June 21, 2019: Good and Bad Church at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

Over dinner yesterday evening with my clergy support group, we had an intense and stimulating conversation about the nature of systemic sin in the United States. As the son of first generation immigrants, I am generally optimistic about the opportunities and promise of our country, but my conversation partners challenged me to defend that position. So many have found life in the United States less like a Dream and more like a Nightmare, and what did I have to say about their experiences?

I realize that the same can be said of people's experiences of the Church. For me, it was the Gospel of Jesus Christ that rescued me when I had fallen into the deepest and darkest valley of the shadow of death. I heard the Gospel through the Church, so it's not an exaggeration to say that the Church saved me and gave me new life.

But so many people have a different experience of the Church. This week, someone on social media commented on the Congregation's post about the Evensong and Celebration of Pride event happening this Sunday. The person angrily asked what "pride and Christianity have to do with each other?" He demanded an apology from the pope and a formal acceptance of gay people, and he noted that not being part of the Roman Catholic Church did not free the Cathedral Congregation from its own complicity in harming this community.

I hear the pain in those comments, and I understand the anger behind them. I have no wish to defend the Church, since so much of the Church's actions toward our LBGTQ brothers and sisters has been indefensible.

Instead, I hope that our celebration this Sunday might be a small way that we can make a witness to what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls the "loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus." A witness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be communicated through an institution as compromised and imperfect as the Church.

Because the only way the Church will bring itself back to health is to do what Pope Francis has called for as its mission: to be a "field hospital for the wounded," especially for the ones whom the Church itself has wounded.

The Rev. Steven Lee
Vicar

From Marsha and Tim


Back Pack Project, 2019 – Help us now to support needy children as they return to school in the fall!

Beginning last Sunday the congregation is collecting donations (cash, check or on-line) for the back pack project. Last year we collected enough to buy supplies for 48 back packs for children in grades K-4. They were blessed and then given out by Cathedral Community Cares (CCC) in late August. This year, after consulting with Thomas Perry, Director of CCC, the Vestry agreed to expand the project to include children from K through 12th grade. The supply costs are roughly $50 per back pack (somewhat more for the higher grades). The supply lists used are the official Board of Education lists that go out to parents at the start of the school year. We plan to fill the packs in late July and bless them at the 11:00 a.m. service, August 4. So dear friends, stop by the Welcome Table at coffee hour before and after the 9 and 11 services to make your donations. Let’s pray for success for this very concrete way of supporting needy children.

June 23rd Special Evensong and Pride celebration

Join the choir, congregation members and guests from throughout the Diocese for a special Evensong. As the Evensong service ends, the Names Project quilts will be unfolded followed by a festive party with food, dancing and entertainment. The quilts will remain on display in the Nave through the Pride march which takes place the following Sunday. For information on events throughout the diocese check the Diocesan Website and on the march itself check https://www.dioceseny.org/ednyevent/2019-nyc-worldpride-stonewall-50-march/

June 24 and 25: Congregation Members in a special Working Theater piece

The words and voices of five members of the Congregation, several members of the Music Department, as well as Cathedral School parents, are included in this interesting work titled Sanctuary, which is part of Working Theater’s Five Boroughs/One City Initiative. The performance starts at 7:00 PM this coming Monday and Tuesday. If you plan to come, please RSVP at this link.  The work requires earphone and the producers want to be sure to have enough for everyone.


Pride March Sunday June 30 The Diocese has rented a float and many congregations, including Saint Saviour, will march with banners in the Pride parade. Check in for Episcopalians: 4 p.m. 32nd Street between Madison and Park Avenues. Other details:Section Number: 8; Order Number: 29; Confirmed Group Size: 200
The float will meet Episcopal marchers on Fifth Avenue. Space permitting marchers will be able to board the float during the March. (If you NEED to ride the float, please contact us at lgbtconcerns@dioceseny.org for place and time to meet.)

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!
Marsha and Tim