The Leadership in Ministry conference I attend twice each year is held at Lost River Retreat Center in Lost River, West Virginia. Over the years the course has been going on, people bring movies to watch that have something to do with how family or church systems work. My all time favorite is an English movie called, "Cold Comfort Farm." This past session I saw another movie that will go on my systems list, "Pleasantville."
The movie begins in the 1990s with a teenage brother and sister fighting over which show is going to be watched, which is perhaps a little unrealistic considering how many families now have more than one television set. Through the magic of television they end up being transported into a TV show that was on in the 1950s, "Pleasantville."
It was a black and white show of course. Twin beds only are sold in the furniture store. There are, however, martinis. The basketballs of the high school boys' team always go in the hoop. The brother from the 90s is an aficionado of the show. He would rate as a little nerdy, like the people in Pleasantville. The sister is a teenager out of control, like their divorced mother who is dumping her kids for the weekend to have a fling with a man nine years' younger as the show begins.
In the movie, the brother and sister are alive and real. Each is full of life and both adjust to Pleasantville in predictable and unpredictable ways. The boy arrives knowing all the characters from the TV show and tries to coach his sister about how to act. The sister doesn't like the clothes she is wearing or the 'geeky' people she is meeting. The star of the boys' basketball team asks her permission to hold her hand; she has other ideas and introduces the boy to something else. At the next basketball practice the boys miss all their shots. Color begins to appear in Pleasantville. Color changes everything.
The reaction of the inhabitants of Pleasantville varies. Some seem to embrace change and the color it is bringing with excitement, some with apprehension, but they like it and don't want to go back. The furniture store starts selling double beds. Others can't imagine change and start to put up signs, "No Coloreds." But the process from a black and white world to a world of color doesn't stop. What changes people in Pleasantville? It's not just biology but something more.
Real life itself is always changing. It comes with joy and with everything else. The world where things don't change, where things are black and white, doesn't exist. In the movie it was easy for most but not all of the young to embrace change, harder for those who were older, but they still got into it. Many of the elders discover sides of themselves they had never known.
During the movie I found myself thinking about my own life, about my vocation as a Christian priest, and about the increasing joy that has come in life for me through something inside of me, something I didn't put there or always know that was there, something that has kept me trying to learn to enjoy the gift of life on its own terms, on God's terms.
There are enough surprises in the movie; I haven't spoiled it for you. It is easy to enjoy it just as a movie, but it is a film that made me think and for some reason it made me think of my family and of the Episcopal Church and about the parishes I have known and loved, including my new parish home. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Margaret, Warren, Myrian, Katherine Rose, Margo, Nettie, Shirley and Thomas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 10: I994 Octavia Josephine Wenz Wall; October 15: 1957 Lynda Beatrice Roberts, 1971 Florence F. Scheftel, 1987 Harold Polit . . . IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . We have received word that Harold James Conners, father of a former assisting priest, the Reverend John Conners, died on October 3, 1999. Please pray for Harold, John and all who mourn.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 25:1-9, Psalm 23, Philippians 4:4-13, Matthew 22:1-14 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant Father Breidenthal, Preacher Mr. Lawson; 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Shin, 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Shin . . . On Saturday, October 9, Father Shin will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, October 16, the Rector will hear confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to Kathy Chase, Sean Cassidy, Jim Dennis, Pat Higgins, Suzanne Rochester, Ann Sokolowski, Rosanne Talbird, Edward Teasley and Rosanne Valeri and anyone else who helped with the festive reception on the Feast of Dedication whose names we do not have at our fingertips as we write. Your ministry helped to make it such a lovely day for the community. Thank you! . . . Winston Deane, Sean Cassidy and Pat Higgins get credit for brass polishing for dedication. And there was extra work for the flower department too, thanks, Howard Christian . . . It was great to see Bill Poston at the High Mass last Sunday! Bill was hospitalized recently for almost a month. We are so thankful for his recovery . . . Reminder: Monday, October 11, is the Columbus Day holiday. The parish office will be closed. The only service will be the 12:15 PM Mass. Our "federal holiday schedule" enables us to give an ordinary holiday to the parish staff, a break they do not receive on religious holidays! . . . Because of the federal holiday the regular October meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held Tuesday, October 12, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . You are invited to join Father Breidenthal and Father Shin for the Wednesday evening classes. The current series is on "Different Faiths." This week Father Breidenthal will be speaking on Islam. The class meets at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict's Study . . . We wonder what is going on next door to the church on 46th Street. They are digging, really digging out the basement . . . Father Breidenthal, a member of the Board of Examining Chaplains of the Episcopal Church, has been away from the seminary this week to assist in drafting part of the "General Ordination Examination" that is administered annually in January to persons preparing for ordination . . . .The new phones have arrived and we are awaiting final word about installation. Be prepared for phone delays to happen at the most inconvenient time. This will probably also affect facsimile transmissions and e-mail! . . . The material for the next issue of AVE is just about ready to go to the printers. We expect to have the next issue to you on time . . . Attendance last Sunday: 198.
EAT, DRINK, AND BE MUSICAL: THE STEWARDSHIP KICKOFF BRUNCH . . . Let us entertain you. Or rather, let our three gifted singers and accompanying pianist work their magic as you enjoy a fine brunch and fellowship after Mass on October 17th. That's the day we'll be officially launching our annual stewardship campaign, and we all know there's nothing like a good party to get people in a pledging mood. (Besides, there's nothing like a good party, period.) And if you've never been to Basset's, parishioner Martin Cowart's trendy little Tribeca restaurant, this is your chance to make the trip without so much as leaving Saint Joseph's Hall. Martin and his crew will be catering our affair with some selections from his downtown menu, and it will all be set off with bottles of typically vintage Saint Mary's wine. Once the campaign officially begins with the mailing of the annual appeal letter and pledge card, we'll be asked to either return the card by mail to the church office, or bring it with us on November 7, Commitment Sunday, the campaign's official close. But the brunch is obviously the best part of the whole drive. So don't miss it!
CLASS ON THE MASS . . . Father Shin will hold an introductory class this Saturday, October 9, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM on the liturgy at Saint Mary’s. There will be a brief tour of the behind the scenes of the liturgy, a closer view of the high altar and an explanation of the various aspects of the liturgy. This is the time to ask questions you have always wanted to ask about the liturgy but may not have had the opportunity to ask.
MUSIC PROGRAM NOTES . . . It was sad Sunday to bid farewell to Ken Cowan, but he certainly played out in style. The warm applause for him at the end of his final voluntary was heartfelt. We look forward very much to him playing here in the future. It was sad also Sunday for us that two of our singers, Julie Morgan and Deborah Feldman, have decided not to continue in the parish choir. They will be missed. We expect new members to be found soon. Our new interim choral director, Andrew Adams, and the choir gave us lovely music for the Mass last Sunday and a wonderful anthem by Harris. Thank you! This Sunday we welcome Dan Fannon who will be interim organist for the parish community. It's going to be a special Sunday. Dan, welcome!
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 of the Twenty-first Week after Pentecost
Monday Columbus Day Holiday (12:15 PM Mass only)
Thursday Samuel Schereschewsky, Bishop
Friday Teresa of Avila, Monastic
Saturday Of Our Lady
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 Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.