FROM THE RECTOR: UPDATES AND AUGUST CELEBRATIONS
The best news of the week is that the new lighting for the nave of the church was installed over three nights this past week, July 22, 23, and 24, by IMCD Lighting. Joe Saint and his team have done a wonderful job. Adjustments can be made. We’ve asked Joe to help us with some additional lighting issues in the church—take a look at Stations of the Cross IX and X on Sunday.
The scaffolding for the conservation of the Forty-sixth Street façade of the church continues to rise. As we go to press, we expect this work to be completed by Friday, August 2. Erecting the scaffolding has been delayed for many days this month because of weather and because of a movie being made in our part of Times Square. The next step is material abatement on a portion of the Mission House and the Parish House roofs, the rear of the terra cotta balustrades of the these buildings, and the roofs of the upper and lower setbacks at the main church façade. The work is expected to take ten days, weather permitting. Prior to the commencement of abatement, the design team and contractors will perform tests at the rear of the terra cotta balustrades to help ensure as much historic fabric as possible remains intact. There is a chance testing and then full abatement could begin next week, though more likely it will begin on Monday, August 5.
In the meantime, the silver-plated lantern that hangs before the high altar as a sign that the Sacrament is reserved there has returned from Matthew Hanlon Restorations. It was sent for conservation after we discovered that two of the four chains holding it up had rings that were no longer closed. It was rehung in the chancel following the Solemn Mass last Sunday. Many thanks to all who helped with this project and to sexton Harka Gurung for polishing it.
This year the Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on August 6, a Tuesday. Evening Prayer for the eve of the feast will be prayed on Monday, August 5. On Tuesday, in addition to the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist, a Sung Mass will be celebrated at 6:00 PM. The Transfiguration, an ancient feast in the Christian East, was adopted by the Christian West in the fifteenth century. We are not sure why it was omitted from the Prayer Book at the Reformation. Massey Shepherd (1913–1990) in his The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (1950) wrote, “It is strange that the Reformers omitted this feast of our Lord which has so solid a basis in the Gospels; perhaps they eliminated it because it was of recent (and papal) institution in the Western Church” (page 247). In any case, through the leadership of the then-rector of Grace Church, New York City, the Reverend William Reed Huntington (1838–1909), that celebration entered the second American Prayer Book (1892). The wonderful collect for the day was written by Huntington (The Book of Common Prayer , 191, 243).
Thursday, August 15, is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There will be a Sung Mass at 12:10 PM and Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM—and an organ recital before the Solemn Mass at 5:30 PM. Daily Morning Prayer will be sung, instead of said, in honor of the feast. The 1979 Prayer Book is the first American book to include the commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on this date. Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson write, “the oldest Marian feast in existence is usually identified as the 15 August celebration of Mary Theotokos [God-bearer], having its origins in Jerusalem and first documented in the fifth-century Armenian Lectionary, one of our major guides to liturgical life in fourth-century Jerusalem” (The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity , 206).
In the service bulletin for Sunday, August 13, 1972, the Reverend Donald L. Garfield, (1924–1996; rector 1965–1978), wrote, “The Assumption of our Lady is celebrated this Tuesday, August 15, with Mass at 7:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. and High Mass with procession at 6:00 p.m. We have not heretofore had Mass sung when August 15 was a weekday, but it seems right to keep holy-day with full solemnity, since it is our feast of title, Saint Mary the Virgin, in the new Calendar of the Episcopal Church. Let us all rejoice in the Mother of our Lord, and keep holy-day in honour of her heavenly home-coming.” A Solemn Mass has been celebrated here for this feast since 1972. The Prayer Book title for the day is “Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” I hope many can join us. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Marie, Ryan, Jennifer, Rita, Bryan, Dianna, Beulah, Cyrisse, Wendell, May, Willard, Alexandra, Karen, Carolyn, Ivy, Marilouise, Takeem, Carmen, Michael, and Burton; and Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; Melissa and James, bishops; all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Charles Postlewate, John Hoffman, Merrianne Hoffman, Doug Morrison, Doris Bretzger-McLellan, and Melissa Dorssom . . . GRANT THEM PEACE: July 28: 1922 Charles Goldsborough Stirling; 1962 Anna Stambaugh Marais.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Charles Postlewate, the brother of parishioner Marie Postlewate, died unexpectedly on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. He was seventy-eight years old. After receiving a B.S. in mechanical engineering, Charles soon turned his attention to music, earning degrees in music and guitar performance. He taught music and classical guitar in Michigan and Texas. He was associate professor of music at the University of Texas at Arlington when he retired in 2006. During his musical career, Charles performed at concerts and in recitals throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. He is survived by his wife, Marisa Herrera Postlewate, his children and grandchildren, and several siblings, including Marie Postlewate. Please keep Charles, Marisa, Marie, and their family in your prayers . . . Doris Bretzger-McLellan, the sister of parishioner Emil Bretzger, died on July 4, 2019. She was a longtime resident of Freeport, New York, where she taught for many years in the public schools. She is survived by her daughters, her grandson, and her brothers, Emil and Donald. Please keep Doris, Emil, and their family in your prayers . . . Eloise Hoffman will be away this weekend to attend a memorial service for her sister-in-law Merrianne Hoffman, who died on June 16, 2019. Eloise’s cousin, Doug Morrison, died on May 25, 2019. Merrianne’s husband, John Hoffman, died on June 17, 1990. Please keep Merrianne, Doug, John, Eloise, and this family in your prayers.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, July 28, The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Summer Worship Schedule: Morning Prayer 8:30 AM; Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM; Solemn Mass 11:00 AM; Evening Prayer 5:00 PM . . . Wednesday, July 31, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; Ministry to the Homeless: Grab and Go, 2:00–3:00 PM, Narthex . . . Friday, August 2, Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Many thanks to all who assisted in preparing for and caring for worshippers on Sunday, July 21, when a heat wave covered the city. A special word of thanks to Br. Damien Joseph SSF for undertaking many different tasks. Much appreciated! . . . Thinking about baptism or confirmation? The bishop of New York will be with us to celebrate our patronal feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this year on Monday, December 9, at 6:00 PM. We will be celebrating the rites of initiation, baptism, confirmation, and reception at this Solemn Eucharist. If you have been thinking and praying about taking such a step, please speak to a member of the clergy. We would be glad to be of help . . . Father Jay Smith will be away on vacation between Tuesday, July 23, and Tuesday, August 6. He returns to the office on Wednesday, August 7 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 116; Saint Mary Magdalene 52; Saint James the Apostle 64.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . Bass-baritone Joe Chappel, a regular member of the choir of Saint Mary’s, will be cantor for the Solemn Mass on Sunday, July 28, 2019. During the ministration of Communion he will sing an arrangement of the African-American spiritual Deep River by Moses Hogan (1957–2003). Hogan was born in New Orleans. His uncle was organist and music director and his father a bass chorister at the Baptist church his family attended as a child. Hogan’s own musical abilities were recognized and cultivated in his early years. He majored in piano at Oberlin College and then pursued graduate study at The Juilliard School and abroad. He was a prize-winning pianist, but his musical career rapidly developed around his abilities in choral arrangement and direction. His extensive catalogue of spiritual arrangements, widely published and recorded, has reinvigorated the modern performance of that great American heritage of song, both at home and abroad. The career of this remarkable African-American musician was regrettably shortened by a brain tumor.
The organ prelude and postlude today are also works based upon African-American spirituals. David Hurd, organist and music director at Saint Mary’s, composed four short organ preludes on spirituals between 1994 and 2001. These were ultimately gathered and published as a suite dedicated to distinguished historian and musician Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry of Washington, DC. The first and second of the preludes, Oh, what a beautiful city and Go down, Moses comprise today’s prelude. The postlude, like the communion vocal solo, is based on Deep River, and is the last of the suite. —David Hurd.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Our next Drop-in Day will take place on Wednesday, August 21, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, in the Mission House basement. On those Wednesdays when a Drop-in Day does not take place, we continue to offer our Grab-and-Go days—from 2:00 to 3:00 PM—in the former Gift Shop off the church Narthex. On those days, basic, even emergency, items can normally be provided—socks, underwear, toiletry articles, and, in the winter months, cold-weather clothing. Please contact Brother Damien if you would like to donate cash, clothing, or toiletry articles, or to volunteer for this important ministry . . . We continue to receive donations of canned goods and other nonperishable food items for the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Donations may be placed in the basket next to the Ushers’ Table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.