The Angelus

Volume 8, Number 53

From the Rector: Christ the King

Eight years ago I was introduced to Saint Mary’s for the first time just a few days before the Feast of Christ the King.  The great hymn tune ‘Helmsley’ – which is sung at the end of Solemn Mass on Christ the King to the text “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,” was being played when I opened the doors of the church for the very first time.  At once I saw the altar and the great crucifix on the rood beam above the chancel.  In our church, the Crucified reigns in glory over all.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 52

From the Rector: Mission at Saint Mary’s

As I write, José Vidal, architect for the renovation of an apartment for the nuns from the Community of St John Baptist, awaits word from the New York City Department of Buildings that proposed plans have been approved.  Some may wonder about the delays that we have encountered.  This is New York.  Few things are simple.  After conversations with Saint Mary’s real estate attorney, I am confident that the Mission House, built to be a convent, can again be in part a convent.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 51

From the Rector: America’s High Church

Earlier this year I had more than a few interesting e-mail exchanges when we launched the appeal for the Momentum Fund.  Some members of the wider parish community found it hard to believe that a new water heater for the church complex was going to cost $25,000.00.  The e-mails reminded me of conversations about costs I had with friends when I moved to Manhattan almost eight years ago.  Many things just cost more in the middle of the city than they do elsewhere.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 50

From the Rector: For the Future

During the reception after the Solemn Mass on All Saints’ a newcomer asked me with wonder and amazement in her eyes, “How do you manage to do this?”  I said, “We have faith in the future.”  She was talking about money and so was I.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 49

From the Rector: All Saints’ and All Souls’

All Saints’ Day is November 1.  All Souls’ Day is November 2.  They are two of the greatest days of the Church year.  As I begin to write about them to you I hear the music of All Saints’ in my head and I see the black vestments of All Souls’ in the eyes of my heart.  My body feels the music, the glory and the sadness, physical sadness that I have experienced over and over again around God’s Table on these days.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 48

From Father Beddingfield: The Good News of Things Falling Apart

One day last week there were plumbers and electricians and workers of various kinds going in and out of the building.  They were in the attic; they were in the basement.  One company of electricians was beginning to re-wire some of the lighting in the church, high up in the rafters.  Another company was installing a new intercom and doorbell system in the Parish House.  The plumbers were beginning to replace a faulty valve in the steam system.  This Saturday and Sunday they will replace a pipe connecting the church to the main city water connection.  Because the city only grants permits for such work over weekends, there will be no running water at church on Sunday, October 22.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 47

From the Rector: Changing God’s Mind

Last week, at a friend’s suggestion, I picked up a novel by Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.  It’s a wonderful read, a little serious, a little irreverent, and very funny.  If I were a better storyteller I would make a ton of weekday sermons from it.  Moore uses a lot of material very creatively.  He has a twist on how Jesus came to the idea he was to die.  Jesus, in the novel, is off in another place where child sacrifice is practiced on a large scale.  He can’t believe his Father permits it to continue.  He thinks his own death will so horrify God that God will put an end to child sacrifice everywhere.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 46

From the Rector: Trinity Traditional

There are more than a few folks in the wider Church who have gotten it into their heads that there’s something inadequate, wrong or outdated with the Christian name for the Three Persons of the Trinity, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  Our Church continues to authorize service materials that have a not-so-subtle purpose of replacing ordinary Trinitarian language in worship under the rubric of “enriching” and “expanding” our language about God.  When traveling, one never knows for sure in whose name one may be blessed.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 45

From the Rector: Value of Respect

As we begin a new choir season on October 1, with the special richness of our Solemn Mass on Sunday mornings and the majestic simplicity of Solemn Evensong on Sunday nights, I’ve been thinking about the values that shape our common life.  Today I want to write about three in particular: respect for the assembly, respect for the rite and respect for ministries.  In a few weeks I plan to write about three more: respect for formation, respect for mission, and respect for spiritual life.  All are values that I think help to define and shape our parish community.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 44

From the Rector: Episcopal Christians

Hardly a day goes by when I am not called upon by someone to describe Saint Mary’s.  People who ask me the question are often not Episcopalian.  When I’m in a group and the question is asked, someone who knows the parish will often respond before I can.  Many people, it seems, like to talk about Saint Mary’s.  The building, the music, the location, the services and, of course, the incense will be mentioned in some combination.  Episcopalians, lay and clergy, who use the language of “high church” or “low church” or “Anglo-catholic” will often interject phrases like that.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 43

From the Rector:  Henry VIII Was Wrong

A few years ago, there was a New York Times profile of the Reverend George William Rutler, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Savior, New York City.  He had been an Episcopal priest.  He was one of the first priests who became a Roman priest after the Church began to ordain women.  In the article Father Rutler said he had become a Roman Catholic because he realized “Henry VIII was wrong.”

Read More

Volume 8, Number 42

From Father Beddingfield: Five Years Later

Last week I ran into a person I had not seen in almost eight years.  Though he still looks very much like I had remembered, I was surprised at the changes that had taken place in his life.  He left a relationship of almost ten years.  He now lives in a different part of town, and he works in advertising.  When I asked about his painting (eight years ago, he was showing his work in several downtown galleries and selling paintings regularly), his facial expression changed.  It grew more serious than I had ever remembered seeing.  “After 9/11 everything changed,” he said. 

Read More

Volume 8, Number 41

From the Rector: September at Saint Mary’s

Church life in New York City has a rhythm different from anywhere I’ve served before.  School starts in the city just after Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean summer is entirely over.  At Saint Mary’s and at many other parishes, the choir season begins on the first Sunday in October.  For us, Christian Education and other activities start up again in October.  Despite this, September is also a busy month.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 40

From the Rector: Momentum at Saint Mary’s

At its meeting on Monday, August 21, 2006, the Board of Trustees approved proposals for two of our Momentum Fund projects.  These are the renovation of the fifth floor of the Mission House to be an apartment for two resident sisters from the Community of St. John Baptist and the fabrication and installation of new hand rails for all of the Forty-sixth Street doorways of the church.  As I write, papers have to be reviewed by our attorneys before yours truly signs on behalf of the parish.  But these are details not problems.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 39

From the Rector: Security

When I was at the security check point in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, on Monday, July 17, three things packed in my suitcase attracted the attention of the security team.  I had bought one small jar of honey and two small jars of date syrup.  During the first pass through an x-ray machine, a computer image was taken and sent to a second screening station.  There, with a computer image of the contents of my suitcase in front of her, the screener went right for the jars.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 38

From the Rector: Saint Mary’s Legacy Society

As we go to press, the parish community will be receiving our Assumption mailing.  For as long as anyone around the office can remember there has been a special appeal to ask for donations to support the mission of Saint Mary’s at Assumption.  Included in this year’s appeal is an invitation to make a bequest to Saint Mary’s and to let your bequest be known.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 37

From the Rector: Marion Elizabeth Freise, 1911-2006

Marion Freise died on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at the House of the Good Shepherd in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where she had moved in 2003.  She was ninety-four years old and had been a member of Saint Mary’s for many years.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 36

From the Rector: Summer at Saint Mary’s

I have clear memories of parish life being slower in summertime when I was first ordained.  I wonder if things are slower anywhere now.  Here we busy are preparing for the fall, winter and spring.  We are in the middle of a capital campaign.  Very soon you will be hearing about a new legacy society to encourage people to remember Saint Mary’s in their wills.  Final drawings are being prepared for the renovation of the fifth floor of the Mission House for the sisters.  Construction with all of its attendant challenges is on the horizon.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 35

From the Rector: Bread and Truth

I returned on Monday, July 17, from a ten-day trip with friends to Israel and Jordan.  We were mostly in Jerusalem but we did spend one night in Tiberias just a couple days before it was shelled.  This was my first trip to the Holy Land.  I hope it won’t be the last.  The present escalation of the conflict was beginning when we left for Israel.  It got worse as we approached our departure.  I confess I was very anxious during the last few days, and only relaxed after the plane was in the air and well away from Tel Aviv.

Read More

Volume 8, Number 34

From Father Mead: On The Scriptures

My grandfather spent his life working as a lobsterman; one of his sons was a lobsterman, the other a fisherman.  I know that sound advice, a number of nets, traps, and locations of fertile fishing grounds were passed from father to sons.  They were given the tried and true methods of fishing. 

Read More