WARDEN’S REPORT, ST. MARY’S CHURCH 2010
This year, my warden’s report is really more of an exhortation. Or perhaps, it’s a love poem. Please bear with me.Rather than going over more business, concrete, and practical matters – all of which are of vital importance to the health, well-being, and continued existence of this place; I thought I’d leave all that in the hands of these most capable folks, and instead this year, I thought I’d tell you how much I love all of you, and how much I love this place. as a warden, one hears a lot around a church: the whispers, the tirades, the rumbling. The joyful noise, the caring, the affection.
And I have to say, who we are… amazes me. You teach me, challenge me, move me, hold me up, call me out, and you make me into a better human being, and a better Christian, every day. We have this amazing power to do that for each other. Look around right now. See how different we are. We are homeless, and renters, and homeowners. We are working and retired, unemployed ands disabled, and on public benefits. We are Black and White, Latino and Native American, Asian and of mixed race. We hold advanced professional degrees and we have a hard time reading. We are happy and miserable, content and hungry, weary and joyous, unfulfilled and gifted, gruff and friendly, grieving and seeking. We are parents and grandparents, kids and childless, partnered and solitary. We are straight and queer and somewhere in between, and we are homophobic. We are prayerful and angry, bitter and forgiving, hopeful and shut down. We are stuck and cracking open, at peace and in flight, changing and resistant, hopeful and cringing.
And we are here, together in this place. We come here and we stay here for different reasons. We come at the beginning of life’s journey and at its end, or somewhere in the middle. We come hoping to enter into glory, or running from our demons. We come seeking fulfillment, or enlightenment, or just something to do with our time. We come for community, or a way to serve the world. We come to get clean, or to stay sober, or sometimes to use. Here we find friends, kindred spirits, nemeses, sometimes spouses. We come looking for love, looking for God, looking for something we cant quite put our finger on. We come looking for something to eat, looking to make a buck or two. We come here out of habit, because our mother did, or because our mother never did. We come with our broken heart in hand looking to be healed. We come offering our prayers, our selves, to others.
And THAT, all this difference, mysteriously held together in tension, in the nexus, in the crucible of this place, is what is so, so… breathtaking about it. This place, this Church, these bricks and mortar, these people, this Body, embraces us all, generation after generation, from slavery to an African American president. St. Mary’s lives on. And no, it is not always easy, this common life we live together here. How could it possibly be? This whole thing is a work of art, an opus, an unending work in progress. And speaking as an artist; it is always the accidents, the mistakes, the things you don’t mean to happen that that bring you closest to perfection, to the breath of God.
There’s a good chance that this coming year that Earl, Fr. Kooperkamp, will be moving on. As much as I don’t want that to happen (for our sake, not his) it is bound to, sooner or later. As some of you well know, a transition in leadership can be very challenging for a church. When it does happen; it will be very important for us to remember, to cling to our love for one another, even in all our differences, maybe especially in all our differences. We will need each other even more than we do right now.
God lives in this place, God loves in this place, in the body and the flesh of this community of faith. And I can’t express enough how grateful I am for all of you here right now, and for the fact that as we go forward into an unknown future, it is you, and the Christ in each of you, who will be at my side.
Lysander Puccio, warden
Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church
Special Thanks today to Ms. Bonnie Phelps for coordinating our Annual Poetry Sunday and to Ms. Liz Mellen for sharing her musical gifts with us while Janet Dorman is away. Thank you very much!
Thanks to all who helped with the Annual Meeting last week: Thank you to Ms. Delores Jones for her service as Warden for the past four years and many thanks to Radford Arrindel, Patrick Harding and Bill Smith for their dedicated service on the Vestry. We also welcome our new Warden, Dr. Dorothy Ross, and new Vestry Members Celia Braxton, Gary Sharp and Lisa Slocum. Also, thanks to Miguel Escobar who will serve as the Diocesan Convention delegate and Allen Mellen who will be the Alternate. We will be represented at the Manhattan North Interparish Council by Linda Burton, Edna Estime and Gloria Smith and thank them for their willingness to serve. Special thanks to Gloria Smith for preparing a delicious lunch for us. Also: copies of reports are by the baptismal font.
TODAY: What a Neighborhood! Come celebrate the Creative Spirit in our neighborhood with a concert including new love songs by Ishmael Wallace and a piece by Aleksandra Vrebalov inspired by a chapel at the Cathedral. The concert is at 1:30 and is free to all with donations gratefully accepted. It will be short, with no intermission. Come early, at 12:40, to enjoy relaxing meditative movement in the Sanctuary!
TODAY: “Sweet Spirit” A Dance, Drama and Song Performance: Sunday, Feb. 28th at 3:30 pm at the Elmendorf Reformed Church, 171 E. 121st St. featuring a dramatic interpretation of the life of Lucy Nichols, an early member of St. Mary’s, by Christine Campbell and Janet Dorman. Sponsored by the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force.
Haiti: earthquake relief: Thanks to all who contributed to special collection. We raised $1000 which is already helping the Haitian people. Keep the Haitian people in your prayers.
Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: Sundays at 2:00 pm. St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first and third Sunday each month. We will need a few volunteers to help make bag lunches after the 10:00 am service on Sunday, March 7th.
St. Mary’s Homeless Street Outreach: Every Saturday, 12 noon preparation and 2:00 pm street outreach. Come by if you can help. Please see Janet Dorman or Lysander Puccio if you can help. Please keep the Homeless Street Outreach in your prayers. Thank you!!
Episcopal Church Women: Meeting today: Feb. 28th following the 10:00 am service.
Episcopal Church Women’s Prayer Committee next meeting: Sunday, March. 14th following the 10:00 am service. All women are invited.
Preaching next Sunday: Mar. 7: he Rev. Chris Furguson, World Council of Churches Liaison to the United Nations. We will also host a group of students from Wake Forest Divinity School led on an Urban Pilgrimage by the Rev. Douglas Bailey.
Manhattan North Interparish Council
Lenten Evening Prayer Services, Lent 2010
February 24, 2010 All Souls’ Church
88 St. Nicholas Ave. at 114th Street
March 3, 2010 St. Andrew’s Church
2067 Fifth Ave. at 127th Street
March 10, 2010 St. Ambrose Church
9 West 130th Street
March 17, 2010 St. Mary’s Church
521 West 126th Street, between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway
March 24, 2010 Holyrood Church
715 West 179th Street at Ft. Washington Ave.
All services at 7:00 pm, followed by light refreshment and fellowship.
Come join us for this annual Lenten pilgrimage.