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Church, Bronxville, New York, USA
© Ken Richardson and used under license
Bronxville, New York, USA.
Episcopal Church, Diocese
of New York.
It is of rough-hewn stone in the Early English style, with a
nave, two aisles, and a fairly long chancel. The walls of the
aisles are plastered and the ceilings are wood, but the remainder
is exposed stone with a number of stained glass windows. The
only real use of color is bright accents painted on the ceiling.
The altar is at the east wall with riddell (side) curtains and
a wooden relief of the Last Supper as a reredos.
The website lists many activities, both for members and as outreach,
for all age groups. There seems to be a strong focus on mission,
both local and worldwide. The church advertises itself as Sarum
(or English) use adapted to the American Book of Common Prayer.
The village of Bronxville is in Westchester County, just north
of New York City, and is considered to be one of the wealthiest
communities in the United States. This is reflected in the housing
and occasional commercial buildings in the area around the church.
The Revd Michael A. Bird, rector, was both celebrant and preacher.
He was assisted by a deacon and subdeacon who were not named
(and do not appear on the website as staff). The organist was
The date & time:
Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013, 10.00am.
What was the name of the service?
Holy Eucharist with Baptisms and First Communion.
How full was the building?
Nearly all of the 240 plus seats in the nave were taken. We
were not the last ones in, but we did get the last printed bulletin.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
An usher greeted us as we came in and apologized for only having one bulletin for the two of us.
Was your pew comfortable?
The church is set up with chairs, not outstanding but definitely
not uncomfortable. There was plenty of space between rows, making
How would you describe the pre-service
The organist was playing the Stanford Voluntary in D Minor
as we arrived, and people seemed attentive.
What were the exact opening
words of the service?
The service was introduced by three verses and responses from
Romans 6:9-11, starting :"We know that Christ, being raised
from the dead, will never die again."
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
Only the Hymnal 1982; the rest of the service was printed
in the bulletin.
What musical instruments
Just the organ, a very fine sounding opus of the Casavant Frères
firm of Québec, installed in 2009.
Did anything distract
There were three distractions: (1) despite the Sarum claims,
many of the distinctive (and appropriate) features of that use
were simply not seen; (2) the choices of what to say and what
to sing were rather erratic; and (3) the rector offered a longish
commentary on the baptismal part of the service that, although
quite helpful, disrupted the flow of the service.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
Traditional but not overly formal Anglo-Catholic. For example,
at the peace we all greeted our neighbors without anyone running
around the whole building.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 Father Mills spoke very clearly and understandably,
with a style that emphasized contrasts. He began with "glass
half full" and "glass half empty" views of the
coming of the Spirit, and also made the contrast between the
red vestments of Pentecost and the white baptismal garments
that gave the day old name of Whitsunday.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
He spoke of how the coming of the Spirit brought the men in
the upper room from being disciples (followers) into being apostles
(witnesses), and offered this as a challenge and calling for
Which part of the service was like being in
The music! The organ and choir were both top-notch, with choral
selections from Craig Phillips, Alessandro Scarlatti, David
Hurd and Peter Hurford. Most of the service settings were written
for congregational singing and were sung with enthusiasm by
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Since Anglo-Catholic worship tends to be highly visual, it was
unfortunate to be in the back of a crowded church where it was
difficult to follow much of the action. There was also a dearth
of incense (though we were spared an excess of brimstone).
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
A friendly woman sitting in front of us introduced us to the
rector. They both urged us to join the coffee hour.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
The coffee was good and hot but served in paper cups
I maintain that if God wanted us to burn our fingers he would
never have invented styrofoam. There were other beverages and
several edibles, including mini bagels and lox-infused cream
cheese as well as fresh fruit and cakes. Alas, once we got there,
we lost sight of the friendly lady from the church who had invited
us, and no one else spoke to us except one of the clergy (and
only after we had spoken first).
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
6 We chose to go there this time because of the Sarum
claims. I should be happy to visit there again, but would want
those claims better fulfilled before I would consider making
it our regular church. Even so, I don't really want to drive
an hour each way every week.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Yes it did. There was a real sense of reverence and of devotion
that overcame most of the negatives.
What one thing will you
remember about all this in seven days' time?
The six baptisms infants, older children and one adult.
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