FROM THE RECTOR: ANGLICAN EASTER
Just after writing about the fifty-day length of the Easter Season of the first centuries for last week’s Angelus, I again picked up my copy of liturgist Patrick Regan’s book Advent to Pentecost (2012) to read a bit more on the subject. The first thing I came across was his statement that, when there was a fifty-day celebration, it was not known as the “Easter Season.” The whole period was known as “Pentecost.” The celebration of the Risen Jesus’ ascension on the fortieth day and the gift of the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day, celebrations based on the chronology found in the Acts of the Apostles, but not in the gospels, don’t emerge as distinct festivals until the end of the fourth century. Then, I noticed a quotation I had underlined, along with a big question mark in the margin:
Unlike the water of Baptism, which confers grace without being changed into Christ, the bread and wine become the Lord’s Body and Blood and remain so even after the celebration has ended. Hence the Eucharist is the most substantial and enduring form of Christ’s presence in the church (231).
With respect, I couldn’t disagree more. What about the People of God? Are they not, “the most substantial and enduring form of Christ’s presence in the church”? I don’t think one can suggest Christ is more present in the sacramental signs of Bread and Wine than in those who believe in him. Here’s where our Protestant tradition really does matter: The People of God are the Church, the Body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ himself is the Head. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Let me hasten to add, I have enormous respect for Father Regan’s work and I have read a lot of it. I think we Episcopal clergy should know more of his work, especially on the services of Holy Week. That said, he is a Roman Catholic. Theologically, we Anglicans start from a very different place.
Our theological tradition begins with a distinct and very strong emphasis on the incarnation. One of our starting points is the prologue of John’s gospel, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Those disciples to whom the Risen Lord revealed himself and then came to faith, along with all those who joined them in their believing, sealed their faith in a washing with water. It was for believers the new birth that Jesus had spoken about (John 3:3). It was also understood as dying and rising with him (Romans 6:4). At meals shared with each other, believers experienced Christ’s presence, just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus had done (Luke 24:13-35).
Out of the first communities of Christian believers emerge the actions that will come to be recognized as the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. They are the two great signs of God revealing his presence and grace to and for us. Sacraments exist and have meaning because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have made their home with those who believe. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Steven, Denise, Dennis, Robbie, Polly, Victoria, McNeil, David, Sharon, Babak, Sylvia, Kenneth, Rick, Gloria, Jack, Takeem, Linda, Arpene, King, priest, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Alex; and for the repose of the soul of Isabel Bize . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 18: 1937 Hazel Whelplay; 1977 Priscilla Garfield Bruns.
THE FRIDAYS OF THE EASTER SEASON are not special days to be observed by acts of discipline and self-denial. This year abstinence will be observed on ordinary Fridays beginning, June 13.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, May 16, 7:00-9:00 PM, Reception and Artist’s Talk in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Painter Maria Dominguez will join us to discuss her new work, The Healers Series. Light refreshments will be served . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd will not meet on Sunday, May 18. Church School for the older children will meet on Sunday, May 18. The Adult Forum will meet on Sunday, May 11 . . . On Sunday, May 18, AIDS Walk 2014: Members of the team will gather after the Solemn Mass for the Walk and will return to Saint Mary’s for Evensong . . . On Saturday, May 17, confessions will be heard by Father Jim Pace and on Saturday, May 24, by Father Jay Smith.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Saturday, May 17, 11:00 AM, The Consecration of Suffragan Bishop-Elect Allen Shin at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine . . . The collection on Maundy Thursday is designated for the poor and those in need. This year, we received donations totaling $2,560.00, half of which is being sent to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry and the other half to AIDS Walk 2014. We are grateful to all those who gave so generously during Holy Week . . . . . . Our neighbors at Forever 21 in Times Square have made several large donations of clothing for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry this year. We are grateful to them for their generosity . . . Donations for altar flowers are needed for Trinity Sunday, June 15, and for all of the Sundays in July and August. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. We also hope to receive donations to help defray the costs of the reception following the Solemn Mass on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . The episcopal ring, given by the people of Saint Mary’s, will be presented to the newly ordained Bishop Suffragan Allen Shin by a representative of this parish at his ordination on Saturday, May 17. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office so it can be sure to be included . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 267.
2014 NYC AIDS WALK . . . As of Thursday, May 8, the Saint Mary’s AIDS Walk Team has exceeded its $30,000 fundraising goal for 2014. The Team has now raised $37,549.00. The Team is currently No. 8 out of all the teams that plan to walk on May 18! Though that ranking will probably slip some after the final numbers come in from all the teams, including the corporate teams, that statistic is still very impressive indeed. We encourage all our members and friends to consider making a donation to support this effort. You can make an online donation here! Thank you very much to all who already made a donation.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) was born and reared in Dublin. His early genius for classical musical forms gained him admission to Cambridge University at the age of eighteen where he quickly established a commanding reputation. He was appointed organist of Trinity College while still an undergraduate. He subsequently studied composition with Carl Reinecke in Leipzig, and later with Friedrich Kiel in Berlin. He went on to compose in almost every musical form and his work includes seven symphonies; ten operas; fifteen concertante works; chamber, piano, and organ pieces; and over thirty large-scale choral works. His voluminous sacred music continues to be the foundation of the Anglican choral tradition. Stanford, together with Charles H.H. Parry, Walter Parratt, and Edward Elgar, is credited with the establishment of the late nineteenth-century renaissance in English music. It can be argued that Stanford made the greatest contribution to this renaissance, and that the labels of “Victorian” and “Edwardian” apply less to his music than to that of the others. Though little of his popularity survived him, the world is now re-discovering his music, not only in the realms of sacred music, but on the concert stage as well. The Communion Service in C, which we will hear at the Solemn Mass on Sunday, is actually a combination of two of Stanford’s services, first composed in 1909 as his Opus 115. The simplicity of the melodic material is wonderfully offset by the quite luxuriant harmony that Stanford employs. At the ministration of Communion, we hear one of the most popular of Stanford’s anthems, Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, written as his Opus 123. . . At 4:40 PM on Sunday, May 18, the organ recital will be played by David Shuler, director of music and organist at the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields. He will play the Suite Médiévale of Jean Langlais ((1907–1991). Mark Peterson
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . The Sunday Morning Adult-Education class concludes this coming Sunday, May 18, when Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will teach the final part of her three-part series entitled Readings in Poetry Inspired by the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. The Adult Forum will resume in the fall. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) will not meet on Sunday, May 18, since Rebecca will be leading the Adult Forum that day. Please speak to Rebecca about plans for the 2014-2015 academic year. CGS will resume in October. Church School will meet on Sunday, May 18, which will be the last class of the season. Church School will also resume in October . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class met for its final session this spring on May 14. The class will resume in the fall and will be reading the Book of Isaiah. Thank you to all those who taught our classes and to all those who attended them so faithfully. Jay Smith
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Holy Cross School and its Scholarship Fund at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Grahamstown, South Africa, a house of the Anglican Order of the Holy Cross. Donations may be made c/o Brother Robert Sevensky, OHC, Superior, Holy Cross Monastery, PO Box 99, West Park, NY 12493. The Episcopal News Service (ENS) recently posted a short video about the monastery and its school here . . . Outreach teams from the Common Ground Initiative have been working with those who are homeless, and who have been seeking shelter here at Saint Mary’s, to help the homeless to move off of the streets and into more stable living situations. We are grateful for Common Ground’s assistance . . . We welcome donations of: hand sanitizer; granola bars; applesauce, sold in small, plastic cups with peel-off tops; water; peanut butter and crackers; and other small items that can be packed in bags for distribution to those who are homeless . . . We continue to collect non-perishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please place your donations in the basket near the ushers’ table on Sunday mornings. You may also make cash donations. Please speak either to Father Jay Smith or to Sister Deborah Francis. J.R.S.
THE ARTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The New York Repertory Orchestra will play its final concert of the 2013-2014 season on Saturday, May 17, at 8:00 PM. The program includes music by Panufnik (Jagiellonian Triptych), Tchaikovsky (Violin Concerto), and Hanson (Symphony No. 3). Admission is free. A $10.00 donation is encouraged.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Wednesday, May 28, Eve of Ascension Day, Solemn Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 29, Ascension Day, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM, Bishop Allen Shin, celebrant and preacher . . . Saturday, May 31, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Said Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, June 8, The Day of Pentecost . . . Sunday, June 15, Trinity Sunday . . . Sunday, June 22, Corpus Christi (Evening Prayer at 5:00 PM) . . . Sunday, June 29, Sunday Summer Schedule begins: Morning Prayer 8:30 AM; Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM . . . Friday, July 11, 8:00 PM, Parish Outing: New York Philharmonic Concert in Central Park.