FROM THE RECTOR: OVERPLUS
I learned a new word today: overplus. I discovered it in a footnote in the 1928 Prayer Book. It’s a word that makes its first Prayer Book appearance in the English book of 1662. It continues in use in the American books of 1789, 1892 and 1928. “Overplus” means “surplus”—and I don’t think that I’ve ever come across it before. I found it in a rubric that tells us how to cope with the uneven number of Sundays that happen every year in what we now call the Season after Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost.
This year there is an overplus of Sundays—53 of them. This final Sunday of the church year is now formally called “The Last Sunday after Pentecost.” It is commonly known as “Christ the King.” Though a “Feast of Christ the King” at first glance would seem to be a logical conclusion to the church year and an appropriate preparation Advent, it is problematic for both theological and historical reasons.
The theological problem arises because the church has had a feast focused on the kingship of Christ in the West since at least the fourth century: The Epiphany, January 6. That said, from his birth we and the angels proclaim Jesus to be King of kings and Lord of lords. The historical problem is the assertion of papal supremacy by bishops of Rome that lay behind the new feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI created the feast to combat what he called “the plague of anti-clericalism” (Pius XI, Quas Primas, December 11, 1925)—note this was before he concluded a treaty with Mussolini that recognized the Vatican as a sovereign state. When Pope Paul VI revised the Roman Missal in 1970, Christ the King was made the conclusion of the year for the Roman Church. Fortunately, there are more than enough texts in Scripture and hymns to make it work.
We actually have an option this Sunday between two gospel lessons, John 18:33-37 (Jesus before Pilate, “Are you the king of the Jews?”) and Mark 11:1-11 (Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem). Thinking it would be my last opportunity to preach on the appointed gospel from Mark, three years ago we used that gospel. Since then, of course, we have been given permission to use the 1979 Prayer Book Lectionary. So this year, we will use the passage from John with one additional verse, Pilate asking Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Back to “overplus.” Our parish has a tradition of being a Christian community whose common life is grounded in the daily worship of God. Our tradition—increasingly uncommon in our time—is to be a place where our doors are open to all for prayer, witness and refuge seven days a week. This Sunday the board of trustees asks you to make your pledge for the work of the parish in the coming year. It is a tradition of this parish that we give not out of our overplus, but sacrificially to the witness of Christ in this place.
We are so blessed to have an overplus of life and the very special opportunity to serve through Saint Mary’s. Our community chooses Christ as our king every day of the year. Please help us continue to make that choice in the best possible ways in the new year to come. Stephen Gerth
2013 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of November 20, we have reached 49% of our goal of $450,000.00. We still have a ways to go. One statistic is worth sharing: only 30% of those who pledged last year have returned pledge cards so far for 2013. Commitment Sunday is November 25, the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King. You may return pledge cards at all the services on Sunday, and we hope you will. We encourage all our members and friends to return pledge cards as soon as you are able. If have not yet received a pledge packet, but would like to receive one, please contact the parish office, Father Jay Smith or MaryJane Boland. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Cheryl, Eugene, Eileen, Roland, Henrietta, Emil, Richard, Joseph, Sharon, Linda, Arpene, Robert, priest, Paulette, priest, and Rowan, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . November 25: 1906 Theresa Blust; 1914 Eliza Fanio VerPlanck Richardson; 1918 Bertha Grotz; 1921 Herman J. Stoepler; 1965 Henry F. West.
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 . . . Friday, November 30: Saint Andrew the Apostle. Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, November 24. Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, December 1.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Reverend Douglas Fisher, rector of Grace Church, Millbrook, New York, will be consecrated bishop of Western Massachusetts, on Saturday, December 1, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Please keep Father Fisher and his family in your prayers . . . Flowers are needed for December 16, the Third Sunday of Advent; and for January 6 and 20. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch . . . Sister Deborah Francis is on vacation. She returns to the parish on Saturday, December 1 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 217; Thanksgiving 57.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Prélude from Suite pour orgue, Op. 5, by Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986). The setting of the Mass ordinary today is the Morning Service in C and F by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924). The Irish-born Stanford composed a great deal of music in a variety of styles but perhaps is best remembered for his many contributions to Anglican church music. He was professor of music at Cambridge University and the Royal College of Music, London. Stanford produced several complete settings of the Mass ordinary, as well as the morning and evening canticles, all unified by a particular key center and the use of motivic development. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Omnes Gentes, plaudite minibus, a lively setting of Psalm 47, by Christopher Tye (c. 1505–c. 1572). James Kennerley
ADVENT QUIET DAY . . . Father Jim Pace will lead a Quiet Day here at the parish on Saturday, December 15, 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM. The theme of the Quiet Day is "You Will Find a Child: Exploring The Infancy Narratives". Father Pace has planned three meditations–Overview: Making Ready for the Dawn; The Canticles; and Hear, Share, Interpret. Coffee and tea—and lunch—will be provided. If you’d like to attend, please contact Father Jay Smith so he can make plans for lunch. All are welcome.
EPISCOPAL RESPONSE TO AIDS announces the Worlds AIDS Day service will take place on Sunday, December 2, 2012, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, New York at 3:00 PM. The Right Reverend Lawrence Provenzano, bishop of Long Island will be celebrant. All are invited . . . Parishioner Wayne Mahlke is currently serving as chair of the board of directors for this organization. You can learn more about it on its website here.
GIFTS ARE NEEDED to pay for the reception following the Solemn Mass on Friday, December 7. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Aaron Koch in the finance office. We are also always happy to receive donations to cover the costs of our Sunday receptions. Thank you to all who support this important ministry!
ADULT EDUCATION ON SUNDAYS. . . The adult education class will not meet on Sunday, November 25 . . . On Sunday, December 2, 9 & 16, at 10:00 AM, Mother Mary Julia Jett leads a series on the history and theology of the so-called Ritualist Movement in England and America during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The class will examine, and look beyond, the details of ritual, decoration, and aesthetics, attempting to explore, among other things, how the movement was connected to the Oxford Movement; the controversies, riots, and arrests associated with so-called Ritualist practices; what the strengths and weaknesses of the movement were; what the movement can tell us about our own worship; and the connections the “Ritualists” made between the sacraments and social justice. The class is designed to raise and answer questions about the history and identity of this parish, which has, since its founding, been committed to Catholic renewal within the Anglican Communion.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Because of the generosity of several donors, we were able this week to send a check for $550.00 to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to aid with post-Hurricane Sandy relief. We are glad to receive such donations and promise to make sure that they are used for the purposes of hurricane relief; or, if you prefer, donations can be made directly. One can make donations to ERD online. The Diocese of Long Island is also accepting donations online to aid in the relief effort. Donations to aid in the relief effort within the Diocese of New York are being handled by Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York . . . We continue to gather warm clothing – socks, coats of all sizes, sweaters, and sweatshirts — and blankets for distribution to the homeless in our neighborhood. Some of those items, as well as non-perishable food items, will be sent to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please contact Sister Deborah Francis for more information about the Pantry’s work . . . Thank you so much to all those who have been donating books for the Book Sale. Your assistance and generosity are very much appreciated. All proceeds are used to help those in need.
THEATER AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Puppet Shakespeare, a partner of our resident theater company, the American Globe Theatre, will be performing Puppet Romeo and Juliet, January 9-20, 2013, here at Saint Mary’s. The company has this to say about its upcoming show, “PR&J is a ridiculous romp featuring kung fu, kazoos and hot, hot puppet love.” Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for kids (under 18)/students/seniors/anyone who brings a puppet! To make reservations visit the company website. The company charges securely online via PayPal; tickets may also be purchased at the door, using either cash or credit card.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . At the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street, Louis C. Tiffany & the Art of Devotion, October 12, 2012–January 20, 2013. The exhibition will consider the array of church decorations and memorials that Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933) produced beginning in the early 1880s. . . Father Matthew Mead, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Granite Springs—who served here as curate from 2004 to 2009—will be leading a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land June 28 to July 8, 2013. The pilgrimage is open to anyone, and this is an excellent opportunity to visit the Holy Land with a great group of Episcopalians. Please feel free to contact Father Mead for more information.