The Angelus

Volume 13, Number 46

From the Rector: Preparing to Elect a Bishop

At the diocesan convention in November 2010, Bishop Sisk called for the election of a bishop coadjutor – a “bishop coadjutor” becomes the bishop of a diocese upon the retirement of his or her predecessor.  In our diocese, at a convention to elect any bishop, the delegates vote by order.  That is, the votes of the lay delegates and the votes of the clerical delegates are counted separately.  For there to be an election, a person must receive a majority of votes in both orders on the same ballot.

Everyone is invited to meet the seven candidates, five of whom were nominated by the Committee to Elect a Bishop.  The other two were nominated by petition as provided for by the bylaws of the diocese.  You can read about all of the candidates on the web page of the Diocese of New York.  Here are the opportunities you and I will have to meet them.  If you would like to meet the candidates, please go; and if you do go, I hope you will be willing to share your impressions with me. 

• Tuesday, October 11, 1:00 p.m., Christ Church, 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
• Tuesday, October 11, 7:00 p.m., St. James’ Church, 1 St. James Place, Goshen
• Wednesday, October, 12, 1:00 p.m., St. Thomas Church, 168 W. Boston Post Road,


• Wednesday, October, 12, 7:00 p.m., Grace Church, 130 First Avenue, Nyack
• Thursday, October 13, 12:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Church, Castleton, 347 Davis Avenue,

Staten Island
• Thursday, October 13, 7:00 p.m., St. Peter’s Church, Westchester Square,

2500 Westchester Avenue, Bronx
• Friday, October 14, 1:00 p.m., St. James’ Church, 865 Madison Avenue, Manhattan

The announcement from the diocese about these meetings says this: These seven regional meetings are designed to allow Convention delegates (and anyone else who is interested) to meet the nominees in person.  At each venue, the format for the meeting will be the same. Convention delegates and other attendees will be placed among a number of rooms.  Each of the seven nominees will move from room to room, every 20 minutes, visiting, one at a time, with the assembled group of attendees.  Every effort will be made to keep each meeting to no more than three hours.

We are a geographically large diocese.  The only meeting with the nominees in Manhattan is on Friday, October 14, at 1:00 PM, at Saint James’ Church.  For the record, Father Smith plans to attend the meeting in the Bronx on Thursday evening.  Again, one may attend any of the meetings.

I wrote in February about the process the diocese established for this election.  The Report of the Committee to Elect a Bishop includes a useful statement about the difficulties it faced with such a short time frame to complete its work.  As I wrote before, there is no guarantee that a longer process would produce better results.  That said, the Committee needed to ask for nominations before a profile was developed – which you can read here.  The process only allowed for very limited input from the diocese about what people and clergy generally believed to be the gifts and background we should seek in the next bishop.

I do not know any of the candidates nominated by the Committee.  I do know Canon Andrew Dietsche, and I think I have met Father Petero Sabune, both of whom were nominated by petition.

I do know that the Committee worked very hard.  My impression is that they did more than any of us could have expected.  In addition to my own reservations about the short process, I am concerned about other structural issues in our common life.  There is, for example, a significant, proportional underrepresentation of larger congregations in the convention of the diocese – and this generally means underrepresentation of the parishes from Manhattan.  As I have noted before, no rector from a Manhattan parish was elected or appointed to serve on the Committee to Elect a Bishop.

I have read the materials submitted by the nominees and the committee.  The published questions candidates were asked avoided theological issues.  In particular, I would like to know what each of the candidates thinks about two issues with which our Church must deal at this moment in its history: the invitation to the unbaptized to receive Communion and the marriage of homosexual persons.  I’d also like to know whether candidates think the Church needs a new Prayer Book or Hymnal.  A generation ago the joke about Episcopalians was that it was the Republican Party at prayer.  Of course, it’s different now.  For the record, I have no problem with a bishop speaking out on the issues of the day.  But too often I hear leaders preach without evidence of understanding and respect for those who hold different opinions, or see things in a different way.  When that happens, I find myself wanting to walk out even when I agree with the opinions being expressed.  I have no idea what we will learn in the approximately 20 minutes we will have with each of the candidates at the meetings.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of time.

Leadership really does matter in Church and society.  It is possible that the convention could fail to have an election – that does happen in dioceses from time to time.  All of the candidates are young, relatively speaking – which makes the shortness of our process even more remarkable.  The youngest nominee is 47 years old, the oldest 59.  The new bishop could serve until the age of 72.

Despite concerns and reservations, I do believe God’s grace has been at work and will be among us.  I remain fundamentally optimistic about the Church, its life and mission.  I love the Episcopal Church; I love the Diocese of New York.  I’m looking for a bishop who loves it too and will work for all for the sake of the gospel.  Stephen Gerth


YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Valerie, Rita, John, Mary, Donald, Sharon, Bob, Julia, Dianne, Dorothy, Gert, James, Rick, Emil, religious, and John, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark, Christine, and Rob; and for the repose of the soul of Luis Baez . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 9: 1872 Amelia Simpson; 1905 Marie Elizabeth Cooper; 1906 Deborah Knight, Elizabeth Miller; 1914 Emma Evelyn Mayer; 1934 Elizabeth Bertha Swift; 1952 Lawrence Alexander Davis; 1971 Roger Rolt-Wheeler; 1987 Barbara Coates.


IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . A Requiem Mass will be celebrated for Robert McDermitt on Saturday, October 22, at 11:00 AM, at the Church of Christ and Saint Stephen, 120 West 69th Street, New York City, between Broadway and Columbus Avenue.


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, October 9, 10:00 AM, Adult Education: Saint Francis, Giotto and the Revival of Humanism – Led by Dr. Dennis Raverty, the class meets in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House . . . The Vestment Exhibit continues in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Sunday morning.  The exhibit is curated by Sister Laura Katharine and parishioner Wayne Mahlke . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on October 12, at 6:30 PM, in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House . . . Oktoberfest is Saturday, October 15, at 6:00 PM . . . Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, October 8.  Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, October 15.


AROUND THE PARISH . . . Monday, October 10, the parish office will be closed in observance of Columbus Day.  The church will be open only from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  The noonday services will be celebrated . . . Parishioner Rita Johnson is scheduled to have outpatient orthopedic surgery on Friday, October 7.  Please keep her in your prayers . . . Parishioners Phil Burgess and John Schultz are to be married on Saturday, October 8, here in New York.  Congratulations to them both! . . . There are still a few places available for the Vertical Tour of the Cathedral on Saturday, October 23.  Please contact Father Jay Smith if you would like to join the group.  There is a fee of $16.00 . . . The Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Montana have approved our seminarian, Mary Julia Jett, for ordination to the diaconate.  Congratulations, Mary! . . . Altar flowers are needed for October 16 and 23, November 6, and December 11.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office . . . Father Smith will be away from the parish Monday, October 10 until Wednesday, October 12.  He will be attending a Leadership in Ministry Conference in Newton, MA.  He will be back on Wednesday in time to teach the Bible Study Class at 6:30 PM . . . Attendance: Michaelmas 92, Last Sunday 281.


OKTOBERFEST AND HYMN SING . . . On Saturday, October 15, we will gather once again (for the fifth year in a row!) to celebrate the arrival of autumn and to enjoy some time for fellowship and the singing of hymns.  Dinner begins around 6:00 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall, after the evening Vigil Mass.  After dinner, we go up to the organ loft for the hymn sing, under the direction of music director, James Kennerley.  The evening ends around 9:00 PM.  Dinner is potluck.  If you are planning on coming and are able to bring something to share, it would be helpful if you could contact Grace Bruni and let her know what you intend to bring.  Beverages will be provided.  All are welcome!


FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass this Sunday is Voluntary for Double Organ by Henry Purcell (1659–1695).  The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis B-dur, KV 275, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791).  The first performance of the Mass probably took place on December 21, 1777, in Salzburg.  Mozart was evidently fond of the work, although the style of the extensive Agnus Dei caused some controversy.  The final section is set as a gavotte – a moderately lively dance that came from the French folk tradition.  This combination of text and style was seen as quite inappropriate by some contemporary critics!  At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet “O God, thou art my God,” Z 35, also by Purcell.  Purcell was one of the great English composers, and his compositions for the church represent some of his finest musical works.  This anthem dates from the early 1680s, and is in the form of a verse anthem, consisting of contrasting vocal scorings that delineate the musical structure.  The anthem is the source for Purcell’s famous hymn tune, Westminster Abbey . . . On Sunday afternoon, at 4:40 PM, Paul Richard Olson, Organist-Choirmaster at Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights, will play an organ recital.  James Kennerley


PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Tuesday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, and Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Wednesday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6, 2011, 2:00 AM . . . Monday, November 14, 6:30-7:30 PM, New and Prospective Members Reception, in the Rectory, after Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM.  Please speak to Father Smith, if you would like to attend . . . Sunday, November 20, The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Commitment Sunday.  Pledge cards are offered.


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FOR ADULTS . . . Sunday, October 9, 10:00 AM.  Saint Francis, Giotto and the Revival of Humanism Giotto di Bondone, inspired by the Christian humanism of Saint Francis of Assisi, ushered in a new naturalism in painting.  This presentation examines Giotto’s work in the context of the late Middle Ages in which he worked, in the several cycles of murals dedicated to Saint Francis, and in his crowning achievement, the life of Christ in the Arena Chapel in Padua. Led by Dr. Dennis Raverty . . . Sunday, October 16, 10:00 AM.  Episcopal Traditions & Customs: The Principles of Gothic Architecture – Come and learn the basic architectural principles of construction in the magnificent Gothic churches and cathedrals of Europe.  From the pointed arch and the flying buttress to the stained-glass windows and the sculpted portals, find out why Gothic architecture is said to represent one of the pinnacles of world culture. Led by Dr. Dennis Raverty . . . Sunday, October 23, 10:00 AM, Episcopal Traditions & Customs: Using the Prayer Book – The Structure of the Eucharist. Led by Father Stephen Gerth . . . Sunday, October 30, 10:00 AM, Episcopal Traditions & Customs: Using the Prayer Book – What is the Ministry to the Sick?  Is it a “sacrament”? What do we think it does and when do we do it?  Why do we anoint the sick?  Should one call a priest when one is sick?  Led by Father Jim Pace . . . Sunday, November 13, 20, 27, Bible Studies: An Overview of the Stories of the Patriarchs, Matriarchs and Their Families: Genesis 12-50.  Led by Father Pete Powell.


THE ARTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, October 22, 8:00 PM, The New York Repertory Orchestra.  Admission is free. Dvorak: Othello Overture; Patterson: Saxophone Concerto (New York City Premiere); Sibelius: Symphony No. 4 . . . American Globe Theatre (AGT), October 28–November 19, 2011.  Hamlet.  Directed by John Basil, AGT’s Artistic Director.  Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM.  For tickets and information, call 212-869-9809 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 6, 2011, 8:00 PM, Choral Spectacular: The Tenebrae Choir, Nigel Short, director.  For more information, please send an e-mail to or telephone 917-524-6474 . . . Sunday, November 13, 2011, 8:00 PM, Organ Concert, Giampaolo di Rosa, soloist.  Works by Liszt, Bach and improvisation on submitted themes.  Admission is free.


AWAY FROM SAINT MARY’S . . . At the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” through January 15, 2012. For more information, visit


Above: a detail from the so-called “Wicked Bible,” an early edition of the Authorised or King James Version. The edition was called “wicked” because of the unfortunate omission of the word “not” in verse 14.  England’s clerical authorities were not amused and the printers were fined.