The Angelus

Volume 10, Number 5

From the Rector: Twelve Days of Christmas

Saint Mary’s celebration of the Twelve Days began formally with music on Christmas Eve before the 5:00 PM Sung Mass of the Nativity.  Some preparations for Christmastide actually had begun in the spring.  That’s the very latest that certain decisions about music and the service schedule can be made here.  The activity intensifies in early November as music and server rehearsals and flower decorating and everything else are settled.  There is a flurry of emails among staff and volunteers about everything from deliveries to mailings.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 4

From the Rector: Merry Christmas

Few things can take most of us more easily to a godly place in our heart and minds than Christmas can.  Most of the time, the joy and fun I have known in my life at Christmastide break through the nonsense of life and of the season pretty easily for me.  I don’t think this is really surprising.  Jesus Christ makes sense of the world around us.  I believe in him.  The celebration of Christmas is a natural for believers.  It is a day when we can focus on the joy of new birth, the birth promised to all of us.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 3

From the Rector: Christmas at Saint Mary’s

Tuesday, December 25, is Christmas Day.  On Christmas Eve, there will be two Masses, a Sung Mass at 5:00 PM and Solemn Mass at 11:00 PM.  The parish choir will sing for both services and there will be special Christmas carols and music before both services.  On Christmas Day, there is one service, Solemn Mass at 11:00 AM.  Yours truly is celebrant and preacher for all of these Masses.  Each one is glorious and different in its own way.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 2

From the Rector: Welcome, Father Smith!

The Reverend James Ross Smith has joined the parish clergy staff as one of our two curates.  He has served here for almost a decade as an “assisting priest” and as an “assistant.”  At Saint Mary’s there are often priests associated with the parish who are on the roster in some capacity because of their commitment to Saint Mary’s and because of their availability to help the regular parish clergy with the liturgical schedule.  But “rector” and “curate” are terms used at Saint Mary’s for the full-time parish clergy who are the pastors of the congregation. 

Read More

Volume 10, Number 1

From the Rector: New Year, Visitation, Patronal Feast, & Curate

In this year of grace, the new Church year begins as the sun sets on Saturday, December 1, as the First Sunday of Advent arrives.  The Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, will make his formal visitation of the parish on Friday, December 7, at 6:00 PM, when we will be celebrating our patronal feast.  And I am also delighted and honored to announce that the Reverend James Ross Smith will become our next curate.  Our parish community is receiving many gifts as Advent begins.  And have I mentioned that the 2008 Stewardship Campaign is well underway?

Read More

Volume 10, Number 52

From the Rector: This Sunday is Christ the King

When this feast was instituted in the Roman Church in 1925, it was not immediately adopted by other Christian communities.  Its popularity among other denominations in the West has a lot to do with the elegant “fix” the feast was given in the lectionary scheme proposed under Pope Paul VI: the feast was moved from the last Sunday of October to the end of the Christian year, and is now observed by most Western Christians.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 51

From Father Mead: Growing Up

My son, Liam, is growing up fast; we celebrated his first birthday on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.  We had Cookie-Monster Cake because he likes Sesame Street.  When I was a boy I remember watching Cookie Monster eat cookies on Sesame Street.  I remember counting numbers with the Count.  I remember Ernie singing about the joys of bathing.  Overall, Sesame Street hasn’t changed all that much.  The only big difference is Elmo.  When I was a boy Elmo was a friendly red monster who hung out with Grover (a friendly blue monster) and said very little.  Now he has his own fifteen-minute segment each morning that educates kids on everything from running and jumping to digital cameras.   

Read More

Volume 10, Number 50

From the Rector: One Component

Letters for the 2008 Stewardship Campaign were mailed last week.  I’ve been a parish priest long enough now to expect the range of comments that I started receiving on Sunday.  (“They asked for too little.”  “Just give more!” or “They asked for too much.”  “Give what God is speaking to you.”)  Quite frankly, I look forward to responding to questions and addressing concerns.  Today I want to share with you some of my understanding of the financial situation of the parish and my thinking of the future, the thinking that helps me sleep at night.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 49

From the Rector: News and Good News

The Episcopal Church Medical Trust, which administers medical insurance programs for employees of Episcopal churches and institutions, publishes a monthly newsletter called “Health News.”  It is a basic summary of readily available knowledge on various topics, information already reported. The next issue is advertised to be on “smoking.” The last issue on arthritis got me thinking about the value of this kind of publication, of the utility of “news” and “Good News.”

Read More

Volume 10, Number 48

From Father Smith: The Love of God

“The love of God.”  We read those words and maybe they make us sit up straight and pay attention. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…”  The love of God: a duty, a responsibility, a commandment, the commandment.  “The love of God.”  We hear those words and maybe we recall an experience that made all the difference, gave us hope, brought us back to life, changed us, converted us.  

Read More

Volume 10, Number 47

From the Rector: Joining the Mission

When people ask about the number of members at Saint Mary’s it’s not always easy to give an answer that tells the whole story.  In the parish office we discuss with some regularity how we group the many different kinds of members and friends that we have.  The whole story is more than the parts. 

Read More

Volume 10, Number 46

From the Rector: Looking Forward

We have in the parish archives the first page of a letter from Edwin S. Gorham, a member of the Board of Trustees, addressed to Howard Dohrman, another member of the board.  The first two paragraphs are about the actions of another member of the board, Elliott Daingerfield.  The letter is dated October 10, 1914.  I quote the first two paragraphs in full, after which the letter continues with a different subject:

Read More

Volume 10, Number 45

From the Rector: Public Sacred Space

Sometime in the next few weeks cold weather will arrive and it will be necessary to keep the inner entrance doors of the church closed.  During the warm weather, there is something remarkable about the distinctive character of Saint Mary’s.  One useful way to think of our church building is as “public sacred space.”

Read More

Volume 10, Number 44

From the Rector: Fresh Paint

The sextons are painting in the Mission House.  They’ve just begun and the difference is already amazing.  It’s one of the many signs of new life that are coming our way this fall at Saint Mary’s.  I want to make a few remarks about our parish’s direction and energy.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 43

From the Rector: Some Clergy History

The first two rectors of Saint Mary’s, the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown and the Reverend George Michael Christian, were both married men.  They and their families lived in the rectory where I now live in the northwest corner of the church complex.  I don’t know anything about the marital status of the first assistants to Father Brown when the parish was on West 45th Street.  But once the parish moved to its present home, they were always single.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 42

From the Rector: Learnings in Luke

One of our parish friends from Perth, Australia, the Reverend David Wood, rector, Grace Church, Joondalup, and Anglican chaplain to Edith Cowan University, Perth, sends me a copy of his sermon every week.  In this past Sunday’s sermon he wrote, “Jerusalem stands for all that matters most, for all that is most real . . . ”  His remark reminded me of something I am still trying to get on top of as a preacher during this year when our Sunday readings come primarily from Luke.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 41

From the Rector: Crosses

When a friend was in town a couple of weeks ago we walked down Ninth Avenue from Forty-seventh Street to the World Trade Center.  I don’t go to that site very often.  And I don’t think I had been down there since the cross made of steel girders that was found in the wreckage of September 11, 2001 had been moved from its original site to the Church Street façade of Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church.  I know the cross had to be moved for construction – and one can only imagine the tiresome lawsuits that would have been engendered by a “Christian” religious symbol remaining in its earlier place.  I’m glad the cross is still nearby, less than a block away, within sight of where the towers stood.  Words cannot begin to encompass all that that cross speaks.

Read More

Volume 10, Number 40

From Father Smith: Anglican Identity

Anyone who spends any time at all at Saint Mary’s soon discovers that we take baptism pretty seriously.  Led by the Rector, we are enthusiastic advocates of the rediscovery of the foundational importance of baptism to the life of the Church.  For us, baptism is essential, life-giving, joyous, awe-inspiring: “dying and rising with Christ,” new life, new creation, reception into the “household of God,” becoming a “member of the Body of Christ,” gaining a share in Christ’s “eternal priesthood,” seeing holy oil glistening on the new Christian’s forehead as she is “sealed by the Holy Spirit.”  These are the big themes.  They go to the heart of the matter.  It can still send shivers up and down the spine to hear the bishop say, “You are marked as Christ’s own forever.” Forever.  Makes you stop and think.  

Read More

Volume 10, Number 39

From Father Mead: Christian Formation

I am waiting for a sign.  On Monday I ordered a large sign with this fall’s Christian Formation schedule on it.  The sign is supposed to be finished by the end of the week.  It is my hope that this sign will bring attention to the classes that we are offering this fall at Saint Mary’s.  Such a sign is a good way to promote something: it’s big, it’s colorful, and (hopefully) eye-catching . . . but why stop with just a sign?  I don’t want people to see what we are doing this fall; I want people to come to these events.  In that vein, I am going to use this (and probably every other) opportunity to promote our fall Christian Formation curriculum. 

Read More

Volume 10, Number 38

From the Rector: Transition and Continuity

I invite you to be present especially for the Solemn Mass this Sunday, August 19, as Father John Beddingfield is celebrant and preacher for his last Sunday at Saint Mary’s as one of our curates.  A special reception is planned to honor him and his partner Erwin de Leon following the Mass.  I am delighted that John has been called to be rector of All Souls Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.  But I think he knows and I’m sure the parish community knows how much he will be missed.  Father’s last day on duty with us, however, will be Saturday, August 25.  His first Sunday at All Souls will be September 9.

Read More