January 25, 2019: The loneliness of the City and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

For all of its people and nonstop activity, New York can be a surprisingly lonely place. So when churches are boring or unfriendly or ineffective, or boring and unfriendly and ineffective, they miss a huge opportunity to meet a desperately felt need for so many people in New York: authentic connection.

One of my primary goals as your Vicar has been to focus on finding ways of creating a deep community, a place where you or I can be vulnerable and share ourselves with one another honestly, and then be heard and accepted and loved for who we are, as opposed to judged and shamed and ignored. 

So I have been less interested in the technical aspects of managing our church as an organization and more interested in discerning and shaping the emotional dynamics of our life together.

Here's an example of what I mean. At our vestry retreat several months ago, we did not focus on "mission statements" or "vision" or "5-year plans" or the "top ten things we can do to grow our church." Instead, we focused on getting to know one another more deeply and more authentically. 

I suspect that if our church eliminated most everything we do and spent our time making sure everyone formed deep bonds with one another, there would be so many people clamoring to have a share in this kind of authentic connection, that the Cathedral would be too small to fit them all.

The Rev. Steven Lee

From Marsha and Tim

The Government Shutdown

Some of the members of our congregation are directly affected by this situation.  We don’t know how many in all, but there are certainly government workers among us who are waiting for a paycheck.   Let us all pray for an end to this stand-off and consider what we might do to help as the days go on. If the shutdown is causing any urgent financial hardship, please contact the Vicar.

Close Conversations

The Congregation’s sponsored Close Conversations discussion of James Baldwin last Tuesday night was so well attended that it had to be moved from the Poet’s Corner to Saint James chapel, and then we ran out of chairs!  Twenty NYU students who were attending a Baldwin seminar came with their professor.  They were given a Cathedral tour before the program and we offered them a pizza dinner afterward. We thank the Laymen’s Club for their decision to underwrite the speakers in this series.  Watch for another Close Conversation coming up in March.

Congregation Annual Meeting coming up February 3, 1:00 p.m. in Cathedral House

This is our one business meeting of the year.  There will be vestry elections, report on finances, and reports on what we did as a community last year and what we may do together in the year to come.  To see the biographies of those running for warden and vestry, click here.

In preparing the annual report narrative we went over minutes and Vicar/Wardens letters of the last year. And what a year it was!   The senior warden’s favorite moment is actually a tie between watching the “little pilgrims” run up and down 110th Street handing out rose window fans to AIDS marchers and hearing the Presiding Bishop preach.  What was your favorite moment?

If you would like to bring some food to augment lunch at the meeting, contact Lisa Chin ljc8@cc.Columbia.edu

Saturday, February 9 Blessed Absalom Jones, 10:30 Cathedral

This annual Diocesan event has grown to one of the “big events” of the year.  It is moving and it is fun.  There will be a procession of congregations and we are planning to bring out our new banner and march along with the rest of our fellow Episcopal parishes.  If you would like to help by ushering, please contact Tim Dwyer, timothyddwyer9@yahoo.com

Blessings to all,
Marsha & Tim