FROM THE RECTOR: WE ARE OPEN
As I write, lots of things are still on a day-by-day basis here in New York City in the wake of the hurricane. Devastation in low-lying areas continues to be revealed. Tragic stories of deaths are heard. A newswoman this morning remarked that the view south last night from her apartment in midtown reminded her of being in South Korea and looking north across the border: all dark, no lights at all. But people carried on. Public transportation is being restored. We are hearing stories of people doing extraordinary things to help others. As in the recent past, when something goes wrong, there’s no better place to be than in the city of New York.
Let me begin by thanking in particular our sextons for their flexibility this week. Their ability and willingness to rearrange their schedules meant we were able to be open daily. We closed early on Monday and Tuesday. Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer and Mass were offered and a number of Twelve-Step groups were able to meet. The church itself was a place of refuge for many who had nowhere else to go. Thank you to all of the staff. Thank you to all whose gifts keep these doors open for all.
On All Hallows’ Eve, as is our custom, Solemn Evensong was sung. James Kennerley and three members of the choir sang a motet as we entered and the choir sang the great canticles of Evening Prayer as well. It was beautiful. As the procession left the church at 6:40 PM, I turned and counted twenty-two persons, the total number of us in the church—not so many. But, on this occasion it really seemed as if we were doing this on behalf of a much larger community and for the intentions of all of our sisters and brothers.
As I write on the morning of All Saints’ Day, Morning Prayer has been sung and the church is being readied for the services of the rest of the day and for a new exhibit of paintings in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Bishop Griswold made it to New York yesterday by bus as rail service to New York is still suspended. I’m not a great fan of the expression, “We’re Here For You”—it always reminds me of the men in the white coats coming for Blanche DuBois at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire. But, tonight I know we will be here for many who cannot come. We want to witness to God’s presence and providence in the midst of “the shortness and uncertainty of life,” to use the words of the Prayer Book.
The appointed lessons and prayers for All Saints’ have been deservedly beloved for generations. The modest revision of these prayers for the present Prayer Book are a real model of editorial sensitivity. When a first reading was needed for the Eucharist—there used to be only one reading before the gospel, not two—a familiar lesson from All Saints’ Day Morning Prayer was chosen. It begins, “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations.” The collect that spoke of “unspeakable joys” became “ineffable joys”—unspeakable no longer means what it once meant; ineffable sounds as if it’s always been there. The “crown of glory that fadeth not away” is still a phrase for our traditional language rite, but I’ve also grown to really like the contemporary words too, “the crown of glory that never fades away.”
One of the challenges for me on All Saints’ Day is not to become emotional during the singing of “For all the saints” at the preparation of the gifts. When it’s over, the celebrant needs to be ready to turn to the congregation and begin the Eucharistic Prayer. Bishop Griswold will have that challenge tonight. As we sing “From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,” I and, I hope, almost everyone else in the church will be, in Charles Wesley’s words, “lost in wonder, love and praise.” Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Kristi, Tim, Charlotte, Daniel, Emil, Robert, Mark, Richard, David, Joseph, Harriet, Sharon, Linda, Arpene, John, priest, and Rowan, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew; and for the repose of the souls of George Grimes, Rafael Perez, and Louis Rispoli . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 4: 1887 George Washington Bailey; 1917 Mary Margaret Pike; 2001 Karen Lomax Benson.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Rafael Perez, the brother of Roberto Perez, died suddenly last week in the Dominican Republic. Please keep Rafael, Roberto, their family and friends, and all who mourn, in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
EPISCOPAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT is receiving donations for work in all affected areas—and is already at work in our own diocese. You can find information about the activities and how to support them at their website.
THE DIOCESAN CONVENTION HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED because of Hurricane Sandy. It will now be held on Saturday, November 17, at the cathedral.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, November 4, 10:00 AM: Father Peter Powell begins his three-part series on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study class meets on November 7 at 6:30 PM . . . Father Stephen Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, November 3. Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, November 10.
PARISH REQUIEMS . . . At the Parish Requiem Masses the prayers will be offered for the departed by the last name of the person making the request, according to the following schedule: Monday, November 5, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names A-G); Tuesday, November 6, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names H-M); Thursday, November 8, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names N-R); Friday, November 9, Mass at 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM (Last Names S-Z).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Daylight Saving Time ends this coming Sunday, November 4, at 2:00 AM. Clocks should be moved back one hour . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, November 18, and for the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch . . . The Rector will be away from the parish from Tuesday, November 6. He returns to the office on Wednesday, November 14 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 206.
2013 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Because of the inclement weather this week, the Stewardship Committee decided to mail the annual stewardship packet a few days later than it had planned. Please return pledge cards as soon as you are able. If you don’t receive a pledge card by the end of next week, but would like to receive one, please contact Father Jay Smith. Commitment Sunday is November 25, the Last Sunday after Pentecost: The Feast of Christ the King.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at the Solemn Mass on Sunday is the Andante tranquillo from Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 3 in A Major. Mendelssohn wrote six organ “sonatas” (they were originally called “voluntaries”) at the request of an English publisher, and they remain very much the backbone of the organist’s repertoire. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Mass No. 6 in G Major (Missa Sancti Nicolai), H. 22/6, by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809). For a large portion of his life, Haydn was the Kapellmeister (“music director”) to the Esterházy family (notably Nikolaus Esterházy). This Mass was composed in 1772, and, stylistically, is a missa pastorale (“pastoral mass”), sung during Advent and reminiscent of those musical techniques often associated with Christmas—gentle, lilting rhythms, simple melodies, movement in thirds, and a “pastoral” key (the key of G Major). The motet is Sing the Lord, ye voices all, the final chorus from The Creation, Hob. XXI:2, also by Haydn . . . I will play the organ recital before Evensong and Benediction on Sunday afternoon. The recital begins at 4:40 PM. The program includes music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) and Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986). James Kennerley
SUNDAY ADULT EDUCATION IN NOVEMBER . . . Father Peter Powell begins a three-week series Sunday mornings beginning November 4 in the Adult Forum at 10:00 AM on the Letter to the Romans. Father Powell writes, “Like Rome in Paul’s day Saint Mary’s sits at the ‘crossroads of the world.’ Realizing the sophistication of his audience, Paul introduces himself to the Romans and plunges into the issues of being Christian. His letter is as relevant today as it was in the middle of the first century; it is usually the starting point for scholars seeking to establish what it means to be a Christian. Many things we take for granted as part of Christianity were not clear to Paul or to the Romans. There is, for instance, no developed doctrine of the Trinity in Paul. In Romans, Paul writes about God’s faithfulness, not Christ’s. The Risen Lord is clearly subordinate to the Father. In Romans Paul argues that one can be Christian without being Jewish. While this is obvious to us it raises the question of whether we have to meet the current requirements of Christianity to be faithful. In other words, can one be ‘spiritual but not religious’? This is very much a contemporary question as many people we know reject the church but embrace spirituality. I believe that Paul would argue that spirituality needs a context in order to be viable. In this course we’ll examine Paul’s letter to the Romans as an introduction to the implications of Christianity for us.”
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Thank you so much to all those who have been donating books for the Book Sale. Your assistance and generosity are very much appreciated . . . We are beginning now to gather toys and other gift items for children of all ages. They will be donated in November to the New York Foundling Hospital and AIDS Action International. Donations can be left, with a note on them explaining what they are for, in the parish kitchen or you may give the items to Father Jay Smith . . . We are also receiving donations of small- or medium-sized luggage to be used by children in foster care. The luggage is given to the Foundling Hospital. Please contact Father Jay Smith if you would like to make such a donation.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . The Anglican Society of the United States is the publisher of The Anglican, a journal dedicated to Anglican theology, history, and spirituality. The mission of the Society, and of the journal, which is edited by the Rev. Robert Solon, is “to promote and maintain the Catholic doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church in accordance with the principles and contents of the Book of Common Prayer and in the context of an on-going exploration and affirmation of Anglican identity and self-understanding.” For more information about the Society and about the journal, please visit the society’s website or speak to Mary Robison . . . On Tuesday, November 13, the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop of New Hampshire, will visit the General Theological Seminary for a screening of Love Free or Die, a documentary about the bishop’s life, ministry, and advocacy on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. After the screening, Bishop Robinson will be available to speak with the audience. Admission is free and open to the public. The screening begins at 7:45 PM in Seabury Auditorium . . . Sunday, November 18, 3:00 PM, the Church of the Transfiguration, 1 E. 29th Street, Episcopal Actors’ Guild Memorial Service, to honor all those artists and those working in the theatre and film and music industries who died in the past year.