Calendar

Open Doors

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

SAINT PHILIP & SAINT JAMES

Collect:

Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Athanasius

Collect:

Uphold thy Church, O God of truth, as thou didst uphold thy servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of thine eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, May 3, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, May 4, 2018

Monnica

Lesser Feasts and Fasts tells the story:

Monnica’s life story is enshrined in the spiritual autobiography of her eldest son, in The Confessions of Saint Augustine. Born in North Africa about 331, of Berber parents, Monnica was married to a Latinized provincial of Tagaste named Patricius, whom she won to the Christian faith before his death. In her earlier years she was not without worldly ambitions and tastes. She grew in Christian maturity and spiritual insight through an ever-deepening life of prayer.

Her ambition for her gifted son was transformed into a passionate desire for his conversion to Christ. After his baptism in Milan in 387, by Bishop Ambrose, Augustine and his mother, together with a younger brother, planned to return home to Africa. While awaiting ship at Ostia, the port of Rome, Monnica fell ill.

Augustine writes, “One day during her illness she had a fainting spell and lost consciousness for a short time. We hurried to her bedside, but she soon regained consciousness and looked up at my brother and me as we stood beside her. With a puzzled look, she asked, ‘Where was I?’ Then, watching us closely as we stood there speechless with grief, she said, ‘You will bury your mother here.’ ”

Augustine’s brother expressed sorrow, for her sake, that she would die so far from her own country. She said to the two brothers, “It does not matter where you bury my body. Do not let that worry you. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord.” To the question, whether she was not afraid at the thought of leaving her body in an alien land, she replied, “Nothing is far from God, and I need have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.”

Recent excavations at Ostia have uncovered her original tomb. Her mortal remains, however, were transferred in 1430 to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome.

While Monnica is sadly missing from sermons in our online sermon archive, there are of course many references to Augustine. You might be interested in this one:

To be Transformed, Present your Body (2008) by Fr Austin

Collect:

O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen they servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, May 5, 2018

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, May 6, 2018

THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

The Sixth Sunday of Easter is often called Rogation Sunday, as it precedes the three rogation days that always fall on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day. You'll notice hints of prepartion for the rogation days in the morning services today, when at times there is an emphasis on God our creator and provider. For example, pay attention to the words of the psalm and the hymns. See also the words of the collect, which, through petition and gratitude, approaches God as the provider of all things.

Among the sermons in the archive that can help you understand God as creator and provider, consider these:

The Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth (2011) by Fr Spurlock
On Providence (2010) by Fr Austin
Bread and Life, Freedom and Friendship (2009) by Fr Austin
All Ours as Gift (2008) by Fr Austin
Food in the Wilderness (2003) by Fr Mead

Collect:

O God, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee in all things and above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)

Monday, May 7, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Julian

Dame Julian of Norwich
b. c.1342
d. c.1417

Believed to be the first woman to write a book in the English language (see Norwich Cathedral's website), Dame Julian authored Revelations of Divine Love after her experience at age 30 of having fifteen visions of the Passion when she suddenly recovered from a deadly illness.

Lesser Feasts and Fasts has a detailed descrption of her life, which ends: Lady Julian’s book is a tender and beautiful exposition of God’s eternal and all-embracing love, showing how his charity toward the human race is exhibited in the Passion. Again and again she referred to Christ as “our courteous Lord.” Many have found strength in the words the Lord had given her: “I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well; and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well.”

Collect:

Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, May 10, 2018

ASCENSION DAY

As you contemplate the ascension, consider these sermons:

He Ascended into Heaven (2011) by Fr Spurlock
Ascension Day Greetings (2010) by Fr Mead
A Presence within an Absence (2008) by Fr Austin
The Ascension, the Church, and the World (2006) by Fr Austin
The Ascension: Christ Fills All Things (2002) by Fr Mead

Collect:

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, May 11, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, May 12, 2018

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, May 13, 2018

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

The Seventh Sunday of Easter is also called The Sunday after Ascension Day. Because Ascension Day is always the 40th Day of Easter and Pentecost is always the 50th Day, The Sunday after Ascension Day is always the Sunday preceding the Day of Pentecost.

These last 10 days of Easter are called Ascensiontide, the period of time after Christ ascended to the Father, yet before the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. To the contemporaries of Christ, it was therefore a time of waiting.

Collect:

O God, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven: We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless, but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Savior Christ is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)

Monday, May 14, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, May 17, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, May 18, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dunstan

Archbishop of Canterbury
b. c.909
d. 988

From Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church:

In the ninth century, under King Alfred the Great, England had achieved considerable military, political, cultural, and even some ecclesiastical recovery from the Viking invasions. It was not until the following century that there was a revival of monasticism. In that, the leading figure was Dunstan.

Dunstan was born about 909 into a family with royal connections. He became a monk and in 943 was made Abbot of Glastonbury. During a year-long political exile in Flanders, he encountered the vigorous currents of the Benedictine monastic revival. King Edgar recalled Dunstan to England in 957, appointed him Bishop of Worcester, then of London; and, in 960, named him Archbishop of Canterbury. Together with his former pupils, Bishops Aethelwold of Winchester and Oswald of Worcester (later of York), Dunstan was a leader of the English Church. All three have been described as “contemplatives in action” — bringing the fruits of their monastic prayer-life to the immediate concerns of Church and State. They sought better education and discipline among the clergy, the end of  landed family interest in the Church, the restoration of  former monasteries and the establishment of new ones, a revival of monastic life for women, and a more elaborate and carefully ordered liturgical worship.

This reform movement was set forth in the “Monastic Agreement,” a common code for English monasteries drawn up by Aethelwold about 970, primarily under the inspiration of Dunstan. It called for continual intercession for the royal house, and emphasized the close tie between the monasteries and the crown. This close alliance of  Church and State, sacramentalized in the anointing of the King, was expressed liturgically in the earliest English coronation ceremony of which a full text survives, compiled for King Edgar by Dunstan and his associates.

The long-term effects of this tenth-century reform resulted in the development of two peculiarly English institutions: the “monastic cathedral,” and “monk-bishops.”

Dunstan is reputed to have been an expert craftsman. His name is especially associated with the working of metals and the casting of bells, and he was regarded as the patron saint of those crafts.

Collect:

O God of truth and beauty, who didst richly endow thy bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we beseech thee, to see in thee the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, May 20, 2018

THE DAY OF PENTECOST (WHITSUNDAY)

Today we mark the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Comforter, an arrival which (2,000 years ago) transformed fearful and self-conscious men and women into fearless and selfless evangelists for Christ. Pentecost is, in many ways, the birthday of the Church. But it is not merely that. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of the on-going action of God in our lives, through the Spirit.

To gain a richer understanding, consider these sermons:

I Believe in the Holy Ghost (2011) by Fr Daniels
A Sermon for the Day of Pentecost (2010) by John Polkinghorne
The Holy Spirit Gives us a Future (2010) by Fr Austin
From Pentecost to Pop Hale to Fifth Avenue (2009) by Fr Mead
Three Points about Pentecost (2008) by Fr Mead
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom (2006) by Fr Austin

Collect:

O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)

Monday, May 21, 2018

First Book of Common Prayer

Lesser Feasts and Fasts recounts the history of the Prayer Book in this way:

The first Book of Common Prayer came into use on the Day of  Pentecost, June 9, 1549, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth. From it have descended all subsequent editions and revisions of the Book in the Churches of the Anglican Communion. 

Though prepared by a commission of learned bishops and priests, the format, substance, and style of the Prayer Book were primarily the work of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1533-1556. The principal sources  employed in its compilation were the medieval Latin service books of the Use of Sarum (Salisbury), with enrichments from the Greek liturgies, certain ancient Gallican rites, the vernacular German forms prepared by Luther, and a revised Latin liturgy of the reforming Archbishop Hermann of Cologne. The Psalter and other biblical passages were drawn from the English “Great Bible” authorized by King Henry the Eighth in 1539, and the Litany was taken from the English form issued as early as 1544.

The originality of the Prayer Book, apart from the felicitous translations and paraphrases of the old Latin forms, lay in its simplification of the complicated liturgical usages of the medieval Church, so that it was suitable for use by the laity as well as by the clergy. The Book thus became both a manual of common worship for Anglicans and a primary resource for their personal spirituality.

At Saint Thomas, all Eucharists utilize the 1979 Prayer Book, either Rite I or Rite II, depending on the service. The relevant words are printed on service cards so that worshippers may fully participate. We keep 1928 Prayer Books in the pews because the Daily Office (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Evensong) are carried out according to 1928 language, and also because the Psalter in the 1928 Prayer Book is close to the language of the Coverdale Psalter used by the Choir.

Collect:

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jackson Kemper

First Missionary Bishop in the United States
d. 1870

In an article about the awarding of an honorary doctorate to John Scott, the Rector wrote about one of Jackson Kemper's lasting contributions to the Episcopal Church in his December 2007 Chronicle.

Collect:

Lord God, in whose providence Jackson Kemper was chosen first missionary bishop in this land, that by his arduous labor and travel congregations might be established in scattered settlements of the West: Grant that the Church may always be faithful to its mission, and have the vision, courage, and perseverance to make known to all people the Good News of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bede the Venerable

Priest and Monk of Jarrow
d. 735

Lesser Feasts and Fasts describes Bede in this way:

At the age of seven, Bede’s parents brought him to the nearby monastery at Jarrow (near Durham in northeast England) for his education. There, as he later wrote, “spending all the remaining time of my life. . . I wholly applied myself to the study of Scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.”

Bede was ordained deacon at nineteen, and presbyter at thirty. He died on the eve of the Ascension while dictating a vernacular translation of the Gospel according to John. About 1020 his body was removed to Durham, and placed in the Galilee, the Lady Chapel at the west end of the Cathedral nave.

Bede was the greatest scholar of his time in the Western Church. He wrote commentaries on the Scriptures based on patristic interpretations.

His treatise on chronology was standard for a long time. He also wrote on orthography, poetic meter, and especially on history. His most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of England, written in Latin, remains the primary source for the period 597 to 731, when Anglo-Saxon culture developed and Christianity triumphed. In this work, Bede was clearly ahead of his time. He consulted many documents, carefully evaluated their reliability, and cited his sources. His interpretations were balanced and judicious. He also wrote the History of the Abbots (of Wearmouth and Jarrow), and a notable biography of Cuthbert, both in prose and verse.

His character shines through his work — an exemplary monk, an ardent Christian, devoted scholar, and a man of pure and winsome manners. He received the unusual title of Venerable more than a century after his death. According to one legend, the monk writing the inscription for his tomb was at a loss for a word to fill out the couplet:

Hac sunt in fossa
Bedae — blank — ossa
(This grave contains
the — blank — Bede’s remains)
That night an angel filled in the blank: Venerabilis.

Collect:

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship; Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Augustine

Bishop of Hippo; Doctor of the Church
b. November 13, 354
d. August 28, 430

To say that Saint Augustine is a "leader" or "father" of the church seems an understatement. Few figures have been more influencial on the development of Christian theology. Among his many writings are his Confessions and The City of God.

Augustine's influence extends right into the Saint Thomas pulpit to this very day, where our priests regularly rely on his wisdom and clarity, and even on the lessons to be learned from his own life. Among so many examples in the trove are these:

To Be Transformed, Present Your Body by Fr Austin (2008)
The Love of Money by Fr Mead (2006)
All in the Family by Fr Mead (2005)
Patience Wins the Day by Fr Mead (2005)
Enter by the Strait Gate by Fr Mead (2004)

Collect:

O Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, May 27, 2018

TRINITY SUNDAY

Trinity Sunday fittingly comes one week after the Day of Pentecost, which marked the arrival of the Holy Spirit, who, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified..."

It is actually the Athanasian Creed, not the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed, which most aggressively affirms the nature of the Trinity. We never say the Athanasian Creed in church, but yet it can be found in the 1979 Prayer Book on page 864 in the historical documents section. Here is the portion pertaining to the nature of the Trinity:

And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

If you struggle with this doctrine, you're not alone: it took the Church several centuries to clarify its teaching on the nature of the Trinity. These sermons may be of help also:

The Athanasian Creed (2010) by Fr Mead
Love is All You Need (2009) by Fr Mead
The Strong Name of the Trinity (2008) by Fr Mead
The Trinity: The God of Jesus (2007) by Fr Mead
The Trinity is Our Story (2005) by Fr Austin
Three Persons in One God (2003) by Fr Mead
The Holy Trinity (2002) by Fr Mead

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see thee in thy one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)

Monday, May 28, 2018

9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Joan of Arc

Collect:

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance