FROM THE RECTOR: JANUARY TRANSITIONS
Just as Saint Mary’s is very special place for our congregation and the parish’s many friends, it is also a special place for our associated clergy and their families. If Saint Mary’s becomes one’s spiritual home, it is hard to leave and hard to say good-bye. Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins has lived in Nashville, Tennessee, for over a year now. When she first made this move, she and I hoped it would be a temporary one. Though she still hopes to return to the city, it is time to acknowledge this transition has taken place. Just as a bishop can’t be bishop of a diocese in which he or she is not resident, a rector can’t be rector of a parish where he or she doesn’t live, a deacon cannot be a deacon where he or she does not live. We’re going to miss her very much. I look forward to planning a time with her in the spring to celebrate her work here.
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Father Park Bodie will be celebrant and preacher for the Solemn Mass. He and Suzanne Bodie are moving at the beginning of February to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to be near her parents. Park has been a great help to the parish since they landed here after Park’s retirement—and personally since I moved to New York. Suzanne has served as a Solemn Mass usher and is a familiar face and smile to so many. Coffee hour on Sunday will give us a chance to thank them.
Father Paul Burrows took up an interim position at Old Saint Paul’s, Edinburgh, while their rector was away. Paul had expected to return to New York at the beginning of this month, but Saint Paul’s rector, the Reverend Canon Ian Paton, was elected and ordained bishop of St. Andrew’s, Dunkeld and Dunblane last June. We’re not sure when the Scottish Episcopal Church is going to let Paul go.
Twenty years ago, January was a transition month for me. On Sunday, January 10, 1999, my last day as rector of Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana, I officiated at Solemn Evensong & Benediction. The parish had a wonderful celebration for me. It was my first call as a rector. I remain deeply thankful for the opportunity the congregation gave me, a young rector, to learn that I was a priest because I was the pastor—and not the other way around. As excited as I was about the call to Saint Mary’s, I had been deeply thankful to be their rector. Very early on I found the first vestry minute book and learned that “Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana”—the original name of that congregation—had been organized on February 20, 1837. I was born on this same date in 1954.
I hope that many can be here next Sunday to say “See you later” to Suzanne and Park and in the spring for celebration of the ministry of Rebecca. I will be 65 next month. The Episcopal Church requires that I resign as rector no later than March 1, 2026. I have a few years to go yet. We are all in transition. Along the way we break bread and share the cup, a foretaste of the banquet we will share again in the life of the world to come. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dennis, Paula, John, Chuck, Bert, Emil, Alexandra, Kyle, Carolyn, Ivy, Jondan, José, Eloise, Michael, James, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Robert, May, Takeem, David, and Sandy; for Aidan, religious, for Matthew, Horace, Daniel, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Rayazz Kassim and Lamin Sanneh.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 20: 1877 Joseph Bonner McNeill; 1886 Henry Blasson; 1888 Edward Robert Bailey; 1891 William Murray Conway; 1930 William Cochran Martin; 1930 Ellen E. C. Poe.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO RECEIVING YOUR PLEDGE CARD! . . . We encourage all friends and member of the parish to return their pledge cards as soon as possible so that the Budget Committee may continue their work, planning for 2019. Our needs are urgent. Our mission is clear. We welcome your support, and we are grateful to all those who have supported Saint Mary’s so generously in the past.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saturday, January 19, Eve of the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Evening Prayer 5:00 PM, Vigil Mass 5:20 PM . . . Sunday, January 20, The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Monday, January 21, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday Schedule. The church will be open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The noonday services will be offered. The parish office will be closed . . . Wednesday, January 23, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; Wednesday Night Bible Study Class 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. . . Thursday, January 24, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, January 25, The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Centering Prayer Group 6:30–8:00 PM, Atrium, Parish House 2nd Floor.
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We hope to receive donations to help pay for the holy-day receptions on February 1 (Eve of the Presentation), March 25 (Annunciation), April 20 (Easter Eve), and Thursday, May 30 (Ascension Day). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. The total cost of each reception is around $500.00. We appreciate all donations in support of this important ministry. Any and all donations are always used to make up the deficit each year we normally experience in the hospitality budget. When making a donation, please make a note that it is for the Hospitality Ministry, and we thank you.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Saint Mary’s AED (Automated External Defibrillator) lives in the sextons’ lodge, off the narthex, at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church. It is to be used should someone experience sudden cardiac arrest. It is a device that can save lives, since it makes it possible to provide immediate emergency assistance while waiting for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to arrive. Our certification for the use of the AED is about to expire. A number of parishioners and members of the staff have been trained to use the AED. If you would like to attend a half-day refresher course and renew your certification, thus allowing Saint Mary’s to receive recertification please contact Chris Howatt in the parish office . . . We hope to receive donations for altar flowers for the following dates: Sunday, February 10, 17, 24, March 3 and 31, and April 14 (Palm Sunday). Donations for Easter flowers and decorations are also welcome. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Chris Howatt in the parish office . . . Father Stephen Gerth will be away from the parish from Sunday, January 20, until the afternoon of Thursday, January 24 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 154.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday is Canterbury Mass by Anthony Piccolo. Piccolo’s note on the 1996 published edition reads, “Written in 1978 for Dr. Allan Wicks and the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral, these settings were intended for use in the Cathedral’s resonant Nave during the rebuilding of the organ. They are here presented somewhat revised and in accordance with current liturgical practice.” The Mass is scored for unaccompanied mixed choir, mostly in four parts but with occasional further division of voices. The text is disposed efficiently with occasional overlapping of text phrases. Piccolo grew up in New Jersey and completed a master’s degree at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. During a subsequent nine-year residence in England, he sang with cathedral choirs of Litchfield, Canterbury, and Saint Paul’s, London, and performed extensively as a pianist. Returning to the United States, he has remained very active as a composer, pianist, and conductor in a variety of venues.
The motet at Communion is by Calvin Hampton (1938–84). It is one of the yet unpublished choral pieces which he shared with the Mississippi Liturgy and Music conference in 1983. Hampton was a remarkable presence in the New York music community. For many years he was associated with Calvary Church, Gramercy Park, and was known for playing weekly midnight organ recitals on Fridays for several seasons. His dynamic musical voice was generously expressed in music for the organ as well as in varied concert and liturgical applications. His motet This was the first sign reflects upon Saint John’s account of the wedding at Cana where Jesus performed his first public miracle in changing water to wine (John 2:1–11), a Bible passage which we hear at Eucharist only in year C.
The organ prelude is the Fantasia in C minor, BWV 562, of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). Bach’s Fantasia in C minor may well have been modeled after the five-part fugues of Nicolas de Grigny (1672–1703). Its rich ornamentation, close imitation, and harmonic plan seem to combine features of the French, German, and Italian schools of Bach’s time. It appears that Bach originally intended that a fugue follow this Fantasia, as is the case with a similar work in the same key (BWV 537), but only a fragment of such a fugue has survived.
On Friday, February 1, 2019, the Eve of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Dr. Timothy Pyper, organist and interim director of music at the Church of the Holy Apostles, New York City, will play the recital at 5:30 PM. Dr. Pyper’s program includes music by Herbert Howells (1892–1983), Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), and Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983). The music at the Solemn Mass includes Nunc dimittis from Evening Service in Lydian Mode by David Hurd (b. 1950), Mass for Five Voices by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623), and, at Communion, a setting of Psalm 48:9–10 composed by Sir William McKie (1901–1984).
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . On January 13, John Basil, former artistic director of the American Globe Theater, began his four-part series on William Shakespeare, focusing on Hamlet. Those who attended the class found John’s presentation extremely interesting, informative, and amusing. Who knew that Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed a bawdy joke or two? The series continues this coming Sunday, at 10:00 AM in Saint Benedict’s Study. The series is designed to help us read Shakespeare’s language, while looking at some of Shakespeare’s humanist and religious concerns. John writes, “This will be an introduction to William Shakespeare’s first folio and will provide an approach to the text using methods that Shakespeare and his company utilized. The participant will learn how to uncover the character’s physical life from the language. This gutsy, visceral way to analyze Shakespeare’s language teaches the participant how to use the script as a ‘blueprint.’ The Tragedy of Hamlet will be the text explored. We will also hope to uncover all of the Protestant and Catholic references that are hidden in the text.” John will lead the class on January 20, 27, and February 3 . . . On Sunday, February 10, parishioner Mary Robison will make a presentation to the class on an important archival project here at the parish. Mary writes, “On February 10, we’ll look at Saint Mary’s history through its publications, The Arrow (1891-1899) and Ave (1932-2004), now digitized and available for research. What can these documents tell us about our parish and its rectors, from the Gilded Age through World War II? I'll talk about why these publications existed, and discuss how they're useful for research. I'll also mention some of the interesting things I found—the more things change, the more they stay the same! . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on January 23 at 6:30 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. The class, led by Father Jay Smith, is reading the Letter of James. On January 23, we will begin reading at James 4:11. On January 30, the class will be led by Brother Thomas Steffensen SSF.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We have begun our annual winter “Take One, Leave One” Project of placing a basket with woolen scarves, hats, and gloves near the ushers’ table at Forty-sixth Street. These are made available to those in need. We welcome donations of such woolen items. If you are a knitter—or a shopper!—and would like to make a donation, simply place the item in the basket; and we thank you for your generosity . . . Donations and volunteers will be needed for our next Drop-in Day on Wednesday, February 20, and for our Urgent Needs Days, which take place in the former Gift Shop off the Narthex beginning on January 23. We are in particular need at the moment of packs of new, clean socks. Please contact Brother Damien Joseph SSF, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . We continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers’ table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support this ministry with their time, talent, and treasure.
FROM OUR RESIDENT THEATER COMPANY . . . As many Saint Marians know, Royal Family Productions, directed by Christine Henry, is in residence here at the parish, using our third-floor theater space. Royal Family has been working on a new theater piece, Anne of Green Gables: Part I, for a while now. They describe the piece as follows, “Chris Henry’s Anne of Green Gables: Part I is a one-woman, movement-fueled, theatrical experience for all ages, featuring dynamic choreography by Lorna Ventura. Starring Broadway’s Ali Ewoldt, Part I shares the journey of Anne Shirley, an imaginative, red-headed, hot-tempered, eleven-year-old orphan, and what happens when she is accidentally brought in the early years of the twentieth century to the home of two middle-aged, unmarried, and quiet siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, on Prince Edward Island.” Upcoming performances will take place on the following schedule: January 24, 6:30 PM; January 25, 7:00 PM; January 26, 6:30 PM; January 27, 1:00 PM; January 28, 6:30 PM; February 2, 6:30 PM; February 3, 1:00 PM; February 4, 6:30 PM; February 8, 6:30 PM; February 9, 6:30 PM; February 10, 1:00 PM, and February 11, 6:30 PM. Tickets may be purchased online. Royal Family is very kindly offering a 20% discount to the members and friends of Saint Mary’s. Use the code STMARY20 when ordering to receive the discount.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue at East Eighty-sixth Street, February 28–June 24, 2019, The Self-Portrait: From Schiele to Beckmann. From the museum website, “The self-portrait established itself as a genre in visual arts at the beginning of the Renaissance, subsequently expanding its influence over the intervening centuries. It became, however, more prominent with the advent of the twentieth century, especially among Expressionists and in German-speaking countries. ‘The Self-Portrait: from Schiele to Beckmann’ at Neue Galerie New York will profile several renowned painters who were at the center of self-portraiture in modern art. The selected works will show the circumstances and possibilities under which the self-portrait was created in the first half of the twentieth century. Featured artists include Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Felix Nussbaum, and Egon Schiele.”