May 31, 2019: A Slight Angle at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

In 1923, the English writer E. M. Forster published a series of essays about the Egyptian city of Alexandria called Pharos and Pharillon. Out of print for many years, the book would likely have remained forgotten, except that one of his essays, which has since become famous, introduced the English public to the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. 

The essay opens with Forster describing Cavafy coming home from his job at the Ministry of Public Works, whereupon he is prevailed "to begin a sentence."

This is no ordinary sentence.

It deals with the tricky behavior of the Emperor Alexius Comenus in 1096, or with olives, their possibilities and price, or with the fortunes of friends, or George Eliot, or the dialects of the interior of Asia Minor. It is delivered with equal ease in Greek, English, or French. And despite its intellectual richness and human outlook, despite the matured clarity of its judgments, one feels that it too stands at a slight angle to the universe: it is the sentence of a poet.

Standing at a "slight angle to the universe" is Forster's indelible description of Cavafy, but it works as a description of how any poet might approach the world. 

I think it is also a good description of how any Christian might approach the world. Because as much as we might want to pretend (or hope) otherwise, at the heart of our faith is a profoundly strange and unsettling historical event: the crucifixion and resurrection of an obscure Jewish carpenter whom we believe was the Son of God.

And if that event has even the smallest claim on our lives, how else can we live except "at a slight angle to the universe"? 

The Rev. Steven Lee

From Marsha and Tim

Last Sunday, May 25 Canon Patrick Malloy and Associate Music Director Ray Nagem met with twenty congregants who regularly attend the 9:00 a.m. service. The purpose of the meeting was to give feedback on some of the changes that have been made to the service over the last year or two,  and to discuss other ways that the service might reflect the sensibilities and preferences of the participants while still maintaining its liturgical integrity.  Those in attendance were very appreciative of Canon Malloy’s and Ray Nagem’s attention to this worship service.  To save paper (and cost), the readings are no longer printed in the service leaflet. Some people miss this. It was suggested that the wardens’ letter contain those readings so that people can prepare in advance for the service.  For those who wish to be read the lessons in advance (no matter which service they attend), contains all the readings as well as the Collect for the week.

Coming up…

The next two weeks are full of activities and opportunities. Please take note of the following:

Friday, June 7, 6 PM – 9 PM, Cathedral House Conference Room:  Action Potluck/Sanctuary Neighborhoods  -- a chance to learn what you might be able to do to help asylum seekers

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?   What role can the Cathedral play in helping people struggling to find sanctuary?  How can the 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.  RSVP to    

Friday, June 7, 2019:  Manhattan North Inter-Parish Council  Annual Celebration Event
Eucharist 6:30 PM; Dinner and Dancing 7:30 – 10:00 PM St. Philip’s Church 204 West 134th Street, New York City  Donation:  Adults $40.00 Children (under 12 yrs.)  $20.00.  This event is a benefit for the MNIPC Summer Educational Project.  For tickets and other information please contact your parish representative Hal Weiner,
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 into the church.
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.

Sunday, June 9, 12:30:  Second Sunday Strawberry festival

After the 11:00 a.m. service, come over to Cathedral House and celebrate the late spring strawberry bounty. 

Wednesday, June 12,  6:30 – 7:30:  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 Corps on the Stonewall Out Loud project.  Founded in 2003, Story Corps 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 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.

Happy Pride Month!
Marsha and Tim