This Sunday at St Timothy's | November 11, 2018
FROM FR STEVE RICE
Stirring the Blood
I must confess to not knowing a great deal about World War I. From conversations with friends and colleagues, I also know I’m not alone. I know more about the Revolutionary War and Civil War as they happened on our shores and, for us, in our backyards. Despite our ignorance, the War was a significant event. The casualties were unprecedented. It led to the fall of our European Empires. And for England, it shattered a world-view of imperial optimism. When the War ended, the Church of England saw her members with many questions and doubts. She responded with a period of renewal. Priests and theologians began to write with renewed vigor about Jesus Christ, His Church, and her worship. Watershed moments like this force us to re-examine what is important and why. To some degree, we had a similar experience after 9/11.
One year after the Great War ended, Fr Percy Dearmer, vicar of St Mary’s, Primrose Hill in London and ambulance driver during the War, gave a series of lectures in Philadelphia on the Art of Public Worship. In his opening address, Fr Dearmer asked what motivated so many young men to volunteer to live and die for England? I think it’s important quote his words, despite its length:
Content with their percentage of ladies and children, the clergy have for years covered their eyes from the truth. But the War has brought many of us in contact with the average man again; and our eyes are opened. We have our opportunity. It is probably the last. Now, we have learnt to respect the young men, and to admit that the fault may not be on their side after all. Christianity has something to do with self-sacrifice; and their readiness to go over there, and to be immolated - their passionate desire to give - has struck us silent. You cannot find fault with a martyr because he has absented himself from Mattins (Morning Prayer).
But more. We ask ourselves, What was it that drew five million volunteers in the first year of the War, from England and her Colonies to the mud of Flanders, and the burning rocks of Gallipoli, so that none could hold them back? Patriotism? Yes, but it is certain that loyalty to a Religion is a bigger thing, and has in history proved a stronger motive, than loyalty to a State. Men owe their civilization to Christianity, and not to France, England, or America. Why does the one loyalty thrill and not the other? The Flag? That comes near the true reason. We have been better exponents of our country than of our Church. The State is not nobler or less sordid than the Church; the lawyers and company-directors who ornament our legislative assemblies are not conspicuously more charming or august than canons and theological tutors: many parsons may be matched even with calvary officers. But the State is visible, the State is actual, the State is terrible as an army with banners; and we know that we ought to be able say that of the Church, and that we cannot. I do not think indeed that this is the whole matter; but for our subject here the idea of the Flag is pertinent. If I were not afraid of being taken too literally, I would say, the Church has no banners. That something which flutters vivid and universal, eloquent in message, sacred in its associations, passionately calling, is absent. We do not stir the blood.
I have often thought about Dearmer’s words and how absolutely contemporary they read, despite the 100 years that have passed. I don’t need to quote the latest statistics on church attendance and involvement. We can see it for ourselves and it’s virtually across the board.
We undoubtedly do things differently at St Timothy’s, and I am fully aware that, while our difference has brought many to our parish, it has also pushed others away. While I grieve any anxiety or unhappiness from members, I am convinced that the future of any parish ultimately lies in our ability to stir the blood. I do not think we will be able to communicate the transformative power of the Gospel by always trying to stay relevant. What is relevant changes daily. The Church proclaims a Good News that transforms culture. A church that is transformed by culture doesn’t have much to say.
As an example, last Sunday I was overjoyed at the number of youth and children who attended a two-hour training on serving at the altar with all the bowing, genuflecting, and ceremony that it entailed - all of which points to Jesus Christ. And on Monday, I peeked into the chorister rehearsal and took a video of nearly 20 children and youth rehearsing for Evensong. Evensong! I think the Church has been afraid we will turn people away if we are too churchy. I think we have very little to offer if we’re not.
I am thrilled that we are able to move forward with the capital campaign to continue building a place that stirs the blood of faith. That, after all, is the whole point. Our worship, our approach, and our campaign is not for any other reason than to be “a faithful people and a holy temple” to God’s glory and that “we and generations yet to come” may praise Jesus Christ more and more in spirit and in truth..
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM | 100 YEARS AFTER THE GREAT WAR
From 1919 to 1954, November 11 was known as Armistice Day, as it is still known throughout Europe. World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, came to an end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The 100th anniversary of this peace will commence just as our sung mass begins. While today is now known in America as Veterans Day and we honor all of our US military veterans, we especially recall the origin of this holiday and what it meant. We remember, through our music and prayers those who died. The traditional Act of Remembrance comes from a stanza of Lawrence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.”
We will remember them.
POPPIES IN THE NARTHEX
The custom of wearing poppies, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” is well-known in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Nations, but the custom actually began with an American. The American Legion still sells the poppies and there are dozens available in the narthex for you to wear in memory of those who died in the service of freedom
BLESSED BE GOD
We conclude our prayers today with Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. These two times for prayer are a powerful and peaceful way to end our Sunday together. Choral Evensong is Anglicanism’s gift to Christendom, sung evening prayer in the Anglican choral tradition. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a simple, but beautiful, devotion where we adore Our Lord in His Sacramental Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Benediction follows immediately after Evensong and the services together will last about one hour.
FROM THE CHOIR LOFT
Sunday is Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, and we will have several pieces of music inspired by the occasion during mass. The opening voluntary is Debussy's "Clair de lune," and this year also marks the 100th anniversary of Debussy's death. During communion, you will hear Percy Grainger's arrangement of the Nimrod variation from Elgar's Enigma Variations, Op.36, which is traditionally played on Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom. Our final hymn is the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father, strong to save." The author of the hymn's text, William Whiting, was inspired by the words of Psalm 107, such as verses 28 and 29: "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed." We will also sing two additional hymns as prayers for peace: "Lord, make us servants of your peace," which is based on a prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, and "O day of peace," which is set to Sir Hubert Parry's tune Jerusalem.
FROM THE PARISH ADMINISTRATOR
Hello Fellow St. Timotheans
As I am sure you are aware, our policy at St. Timothy’ is one of complete financial transparency. We provide a report on the website of our income and spending monthly.
It has also been our practice to provide a weekly giving figure along with weekly expenses for the operations of the Parish. For those of you who look for this figure on a weekly basis, it has been absent for some time. Due to some health setbacks, I was required to be away for surgery and recovery that is still ongoing.
I have returned to a situation in which every one of my responsibilities has weeks of work waiting eagerly for my attention and the normal work flow influx continues unabated. Financial reporting is part of this. You will be happy to know that funds have continued to be deposited. We have volunteers who count the cash add take it to the bank. Checks are counted and deposited remotely from the church. Online transactions go straight to the bank. The challenge we have in providing reportable numbers is that each individual transaction must be recorded and applied to the account for which the donor intended. This takes some time and is understandably important to the parishioner contributing the funds. Only those funds which are applied toward a pledge or are undesignated are usable for operations. These are the income funds which are reported each week.
I want to ensure you that reporting will resume as it has in the past. It is important to me that we are providing the most accurate information we have available. Until that point, Please contact me with any questions. I will answer any questions I can and if I cannot answer it, I will do whatever I can to get you an answer.