The Angelus

Volume 8, Number 5

From The Rector: Christmas Light

There are many moments of great emotion for me during Mass on Christmas Eve.  Usually it is not much of a problem because these moments don’t occur in any of the places in the liturgy where I am saying or singing something by myself.  Two are pretty close.  During the last verse of O come, all ye faithful the image of the Christ child is being placed in the crèche.  During the last verse of Once in royal David’s city we are all standing below the great rood beam with its outstandingly powerful crucifix.  It’s hard for me to keep the tears back.

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Volume 8, Number 4

From the Rector: Annunciations

The Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of this parish require that there be an annual meeting of the board within eight days of our patronal feast.  This year the board met on Monday, December 12, following the evening Mass, celebrated by the Bishop of New York.  He was here to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the consecration of this second and present church home by the Right Reverend Henry C. Potter,

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Volume 8, Number 3

From the Rector: Advent and Christmas at Saint Mary’s

One of the many grace-filled movements of the Church’s life was the development of an annual cycle of worship that focuses us on the events of Christ’s life.  We do very few “theme” days in the great tradition.  Salvation in Christ is always more than an idea.  It is rooted in the life of Christ, his living and dying as the Word made flesh.  He was born.  He lived.  He was crucified.  He rose.  He reigns in heaven.  For us Christians, these are not ideas.  His death was not an idea.  It was a bloody and evil cross.  His resurrection is the central event of history.

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Volume 8, Number 2

From the Rector: Our Patronal Feast

The founders of this parish, led by our first rector, the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, shared in a glorious vision of Christian community and worship.  It was a vision that looked beyond the divisions within the Christian community and forward beyond the life the Christian churches and our Episcopal Church of its day knew.  They glimpsed glory and beauty in worship which could win souls to Christ.  They sought the vision glorious of man and God.  And when the opportunity arose to take this parish from its small beginnings on three lots on West 45th Street to the church home we have today, they took it.

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Volume 8, Number 1

From the Rector: Generous Vision

As the sun sets on Saturday, November 26, in this year of grace 2005, the Church will enter its new year.  In contrast to the world outside, a rich simplicity will take hold of the Church.  Advent’s purple will adorn our altar.  There will be no flowers save for one Sunday when the purple softens to rose.

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Volume 7, Number 51

From the Rector: Ducks, Cats and Dogs

I went online last week to locate the well-known children’s tale usually called “The Little Red Hen.”  Of course it’s a story I’ve known all my life.  But I couldn’t remember the details.  Briefly, the hen finds a grain of wheat, plants it, tends it, harvests the crop, has the wheat ground into flour and then bakes bread.  At every step she encounters a duck, a cat and a dog.  None has time to help until the bread is out of the oven.  Then, all have time to eat.  But the little red hen isn’t sharing.

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Volume 7, Number 50

From the Rector: Growing this Parish

A lot of people have been noticing our weekly reports of increased attendance at Saint Mary’s.  It’s pretty easy to find the starting point for this growth.  It comes in the wake of a decision made by the Board of Trustees in July 2003 to have two full-time assistant priests.  It was not an easy decision for the Trustees to make.

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Volume 7, Number 50

From the Rector: Lives Unfolding

Many years ago I encountered a presentation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for six year-olds called “The History of the Kingdom of God.”  The presentation involves a ribbon and three words.  The grosgrain ribbon is on a spool and perhaps there’s a hundred feet of it.  The words are written on paper cards.  They are: Creation, Redemption and Parousia.  Parousia [One pronunciation: pear-rou-SEE-ah] is a Christian term for the end of time when God will be all in all.  Yes, this is a presentation for six year-olds.

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Volume 7, Number 49

From Father Beddingfield: Motivation

I’ve been thinking about motivation recently.  What motivates me to do certain things like go to work, exercise, or eat right?  What motivates me to agree to help a friend or give money to a cause or attend a particular event?

Rabbi Edwin Friedman, in a book he was writing before his death in 1996, suggests that whether one is talking about an individual, a family or a whole society, we sometimes become “stuck” when we are motivated too much by concerns for safety rather than being motivated by a sense of adventure.

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Volume 7, Number 48

From the Rector: Identity and Commitment

A curious thing happened to me on vacation this year.  A parish priest recognized me and said he was surprised to see me in church on a vacation Sunday.  I can’t help myself.  I’ve gone to church almost every Sunday of my life, the majority of years of which, still, I was not ordained.  I go to church on Sundays because I am a Christian. Even on my vacation.  It is part of the basic Christian commitment.  It’s identity.

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Volume 7, Number 47

From the Rector: Opening Doors

Many readers know that in the Mercy Chapel there are small doors in the balcony.  On Wednesday, October 5, Father Matthew Mead, our building mechanic Hector Rojas and sexton Wilfredo Zapata tore down a false wall in the Mission House which had been erected to block this doorway.  The doors are still there.  It turns out they are pocket doors and at least one of the two opens easily.  (There is more debris to be removed before it is possible to really get at both of them.)

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Volume 7, Number 46

From the Rector: He is with us

Margaret Lawhon Schott is a vestry member at Saint Luke’s Church, Baton Rouge, where I served as curate from 1985 to 1988.  The following is her report of a visit made by the Presiding Bishop, the Bishop of Louisiana and others.  I offer it as a meditation not only on the work we are called to do to help our sisters and brothers in the midst of the tragedy in the Gulf Coast region of our country but also as a mediation on the Lord’s presence here as we gather on Sunday, October 2, to celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Church.  Stephen Gerth

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Volume 7, Number 45

From the Rector: Service Schedule Changes

Beginning Saturday, October 1, we are going to offer a Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:20 PM.  Evening Prayer will still be at 5:00 PM.  The Saturday Vigil Mass will be a Sunday service.  It will be a said Mass.

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Volume 7, Number 44

From the Rector: Whole Attitude

I spent the last days of my vacation in Austin, Texas, just a few blocks from the center of the Whole Foods empire.  Their flagship store is a third again larger than their Columbus Circle store here in Manhattan.  It’s a great store.  There’s more of just about everything there.  Cold beer is kept in an imposing walk through aisle called “Beer Alley.”

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Volume 7, Number 43

From Father Beddingfield: The Gift of Tears

This article is revised from Father’s sermon at Evensong on September 8, 2005.

A few months ago Ohio Senator George Voinovich did an amazing thing during Senate confirmation hearings.  His behavior was talked about on the radio and shown on television.  The New York Post wrote, “Voinovich should be ashamed of himself.”  What, you may wonder, was the radical, extraordinary, bizarre and “shameful” thing the Senator did?  George Voinovich cried.  He cried openly and he cried profusely.  He showed emotion on international television, choked back sobs and shed tears. 

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Volume 7, Number 42

From Father Mead: What Can We Do?

In a sermon I read last week at Noonday Prayer Saint John Chrysostom stated that he was having an easy time bringing in money for decorations in the church, but having a hard time getting his congregation to help the poor.  Then, as now, most of us love to see results, and when we give money or time to enhance the beauty of our worship space we often see immediate results.  The poor, on the other hand, we sometimes view as simply part of normal life. 

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Volume 7, Number 41

From Father Beddingfield: Making Connections

Throughout the writing of E. M. Forster there runs a subtle theme of two words: “Only connect.”  The phrase is most overt in Howard’s End as Margaret is trying to help Henry connect his “prose with his passion.”  But the phrase also has a lot to do with the interactions of characters and the connections or lack of connections made across every kind of divide.  In spite of differences in gender, education, nationality, class and sexual orientation, Forster suggests that the key to living fully, to loving fully, is found in the mystery of that little phrase, “only connect.”

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Volume 7, Number 40

From the Rector: New Gifts for 2005

At various points in my younger life I worked in retail sales.  It was customary to thank a customer as you rang up an order or handed a package to him or her.  As years have passed I’ve come to realize that there’s a new generation of sales clerks in most stores.  My guess is that the method a store uses to pay its employees is what creates a distinction between employees who say thank you and those who have an attitude that they are doing you a favor by taking your money.

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Volume 7, Number 39

From the Rector: The Assumption

Saint Mary’s has always occupied a special place in the life of the Episcopal Church.  Since its beginning an important part of its mission has been to bear witness to the catholic tradition within Anglicanism.  There are many outward and visible signs of this. 

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Volume 7, Number 38

From the Rector: Looking Ahead at Worship

During my first year in New York more than a few people helped me to get settled here.  Each person moving here learns a lot on his or her own, of course.  But words of hope and encouragement are very welcome as are words of advice.  Because of the pace of work here, time with friends is very precious.  A really wise person also told me that one has to work really hard in New York during the summer, or the fall is a disaster.  That may not be true for every organization or business but it is certainly true for an active church like Saint Mary’s.

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