June 4, 2017

A Pentecost Message from the Dean

I am proud and honored to greet you as the Acting Dean of this great Cathedral and to serve in this way. It has been a busy time of meeting and learning. I spent my first few weeks on a listening and exploration tour. I have met with individuals and groups and have had lunch with many of the staff in every department. I have instituted a weekly gathering of staff leadership to build a sense of community and shared communication. I have shared a meal with the Layman’s Club and heard of the wonderful ways in which they support the Cathedral. I have had lunch with the Cathedral congregation and have met tourists from all parts of the globe, drawn here out of curiosity and, as they depart, smitten with a sense of the spirituality and missional vitality of the Cathedral. The Barberini Tapestry Exhibit has drawn many visitors and bears witness to the Cathedral as a place where the arts are treasured. On any given day at the Cathedral, the hungry are fed and the impoverished clothed (Cathedral Community Cares); children are nurtured (ACT Program) and youth are educated (The Cathedral School). The Nightwatch program encourages spiritual growth for the youth who attend these overnights in the Cathedral. Through the over 25 services celebrated here each week visitors and worshippers hear magnificent music from organ and choir and hear thoughtful and moving sermons that proclaim God’s mercy, love and call to enact justice in our world.

I have learned that the people who make up this community we call “the Cathedral” are some of the most committed I have ever met. The list is a long one – the Vergers and Acolytes, Lectors, Ushers, Choristers and Musicians, Maintenance and Security staff, Cathedral clergy staff – and the list could go on. Some members of the staff make personal or financial sacrifices to work here. You who form the community of the Cathedral give in gracious and generous ways of your talent, treasure and time. All believe strongly in the mission of the Cathedral and its voice and work in the life of the surrounding community and city. On Memorial Day, the New York Philharmonic offered its 26th annual free concert at the Cathedral with Alan Gilbert, in his last season, conducting and over 2,500 in attendance. The Cathedral was granted New York City landmark status this Spring – a living landmark of service and witness.

On May 22nd, the Spirit of the City Gala was held in the Cathedral, celebrating the tenure of Dean James Kowalski. In his honor, the Innovation Fund was established to provide financial resources to worthy projects not otherwise provided for in the operating budget. A portrait of the Dean was also commissioned as one more acknowledgment of a long, vital and remarkable Deanship.

The Cathedral is a city set on a hill – with its light of service and witness and worship shining strongly and steadily amid the darkness that sometimes surrounds us. And through all and in all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed and witnessed to for the healing of the world and the ushering in of God’s reign of justice, peace and reconciliation.

Please pray for the life of this great Cathedral as it goes forward. Especially pray for generosity and sacrificial giving as planning for the budget moves ahead and as the administration and staff struggle to deal with a severe deficit. As you ponder the wonder of this Cathedral and all the facets of its life and mission, I pray that you are moved to an act of generosity and write a generous check to help carry forward our Cathedral’s life and ministry.

God bless you all. God bless this Cathedral. Let us give thanks to God for the material and spiritual abundance we enjoy in this place!