The Angelus

Volume 13, Number 5

FROM THE RECTOR: CHRISTMAS AT SAINT MARY’S

A newly published book arrived from England this week.  It’s The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity by Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson.  Paul and Max are both professors of liturgy at Notre Dame.  This is the first book they have co-authored.  Bradshaw and Johnson share a commitment to reading historical evidence as straightforwardly and carefully as possible.  I’ve only had time to skim the chapter “Christmas and Epiphany.”  The chapter concludes with an observation that the liturgical celebrations of Christmas in Rome, in the latter part of the fourth century, include celebrations of Christ’s birth (Luke’s gospel) and celebrations of his incarnation (John’s gospel).

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Volume 13, Number 4

FROM THE RECTOR: STILL ADVENT, STILL LISTENING

Advent could be one day longer than it is this year, but these days, that’s not a problem at all.  I can remember as a child how hard it was to wait for Christmas Day.  The calendar didn’t have much to do with that.  Time has always been the same.  It is my experience of time that has changed over the years.  I expect it to continue to change.  Now, more than before, the length and breadth of Advent seems to me to be a real gift, one that seems to invite me to think about being committed to Christ.

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Volume 13, Number 3

FROM THE RECTOR: ANNIVERSARY OF CONSECRATION

This Sunday, December 12, 2010, marks the one hundred fifteenth anniversary of the consecration of the present church by the Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter, bishop of New York.  The first services in this new building had been held already on Sunday, December 8, 1895.  The bishop came four days later to consecrate it, that is, to set it apart “from all unhallowed, worldly, and common uses.”  The bishop and the rector, the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, were clearly not rigid about the tradition that the service of consecration be the first service in a new church.

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Volume 13, Number 2

FROM THE RECTOR: 140 YEARS FOR CHRIST

On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, the Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk, bishop of New York, will be present as celebrant and preacher for the celebration of our parish’s patronal feast, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It will be the one hundred fortieth anniversary of worship at Saint Mary’s.

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Volume 13, Number 1

FROM THE RECTOR: WELCOME REAL ADVENT

The liturgical season with the most convoluted history is arguably Advent.  Like many celebrations of the Church year, it originated in the churches of eastern Mediterranean in the fourth century.  This isn’t surprising when one remembers Constantine founded Constantinople in 324 A.D and it supplanted Rome as the largest city in the empire.  When Advent moves to Italy in the fifth and sixth centuries, Advent (“coming”) was set aside to be a time to prepare for Christmas.

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Volume 12, Number 52

FROM THE RECTOR: CHRIST REIGNS

Twelve years ago, just before Christ the King Sunday 1998, I visited Saint Mary’s for the first time.  I was here to be interviewed for the position of rector.  As I opened the doors of the church and walked in, someone was at the organ thundering away.  He was playing Lo! he comes, with clouds descending.  The hymn’s customary tune, Helmsley – not St. Thomas, is powerful music to accompany the experience of walking into this church building church for the first time.  Some years later, and more than once, summer seminarian Peter Anthony would say to me as we walked through Saint Mary’s, “Father, you have a real church.”  Indeed, you and I do.

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Volume 12, Number 51

FROM THE RECTOR: WITHOUT WORDS

Clearing out some things the other day, I came across a letter from a member of the parish I served in Michigan City, Indiana.  Virginia McDavid is an English scholar.  Among her special interests is American linguistic geography.  Professor McDavid is also a dictionary usage editor. 

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Volume 12, Number 50

From the Rector: Making It All Work

Since the 2009 General Convention ended, my colleagues and I have been preparing to use the new Episcopal Church version of the Revised Common Lectionary.  It’s already in use in most places.  We are now required to use this new lectionary beginning with the new Church year, despite our own Bishop’s efforts to get a general permission for the continued use of the original one. 

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Volume 12, Number 49

From the Rector: The Regular Worship of the Church

This Sunday morning, October 31, is the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost.  Sunday evening, All Hallows’ Eve, we begin our celebration of All Saints’ Day.  The Reverend Peter Cullen, rector, Saint Paul’s Church, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, will be our guest preacher at Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM.

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Volume 12, Number 48

FROM THE TREASURER: STEWARDSHIP

My name is Charles Randolph Morgan but most people know me as Randy.  I have been a member of the Board of Trustees since December 2007 and I am currently our treasurer.  I have been asked to discuss stewardship and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to do so.

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Volume 12, Number 47

FROM THE RECTOR: FAITH, FEAR AND THE FUTURE

When I speak with younger adults, and our conversation turns to the present economic situation, I try not to talk too much about what it was like when I was twenty years old.  That was in 1974.  But there are many parallels.  The Vietnam War had been going on for over a decade.  Our country was living with the growing mismanagement of its economy by politicians, Democratic and Republican.  I was part of a generation that grew up in an anxious American society.

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Volume 11, Number 46

FROM THE RECTOR: MYSTERY OF GIFT

In the Episcopal Church, almost everywhere in the fall of every year, parish lay and clergy leaders begin to get members and friends of a parish to make the financial commitment for the new year.  It’s partly practical; churches need plans to stay in business.  But commitment for Christians is far more than just business.  Commitment is fundamentally spiritual, relational.  How we share with others what we have been given and what we earn with others shapes our lives as much as anything else we know or do.

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Volume 11, Number 45

FROM THE RECTOR: A NEW SEASON

There’s really no satisfactory name for the “season” that begins on the first Sunday of October at Saint Mary’s and most of the parishes in this city.  It’s New York Episcopalians’ version of the academic-year calendar.  But that phrase, the academic year, overlooks the origins of academic life in the Church’s life, its schools and universities.  I think it is also helpful to remember that the academic year and liturgical year were shaped for Christendom by seasons of harvest and war. 

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Volume 11, Number 44

FROM THE RECTOR: EVENSONG AT SAINT MARY’S

With many, many thanks to our organ curator Larry Trupiano, who has repaired the chancel organ console, we will embark on what I hope will be our most prayerful season for Evensong on Sunday, October 3.  I’m writing today to tell you what’s up with this service and to encourage you to come as you are able.

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Volume XII, Number 43

FROM THE RECTOR: LEADERSHIP IN MINISTRY

Twice a year since 1997 I have attended a conference for members of the clergy and other organizational leaders called “Leadership in Ministry.”  I’m just back from the fall meeting.  The conference’s theoretical framework is family systems theory.  I’ve been working with that theory for more than two decades.  I want to tell you about the conference.

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VOLUME XII, NUMBER 42

FROM THE RECTOR: REDEVELOPMENT

Chicago was the first great city I ever lived in.  I still remember the date I arrived, September 19, 1976.  I was 22 and entering graduate school.  Chicago was a very different city then in many ways than it is now.  The first Mayor Daley was still in office.  The economic growth of the 1980s and 1990s that brought about a renaissance of urban America was in the future.  As part of the orientation for students at the University of Chicago, we learned about the dangers of the city and about the campus security phones located at the intersection of all the streets near the university.  It was a different time.  But I loved it.

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VOLUME XII, NUMBER 41

FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR: “THEIR SOUND HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL LANDS”

I remember attending my first service at Saint Mary’s as a visitor just under four years ago.  I settled towards the back of the building, seeking refuge in an unoccupied pew during the recitation of the Angelus, just before a thrilling organ improvisation introduced Solemn Evensong and Benediction.  The service was excellent in so many ways—musically, liturgically, spiritually—and so, I expect, was the sermon, although despite my best efforts I distinctly remember how difficult it was to hear the preacher!

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VOLUME XII, NUMBER 40

FROM DEACON REBECCA WEINER TOMPKINS: PREPARING THE ENVIRONMENT

Anyone who's been around Saint Mary’s will have witnessed the Rector’s enthusiasm for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), the educational method for the spiritual formation of children developed by Sofia Cavalletti.  Saint Marians have recently been informed about our own CGS atrium, which will soon be open for children who are between the ages of three and six in what was formerly office space above St. Joseph’s Hall.  I use the words “our own” with special emphasis, since the words pertain to CGS becoming part of our identity as a parish.

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VOLUME XII, NUMBER 39

FROM THE RECTOR: APPROACHING HOLY WOMEN AND MEN

We’re getting a new Lectionary beginning with Advent 2010.  This summer, our seminarian Rem Slone has been working to re-format all of the texts and files we will use for the first year of this new three-year Sunday cycle.  At Saint Mary’s, that’s a really big job.  It not only includes producing the readings we will use at the lectern, but amending what we call in the office “The Complete Information File” for every Sunday and Principal Feast of the year.  I’ve also asked Rem to replace the Sunday lessons on our web page with the new ones – another big job.

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VOLUME XII, NUMBER 38

FROM THE RECTOR: CELEBRATING FIFTY YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD

When I was invited to New York by the board of trustees to interview for this job I asked to meet with Father Edgar Wells.  I did so for many reasons, but one in particular.  I had learned very quickly in the parish I was serving in Indiana of the unique bond I had with my predecessor there.  There were things I could ask him and find out from him that no one else could know.  I knew that if I were to come to Saint Mary’s, like Father Wells, I would retire from Saint Mary’s.  That’s the pattern here and in many other great parishes.

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