Situated as we are in the Manhattanville valley, a few blocks from Union Theological Seminary and the Columbia University campus, we get a fair number of interesting visitors at St. Mary's. Just before the 10 AM service this morning, I noticed that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her husband Richard Schori were in the congregation. They were just visiting.
Today in place of a sermon we had the annual Sunday School Christmas Pageant -- the topic was the Slaughter of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt. Under the direction of Jim White, the slaughter took place in the sacristy, so all we heard were terrible screams. In the last scene, the soldiers had a change of heart -- that is, they repented -- and joined the Holy Family as refugees in Egypt. Then each soldier, or rather each child actor, presented gifts to the baby Jesus commemorating the names and ages of children killed in Iraq. I think the PB was as appreciative of the pageant as the rest of us.
Most of the congregation were not aware that Bishop KJS was there until announcement time, which we have just before the blessing and dismissal.