From the Vicar
I have been continually amazed by the passion many of you have for ministering to our neighbors. Whether it's the hospitality we showed to the AIDS Walk marchers a few months ago or last Sunday to the visitors of the St. Francis Day service, or whether it's our efforts to raise money for backpacks, school supplies, and men's interview clothes for Cathedral Community Cares, you can be proud of how much of a blessing the congregation has become to our community.
But being a "blessing machine" can be tiring work. It can be tough if you aren't feeling particularly blessed yourself these days, especially with the latest news out of Washington D.C. But it can be downright impossible, if that news has reopened long-forgotten wounds.
From conversations with some of you and from my Facebook feed, I know that the past few weeks have been hard for many of us. I wish I had greater wisdom to dispense, but, frankly, all I can think of is a comment from a friend of mine who is a United Methodist pastor in rural Washington State.
When the rage over the Supreme Court nomination had reached an ugly climax, becoming unbearably intense and heated, with contempt as the only way people communicated across difference, my friend wrote simply, "Be gentle my friends. Be gentle." Even now, days later, that admonition resonates.
It was a reminder to me that even when we are in the midst of a holy battle, it can be easy to lose ourselves in the passions of the moment. It can be easy to let our justifiable anger add to the ugliness, rather than using that anger to stem or even redeem it. If we are not careful, we can injure more than our enemies with the sword of righteous vengeance. We can injure ourselves.
Be gentle my friends. Be gentle.
The Rev. Steven Lee
From the Wardens
Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Langston Hughes, Harlem, and the Sacred with Wallace Best and Elizabeth Howard, Sponsored by the Congregation of St. Saviour, in the Cathedral at the Poets Corner
James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. We are proud of this fall’s impressive Speakers Series, Close Conversations. Come learn more about this important poet who is honored in the Cathedral’s Poets Corner. We hope to see you there.
Wallace Best is Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of Langston’s Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem, New York University Press and Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 1915-1952, Princeton University Press. He is currently at work on an anthology entitled Elder Lucy Smith: Documents from the Life of a Pentecostal Woman Preacher.
Elizabeth Howard was recently appointed the inaugural Madeleine L'Engle Fellow at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
Stepping out in Faith
The Congregation raises money for its needs in two ways: through its annual Stewardship Campaign and through fund raising efforts large and small. The largest, most significant fund-raiser is the annual Crafts Fair which brings in tens of thousands of dollars. In recent years proceeds of that effort have been used to plug the gaping hole in our budget that results from a mismatch between our basic expenses and Congregation giving. This year the Vestry has voted to use a chunk of the Crafts Fair proceeds for something other than our needs. We will be giving $5,000 to Cathedral Community Cares, the arm of the Cathedral that does direct ministry to the poor.
To be clear, the money that is collected weekly through Congregation giving supports the Cathedral, pays for Sunday School (Little Pilgrims) and Christian formation, office expenses, our share of the cost of being part of the greater Episcopal Church, communication, fellowship, etc. We have always set a small amount apart for Mission and Outreach ($1,000 - $2,000) annually. This year we were delighted with the response to the backpack project which added another $2,300 to that budget. In the ideal world, we would give away 10% of our income to the needy—a tithe if you will. But we are nowhere near being able to do that if we also want to continue supporting Little Pilgrims, Confirmation classes, and opportunities for spiritual growth—in other words, to be a church! We ask you to pray about this as you consider how you will pledge to the Congregation of Saint Saviour this year.
Sunday, October 21, Stewardship Brunch “Between the Services”
Come join us for a sweet beginning to our stewardship campaign. You should have already received a letter and a pledge card. Come join us at 10:00 a.m. for a brunch in Cathedral House. Father Lee, the wardens, and Kevin de l’Aigle will be on hand to answer questions.
Saint Francis Day, when 2,300 people and hundreds of animals filled the nave, is behind us. It was particularly heartening to see some brand new liturgical volunteers amongst the veterans of the acolyte and usher guilds. Participating in services like this give new members the chance to meet fellow congregants and become known.
After the service it was so much fun to sit at the Congregation Welcome Table right at the entrance to the animal blessings on the pulpit green, across from the ACC Mobile Adoptions Van. There we admired the wonderful dogs, one cat, a few fish and a pink chicken. (Lady Gaga, the pink chicken, is pink because she and her owner participate annually in a fund-raising walk for the cure of breast cancer.) The Congregation sold “I’ve been blessed” dog tags designed by Hope Chang. We raised several hundred dollars for Cathedral Community Cares. If you would like to buy one for your own dog or for a friend, we will have them at the table next to the coffee hour for a few weeks.
Saint Francis Day is one of the most important welcoming community events we do. Next week we get to put on our welcoming faces again for a visit from The Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) headed by Imam Bashar Arafat. Imam Bashar will be bringing a group of Muslims from Kyrgyzstan to pray with us this coming Sunday at the 11:00 a.m. service. The group will then join us for our regular coffee hour in the nave and some conversation. Take a moment after the service to greet them.
Thank God for our wonderful Cathedral and blessed Congregation!
Tim Dwyer and Marsha Ra