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Sesquicentenary Preachers

March 24, 2009

Now, there’s a boring title for you! But the reality will not be boring.

It took me a few tries to spell the first word, and I now usually just write “Our 150th Anniversary”. It is the anniversary of the first Mass in St Clement’s, so we are observing it by special music and preachers at Festival Masses throughout the year.

We began on the Epiphany, January 6, with Bishop Keith Ackerman, the recently retired Bishop of Quincy, who is an old friend of St Clement’s and the Bishop Protector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Clemency.  On Candlemass, we had Fr Fred Thomas, Rector of Grace & St Peter’s, Baltimore, and on Wednesday, March 25, the Annunciation, we shall have Fr Andrew Sloane, Rector of St Paul’s, K St, in Washington, D.C.

May has four feasts when we have visitors: on Saturday, May 2, we will welcome the Society of Mary  for their Annual Mass of the American Region, and the next day their Superior, Fr Richard Martin, will preach at our Dedication Festival.

On May 17, we will have the Primus of Scotland, The Most Revd Idris Jones, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, to pontificate and preach. This will commemorate the fact that our Apostolic Succession in the American Episcopal Church came at first from the tiny Scottish Episcopal Church. The Bishop will lend his presence to our Rogationtide procession round the outside of the church and the blessing of the garden (since there are very few fields near St Clement’s!)

Then on the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord we will welcome back the former Rector of St Mark’s, Philadelphia, Fr Rick Alton, who is now Rector of St Andrew’s, Stamford, Connecticut.

Corpus Christi on June 11 will be a great day, with the combination of Mozart’s Missa Solemnis in C, with an orchestra, a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, and a sermon from Fr Andrew Meade, Rector of St Thomas’s, Fifth Avenue, New York.

For the Assumption of Our Lady on August 15, the preacher will be Fr John David Van Dooren, Rector of the Church of the Atonement, Chicago. And for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, September 20, we will have Prebendary Bill Scott, Sub-Dean of the Chapels Royal in London. Just a week later, Canon Martin Warner of St Paul’s Cathedral, London will be our preacher on Sunday, October 4, the feast of the Holy Rosary, and a month after that we will have Fr David Kennedy, S.S.C. Rector of the Church of the Holy Guardian Angels, Lantana, Florida, who will preach on All Saints Day.

To finish the Year off, an old St Clement’s boy, Brother Steven Hawes of the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, Yorkshire will preach on November 22; and our Patronal Festival Preacher on St Clement’s Day, November 23 will be Fr Fred Robinson, Rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, Florida. And finally on December 8, the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, our preacher will be the Very Revd Len Black, Dean of the Scottish Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness.

Just writing all that has left me breathless! But I believe St Clement’s will have a very fruitful 150th Anniversary Year, and will share it with a wide variety of our friends and supporters. I hope many of you will come too.

Then next year, Fr Wall and I will have to get back to preaching!

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