December 7, 2018: Connect Grow Give at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

If you were at the Cathedral last Sunday, and you could see past all the changes--the 88 exhibitor booths of the Crafts Fair filling the length of the Nave, the new seating arrangement for worship in the Great Choir for Advent, or the temporary location of the coffee hour table right next to the Big Pulpit--you might have also noticed our new 2019 Stewardship poster. 

The words across the top of the poster, "Connect Grow Give," might sound like the usual church-speak pablum (and in all humility, they might turn out to be so), but they actually come out of long discussions, emails, and informal conversations with the New Member committee and the Vestry, as we have been trying to discern the shape of the Congregation's discipleship path.

How do the members of our community, whether long-time stalwarts or fresh-faced newcomers, become better disciples of Jesus? As a relatively small parish that exists within one of the largest cathedrals in the world, we are a truly "one-of-a-kind" community, yet we share with all Christians around the world the desire to follow Jesus a little more closely along the Way.

Nothing earth-shattering, I grant you, but before you dismiss all this as business-as-usual, I would ask you to consider this picture.

What you see in the picture is an event from this past Tuesday, when our community hosted an event to write 250+ holiday cards for the homeless youth of the Ali Forney Center, done in collaboration with the advocacy group SAGE. Participating in the effort were members of the Congregation (new, old, and prospective), friends of the Cathedral, and people who live in the neighborhood.

If you ever have questions about what "Connect Grow Give" means, just think of this picture. 

Here, in this simple effort of making cards and being of service to the vulnerable, in sharing food, in welcoming new people, in deepening relationships with old friends, and yes, in having fun, we followed a little closer to Jesus along the Way. 

The Rev. Steven Lee
Vicar

From Marsha and Tim

Crafts Fair Wrap Up

This past weekend 140 exhibitors filled the nave in 85 booths for the 22nd annual Crafts at the Cathedral—the Congregation’s chief fundraiser. This event has turned into a beautiful high-end fine art and craft show that attracts thousands of devotees. Extending the show to a Sunday allowed our Crafts Fair visitors to get a real sense of the love and beauty our Cathedral embodies. They heard us pray for their loved ones who had died; they heard us plan to send greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama; they heard the magnificent music created by our peerless musicians; they took free tours offered by Visitor Services. Many artists and shoppers said that they were thankful for the good “vibe” that we gave off (one shopper, Bishop Mary Glasspool, expressed her delight with our novel form of evangelism). We can be proud that we were able to share our living church with a whole new group of people from the artists to the shoppers, and we can be grateful that programs directly benefiting the poor and the underserved will be better-funded because of our efforts.

When the show opened on Thursday Evening a jazz quintet made up of young students from the Bloomingdale School of Music entertained us. Congregation member Susan Sobolewski played light classical piano music as well as duets with violinist Lisa Quispe. Lisa Chin, Will, Susan and Emily Baldwin, Rebekah Jordan, and Phyllis Murray ran a café throughout the hours of the show with the help of over thirty volunteers. The food was excellent and the organization perfect. Proceeds will help support CCC Clothing Closet and the feeding program. 

With the Craft Fair’s move to the Cathedral we are working with several Cathedral departments. Jonathan Secor, Director of Productions, and his staff took on much of the workload of marking the floors, trouble shooting, managing the electricity, etc. They stayed with us throughout the weekend during load-in and load-out and were immensely helpful. So much goes on in the Cathedral that those of us who worship on Sunday rarely see, and the staff rarely sees us. This type of collaboration helps build us into a broader community and it is very beautiful. THANK GOD FOR OUR CATHEDRAL AND FOR THOSE WHO MAKE IT A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE!    

A Note of Appreciation From Your Junior Warden

As we bask in the glow of our most successful Craft’s fair to date, I want to make sure we acknowledge our friend (and my fellow Warden) Marsha Ra. She has been the driving force behind the show from its earliest days, and while she is the first to humbly give credit to others for what is truly a community effort, I want to make sure we acknowledge Marsha’s remarkable combination of energy, determination, diplomacy, stubbornness, and patience. We are at an exciting time in our Congregation life, with a new energy and spirit at all levels; I am truly inspired by Marsha’s dedication to and love for our community. 

Second Sunday, December 9—Early Congregation Christmas party  

Come for delicious food, conversation, and celebration. Meet and welcome new members and visitors, catch up with old friends. At the party, we will also being finishing the holiday cards we are making in collaboration with SAGE for the youth at the Ali Forney Center.

Supporting CCC—Toy drive, winter coat drive, Christmas meal

During Advent we are collecting toys for children age infant to 16.  Bring new, unwrapped toys and leave at the Welcome Table.  Winter coats may be brought to the Welcome Table as well or brought into CCC (across from the Guard booth) during regular working hours.  This year the Christmas meal for CCC guests will take place on Sunday, December 23.  Please bring cooked chickens, hams, turkeys or desserts before the Sunday service.

Christmas Ushers

If you have thought about wanting to get more involved in our communal life, one rewarding way is by helping to welcome the many thousands of visitors from all over the world who will join us for services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We need ushers for all three services: Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols at 4 PM, the Christmas Eve Festal Eucharist at 10:30 PM, and the Christmas Day service at 10:30 AM. Please contact Tim at TimothyDDwyer9@yahoo.com if you would like to volunteer.

Bible Study continues between the 9 am. And 11 a.m. Sunday services in St. Martin’s chapel

Discuss the Sunday lectionary led by congregation member Jon Aceto.  All are welcome to join the discussion.

Have a blessed Advent,
Marsha and Tim
Wardens