Our Gifts for Ministry
Last Sunday when Richard Lawson and I entered the church to go to the Lady Chapel for the 9:00 AM Mass there was no one in the chapel. We noticed about a dozen visitors sitting alone in the back of the nave of the main church. Richard volunteered to go to see if they were here for the Mass. I went to the chair in the chapel to wait. They were. They were all Roman Catholics. They stayed. They mostly participated. Some of them eventually realized they were in an Episcopal parish. Richard preached well. I think it is fair to say that my celebration was reverent and welcoming, especially since the Prayer Book was not at all designed to be easy for visitors to use. I could not help but wonder whether this is the way things should be done on Sunday morning.
I haven’t taken many of the 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM Sunday Masses during the academic year because of my teaching a class at 10:00 AM and the nature of the rota for the curate and assistant at Saint Mary’s. Since Pentecost I have been taking my turn at these Masses which are offered in the Lady Chapel and I have been reminded that the 9:00 AM Mass and the 5:00 PM Mass (which is celebrated at the High Altar) largely serve the needs of visiting Roman Catholics who have stumbled into an Episcopal Church without knowing it. That’s okay but I suspect we would be of help to even more visitors, Roman Catholic and others, if the services were at the High Altar. A number of parishioners do attend the 10:00 AM Mass in the Lady Chapel and most Sundays the Chapel is close to being full. A few seats could be added in the back of the Chapel, but not many.
We did an experiment on Easter Day. We had a simple sung Mass at 9:00 AM at the High Altar, probably not unlike the kind of Mass that was done here in the days when the parish still had a Sunday School and an altar in Saint Joseph’s Hall. We started at 9:00 AM and finished well before 10:00 AM. We sang the Gloria, Sanctus and two shorter hymns and nothing else except the opening dialogue to the Eucharistic Prayer. We even had incense at the preparation. I have the sense that we ought to consider doing something like this every Sunday, at least during the academic year.
Saint Mary’s is a place where we live out liturgically our conviction that the congregation, the Sunday assembly of the community, is the Body of Christ. Here, the assembly is the primary minister of worship. The ordained and their assistants are the servants of the assembly. The assembly is not passive; it is the principal minister of the liturgy. This is not the only way to be a Christian community, but what distinguishes Saint Mary’s from almost every other major Episcopal parish in Manhattan and beyond is the degree to which the assembly really does carry the work of worship. At Saint Mary’s the assembly’s work is not innovative but timeless. We are a place where people can encounter the Body of Christ.
Sunday evenings I have great hopes of restoring Evensong & Eucharistic Benediction. If we do a liturgical Evensong, one where the congregation carries the service, we won’t have to have a choir to support us or sing the liturgy for us. That would be choral evensong, which is lovely and a very beautiful and prayerful way of worshiping and is something that is widely offered in our city. A liturgical Evensong, that is, Evensong sung largely by the congregation, is unusual for New York. All of your priests and seminarians sing, a job requirement at SMV. I think there might be a congregation for a truly liturgical evensong perhaps with a sermon. I don’t think we can expect very many folks who come in the morning to return to church a second time. There are millions of people in the metropolitan area.
Barbara Klett, our treasurer, reminds me frequently that everything in New York takes t-i-m-e. I’m still waiting for a solution to our signage problems, among other things. Frankly, it’s terrible, and I include my feeble stab with the blue banner. There’s no quick and easy solution for this or for whether or how the service schedule should evolve. In Tom Clancy’s book The Hunt for Red October the Russian submariners use the phrase, “Plot a solution” when a torpedo has been fired at them. We need to plot some solutions, some good ones.
I want you to know that in addition to a lot of talk about these and other things I take these issues to the altar and to my daily private prayers. I ask for you too to think and pray about services and ministries at Saint Mary’s. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jack, Olga, Helen, Shirley, Hannah, Dawn, Mary, Lucille, Frances, and Eleanor . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 21: 1963 Frederick Webb Ross; July 22:1960 Mary Waters.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Amos 7:7-15, Psalm 85:7-13, Ephesians 1:1-14, Mark 6:7-13 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Gerth, Preacher: Richard Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Gerth, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Shin . . . Confessions will be heard on July 15 by Father Garrison . . . Confessions will be heard on July 22 by Father Shin.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The MCs will be meeting with the parish clergy following the Solemn Mass this Sunday, July 16, for a working brunch . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, July 23. The sign-up sheet is in Saint Joseph’s Hall. You may also sign-up by calling the parish office. A donation of one hundred dollars is asked . . . It will be months before the rectory fence is repaired. Saint Mary’s property is land marked. In addition to the usual city requirements, approval will need to be obtained from the Landmarks Commission . . . The Reverend Mary Haddad will be serving as deacon at the Solemn Mass this Sunday. Welcome back, Mother Haddad! . . . The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, July 17, at 6:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. The Trustees will be giving a reception for new members in the rectory at 7:00 PM . . . The Rector will be on vacation Tuesday, July 18, through Tuesday, July 25 . . . Attendance last Sunday 151.
CONGRATULATIONS TO AMANDA FRANKS AND IAN SMITHSON (the daughter of Dan and Martha Franks), who were married on July 15, 2000, at St. Mathias Church in Midlothian, Virginia. The couple will be living in Cooperstown, NY, where they will be Youth Ministers for four different Churches. Amanda graduated in June from Hamilton College and Ian graduated from the University of Richmond.
CLERGY NOTES . . . Father Figueroa is away for the rest of July and all of August. The Reverend J. Barrington Bates, a doctoral student in liturgy at the General Theological Seminary, will be taking a few of the weekday Masses for us. This month some of you will also meet the Reverend Jeremy Warnick, school chaplain at Grace Church, Broadway. Father is also taking a few Masses. Please make yourself known to our guest clergy.
MUSIC NOTES . . . In the Sunday bulletins on July 16 and for the next few months you will be seeing two names listed as “interim organists.” One is a person most of you already have heard and know, our own Dale Bonenberger, who has been playing since the beginning of June. The other is Robert Church. Dale is a member of Saint Mary’s and was received into membership in the Episcopal Church here at the Great Vigil in April. Dale works for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. He studied organ privately in Pennsylvania before moving to New York. While in college he was the organist of the Lightstreet United Methodist Church in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Robert Church is a broker/trader with FISN. He began studying organ in 1990 with Richard Hayton in New Jersey. He was a music minor as an undergraduate at the George Washington University. He has also studied with Eileen Guenther. He just completed a period of service as interim music director at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Washington, D.C. Dale, Robert, officially, welcome!
A Collect for the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:
Look with compassion on the whole human family;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth;
that in your good time, all may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Worship at Saint Mary’s
The Holy Eucharist
On Sundays Mass is said at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A Solemn Mass is offered at 11:00 AM. Monday through Friday Mass is said at 12:15 PM and 6:15 PM. On Saturdays Mass is said at 12:15 PM.
The Daily Office
On ordinary Sundays Morning Prayer is said at 8:40 AM and Evening Prayer at 4:45 PM. Monday through Friday Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30 AM, the Noonday Office at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. On Saturdays the Noonday Office is offered at 12:00 PM and Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Confessions are heard on Saturdays between 11:30 and 12:00 and between 4:00 and 5:00. Appointments can also be made with members of the parish clergy for the Reconciliation of Penitents at other times.
The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
The Calendar for the Fifth Week after Pentecost
Monday William White, bishop
Friday Weekday & Eve of Saint Mary Magdalene Abstinence
Saturday Saint Mary Magdalene
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector, The Reverend Allen Shin, curate, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant, The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, assisting priests, The Reverend Mary Haddad, assisting deacon, The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.