News from the Congregation - November 23, 2018

From the Vicar

It seems very much in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday to give up my space this week to Jen Gowers, the executive director of the ACT program at the Cathedral. In the same way the Congregation has become a strong supporter of Cathedral Community Cares, the Vestry and I are looking to strengthen the connection between the Congregation and this vital program for neighborhood children. - The Rev. Steven Lee, Vicar


In my nearly 14 years working in public education, I have never come across a community as joyful and amazing as the one at ACT Programs. From the holiday camp bake off challenge (the fluffiest cupcakes!), to the afterschool talent show (outstanding Hula dancers!), to the active 2 day, 3 day and PreK programs (featured on the CBS News!), to the affordable, customized parties (glow in the dark laser tag!) to the sanity-saving Playstation ($8 for 3 hours of gym time!) to the beloved summer camp (water carnival at the Cathedral?!) – accomplishing our mission is possible due to your generosity. 

I'm writing to you today because I believe ACT can serve even more young people. There are folks right in our neighborhood who don’t know ACT exists, though it has been thriving here for over 40 years! Let’s bring the whole community the affordable, reliable, socially enriching programs you have loved.

Sending your generous gift today would mean supporting even more young people experiencing Ms. Eleanor’s music program for our 2 year olds (we already have the piano!), or Ms. Ann and Mr. Alex in raising caterpillars into butterflies with our 3 year olds, or the literacy program in Preschool or the arts in afterschool or the sheer fun in Summer Camp – your generosity enriches the lives of young people!

Donate today to enrich the young people at ACT  – and thank you in advance for all that you do. We simply cannot do it without you!


Jen Gowers
Executive Director, ACT Programs

P.S. Did you know you can donate online? Simply go to and note in the Designation Drop Down that your gift is for ACT!

P.P.S. Did you know that Facebook is DOUBLING donations to nonprofits on Giving Tuesday? Check our page, donate to our fundraiser here on Tues, Nov 27th to have your gift matched!


Christmas and New Year's Eve at the Cathedral

***For passes to the 10:30pm Christmas Eve service, please fill out this online form or email Hope Chang.

Christmas Eve
Monday, December 24

4 pm - Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols
The Cathedral Choristers are joined by members of the Cathedral Choir in this family-friendly service, featuring readings, Christmas carols, and larger-than-life puppets to tell the Christmas story.

10:30 pm - Christmas Eve Festal Eucharist
Prelude music begins at 10 pm. The Bishop of New York celebrates the Eucharist and preaches. The Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra perform a festive mass setting and anthems, as well as classic Christmas carols.

Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 25

10:30 am - Christmas Day Choral Eucharist
The Dean preaches and the Cathedral Choir sings. This will be the only liturgy this day.

New Year's Eve
Monday, December 31

7 pm - New Year's Eve Concert for Peace
Founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984, the annual New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace is a signature Cathedral event.

11 pm - New Year's Eve Watchnight Service
Join the Cathedral community in ringing in the New Year with this special late-night service.


From the Wardens


As we have done for the past several years, the congregation will mount a toy drive beginning this Sunday and continuing through Advent. Please bring unwrapped new toys for children of all ages and leave them at the Welcoming Table.  The toys will be handed out to needy children in the neighborhood by Cathedral Community Cares.  


Volunteer!  Crafts at the Cathedral is the Congregation’s chief fund-raising activity and it takes a lot of effort to make it a success.  Volunteers are needed for Thursday, November 29, afternoon and evening; Friday, November 30, all day until 8 PM,Saturday all day, and Sunday from noon until closing at 6 pm.  The crafts fair has enabled us to enrich programs for children, mount a wonderful speakers’ series and to make significant grants to Cathedral Community Cares.  Contact to volunteer, or sign up at the welcome table after the services and pick up some cards.

Spread the Word!  Invite your friends and neighbors to come to this beautiful event.  Publicity/discount cards are available at the Congregation welcome table.  Do you have contacts in the media?  How about reaching out to them to expand the reach of our advertising program for the show?  This is an event that we can all be proud of.  Our neighbor, Book Culture, is including the crafts fair in its outreach program. Perhaps you can post information on the show in your lobby or on Building Link if your building has that service.

Cook the Food!  Bakers!  This is your chance to show off your skill.  We will be selling desserts in the café.  Let us know what you will bring and for which day!   


World Aids Day will be observed on Friday, November 30 from 6 – 8 in the chapel of St. Columba around the Keith Haring Triptych altar piece “The Life of Christ”.  The event is in partnership with GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis).  There will be remembering and sharing, meditations and music.


Very often we find ourselves in conversation with familiar attendees at the Cathedral who believe that they are members of the Congregation but who don’t actually appear on our rolls.  The Cathedral warmly welcomes many thousands of worshippers every year, and of course membership in the Congregation is not a requirement for worshipping here.  But being a pledging member means that you are making a commitment, whether or small or large, to help our community in its mission.  On a practical level, it allows us to budget on a more accurate basis, and allows you to vote at our annual meeting.  Please help us spread the word about the importance of pledging.  Forms are available at the welcome table, and pledges are accepted anytime.


By the time you read this much of the turkey will have been consumed, the pumpkin pie a memory.  But it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves again of how thankful we should be for the many blessings in our lives even as we remember so many around the world in need of the basics of life: food, shelter, healthcare, and security. We can be thankful for our community, for our clergy, and for our wonderful Cathedral.  We are especially thankful this week for The Right Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who preached last Sunday at the Festive Evening reminding us in a rousing sermon that Love is the Way.  In fact, Love is the Only Way. 
Much love,
Tim & Marsha