I have confidence in the future of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. My confidence is born of my experience here that Jesus Christ is the center of the common life of this parish community. I absolutely believe the Holy Spirit is present among us. I also believe the Spirit will reveal to us new dimensions of the mission of this community and take us to new places.
Saint Mary’s was born in the wake of the revival of catholic spirituality in the Anglican Church around the world. Under its first clergy and lay leaders, it was wonderfully aggressive in exploring what that might mean for an Episcopal parish in what is now midtown Manhattan. There was a tremendous evangelical conviction that the parish was doing things the right way. They were not afraid to be different. Their hearts were captured by Christ in a radical way.
It really has always been about Jesus here. This has kept the parish doors open every day since they were first opened on December 8, 1885 – because God’s people, the Body of Christ, must have a home here. Daily Offices are prayed and the Holy Eucharist is celebrated because the Body of Christ prays, the Body of Christ eats. There is something here that is compelling, and compellingly attractive. That something is Jesus.
I expect our common life at Saint Mary’s to continue to evolve and change. If Saint Mary’s isn’t changing and growing it is in decline. Surveying the history of this parish since 1868, it is easy to see that the only periods when the parish has been really in trouble has been when the parish tried to freeze its common life as the world around it changed. The founders of this parish had faith in the future and in the catholic tradition. In a real sense you and I are the future in which they had faith. I hope we will be worthy of their trust that this parish would be a place for the Body of Christ.
One of my prayers since I arrived as your rector has been that this parish would be worthy enough for God to send unbaptized people here. I think that prayer is a good one and I ask that you join me in that prayer. But it is not enough to have them visit. I also think that you and I should pray for God to show us how we can bring unbaptized people here to die and rise in Jesus Christ.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Gloria, Raymond, Robert, Michael, Eileen, Fred, Jerri, May, Sarah, Doreen, Mabel, Marion, Olga, Peter, Betty, Kenneth, Maureen, Marie, Rick, Edgar, John, Joanne, Barbara, Amy and Charles, priest, and for the repose of the soul of Michael. Pray also for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 24: 1993 William Ray Kirby; June 26: 1985 Kenneth Mealy.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Jeremiah 20:7-13, Psalm 69:7-10, 16-18, Romans 5:15b-19, Matthew 10:16-33 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, June 22 by Father Gerth and on Saturday, June 29 by Father Weiler.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be Chant de paix (Neuf Pièces) by Jean Langlais (1907-1991) and the postlude will be Processional in D-flat major by David N. Johnson (1922-1988). The soloist on Sunday is Amanda Silverman, soprano, and the anthem at Communion is Laudate Dominum from Vesperae solennes de confessore, KV 339 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). On Monday, June 24, at the Sung Mass for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, the service music will be sung by congregation, and the postlude will be Fugue from Symphonie IV by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). At the Sung Mass for the Eve of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Friday, June 28, we welcome the Chapel Choir of Glasgow University, and their director, Giles Brightwell. The choir is on their first tour to the United States, and we are delighted they wanted to sing at Saint Mary’s. The Mass ordinary that evening is Messe Basse by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), except for Gloria in excelsis, which will be sung to plainsong (Missa de angelis). The anthem at Communion is Bist du bei mir by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). The postlude is Tu es petra from Esquisses Byzantines by Henri Mulet (1878-1967).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Reverend Rosemari G. Sullivan celebrates her seventeenth anniversary of ordination to the diaconate on Saturday, June 22. Mother Sullivan is an assisting priest here at Saint Mary’s and serves as the Executive Officer of the General Convention and Secretary of the Episcopal Church . . . More are attending the 10:00 AM Sung Mass recently. We have moved the lectern to its 11:00 AM position and the preacher now stands at the top of the chancel steps. Members of the congregation are still invited to sit in choir for the Mass . . . The Rector is looking for someone to coordinate a committee to take charge of refreshments after Evensong when the new season begins on Sunday, September 29. If you would like to help with organizing the effort, please speak with him . . . Many thanks to George Handy, Dennis Smith and Eileen Whittle for their help with a mailing this past week . . . Father Smith continues on vacation through July 6 . . . Attendance last Sunday 204.
SUNG MASS & TASTE OF TIMES SQUARE . . . “The Taste of Times Square” is held annually on the fourth Monday in June. This year the festival falls on the same day as the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. In addition to the daily said Mass at 12:15 PM, because the Nativity of Saint John ranks as a “Feast of our Lord,” we will have a Sung Mass at 6:00 PM. These weekday Sung Masses take just about an hour, which will leave plenty of time to enjoy the food festival on West Forty-sixth Street between Broadway and Ninth Avenue. The Taste is big. A very large number of restaurants and entertainers participate in the event. Additional details at www.timessquarebid.org. Come to Mass and come to the Taste. Frankly, we hope that many people who will walk by will see our doors open and come in.
SUMMARY OF THE JUNE 17, 2002, BOARD MEETING . . . At its June 17, 2002, meeting, the Board of Trustees: 1. Received a letter from Mr. George Blackshire, who announced that he was stepping down from membership on the Board of Trustees, after 18 years of service to Saint Mary’s. 2. Learned that, on June 5, 2002, SafeSpace left the Mission House, where they ran a program for homeless teenagers. SafeSpace had originally agreed to vacate the property on December 31, 2002; but, because of financial and other difficulties, they asked to be allowed to leave earlier than that date. 3. Heard a report and recommendations from Mr. Fred Peelen about development of properties at Saint Mary’s. 4. Learned that Mr. John Beddingfield will become the Rector’s Administrative Assistant at Saint Mary’s on a full-time basis, as of July 1, 2002. Mr. Beddingfield, who has been accepted as a Candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of New York, has been working in this administrative position at Saint Mary’s half-time, prior to the present. We expect him to be ordained deacon in March 2003. 5. Learned that Saint Mary’s will soon have a new banner at the front of the church, designed by Mr. Charles Carson. Leroy Sharer, Secretary
JULY WOMEN’S MEETING . . . Just because it is summertime that does not mean that Women and Spirituality Group is slowing down or packing it in. Quite the opposite is true, actually! The Women and Spirituality Group has decided to continue meeting, as they have been, once each month on the second Tuesday. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 8 in Saint Benedict’s Study at 7:00 PM. All female members and friends of Saint Mary’s are warmly invited to attend.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Sung Mass 6:00 PM
Friday Irenaeus, Bishop Abstinence
Eve of Saint Peter & Paul
Sung Mass 6:00 PM
Saturday Saint Peter & Saint Paul, Apostles
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.