January 18, 2019: Deepening Connections at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

I have been away all week at an inspiring church conference on Asian-American ministry hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and upon returning to New York, I learned that the poet Mary Oliver had died.

I've often thought her poem Wild Geese can be read as giving the true meaning of church: not a place of harsh moralism and judgment, but an authentic community that provides healing and transformation through vulnerable self-disclosure, acceptance, and hope. 

geese katata.jpg

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes, 

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  

over and over announcing your place 

in the family of things.

The Rev. Steven Lee

From Marsha and Tim

Dear Friends,

The Congregation Annual meeting and election will take place on February 3 in Cathedral House after the 11:00 a.m. service. The slate for vestry is now available and will be announced at services for the next two Sundays.  Biographies and statements are now also available on our website on this page.

If you would like to bring some food to share, please contact Lisa Chin  ljc8@cc.columbia.edu  who will be organizing lunch.  A potluck meal should add a fun feel to the event.

Tuesday, January 22, 6:30 PM in the Cathedral 

Close Conversations: “Interpreting James Baldwin today” featuring Nicholas Boggs and Gabrielle Bellot in conversation with Elizabeth Howard around the novel If Beale Street Could Talk, recently released as a movie and directed by Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins, and Little Man, Little Man by James Baldwin with illustrations by Yoran Cazac. Little Man was republished in 2018 with an introduction by Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody.  We are pleased to announce that the Laymen’s Club is sponsoring this talk.  We hope you can come.

Saturday, February 9, 10:30 AM in the Cathedral

Absalom Jones Service. This Diocesan wide celebration of the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church is always moving and always fun.  There are many ways to participate. First, just come.  Second, help usher, bring food, or sing in the special chorus!  A representative of the Congregation will march with our new, beautiful banner in a long procession of congregations.  To usher, contact Tim Dwyer.  For information on other volunteer opportunities related to this event including choir rehearsals follow this link:  https://www.dioceseny.org/ednyevent/absalom-jones-2019/

Giving, pledging, envelopes, etc.

There is a certain passion around giving envelopes.  How do we know?  Your senior warden was practically attacked by congregation members whose envelopes had not yet arrive by last Sunday.  She appreciates your commitment but please don’t hit her! 

Envelopes were sent out two weeks ago. Then there was a Post Office screw up (to use a technical term) so many of you received them late.  We apologize.  Here is some information that may help:  If you donate by check and drop the check into the basket, be sure to make the check out to Congregation of St. Saviour. An envelope is helpful, but not essential.  If you donate by cash, the cash has to be in an envelope.  If you do not have the numbered envelope any envelope will do as long as you print your name on the outside so that we can credit your record for each donation.  If you drop cash into the basket and it is not in an envelope, it goes into the Cathedral’s general fund and your donation is not recorded.  Have we bored you enough?  Here’s another fact: it is extremely helpful to put your name on the envelope if you are giving cash. 

There are other ways of giving including having your bank send the congregation checks on a regular basis (lots of people do that) or by using Paypal on the congregation website.  

All of our members give to the congregation—that is a requirement to be a “member in good standing.”  Yet only about one third of them actually make a pledge (i.e fill out a pledge card with an estimate of your annual giving.)  It would make budgeting much easier if everyone handed in a pledge card each year. 

However you personally handle giving to your church, your donations are welcome and appreciated and help us all move ahead in our work of ministry.

Marsha and Tim