father David Wood, our guest preacher, who preached so powerfully (his sermon has now been posted on our website); faithful and talented musicians, acolytes, and ushers; Jon Bryant, John Delves, Jim Dennis and José Vidal, who provided hospitality at the reception; Carol Pepper, who provided the clergy with valuable advice; our concelebrants and out-of-town guests, who traveled far in order to be with us; Scott Holman and the Flower Guild for their work; and, finally, Father Edgar Wells, who honored us by asking to celebrate his anniversary with us in the first place. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Father Smith officiated at the marriage of Scott Hartman and Gwyneth McClendon at Saint Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, on Saturday, August 14. Please keep Gwyneth and Scott in your prayers . . . Thank you to parishioner Terry Carlson, who has been working hard around the building in recent weeks. His work and the improvements made are much appreciated; thank you also to the other members of the Fine Arts Committee, Thomas Jayne and Dale Reynolds, who have been working with the Rector on a number of projects related to the building complex, its maintenance, and improvement . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch has been putting in extra hours in the parish office this week while business manager, Aaron Koch, has been on vacation . . . Congratulations to parishioner Mary Robison, who was recently appointed the Reference Librarian of the Saint Mark’s Library at the General Theological Seminary . . . Colin Sanderson is a good friend of the parish, who worships with us most Sundays. His wife Krystyna Sanderson recently graduated from the Blanton-Peale Counseling Center with a degree in pastoral counseling. Blanton-Peale has asked her to join their staff. Congratulations, Krystyna! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 638.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Music this Sunday is sung by Geoffrey Willams, countertenor; James Kennerley, tenor; and Mark Risinger, bass. The prelude is an improvisation in the medieval style, and the postlude, Toccata en si mineur, is from Dix pièces by Eugène Gigout (1844-1925). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Messe de Tournai. Compiled between 1325 and 1330, this work is the oldest complete polyphonic setting of the Mass ordinary in existence. It was composed for use at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium. Settings from this period were mostly grouped in the manuscript books according to title, implying that, for example, the Kyrie from one setting could be sung with the Gloria from another. Unusually, the Messe de Tournai is notated with all the movements following consecutively from one another, implying that it was conceived as a unified entity. Stylistic differences between the movements, however, suggest that they may have been written by different composers and compiled afterwards. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Quem terra, pontus, aethera by William Byrd (1543-1623). The setting, a Matins hymn drawn from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was published by Byrd in 1610 in his Gradualia, ac cantiones sacrae. James Kennerley
CANDLESTICK CONSERVATION . . . A set of six tall wooden candlesticks, often added to the high altar on feast days, has been sent to a conservator for evaluation and restoration. They were painted gold over a hundred years ago. The conservator discovered that originally they were finished with silver leaf. Our Fine Arts Committee is working with the conservator to propose the next steps . . . Two of the four “office lights” on the high altar have also been removed for conservation. These candlesticks are brass. Two have become unsteady. We hope these will be able to be repaired quickly. S.G.
FALL CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The first Adult Forum of the academic year will take place on Sunday, October 3, towards the end of Coffee Hour, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Parish Archivist, Dick Leitsch, will give a talk on the early history of Saint Mary’s, focusing on Father Thomas McKee Brown and the organization of the parish during its early years. The presentation will take place in connection with the current exhibition of images from the archives in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Parishioner Terry Carlson is curator for the exhibition which is sponsored by the parish’s Visual Arts Program . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will resume on October 6, at 6:30 PM. Once again this year, the class will be led by Sister Deborah Francis and Sister Laura Katharine. The class will be reading selections from the so-called “apocryphal” or “deutero-canonical” books of the Bible. Building on their reading of the Wisdom literature last year, the class will have the opportunity to study such important themes as the end of prophecy and the rise of apocalypticism, in addition to wisdom themes in the Bible. If you have questions, please speak to one of the sisters . . . The Church in England during the Middle Ages through the Lens of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: This four-part series will be led by parishioner Grace Bruni and will meet on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House (October 10, 17, 24 and 31) . . . Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: Father Peter Powell will lead a three-part series on 1 Corinthians this fall (November 7, 14, and 21). 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 is not a prerequisite.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Tuesday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, September 6, Labor Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM; only the noon services are offered; and the parish offices are closed . . . Wednesday, September 8, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, September 14, Holy Cross Day, Mass at 12:10 PM and Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Fourth Annual Oktoberfest and Hymn Sing, Saturday, October 2, 6:00-9:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall and the Organ Loft. All are invited. Please consider inviting your friends. James Kennerley will be giving his wonderful “tour of the organ,” something that children of all ages will find fascinating and entertaining . . . In November the Visual Arts Program will present Nativity Scenes: Works on Paper by Carlos Molina in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Saturday, December 11, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, Advent Quiet Day, led by Father John Beddingfield. Father Beddingfield, who served at Saint Mary’s as curate, is the Rector of All Souls Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.
ALTAR FLOWERS are needed on the following dates: August 29, September 19, October 24, November 7, 14, and 21. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office; and thank you to all those who support this ministry so generously.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are still collecting non-perishable food items on Sundays for the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s. Look for the basket at the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall
FALL CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, October 16, 2010, 8:00PM, The Early Music Series of the Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, In Paradisum, Stile Antico. Memorials and swansongs by Byrd, Dufay, des Prez, Lassus, and others . . . Saturday, October 23, 2010, 8:00 PM (Free Admission), New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director & Olivier Fluchaire, violin; Roussel: Concerto for Small Orchestra, Piazzolla: Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (“The Inextinguishable”). For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.662.8383, or www.nyro.org. . . Saturday, November 20, 2010, 8:00 PM, The Early Music Series of the Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, Giants of the Flemish Renaissance, New York Polyphony. Favorites by Taverner, Ockeghem, Dunstable, Brumel, des Prez, and others . . . Saturday, December 11, 2010, 8:00 PM, Voices of Ascension, Christmas Concert. www.voicesofascension.org/concerts.aspx . . . Saturday, December 18, 2010, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, Annual NYRO Benefit Concert...and the 100th birthday of Samuel Barber; David Leibowitz, music director, Eric Jacobsen, cello. Barber: Music for a Scene from Shelley, Schumann: Cello Concerto, Rimsky-Korsakoff: Scheherezade
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . The Screwtape Letters “is a smart, provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. It is now playing at the Westside Theatre (Upstairs), 407 W. 43rd St. Tickets are on sale thru www.Telecharge.com, by calling 212-239-6200, or at the Box Office . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street: Exhibition: The Glory of Ukraine: Sacred Images from the 11th to the 19th Centuries; Concert: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 3:00-4:00 PM, Darkness & Light – Music from Ukraine and Beyond, The Caravel Quartet; www.mobia.org
RESIDENT THEATER . . . The American Globe Theatre (AGT) recently announced its 2010-2011 season, its twenty-second season here in Times Square. Lecture Series: “What Makes Shakespeare Great,” featuring John Basil, AGT Artistic Director; Lecture 1: Othello!, October 12, 2010, 7:30 PM; Lecture 2: Hamlet!, November 30, 7:30 PM; Lecture 3: Much Ado About Nothing!, January 11, 2011, 7:30 pm. Staged Readings: Othello, directed by John Basil, October 19, 7:30 PM; Hamlet, directed by David Mold, December 7, 2010, 7:30 PM. Full Production: Much Ado About Nothing, directed by John Basil, February 25-March 30, 2011.
The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator