September 20, 2019: Having fun at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

I got a tremendous "buzz" from our Homecoming celebration this past week, and I hope all of you who attended did too. Among the many reasons why the event was such a success (at the top: the amazing work of our tireless hospitality team), there are two less obvious ones: your vestry's courage and your vicar's innate laziness.

Let me explain.

In the past, Homecoming was an opportunity for fellowship, and also a way for the many committees of the congregation to "sign up" members for the work of the coming year.

Now, if there are any words more deadly to a light-hearted, joyful, and Spirit-filled community, surely "church committee" and "finding enough volunteers to sign up" must be counted among them.

So, based on your vicar's refusal to endure such thankless drudgery, and your vestry's courage in making the change, our Homecoming celebration this year, like last year's, had no other focus than people connecting with one another over great food, and helping everyone have some fun in church.

One consequence of this attitude: we now have such a growing number of new Young Adult members that many of them want additional opportunities for deeper connection, beyond the Third Sunday brunches.

The first of these new opportunities will be a Cathedral Young Adults Trivia Night, this Sunday (9/22) at 6:45 PM, at Arts and Crafts (1135 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025). To attend, please RSVP to the organizer Andi Dixon by Saturday (9/21) at noon, so space can be reserved for you.

The Rev. Steven Lee

Pathfinders: A Program of Spiritual Exploration for Children at the Cathedral
Begins Sunday, Sept 22 at 10am

There are 3 classes in Pathfinders, depending on age:

  • Little Pilgrims is for children ages 3 to 6 and meets weekly at 10am on Sunday mornings in the Cathedral. Taught by Donna Devlin.

  • The Next Step is for children ages 7 to 12 and meets weekly at 10am on Sunday mornings in the Cathedral. Taught by Jennifer Allen.

  • The Great Adventure is for children in 7th grade and older. This confirmation class meets approximately every 3 to 4 weeks on Sunday afternoons in Cathedral House, from October 2019 until the diocesan confirmation service in June 2020.

    For more information and to register, please contact Donna Devlin, Director of Christian Education.

From Marsha and Tim

Homecoming THANK YOU!

We hope you were able to attend Homecoming last Sunday. It was exciting and welcoming to everyone, newcomer and seasoned member alike. The food was delicious. Thanks especially to Lisa Chin and her wonderful Hospitality committee for another great homecoming! Thanks to Phyllis Murray, Susan, Emily and Will Baldwin, Angelo Santos, Hal Weiner and Steve Livesay who prepared, cooked and moved the food from the kitchen in Cathedral House to the Cathedral. Thanks to everyone in the congregation who brought more food to share. Thanks to Tony Dancy of Facilities who moved the tables, and helped set up the nave. It was wonderful to meet so many new people as well as friends who have been away all summer, or who have moved away but came back to just to say hi and share a meal.

Unburdening - learning and using contemplative meditation in today’s distracted world

We sat in silence in the Cathedral House dining room last Saturday with all the windows open enjoying a cooling breeze while meditating under the direction of Mark Dilcom. Mark is leading these contemplative sessions using a variety of contemplative traditions. The next session is this coming Saturday, the 21st, then on the second and third Saturdays of October and November. This week’s session will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Cathedral House Conference room.

Victoria Sirota to be installed as Rector of St. John’s Church Getty Square, Sunday September 22.

This coming Sunday September 22 at 4 p.m. is an historic occasion as Bishop Mary Glasspool institutes the Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota (former Vicar of the Congregation of Saint Saviour) as Rector of St. John’s Church, One Hudson Street, Getty Square, Yonkers, the first female rector in the 326-year history of that parish. She will be thrilled to see members of her last congregation there to celebrate with her.

Congregation Retreat at Holy Cross Monastery October 25 – 27. Sign up by September 30

The Congregation has been sponsoring retreats at Holy Cross monastery ( for at least 20 years. These small group (15 people) events are a wonderful chance to be quiet and lay aside responsibility for a few days. The retreats are structured around the monks’ daily offices which are chanted in their chapel. All are welcome to join the brothers in these meditative sessions. Between the offices, the retreat group meets in a comfortable room and is led in conversation and prayer by the retreat leader. This fall retreat is led by Jennifer Allen, our seminarian intern at the Cathedral. She has chosen Visio Divina as her topic—contemplation through visual arts and images. More information at the Congregation website Click on Visio Divina for details and enrollment form.

Crafts at the Cathedral

Work is well underway on the Congregation’s major fund-raiser-a holiday crafts fair that has become a Cathedral signature event. Last year’s event gave us funds to support children through Sunday school, through scholarships to the ACT summer camp, new equipment for CCC and it brought 2500 people into the cathedral, many for the first time. Although the event takes place December 6 – 8, you can help right now by following and sharing posts on the Crafts at the Cathedral Facebook page, or liking it on Instagram. We are posting almost daily now, featuring the talented artisans who will be exhibiting. If you would follow and share these posts it would help get the word out!

An Exciting music opportunity for children, grades 5 – 9

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is excited to announce the creation of a new choir open to all youth with unchanged voices in middle and high school from all areas of the local community and beyond. This ensemble will share in the great Cathedral tradition of choral singing that has been a hallmark at Saint John the Divine for nearly 120 years. The Schola Cantorum will rehearse once a week on Thursdays from 4:00pm-5:00pm and will sing at select liturgies and concerts throughout the year. The Schola Cantorum will frequently perform in collaboration with the Cathedral Choristers, an ensemble made up of students from the Cathedral School, and with the other ensembles in residence at the Cathedral.

For more information and to schedule an audition, please contact Bryan Zaros, Associate Choirmaster, at Imagine your child learning about and participating in choral music with some of the finest choral musicians in the City!

Learning from one-another

There are so many problems out there—hunger, homelessness, misery—right on our doorstep. What do you do when you encounter a homeless person or someone begging on the street? I was sitting at a lovely dinner with two congregation friends Wednesday evening. We were seated right in the restaurant window, when one of my friends noticed a man going through a garbage can looking for food. She jumped up and went out to him and handed him a couple of packages of cheese and crackers which she regularly keeps in her purse. He thanked her and waved at us as he went on his way. She does this regularly, buying packages in bulk from Costco. So next time I go to Costco I will pick up a box and begin to do likewise. Do you have other ideas of simple ways we can help? Solving on a larger scale is very important, but seeing and sharing with an individual who is hungry is also critical.

Blessings from Tim and Marsha