From the Vicar and the Wardens - April 20, 2018

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Dear Members and Friends of the Congregation of Saint Saviour,

From the Vicar
Marsha Ra, the senior warden, tells me that pledges are at their highest level in 5 years. Fred Wherry, a new vestry member, and Gale Kenny, the clerk of the vestry, are planning an outstanding series of speakers for the fall and spring. Kevin de l'Aigle, in addition to doing an incredible job as our stewardship chair, has been instrumental in getting the Cathedral and Congregation to support the AIDS Walk, which will occur on May 20. (See below in the Warden's message for more information.) A new pastoral care committee has formed, made up of Phyllis Murray, Luz Betancourt, and Leslee Sumner, and they keep in touch with members of our community who are grieving or in pain. Mark Dilcom, a new member, has volunteered to lead our new member integration efforts, and he already has a ton of ideas and energy.

All these new activities have taken place alongside the faithful ongoing work of adult formation in Bible Study with Dr. Jon Aceto and EfM with Donna Devlin, as well as the tireless efforts of many of our members who support the Cathedral by serving as acolytes, ushers, vergers, altar guild members, Second Sunday cooks, and on and on.

All this has happened in the last 4 months when you, the Congregation of Saint Saviour, had no vicar.

So when Marsha said she was happy a new vicar had arrived because now she could hand all this work off to me, I said, um, no. That's not how I understand the role of clergy in a parish, and, given the amazing lay leadership that has flourished here in the past few months, it would be pure folly to try to run everything myself. All that would happen is everything would get worse, and at the very least, I will try not to make things worse in my tenure. Rather, one role of the vicar is to add to the amazing work that is already happening here in the Congregation of Saint Saviour, and sometimes that means just getting out of the way.

You will see a concrete manifestation of this leadership philosophy in our weekly newsletters. Going forward, the wardens will continue to write to the congregation as they have faithfully done during this transition, and the new vicar will add to their contribution, not replace it.

Speaking of wardens and vestry, I feel very fortunate to have Tim Dwyer and Marsha Ra as my wardens, and Cecilia Amadi, JoAnn Bell, Kevin de l'Aigle, Robert Deming, Gale Kenny, Meryl Marcus, Paula McKenzie, Mary-Elizabeth Mitchell, Michael Nixon, Lewis Salas, Lorraine Simmons, Fred Wherry, and Barbara Whiteman-Hull all on the vestry.

This is a group with great wisdom, rock-solid integrity and a tremendous work-ethic. This means they will have no problem pushing back on their new vicar when they think his ideas are daft, or representing your concerns and desires to him, or supporting him when the going gets a little rough. We have already had some frank and honest exchanges together, and our mutual respect has stayed strong, and I expect that pattern to remain.

To close, perhaps you'd like to know something about your new vicar. To know my life philosophy, as it were. This quote from the great missionary Lesslie Newbigin comes very close to capturing some of it. Newbigin was once asked if he was an optimist or pessimist. He replied, "I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead."


From the Wardens

EfM Open House, Thursday, May10, 6:30, Cathedral House Conference Room
If you are interested in a more formal and structured study of scriptures and the history of the faith, in thoughtful discussion and spiritual reflection, then you are a good candidate for the program known as Education for Ministry (EfM).  It is designed for lay people who want to delve more deeply but are not necessarily interested in ordination. EfM classes have been on-going at the Cathedral under the mentorship of Donna Devlin for 10 years. Come and see what a typical session is like.

Memorial Service for David Pelletier
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. for David Pelletier, who worshipped at the cathedral for many years and served on as head verger. David passed away earlier this year after a long illness.

Do you speak a language other than English?
On Pentecost, Sunday, May 20, the readings at the 11:00 Eucharist will be proclaimed in a number of languages. If you can read any foreign language and would like to help, please contact Father Malloy (, saying which language you would like to read. Rehearsals will be held on Sunday, May 13, after the 11:00 Eucharist and at 10:00 on May 20, the day of the celebration itself. Participants must attend both rehearsals and secure copies of the Scripture passage in their chosen language.

AIDS Walk NY, Sunday, May 20 / AIDS Quilt.  
For many years the AIDS Walk has passed right by our cathedral. This year we are planning on being cheer leaders as the marchers pass us on Cathedral Parkway. Since the bulk of the marchers will pass our way between 10 and 11 a.m., please join us to show our support for this important cause after the 9 or before the 11! If you want to participate in the walk itself, Vestry member and young adult leader Lewis Salas will be leading a team of walkers.

Under the leadership of Vestry member Kevin de l'Aigle and Cathedral staff, a display of portions of the AIDS quilt, which includes names of victims associated with the Cathedral, will be mounted in the Nave for the days before and after the walk. Watch this space for information on how you can get involved.

More about that new Vicar   
The Reverend Deacon Steven Lee grew up in Marin County, California and worked as a derivatives trader for a Swiss bank after graduating from Yale University where he majored in classics. More recently he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary and worked as the executive director of an immigration legal services ministry of the United Methodist Church. He is married to Emma Butterfield Presler, who is the Manager of the Department of Architecture & Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Steven, Emma and their 3 sons (Anders who is 3 and a half, Oliver who will soon be 2, and Emerson who is just 7 weeks old) will be moving into Diocesan House later this month.

The wardens have had the pleasure of working directly with Steven for the past four and a half months during the period when we were technically “vicarless.”  Without his advice and support the work of the wardens would have been onerous indeed.  But support for administrative tasks is not why we are so pleased with his selection:  it is his strong faith and spiritual gifts that will make him a great leader among us.  A couple of months ago Steven, still a seminarian, was scheduled to preach at the 11:00 a.m. service.  To everyone’s surprise, Bishop Dietsche appeared and decided to preside.  Steven gave one of his powerful sermons—this one on the difference between false starts and new beginnings, impressing the Bishop and congregation alike.  Today we are certain that we are experiencing not a false start but a new beginning for our life as a congregation.

Steven will be ordained to the priesthood on September 15.

Wishing you a joy filled Eastertide,

Marsha Ra & Tim Dwyer, Wardens