News From the Congregation - September 8, 2018

From the Vicar

One of the books I read over the summer was Bullsh*t Jobs: A Theory, by the anthropologist and "anarchist activist" David Graeber, who teaches at the London School of Economics. This isn't the kind of book I normally read, but it had all the qualities of a good beach book. It was entertaining and not too taxing.

Graeber's thesis is that many of us today work in what he calls "bullsh*t jobs," which he defines as "a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless... that even the employee cannot justify its existence." He provides amusing examples of people who work in these self-described "pointless" jobs--and many of these jobs do seem to fit the description. 

But the reason I had trouble taking the book seriously was that to consider a well-paid, white collar job as "pointless" (rather than something to be grateful for) is the textbook example of privilege. 

As I read the book, I couldn't help but think about some of the students I used to teach at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining. After their release from prison, many of the men never find employment. Any job, let alone a "pointless" well-paid, white-collar one, is often out of reach. 

While there are many abstract structural reasons why formerly incarcerated men have difficulty finding jobs, there are also some very simple reasons too.

One of the most heartbreaking is that the men often do not own any interview-appropriate clothes. In fact, the social services department at the Cathedral, Cathedral Community Cares (CCC), estimates that 30 different men each week come to our clothing closet looking for blazers, slacks, dress shoes, dress socks, and collared shirts. 

But while the need for professional men's clothing is high, donations for men's clothes are very hard to procure. So CCC has asked the Congregation to help.

While there are some immediate steps that your leaders in the Congregation will take to address this issue, I'd like to issue a call to everyone to send us your most creative ideas or most helpful contacts. This is obviously not a problem that we can solve all at once, if at all. But I think with careful discernment and communal effort, we may be able to make a real difference for the men who come to the Cathedral looking for our help.

The Rev. Dn. Steven Lee

From the Wardens

Congregation Home Coming, Sunday September 9, 12:15 p.m. Cathedral Nave—IT’S POTLUCK!
We are so thankful to God for our wonderful vicar and for so many hardworking committed members of our worship community and for our very active vestry.  How blessed we are!  We are all Marthas and Marys I think:  praying, loving, listening, and working to bring the love of Christ to one another and to the world.  Sometimes showing love means holding one another’s hand during a difficult time or celebrating with someone.  Sometimes it means writing a check or handing over a few extra dollars to help someone in trouble. Or… sometimes it means baking a cake!
Join us this Sunday in the Cathedral nave after the 11:00 a.m. service where we will welcome one another back from the summer and share information on the program year ahead.   So far the menu is as diverse as we are: sandwiches, quiche, pasta salads, crudite and dips, bagels and cream cheese.  Many luscious desserts are also promised.   Since we have no kitchen in the cathedral, please bring food that doesn’t need heating up and that won’t spoil easily.    
Ordination of the Reverend Deacon Steven Y. Lee to the Priesthood, Saturday, September 15, 10:30 a.m. Cathedral – Reception in Synod Hall following the service
Another reason to celebrate: Our vicar will be ordained to the priesthood on the Saturday after Homecoming.  We are planning a reception in Synod Hall following the service.  We hope as many congregation members as possible will come to both.   Since at least ten other people will be ordained at the service, we expect quite a crowd in the Great Choir, so plan to come early to get a good seat.  Also, don’t be confused by tables set up in the nave.  Several other congregations will be hosting receptions for their new priests in the nave.  Come over to Synod Hall where friends, relatives and Congregation of Saint Saviour members will be celebrating with Steven and his family. 
Planning ahead:
Saint Francis Day Sunday, October 7.
Tickets are available from the Congregation Office. Contact Hope Chang at 212-316-7483.  There is no charge, but tickets are suggested since the Cathedral fills up quickly with people and their critters.  After the service there will be blessings of pets on the close as well as animals to adopt.  The Congregation will have a table at the fair and use this as an opportunity for gentle evangelism. To volunteer to usher on Saint Francis Day or any day, contact Tim Dwyer (warden and head usher) at Tim Dwyer at
Congregation Fall Retreat, Holy Cross Monastery, November 2 – 4
Contemplative Ecology—Becoming Truly Human, led by Brother Aidan
Sign up for the Congregation fall retreat, which takes place the first weekend in November.  Sign-up is required by October 2.  Detailed information here. Fill out the form and send with check to Congregation of Saint Saviour office.  We have 15 spots reserved. 

See you Sunday!

Tim Dwyer and Marsha Ra