FROM THE RECTOR: EASTER PASSAGE
My mother, Barbara Knoeller, died yesterday, Wednesday, April 24, at 5:25 AM at the nursing home in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she had lived for the last five years. She will be buried on Saturday, April 27, at her parish, Trinity Church, Saint Mary’s City, Maryland.
I saw her just last week. A couple of days later, my brother Ralph and his family also visited my mother. On this trip, my brother was able to take his four-month-old daughter Sydney, the one granddaughter whom my mother had never met before. My mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had smiled when she saw me walking into the dining room. After his family’s visit, Ralph told me mom had beamed when she saw Sydney.
My mother and my stepfather, William Knoeller, were in an automobile accident in 2007. Bill died; my mother survived several life-threatening injuries. After the accident, Alzheimer’s finally took over her life. She was never able to return home. My sister and her family live in Fairfax County and so does one of my mother’s brothers and his wife. So, our family decided this is where she should be cared for. Most months since then I have made the journey to Virginia to visit her. The last real conversations with her, though, happened in the summer of 2007.
My mother’s biology, aside from the Alzheimer’s, was very strong. She worked hard all of her life and she took care of herself. I can remember standing with my brother in the trauma center of Inova Fairfax Hospital after the accident. We both knew she would survive, if an infection didn’t get her—and she did. Because of my mother’s intensity and energy—and a mind that remembered everything, it was so surprising, so sad, for all who knew her that she was afflicted with this disease.
There are some recognized patterns to the progression of Alzheimer’s. Once my mother healed from the car accident, she became a walker—she walked a great deal of the day within the facility area. She fell a couple of years ago and broke her hip. She was confined to a wheelchair after that. Considering how sharp she could be when she was upset about something, she was a very quiet person with this disease. Some days I know she was sad, most days she was very peaceful. She seemed to recognize me as I walked into the room—often she would raise her arm, point and smile as I walked in towards her. I wondered from time to time if her brain was confusing me with my stepfather. I think we kissed more in the last few years than the rest of my adult life. But I was her firstborn. If she wanted kisses, she got them.
There are many things I could share about my mother with the readers of this newsletter. Since it is Eastertide, I want you to know my mother was a practicing Christian all of her life. She became an Episcopalian after her marriage to Bill—mostly because she thought her stepdaughters should not skip church on weekends when they were with their father. Mark Anschutz was then the rector of Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia. She liked his preaching, and since she had been reared Southern Baptist, that mattered a lot to her.
We never knew when any visit would be our last. Thanks to cell-phone technology, I was always able to take a few pictures when I was with her. And I always held her hands, even though they would be shaking and were never still. I do not want to forget her touch, her love, her voice.
I’m sure I will not be here on Sunday, April 28. I want to thank Father Smith and everyone else who has been so helpful this week in sorting things out for me. I know the gospel for Sunday is Jesus’ words that all people will know his disciples by the love they have for one another. I thank you for the love of Christ you have shown me in this place. Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Ruth, Eloise, Sharon, Linda, Cheryl, Gypsy, Wayne, Charles, Robert, Alex, Christopher, Jane, Diana, Dolores, Eileen, Arpene, Stephen, priest, Paulette, priest, Park, priest, and John, priest; for the repose of the soul of Barbara Knoeller; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially John, Elizabeth, and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . April 28: 1891 Philo Shelter; 1900 George E. Wise; 1916 William Laverty; 1926 Eugenia Bethune Stein; 1936 Julia Loraine Gibord Habich; 1939 Christina Maresca.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Barbara Knoeller, Father Gerth’s mother, died on Wednesday, April 24, after a long illness. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Trinity Church, Saint Mary’s City, Maryland, or to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square. Please keep Mrs. Knoeller, Father Gerth, their family and friends, and all who mourn, in your prayers.
2013 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . As of April 18, we have reached 95% of our goal of $450,000.00. 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. We are so very close to our goal! We invite all the readers of the newsletter to join our efforts to balance our budget and fulfill our mission. 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 . . . Sunday, April 28, 9:45 AM, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House. The Adult Forum will meet at 10:00 AM on Sunday in the Mission House . . . Monday, April 29, Meeting of the Board of Trustees, 6:30 PM . . . Wednesday, May 1, Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles, Mass at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, May 1, 7:00 PM (note later time), The Bible Study Class will meet in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Mother Mary Julia Jett will hear confessions on Saturday, April 27. Father Jay Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, May 4.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held following the Solemn Mass on Sunday, May 5, 2013. The meeting will receive reports from parish organizations, staff and the board of trustees. The meeting will elect two delegates and two alternate delegates to serve as our representatives to the annual diocesan convention . . . Jeremiah Burch attends church school here at Saint Mary’s and is an active acolyte. He has also, at his young age, had considerable experience as a performer. He recently appeared in the national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. From May 29 to June 9, 2013, Jeremiah is appearing in a leading role in a revival of the musical Rags, at the Connelly Theatre, 220 East Fourth Street. Visit the Beautiful Soup Theater for more information . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 218.
AIDS WALK 2013 . . . Last year, Saint Mary's AIDS Walk Team did extraordinarily well. It ranked 23rd among the 3,410 teams that walked in 2012. That money continues to be used by Gay Men’s Health Crisis in the fight against AIDS and to provide education, treatment, and care for people who are at risk of infection, are HIV-positive, or have AIDS. This is one of Saint Mary's major outreach efforts. Fifty percent of last year’s Maundy Thursday offering went to the AIDS Walk. Fundraising for AIDS Walk 2013 is now underway. Our team will walk on May 19 after Solemn Mass and before Evensong & Benediction. You are invited to join as a walker and fundraiser. Everyone is invited to make a contribution to our team. A link to the team’s web page is here. Copies of our informational flyer can be found on the table near the church entrances. You can also contact Father Jay Smith or MaryJane Boland, the team coordinator. We thank you for your support.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Méditation, Opus Post., by Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986). The setting is Communion Service in E (“Collegium Regale”) by Harold Darke (1888–1976). An English composer and organist, Darke was organist of Saint Michael’s Church, Cornhill, London for fifty years. He was acting organist of King’s College, Cambridge, during the Second World War, substituting for Boris Ord. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Ye choirs of new Jerusalem by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) . . . At 4:40 PM on Sunday, the organ recital will be played by Mark Peterson, a member of Saint Mary’s and a fabulous organist. He will play works by Bach and Mendelssohn. James Kennerley
CONGRATULATIONS . . . It was announced earlier this week that James Kennerley, our organist and music director, has won the composition competition of the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM). The challenge posed to this year’s competitors was to compose a hymn tune to fit a text written by George Washington Doane (1799-1859), “Thou art the Way.” Bishop Doane’s text is written in what is known as “common meter” (CM). Therefore, James’s prize-winning tune can be used with a great number of texts, in addition to the Doane text. AAM is a group of Anglican clergy and musicians working, based in North America, and the competition was open to the entire membership. James’s composition will be featured at this year’s AAM conference in Denver, Colorado (June 30-July 4). In addition, James and Guadalupe Peraza, a member of our parish choir, were semi-finalists in the recent New York Oratorio Society solo competition, which is one of the few singing competitions that features sacred music, rather than opera. Furthermore, as was noted in an earlier edition of the newsletter, Mr. Kennerley was recently named as one of the semi-finalists at the Longwood Gardens organ competition, to be held in June. Congratulations, James and Guadalupe!
HOSPITALITY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We have received a donation to pay for the costs of the reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 9. We are very grateful to the donor and to all those who continue to support this essential ministry. The next reception will take place on Assumption Day, Thursday, August 15. If you would like to sponsor the reception in August, please contact the parish office or speak to Father Jay Smith . . . We are also always happy to receive donations to help defray the costs of our hospitality ministry on Sundays.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . On Sunday, April 28, at 10:00 AM, Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins will begin a three-part series in the Adult Forum, entitled, Angles of Anglican Poetry: Clerics, Converts, Contrarians, and Crossovers. Rebecca will be discussing the work of Donne, Herbert, Hopkins, Rossetti, and Eliot, among others. The last class of the Sunday-morning Adult Forum will take place on Sunday, May 12. Classes will resume in October, after the summer break . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on May 1 and May 8 at 7:00 PM. Note the later time: class follows the evening services on those days. May 8 is the last class of the season. Bible Study will resume in October. Jay Smith
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . Women’s History Exhibition: As part of the ongoing efforts to document the important role of women in the history of our church, and in light of the thirtieth anniversary of the first attempts of women to be ordained in the Episcopal Church, the Christoph Keller, Jr., Library at the General Theological Seminary has mounted a new exhibition. The exhibition features recently-discovered archival material relating to the Church of Saint Mary, Manhattanville, on West 126th Street, and that parish’s sponsorship of Carter Heyward and Emily Hewitt for ordination to the priesthood in the early 1970s. Along with the vestry papers of Allen Mellen, this exhibit will feature materials from the archives of the diocese of New York, as well as materials from the Keller Library’s Special Collections. The exhibit will be in place at the library from April 8 through the beginning of June. Mary Robison, reference librarian and archivist, will lead a brief tour on Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 PM, to introduce parishioners from Saint Mary’s, Manhattanville; Saint Mark’s, Teaneck, New Jersey, and our own parish to the exhibit and to the seminary. Please contact Mary for more information.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Electronic versions of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger’s “Guide to Free Food and Assistance” are available here . . . We continue to gather non-perishable food items for Saint Clement’s Pantry. Please contact Sister Deborah Francis for more information about the Pantry’s work . . . Donations to the Bishop Sisk Fund for the Care of Children in the Diocese of New York may be made here . . . The Book Sale in Saint Joseph’s Hall continues on Sunday morning. All proceeds are used to help those in need.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, May 5, the Sixth Sunday of Easter: May Crowning & Annual Meeting . . . Wednesday, May 8, Eve of Ascension Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, May 9, Ascension Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Noonday Prayer 12:00 PM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM, the Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, celebrant and preacher . . . May 19, The Day of Pentecost . . . May 26, Trinity Sunday . . . Monday, May 27, Memorial Day. Federal Holiday schedule . . . June 2, The Body & Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi, Solemn Mass, Procession to Times Square, and Eucharistic Benediction, 11:00 AM.