FROM THE RECTOR: EVANGELICAL WORSHIP
In 1789, the newly formed Protestant Episcopal Church adopted its first Prayer Book. By then, the church had been disestablished in every state in which it had been the established church before the revolution. At the time, it wasn’t at all clear that the Episcopal Church, or the United States itself, would find a new way forward. However, just like the country, the Episcopal Church did just that.
The “Preface” to the Prayer Book has been printed at the beginning of every American Prayer Book since the first in 1789. It begins with a summary of the Anglican tradition and alludes to changes to the church’s worship as “those alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the prayers for our Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution” (The Book of Common Prayer  10). Still, the Preface famously concludes its summary, by stating that “this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local circumstances require” (The Book of Common Prayer  11).
I’m not sure, however, that the Preface’s final paragraph is as well known among us as it should be. It is about the evangelical nature of this church. In 1789, if there were to be a Protestant Episcopal Church, everyone knew it had to grow and to grow; it had to be doing the work of the Lord:
And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true member of our Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
We don’t use the same words, but I hope we have the same purpose: to make Jesus Christ known to others in the most powerful way because we believe he is our Lord and Savior. To be the Episcopal Church is to be a church with “evangelical worship.”
For most of the nineteenth century, many church leaders, clergy and laity, tried to alter the Prayer Book to make its services more flexible for use by and with newcomers to the faith and to respond to the theological challenges of the day. There were many reasons they were unable to do so between the adoption of the first book in 1789 and the second in 1892—a book with very few changes from the first. One might say, as important as our books have been, there has been something else important to our mission: the call we hear from God to share and celebrate the Good News.
I believe you and I hear that same call today. Our new bishop has already made clear that he hears this call. It’s the call that brought Saint Mary’s first rector Thomas McKee Brown and a group of laypersons to found this parish for what was a new neighborhood in 1868. There is nothing quite like Saint Mary’s when our congregations are at prayer. Your presence, your prayers and your gifts make this evangelical worship possible. You make Saint Mary’s a place where so many can be, in the words of Charles Wesley, “lost in wonder, love and praise.” Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Krisleah, Sharon, Christopher, Margaret, Errol, Robert, Cheryl, Rick, Tiffany, Wendy, Stephen, Dolores, Donna, Judy, Philip, Barbara, Eileen, Linda, Arpene, Rowan, priest, and Paulette, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Matthew; and for the repose of the soul of Alan Wayne Lee . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 3: 1884 Mary Stephanie Butterfield; 1886 Mary Garrettena Fiske; 1888 Daniel S. Mygott; 1891 Mary Coddington; 1904 John Townsend Willis; 1923 Maria Rebecca Miller; 1924 Mary Wilhelmina Neuspickel; 1944 Julius Rodriguez Amoros; 1983 Chaney Van Buren and John Alexander Ellis.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Alan Wayne Lee, the father of parishioner Christopher Lee, died on Sunday, January 27. Alan visited Saint Mary’s several times in recent years and is fondly remembered by many Saint Marians. Alan’s memorial service was held on January 31 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, in Charlotte, North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, Alan and Chris’s family has requested that donations be made to the Urban Ministry Center, 945 N. College Street, Charlotte, NC 28206. Please keep Alan, Chris, 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. Friday abstinence is not observed on Friday evening, February 1, as we begin the celebration of the Presentation.
2013 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of January 31, we have reached 88% of our goal of $450,000.00. As we reach the end of January, we still very much hope that we will receive pledges from those who are new to the parish or who have never pledged before. We invite all friends and members of the parish to make a pledge for 2013. As the Stewardship Committee has written, “All of Saint Mary’s members and friends can help us provide a spiritual home at the Crossroads of the World. Saint Mary’s exists to heal the spiritual wounds inflicted by an indifferent and sometimes cruel world. We offer our building, our music and our clergy and parishioners as a living presence of spiritual healing in Times Square.” We invite all the readers of the newsletter to join our efforts to balance our budget and fulfill our mission. We are very grateful to all those who have made a pledge for 2013. If you have questions, or if you would like to receive a pledge card, please contact the parish office.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . The Presentation will be celebrated at Solemn Mass on Friday, February 1, at 6:00 PM and at the 12:10 PM Mass on Saturday, February 2 . . . Saturday, February 2, 10:30 AM, Installation of Bishop Andrew M.L. Dietsche as bishop of New York at the cathedral . . . Sunday, February 3, The Blessing of Throats will be offered immediately following Solemn Evensong which begins at 5:00 PM. The annual Super Bowl Party also follows Evensong . . . Church School for younger children meets this Sunday at 9:45 AM in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, February 3, at 10:00 AM, in the Mission House . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on February 6 at 6:30 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Father Jim Pace will hear confessions on Saturday, February 2. Father Stephen Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, February 9.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Congratulations to Wayne Mahlke who has been re-elected chair of the board of Episcopal Response to AIDS and to Father Jim Pace who was elected to a three-year term on the board . . . Altar Flowers are needed for February 10. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 209.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass ordinary this Sunday is Missa Inter Vestibulum by Francisco Guerrero (1528–1599), one of the greatest Spanish composers of the sixteenth century. Unlike the more famous Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611), Guerrero spent most of his career in Spain, much of it as maestro de capilla of Seville Cathedral (Victoria spent many years in Rome). This Mass, published in 1566, is among Guerrero’s eighteen Mass settings. It is based on a Lenten motet by Cristóbal Morales of the same name. Most notably, Guerrero uses the motet’s opening motif, that of a descending scale of a fourth, and employs it most distinctively at the start of each of the Mass movements. As was Guerrero’s custom, the Agnus Dei increases to six voice parts, and includes an exact canon in three parts–trinitas in unitate–a particularly deft feat for any composer. The motet is sung during Communion is Magi viderunt stellam by Guerrero’s pupil, Tomás Luis de Victoria . . . I will play the Sunday organ recital at 4:40 PM. Music is by Herbert Howells . . . A reminder: on Saturday, February 9, I will perform Joseph Jongen’s magnificent organ concerto, Symphonie Concertante, with the New York Repertory Orchestra here at Saint Mary’s. Admission is free. James Kennerley
HOSPITALITY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our annual Super Bowl Party will take place on Sunday, February 3, after Evensong & Benediction. If you would like to bring food or beverages to share, please contact Grace Bruni. Whether you are a football fan or not, this is a good party and a wonderful time for members and friends of the parish to spend some time together. It is also a great opportunity to introduce newcomers to our community. All are welcome! . . . Donations are most welcome for the receptions following our feast-day receptions this year. We are still looking for help with our receptions on Candlemas (February 2) and on the feast of the Annunciation (April 8). We also welcome donations to assist with our hospitality efforts on Sundays. Hospitality is a crucial part of both outreach and evangelism at Saint Mary’s. The Budget Committee and the Board of Trustees has allocated additional funds this year for this ministry. We ask for your help with this ministry and we thank all those who have made donations to our hospitality fund. If you have questions, please speak to Father Gerth, Father Smith, or parish treasurer Steven Heffner.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Adult Forum continues on Sunday, February 3, at 10:00 AM, in the Mission House. This week we continue our three-part Faith and Work series. Two members of the parish will discuss the intersection of faith, prayer, spirituality, society, and work in their lives. Father Jay Smith will moderate the discussion . . . On Sunday, February 17, Father Peter Powell will resume his series on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans . . . On Wednesday, February 20, at 6:30 PM, Mother Mary Julia Jett will take over the leadership of the mid-week Bible Study Class. This class will begin a discussion of the Book of the Prophet Zechariah . . . The Sunday-morning Adult Forum takes place in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House. The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class is held, when possible, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. Newcomers are always welcome at all of our adult-education classes. James Ross Smith
THE VISUAL ARTS PROJECT (VAP) . . . The work of Beatriz Elorza Herra will have its formal opening at the reception following Solemn Mass on Friday, February 1. Beatriz is both an architect and a painter. She trained as an architect in her native Spain. At present, Beatriz is a student at the Art Students League here in New York. She has exhibited her work extensively, both in Europe and in the United States. One notable element of her work is her use of color and composition to create a certain tension but also, paradoxically, a sense of harmony in her paintings. José Vidal
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, February 9, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, music director & James Kennerley, organ soloist. Music by Hovhaness, Jongen and Busoni. Admission is free . . . Saturday, April 6, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra. Music by Guzzo, Smetana, Bottesini, and Elgar. Admission is free.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Donations to aid in the post-Hurricane Sandy relief effort within the Diocese of New York continue to be handled by Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York . . . For information about how to volunteer for post-hurricane relief efforts in Brooklyn and Staten Island, please visit the website of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen . . . 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 . . . The Book Sale continues on Sunday. All proceeds benefit those in need. Thank you to all those who have donated books for the sale. Your generosity is most appreciated.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . February 13, Ash Wednesday . . . Stations of the Cross, Fridays in Lent at 6:30 PM . . . Monday, February 18, Washington’s Birthday (commonly known as “Presidents’ Day”), Federal Holiday schedule . . . Sunday March 10, Daylight Saving Time begins.