Eight and Nine
It's been a very long time since two rectors of this parish have been together for a major liturgy here. Perhaps some of our long-time parishioners or members of the wider Saint Mary's community can recall the last occasion. It never happened during Father Wells's (Number Eight) tenure. Because of the long tenures of rectors of this parish and because two of our rectors, Father Brown and Father Taber, died while serving, it just doesn't happen very often. I am very glad it is happening this week.
Saint Mary's represents something to the wider Church, and especially the wider Episcopal Church, that is not unique but is certainly precious and rare - Saint Mary's is a Christian community radically committed to catholic worship and mission. This heritage and mission is a gift we enjoy but it is also one which calls forth a great deal from those who share in this work, from all of the members of this parish community since its inception.
I still haven't gotten used to thinking of myself in any way in the company of the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, the Father Founder, whose vision changed worship in the American Church. I had learned the name of the Reverend Grieg Taber when I was in seminary. Father Taber is still known to so many people as a preacher and a confessor. I just don't think about it when I climb into the pulpit or sit in the confessional. I just do it. I suspect it is not very easy for any of us to compare our membership and ministry with those who were here before.
Many tributes were paid to my predecessor when he left. No one else can really know how gracious and helpful he has been to me at every turn since I arrived. His commitment to Christ, his personal sacrificial commitment to this parish, his love and his servant priesthood provided the leadership that shepherded Saint Mary's through its most difficult days.
I haven't begun to sort out all of the occasions December 8th represents in the history of this congregation. Above everything else, this is the day that this community has always kept as its patronal feast. This date and the feast it celebrates, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - its current catholic title, still does not appear in the calendar of the Episcopal Church in the United States. But it will! Someday!
Saint Mary's has had many ministries over the years but none has been more important, it seems to me, than serving as a prophetic voice and witness for the great catholic tradition of Christianity. Saint Mary's is a Christian community that tries very hard to live the words it prays.
I hope you will be able to be here for so many reasons this Wednesday night. I have never heard Father Wells preach, but I think I have read almost every one of sermons which has appeared in AVE since I was in seminary - read without any thought that I might ever stand in his pulpit. The night honors the ministry of this parish in the present and the past. The saints of Saint Mary's, those who are already in the nearer presence of God, will be with us too. And our celebration honors and venerates the glorious and ever-blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, under whose patronage this parish community continues to proclaim Christ. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Jack, a child who is gravely ill, for Dennis and James who are recovering from surgery, for Herbert, Margaret, Warren, Katherine Rose, Margo, Shirley, Robert, Rich, Julia, Owanah, Clara, Daniel, Samuel John, Marla and Jim and for the repose of the souls of John and Vera . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . December 7: 1970 Eloise Cole Janke, 1993 Lily S.M. Lasham; December 11: 1962; Carol Elizabeth Hollister.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:7-13, 2 Peter 3:8-15a,18, Mark 1:1-8 . . . 9:00 AM Celebrant: Father Shin, Preacher: Mr. Lawson, 10:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: Father Breidenthal, 11:00 AM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector, 5:00 PM Celebrant and Preacher: The Rector . . On Saturday, December 4, Canon Garrison will hear confessions . . . On Saturday, December 11, Father Shin will hear confessions.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Steve Gilger's aunt, Vera Mae Tholen, died unexpectedly on Monday, November 29. Steve is the building manager here at Saint Mary's. Pray for Vera, for Steve and for all who mourn.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press Dennis Peters is scheduled to be released from New York University Medical Center. We are most thankful . . . Marion Freise and Deborah Fulker are both recovering from falls. We hope they will be able to be with us again very soon . . . Ronald Cahn has again decorated the Advent wreath of the parish most beautifully. The fragrance of the greens is wonderful. Mr. Cahn, thank you! . . . The Angelus (the prayers!) has been printed on four-by-six cards for devotional use and for use by visitors at weekday Offices and Masses. The Angelus is on one side and Regina Caeli (the Angelus for Eastertide) on the other. The cards are available at the ushers' table . . . We expect all three tambour doors to be ready and working for the reception following the Mass on Conception . . . Yes, the Ordo Calendars are on order and are expected shortly . . . Yes, a name was omitted from the list of persons appointed by the Rector to the Music Search Committee. There are indeed six members and the sixth person is Herb Kirschner . . . New Address for Father William Parker: Saint Bede's Church, 220 Berry Hill Road, Syosset, New York, 11791. The telephone number at the church is 516-921-0755. The number at the rectory is 516-682-0350 . . . Attendance last Sunday: 182
CHRISTIAN FORMATION THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . On Sunday morning, December 5, the Rector's Forum on "The Liturgical Act" is at 10:00 AM . . . Sunday School for children is at 11:00 AM . . . Two groups of Journey in Faith are in progress -- one on Sundays at 12:45 PM and another on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM. This class is designed for those who wish to become a Christian or who wish to be confirmed or to renew the baptismal vows . . . Our Advent Quiet Day will be on December 11 with Mother Madeleine Mary. Please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board in the parish hall.
2000 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of November 30, 1999 sixty-nine pledges have been received for the operating budget for 2000. These pledges total $127,374.
PLEDGE ENVELOPES . . . If you are pledging and are not presently using giving envelopes but would like to do so, please call the parish office or tell either Barbara Klett or Walter Morton at coffee hour. We still have envelopes available for 1999. The year 2000 envelopes are expected to arrive shortly.
FLOWERS FOR CHRISTMAS . . . The new rector doesn't entirely understand this but the flower account is carried on the books of the parish with a deficit of $17,290. Yes, that's seventeen thousand two hundred ninety dollars in the red. He's not sure of the ins or outs of this. He's not sure how many years this represents (many decades he hopes). Clearly this accounting needs to be addressed one way or the other. It may well be time just to write this off and to start fresh. The present reality is that we get unbelievably great flowers at Saint Mary's for a fraction of the cost because of the extraordinary commitment and talent of those who serve in this ministry. They go to the wholesale flower mart to order the flowers and then use their gifts to display them beautifully. Their talents are offered to God and to the community freely; the materials cost money. Enclosed with this newsletter is an envelope for your offering for "Christmas Flowers and Greens." Do not confuse this with the annual Christmas Appeal! That request will be mailed on December 8th. This is for the church for Christmas. It is not to fund the deficit (although the Rector would be pleased to receive donations to that end!). We simply need money for "Christmas Flowers and Greens." If you are a parishioner and receive this newsletter by e-mail an envelope for Christmas Flowers and Greens will be mailed to you.
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 Second Week of Advent
Monday Nicholas, Bishop
Tuesday Ambrose, Bishop
Wednesday IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
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.