FROM THE RECTOR: WORLD CUP HOPES
As a resident of the Times Square neighborhood, I am used to certain kinds of loud crowd noises. When the World Cup began this year, I was surprised by the cheering I heard on and off whenever a match was being played. Soccer is a game I don’t know. The pace of cheering that goes on is just different than that of our big American sports. For the World Cup, restaurants and bars opened early in the city.
The games were played, of course, on South African time this year. Weekday mornings are almost always quiet, relatively speaking. Even in the afternoon, loud cheering is unusual in the square unless there is an entertainment celebrity for young teenagers.
When I would be out and walking someplace during a game, in restaurant after restaurant I would see the enormous range of people who visit or live in our decidedly multi-ethnic city cheering for so many different nations. I confess I followed the games the United States played while at my desk. The final between Spain and the Netherlands should be great. These matches have brought to mind some memories of my trip to Israel.
I was there during the last World Cup in July 2006. The final match was between France and Italy. As the day for the final approached, one could see French and Italian banners from many different buildings. The night of that match my friends and I had dinner in a restaurant away from where we were staying. Our waiter told us we could get a cab outside of the restaurant easily. We kept seeing cabs around the corner, but not on our street.
I was also aware that there were a lot of young, ultra-orthodox boys running in and out of the restaurant – and they were going around the corner too. I wondered if they were sneaking a cigarette or doing something else that would be considered naughty. It turns out, there were a number of cafes just around the corner. The cab drivers, Israeli Arabs, were hanging out there, and so were the boys. Everyone wanted to watch the game. For a little while, the 3000 year old conflict among the descendants of Abraham did not matter. I don’t think this kind of intercourse happens as easily or as often as it should.
Our Israeli guide and our Jordanian guide both remembered fondly that they had been able to visit the other country just after the Oslo Accords. I also remember that the bitterness of the wrongs done on the other side soon overtook whatever good memories they had.
Here I am speaking of “peace” in its biblical sense, where God’s peace does not usually refer to the absence of war, which is one meaning of the word. The more important Old Testament meaning is a sense of being in right relationship with God, and “bounty or well-being” comes from this. (Joseph Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, Vol. 1, (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1981), 224-225).
I am not sure how you and I begin to unlock the prejudices, the lack of compassion, we may acquire across our lives. We human beings too often seem to be able to fight and re-fight the wars of our forbearers as national groups, as religious groups, and as families.
Joseph Fitzmyer also points out in his commentary on Luke that Saint Luke associates peace with the presence of Jesus himself, unlike Paul who views it as a gift of the Spirit. Luke links peace with salvation, again, with Jesus himself.
This Sunday I should get home from church in time to put some lunch on a tray and get myself in front of the television for the final match at 1:30 PM. The World Cup is great sport, and I will enjoy it as sport. But it is one of those events where I hope more than a few of us may glimpse something of true peace and fellowship and that more of us may not only thirst for peace, but seek to be people of God’s peace in whatever way we can. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED especially for Alan who is hospitalized; for Gloria, Bonnie, Carol, Kevin, Clark, Gerardo, Cesar, Pamela, MaryJane, Sharon, Chris, Rolf, Daisy, Ross, Nicholas, Elsa, William, Gert, Mary, George, Rick, and Pegram, PRIEST; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, James, Kayla, Marc, and Benjamin; and for the repose of the souls of Edward and Anne . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 11: 1876 Mary Elizabeth Winans, 1911 Florence Devine, 1917 Mary Lorenz, 1946 Virginia Berrian, 1949 Marian Wood Dale Rae, 1981 Pelham St. George.
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 . . . Tuesday, July 13, Saint Mary’s in Central Park. See below for details . . . Friday, July 16, 1:00 PM, Concert by Angelus, Dana Farrell, director . . . Father Merz will hear confessions on Saturday, July 10. Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, July 17.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . As we go to press, we’ve heard that Alan Champion, a member of our choir, is having surgery. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Congratulations to Sherry and Martin Franks who were married at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, July 4 . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, July 18. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office . . . A special word of thanks to staff and volunteers for all their work in church during a very hot week in the city . . . Father Smith is on vacation and returns to the parish office on Monday, July 26 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 215.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . During the summer months the full choir is on vacation, and the music at Solemn Mass is sung by a cantor or a small group of voices. This week, I am the cantor. The prelude is Allegretto from Six Short Preludes and Postludes by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), and, following Mass, Postlude in D minor, also by Stanford. At the ministration of communion, I will sing Music for a while by Henry Purcell (c.1659-1695). The aria is taken from the opera Oedipus, whose libretto was written by John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee. The movement is a fine example of a ground bass – a four-measure passage, first heard in the left hand of the organ, which is repeated throughout the work. James Kennerley
SAINT MARY’S IN CENTRAL PARK . . . Parishioner Grace Bruni is leading an expedition of Saint Marians to Central Park to picnic in style and to hear the New York Philharmonic and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on the Great Lawn on Tuesday, July 13. This free concert, which begins at 8:00 PM, features works of Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Ravel, and Gershwin, along with a fireworks display following the concert. You can meet Grace in the Park or travel uptown with MaryJane Boland and a group from Saint Mary's after Evening Prayer. For more information, or if you have questions, please contact Grace or MaryJane.
FINE ARTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE . . . I’ve asked Terry Carlson, Thomas Jayne and Dale Reynolds to serve as an advisory committee for me on building projects. Right now, they are working on how we should finish the painting of the stairwell of the parish house, which needed renovation. I want to thank them for their willingness to serve and share their gifts, education and talents. S.G.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are still collecting non-perishable food items and new or “gently used” clothing on Sundays for the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s. Look for the basket at the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall. If you would like to volunteer at the Food Pantry, please speak to Father Smith.
SAINT RAPHAEL’S GUILD OF USHERS . . . We are looking for a few good women and men who are willing to serve as ushers at Mass on Sunday mornings, on holy days, and at Evensong and Benediction on Sunday afternoons during the academic year. Ushers usually serve one Sunday per month. If you like to meet new people, are eager to welcome our visitors, and are willing to help newcomers learn more about the parish, perhaps this ministry is for you. If you are interested, please speak to George Handy, Randy Morgan, or Father Jay Smith.
THE MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY . . . Once again this year, we are seeking patrons and donors willing to defray the costs of the receptions in Saint Joseph’s Hall following Solemn Mass on holy days. We now have a donor who has volunteered to sponsor the reception on All Saint’s Day, Monday, November 1. If you would like more information, or if you would like to volunteer to help on a particular holy day, please contact Father Jay Smith.
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector
The Reverend James Ross Smith, curate
The Reverend Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, deacon
The Reverend John Merz, assisting priest
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus
The Parish Musicians
Mr. James Kennerley, organist and music director
Mr. Lawrence Trupiano, organ curator