FROM THE RECTOR: ECHOES OF DEDICATION
On the first Sunday in October the parish community returns to the regular Sunday service schedule. Morning Prayer is sung, not said. The parish choir sings at the Solemn Mass. Solemn Evensong & Benediction is offered in place of said Evening Prayer. Our regular Christian Education programs on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening begin again. It’s a great tradition that we have, and I’m so very glad to be a part of it. It’s always a great Sunday. Many will remember that until recently, this Sunday was also observed as the parish’s “Feast of Dedication”—but it wasn’t always so.
Saint Mary’s patronal feast has always been December 8, the Conception of the Virgin Mary. The first services in the parish’s first church home, at 228 West 45th Street, were on December 8, 1870. Our present church’s cornerstone was laid on December 8, 1894, the first services held on December 8, 1895. The bishop of New York consecrated this new building on December 12, 1895. Yet until 1931, December 8 was celebrated as the parish’s Feast of Dedication—and the late George Handy (1918–2012), who grew up in the parish, was still calling December 8 “Dedication” when I became rector.
When Selden Peabody Delany (1874–1935) became the fourth rector of Saint Mary’s on January 1, 1929, no one expected him to resign less than eighteen months later in order to become a Roman Catholic priest. Dr. Delany was a senior member of the clergy of the Episcopal Church and had served here as assistant to his predecessor since 1915. After Dr. Delany’s resignation, the trustees, encouraged by the retired rector, Joseph Gail Hurd Barry (1858–1931), turned to a priest of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Granville Mercer Williams, S.S.J.E. (1883–1958), to take charge of the parish until a new rector was called.
In short order, with the permission of the bishop of New York, Father Williams became the fifth rector of this parish and served until 1939 when he was elected superior of the American Congregation of S.S.J.E. It was Father Williams who instituted our observance of this feast of dedication, an optional celebration that had just entered the American Prayer Book in 1928.
There was precedence for this celebration on the first Sunday of October in the Church of England. Many ancient church communities simply didn’t know when their buildings were consecrated. Of course, Saint Mary’s has always known when its present church was consecrated: December 12, 1895. We observe this anniversary annually on this date. That said, there are echoes of the Feast of Dedication on the first Sunday in October. At the Solemn Mass the hymns (“Only-begotten, Word of God eternal,” “Blessed city, heavenly Salem,” and “Immortal, invisible, God only wise”) all recall this observance. The flowers at the altar are given in memory of the departed rectors of the parish.
Saint Mary’s witness to God’s life, love, and truth is never any greater than when God’s people gather for worship. Buildings that have been set aside, dedicated, for Christian worship are also a particular witness. In the midst of this city our doors remain open daily. As the rhythm of the year brings a new cycle of life and celebration, it’s appropriate for us to be thankful for the place we know as our church home. The greatest sign of our dedication is how we have cared for others, have used the gifts and opportunities, have worked, prayed, and given to the kingdom of God.—Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR David, Robert, Thomas, Mazdak, Babak, Barbara, Samantha, Pauline, Suzanne, Rebecca, John, McNeil, Takeem, Sylvia, Rick, Jack, Linda, Arpene, Paulette, priest, and Harry, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 5: 1881 Elizabeth Rice; 1896 Edna Lena Farson; 1950 Anita H. Powers; 1955 Eleanor Harris Burgen; 1957 Marion Woodworth Raymond; 1958 Grace E. Bauln; 1963 Martha Adams Reese.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR . . . are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, October 5, 2014: Regular Sunday Schedule Begins . . . Sunday, October 5, 1:00 PM: A Tour of Saint Mary’s and Its Art & Decoration, led by Dr. Dennis Raverty, with the assistance of parish archivist, Mr. Dick Leitsch . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, October 4, by Father Stephen Gerth, and on Saturday, October 11, by Father Jim Pace.
A SPECIAL LECTURE: “THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS—Seed of the Church, Yesterday and Today” . . . The Reverend Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson, professor of liturgical studies, University of Notre Dame, will be giving a public lecture on Thursday, October 9, at 7:00 PM at the Zohrab Center at Saint Vartan’s Armenian Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue. His is a name you have heard from me often in sermons and newsletters. He knows Saint Mary’s and has worshiped with us. I will be attending the lecture, and I hope others from the parish community will be free to attend too. S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . If you would like to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church this year, or if you or somebody you know is thinking about being baptized, please speak to Father Gerth or Father Smith . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, October 19, and for the Eve of All Saints’ Day, Friday, October 31. Please contact the finance office if you would like to make a donation . . . Father Jay Smith will be away from the parish between Sunday afternoon, October 5, and Wednesday, October 8. He returns to the office on Thursday, October 9. He will be attending a Leadership in Ministry conference in Boston, Massachusetts . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 160, Michaelmas 86.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . We are very happy to welcome the parish choir back to the parish on Sunday. At the Solemn Mass, the choir will sing Missa super “Ich stund an einem Morgen” of Jakob Handl (1550–1591). Handl, also known as Jacobus Gallus Carniolus, Jacob Handl, Jacob Handl-Gallus, Iacobus Handl Gallus, and Jacobus Handl, was a late Renaissance composer of Slovene origin. A Cistercian monk, Handl traveled in Bohemia, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), and Poland. He was a member of the Viennese court chapel in 1574, and was choirmaster to the bishop of Olmütz (modern Czech Republic) in the years 1579–85. Handl represented the Counter-Reformation in Bohemia, mixing the polyphonic style of the High Renaissance Franco-Flemish School with the style of the Venetian School. His musical output was both sacred and secular, and hugely prolific: over 500 works have been attributed to him. Some are written for large forces, with multiple choirs of up to twenty-four independent parts. His most notable work is the six-part Opus musicum, 1577, a collection of 374 motets that were meant to cover the liturgical needs of the entire ecclesiastical year. During his life, sixteen of his twenty extant Masses were also published, of which the Missa super “Ich stund an einem Morgen” is but one. His wide-ranging, eclectic style blended archaism and modernity, utilizing the then-new Venetian polychoral manner. Some of his chromatic transitions foreshadowed the breakup of modality; his five-voice motet Mirabile mysterium contains chromaticism worthy of Carlo Gesualdo. He enjoyed word painting in the style of the madrigal, yet he could write the simple motet Ecce quomodo moritur later used by Georg Frideric Handel in his funeral anthem The Ways of Zion Do Mourn. At the ministration of Communion on Sunday, the choir will sing the time-honored anthem of Martin Shaw (1875–1958), based on the seventh-century Angularis fundamentum, with text as translated by John Chandler (1806–1876), “Christ Is Our Cornerstone” . . . On Sunday afternoon, we welcome organist Timothy Brumfield back to Saint Mary’s. Tim, who recently took up a position as director of music ministries at the Church of Saint Gregory, Boca Raton, Florida, will play the organ recital at 4:40 PM. At 5:00 PM, a quartet from the parish choir will sing at Evensong & Benediction. The canticles are from The Short Service of Thomas Tallis (1505–1585); the quartet will also sing Ave, verum corpus to a setting by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). —Mark Peterson
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Monday, October 13, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule: the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM, only the noonday services are offered, and the parish offices are closed . . . Saturday, October 18, Saint Luke, Mass 12:10 PM . . . October 23, Saint James, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 2, 2:00 AM, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Monday, November 3, All Souls’ Day (transferred), Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass & Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & SPIRITUALITY . . . Sunday, October 12, 19 & 26, 10:00 AM, Mission House, 2nd Floor: “For All the Saints”—The Origins & History of the Veneration of the Saints. On October 12 and 26, the class will be led by Father Jay Smith, and on October 19 the class will be led by Grace Bruni . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class resumes on October 15 at 6:30 PM. The class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is normally held in Saint Joseph’s Hall, 145 West 46th Street. We will be reading the Book of Isaiah this year.—James Ross Smith
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . October 18, 2014, New York Repertory Orchestra (Annual Benefit Concert). Tickets are required ($10 at door). Program: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante (with Sheryl Staples, acting concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, violin, and Cynthia Phelps, principal viola of the New York Philharmonic, viola); and Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West
at 77th Street, New York, NY 10024, Phone (212) 873-3400: What Does It Mean to Be an American?—Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion, September 26, 2014–April 19, 2015 . . . At the New York Solo Theater Festival, “Saint Mark’s Gospel: The Inspiration Begins,” solo theater piece performed by Tom Bair and directed by Kathleen Conry, on Saturday, November 15, at 4:00 PM, at the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row, 410 West Forty-second Street. Call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or 800-447-7400 for reservations and tickets. Tom Bair, the husband of Bishop Geralyn Wolf, is a good friend of Saint Mary’s and worships with us frequently.
OUTREACH . . . The spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia and in other parts of West Africa has been rapid in recent months, and, according to recent news reports, the numbers of those affected continues to mount. We have received requests from Liberian clergy working in our diocese to publicize ways that New York Episcopalians can help. You may visit the website of the Liberian Episcopal Community USA (LECUSA) to obtain more information . . . We continue to collect nonperishable 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. Thus far in 2014, we have been able to send $2,230.00 to the Food Pantry . . . We are also happy to receive donations of new white socks and underwear, protein bars, hand cleanser, small bottles of shampoo and other toiletries, for distribution to the homeless and others who are in need. This will become increasingly important as the weather grows colder.