May 24, 2019: A Year of Yes at the Cathedral of St John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

It is no secret that the Cathedral Congregation has seen a resurgence in the past year that we have been together. Marsha Ra, who as Senior Warden is the "chief lay leader" of our community, tells me that every Vicar of the Congregation (and she has known every single one) has claimed that the Congregation grew under his or her watch.

In this case, however, we have concrete data that shows something positive is happening. Our giving is running about 20% ahead of last year, which ran more than 30% ahead of the prior year, when the Congregation was in its interim period. And in the last 3 weeks, I have met with 14 people who want to join our Congregation as full members, willing to commit to all the responsibilities that come with that distinction. 

Now, it is not false modesty when I say that I truly believe I have done very little to bring about this growth. That is both a theological conviction but also a practical reality. The only thing I will take credit for is my insistence on trying to say "Yes" to as many of your ideas as possible. 

However, in recent days, I will confess that I have wondered about the wisdom of such a full-throttled commitment to saying "Yes." I have even thought that my maturity as a priest would show in how many times I began to stay "No."

Thankfully, I heard a profound and inspiring talk today at the Parish of Calvary-St. George in downtown Manhattan given by Bishop Ric Thorpe. Bishop Thorpe is an expert in church planting and revitalization in the Church of England with specific responsibility for new church plants. His talk today made me realize that releasing all of you to do ministry by saying "Yes" is perhaps the single most important thing I can do to keep our community vibrant and growing. 

So, as we begin our second year of work together, let us commit once again to Saying Yes, no matter how great the possibility of failure, no matter how seemingly impossible the task.

The Rev. Steven Lee

From Marsha and Tim

As Eastertide draws to a close, we are looking at many spirit filled occasions and opportunities for the Cathedral Congregation.  

Thursday, May 30, 7:00 PM, Cathedral House Conference Room: EfM Graduation

Vestry member Paula Mackenzie will graduate after four years in the EfM (Education for Ministry) program. EfM is a distance-learning theological education program offered by the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.  Following a Eucharist, refreshments will be served. Come join us as we honor Paula.

Friday, June 7, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Cathedral House Conference Room: Action Potluck/Sanctuary Neighborhoods

Did you know that we are surrounded by a network of volunteers from many faith communities that are devoted to providing direct support to families affected by cruel immigration policies?   How can the Cathedral Congregation help asylum seekers as they wait for their court dates?  Is there a role for us?  Come learn more and hear from those who are already involved. Feel free to contact with any questions.

Saturday, June 8, 10:30AM: Diocesan Confirmation Service

Come celebrate as youth from across the Diocese of New York, including from the Cathedral Congregation, are confirmed and received. 

Sunday, June 9 PENTECOST -- Do you speak in other tongues? 

At the 11:00 a.m. Pentecost liturgy, the lessons are read in a variety of languages—the more the better.  If you speak a language other than English and are interested in participating in this lovely tradition, please contact Canon Malloy ( Only one or two sentences are read in each language and they are beautifully blended.  To participate will require only a short rehearsal.

June is Pride Month

This year we observe the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that marked the start of the Gay Rights movement.  How far we have come!  World Pride Day will take place in New York City and there is much going on before the Pride March on June 30. We got started a little early last week by cheering on the AIDS walkers.  Guests from CCC joined us in lovely weather handing Cathedral rose window fans to thousands of walkers.    

Wednesday, June 12, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM: SAGE Table event introducing “Stonewall Out Loud”  

A SAGE TABLE event will take place to introduce the idea of capturing stories related to the LGBT experience. SAGE is working in partnership Story Corp on the Stonewall Out Loud project.  Founded in 2003, StoryCorps is a national nonprofit oral history project based in Brooklyn whose mission is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world”.  The r Stonewall Out Loud project is gathering the stories of LGBT people who were alive before Stonewall occurred in 1969.   At the Sage Table event on June 12, Tim Farrell will introduce project, will play some sample audio clips, and encourage folks to pair up to share (and rehearse) their stories in a setting that is comfortable, supportive and "low-stakes." Then, if people are so moved to want to record their stories for this project, they will be helped to do that.
Sunday, June 23, 4:00 PM: Choral Evensong and Spirit of Pride Reception sponsored by the Congregation  

Kick off the final week of Pride Month with Choral Evensong and a fun reception after the service sponsored by the Cathedral Congregation.
Marsha and Tim