From The Rector: Biblical Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, observed between the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter, January 18, and the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, sprang from the vocations of two Episcopal Franciscans of the Diocese of New York, a priest, Paul Watson, and a nun, Lurana White. They were cofounders of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement at Graymoor in 1899. The observance is dated from 1908. In 1909, the Graymoor Franciscans became Roman Catholics and have continued a particular witness and prayer for Christian unity.
The desire to promote unity among Christians in the Episcopal Church is often dated to the ministry of William Augustus Muhlenberg (1796-1877). In 1853, Muhlenberg, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion, New York City, published a “Memorial” to the General Convention in which he pleaded for a more flexible approach to liturgy and for a way to extend the episcopate to other Protestant denominations. In 1888, the house of bishops of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution that became the basis for what is called the “Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral,” Resolution 11 of the 1888 Lambeth Conference. (These resolutions are printed in the Prayer Book on pages 876-878.) The Quadrilateral was four points that the bishops of the Anglican Communion believed could serve as “a basis on which approach may be made by God’s blessing towards Home Reunion,” that is, among Christian denominations.
The first of these points was about the Bible. It described, “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as ‘containing all things necessary for salvation,’ and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.” The second was about the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds. The third about “the two Sacraments of Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.” The last was about the episcopal office, “locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.”
I think the order is significant and I think the bishops of 1888 got content and order right. Fights among Christians are, however, in the opposite order. Episcopacy is a big problem among Christians, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox. Varying theologies of oversight (the root meaning of “episcopacy”) shapes, as much as anything else, how Christian traditions deal with questions of worship, community and mission.
About the time I came to Saint Mary’s I read an article by the Very Reverend Philip W. Turner, retired dean of Berkeley Divinity School, Yale University. If I remember correctly, he didn’t think the Episcopal Church would or could make direct headway on questions of sexual morality the Church was facing. He did suggest that the clergy of the Church start doing something he didn’t think they were doing, reading Morning and Evening Prayer according to the Prayer Book. This would bring the Church’s clergy leadership to one common starting point for the issues of the day. Dr. Turner and I would disagree theologically about many things, including what constitutes a biblical sexual morality. But I for one would be willing to be in serious dialogue with others who are honest about what the Bible says and doesn’t say.
In 1982, John Paul II visited England and was received at Canterbury Cathedral. This was early in his pontificate. He and the archbishop of Canterbury walked in together, side by side. The archbishop did not sit in his chair. In it was placed the sixth-century book of gospels from Canterbury which was placed in the collection of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, at the dissolution of the monasteries. Since 1982, relationships between Anglicans and Roman Catholics have soured, largely over the papacy and ecclesiology. I don’t think there will be much progress in my lifetime in these areas. But if there’s a way back, it begins not with our bishops, but with the Bible. We will continue to pray and work for Christian unity and for truth. Stephen Gerth
Disaster Relief for the People of Haiti . . . Donations may be made to Episcopal Relief and Development (https://www.er-d.org/donate-select.php) or through the Diocese of New York (http://www.dioceseny.org/payment_form); type “Haiti Relief” in the description box.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Carol, Charles, Dennis, Henry, Nicholas, Tim, Don, Lucia, Jack, Sandy, Chris, Robert, Elsa, Juan, Chris, William, Gert, Mary, Rick and Pegram, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially James, Christine, Kayla, Marc, Benjamin, Patrick and Andrew; and for the repose of the souls of Curtis and Toni . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 24: 1913 Sarah Walker; 1924 Sarah Munn Pier; 1945 Fred Moese; 1974 Hugh Addison McEdwards.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Church School for children will not meet on Sunday, January 24. Church School resumes on Sunday, January 31 . . . Monday, January 25, is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. There will be two Masses, 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM on this “Major Holy Day” . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, January 23. Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, January 30 . . . . . . Father Smith resumes his Book Sale in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Sunday. All proceeds will be used to benefit agencies working in Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. A number of new books have been added to the table (and please take a look at the new pricing scheme).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Dennis Smith is at home and recovering from a cardiac procedure. Charles Carson is at home recovering from eye surgery. Please keep them in your prayers . . . The bishop of Georgia has admitted our seminarian Remington Slone as a candidate for ordination to the priesthood. Rem, congratulations! . . . Saint Mary’s 2010 Episcopal Church calendars have arrived and are now available for sale in the Gift Shop . . . Three donors have very generously agreed to help with the costs of the receptions on Candlemas (Presentation), Annunciation and the Easter Vigil. If you think you might like to sponsor the reception on Ascension Day (May 13), please contact Father Smith for details. Thank you to all those who continue to help us with the ministry of hospitality . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, February 14. Please contact the Finance Office if you would like to make a donation . . . Thank you to Clint Best, Grace Bruni, Scott Holman, Dick Leitsch, Reha Sterbin and Bob Picken who continue to provide such valuable assistance around the office and with the website . . . The Rector will be speaking at the adult education program at Trinity-by-the Cove Church, Naples, Florida on Wednesday, January 28. He leaves on Tuesday morning, January 26 and will return to the rectory on Thursday evening, January 27 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 235.
FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . At the Solemn Mass the setting is the Communion Service in F by Harold Darke (1888-1976). An English composer, Darke was organist at 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 Communion Service in F is one of his best-known compositions (though not as widely sung as his setting of In the bleak midwinter) and is often heard in Anglican churches and cathedrals both in England and abroad. Its modally inflected harmonies are typical of the composer’s work and reflect the English tradition of cathedral music, of which Darke was very much a part. At Communion, the choir sings A spotless rose by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) . . . This Sunday at 4:40 PM, Robert Richter, Lloyd E. Cast Organ Fellow, All Saints’ Cathedral, Albany, New York, will play the recital. Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM will be sung by four members of the Parish Choir and I will play the service. The canticles are the Dorian Service by Tallis and the Tantum ergo is sung to the setting by Duruflé. James Kennerley
AT THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER . . . Holy Baptism, Confirmation and the Reception of new members to the Episcopal Church will all be celebrated on Saturday, April 3, 2010. The Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be celebrant and preacher. If you wish to know more about joining the Episcopal Church or presenting a child for Baptism, please speak with one of the parish priests.
FEBRUARY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Tuesday, February 2, is the Feast of the Presentation, commonly called “Candlemas.” On the eve, Monday, February 1, Solemn Evensong will be sung at 6:00 PM. On Candlemas, we will have our customary principal feast-day schedule. The 12:10 service will be Blessing of Candles & Sung Mass. There will be an organ recital at 5:30 PM. At 6:00 PM there will be Blessing of Candles, Procession & Solemn Mass. A reception follows in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Wednesday, February 3, the Feast of Saint Blase, the blessing of throats is offered after the 12:10 PM Mass and after Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM . . . The Annual Super Bowl Party at Saint Mary’s will be on Sunday, February 7, after Solemn Evensong & Benediction. The service ends around 6:00 PM; food and drink will be served shortly thereafter in Saint Joseph’s Hall; kickoff is at 6:30 PM . . . The First Day of Lent: Ash Wednesday is February 17.
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . Please remember that we will need ushers on Monday, February 1, 6:00 PM, the Eve of the Presentation for Solemn Evensong; on Tuesday, February 2, the Feast of the Presentation, at 5:30 PM for the organ recital and at 6:00 PM for the Solemn Mass; and on Wednesday, February 17, Ash Wednesday, throughout the day. Mr. Handy has prepared a sign-up sheet so that you can let him know if you are available. Thanks so much for your help. Jay Smith
AN INVITATION . . . Father Michael Allen and Penny Allen extend an invitation to all their friends at Saint Mary’s to join them for a special Mass to celebrate the merger of the Church of the Epiphany in Allendale, Father Allen’s original parish in New Jersey, and the Church of the Good Shepherd, Midland Park. The newly merged parish will be called Trinity Church, Allendale. The Right Reverend Mark M. Beckwith will be leading the “Service of Celebration of Unification & New Ministry” on Sunday, January 31, beginning at 3:30 PM. The address is 55 George Street, Allendale, New Jersey. Please e-mail Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further travel directions. The website of the new parish is http://www.episcopaltrinitychurch.org.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . The latest addition to our ongoing series, “Why I Love Saint Mary’s,” comes not from a resident of New York, but from a Californian, who describes himself as one of Saint Mary’s “global parishioners,” Mr. John Mann. Mr. Mann’s contribution, which arrived at Christmas, reminds us that Saint Mary’s community is not confined to the five boroughs and that we are blessed to have such good friends and many parishioners who live around the country, and, indeed, around the world. Mr. Mann writes, “Although so many people have had the same revelatory experience on first encountering Saint Mary the Virgin that it is becoming something of a cliché to say so, still, Saint Mary’s remains an amazing phenomenon; and of course that first experience is just the beginning of a lifelong commitment for many of us. That I knew Saint Mary’s was always to be my parish church carries particular resonance for me today as I am one of the many “unfortunates” who, because of circumstances, now live far from New York City. However, not a week passes without my thoughts and prayer carrying me back to Saint Mary’s and spiritually sharing in her devoted response to the liturgy amidst the beauty, magnificence and joyful love of every activity of this extraordinary church. And although I can only rarely be physically present, I also feel that all of us global parishioners have an added responsibility to support Saint Mary’s as a bastion of Anglo-Catholicism whilst the Anglican Communion is experiencing such difficulties.”
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . January 24: The Church Fathers and the Feast of the Epiphany: Saint Gregory Nazianzus’s Oration 38 on the Theophany of Christ. Led by Father Smith . . . January 31 and February 7 and 14: Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Led by Mr. T. Remington Slone, seminarian. Rem is a middler at the General Theological Seminary . . . February 21 and 28 and March 7, 14 and 21: The Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Led by Father Peter Powell . . . April 25: Prof. Dennis Raverty, art historian and friend of Saint Mary’s, will give a slide lecture on “God & Nature in the 19th-Century American Romantic Landscape” . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class has resumed after the Christmas break. The class meets at 6:30 PM on Wednesdays (7:00 PM on Holy Days) in the Mission House. The class is led by Sisters Deborah Francis and Laura Katharine. The class is reading Ecclesiastes and Job.
OUTREACH MINISTRIES AT SAINT MARY’S . . . In addition to our efforts to respond to the needs of the people of Haiti, following the recent earthquake, we continue to collect non-perishable food items and new or “gently used” clothing for the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church. The Pantry serves families living in our own neighborhood. The Pantry fills an increasingly important need during this time of economic difficulty. You are invited to bring food or clothing and place it in the basket in Saint Joseph’s Hall after Mass (or at the ushers’ table before Mass). You can also make a cash donation, if that is more convenient for you (Please speak to me about how to do that; in fact, cash donations are in some ways more efficient and cost-effective). Jay Smith
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Monday The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ends today.
Tuesday Timothy & Titus, Companions of Saint Paul
Wednesday John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407
Thursday Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Friar, and Doctor of the Church, 1274
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Saint Mary’s is open every day of the year for worship, prayer and rest. Most weekdays the church is open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Saturdays the church is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. On Sundays it is open from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. On holidays the church is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The regular services of the Church are offered. For the list of the daily services of worship, please see our web page at www.stmvirgin.org.