I so appreciated all the feedback from my sermon last Sunday, which you can find on video here and on the blog here. It was great to have so many folks express interest after the service in getting involved, and we even had some new pledges! Thank you.
I do want to assure you that I was not proposing any specific path forward. Rumors and speculation are natural in times of change. Some believe that I intended that we cut the music program at the cathedral or add guitars and rock bands. Let me assure you that was not in my sermon, my intent, or on my mind! The music program and the liturgy are important parts of our cathedral life and I understand their value in our common life.
I am really writing today because change is hard. We do not have any path before us that allows for the status quo. The budget does not allow for things to just remain the same and Dean Penny is going to address that in the weeks to come. Dean Penny is being transparent about the need for some change as she develops a plan to address it so that we can participate in that as a community. As we move into that conversation, I hope we will consider a few of these questions: To what extent are we called to please/satisfy our own spiritual needs? To what extent are we called to offer something to the world around us? Must those two things be mutually exclusive? Are there changes we can make that might offer more of both?
So as we discern what to do about the change that is upon us, my hope is that we do it with grace and courage. St Paul, our patron, learned early on that the challenge of Christian community is not figuring out what to do. It is figuring out how to do it together.
That does not mean we all have to agree on everything. In fact, I believe we are better off when we have a diversity of opinions and are able to listen to each other well instead of individually stating opinions as if ours were the only way. So I hope that the markers of this important transitional time for us as we discern our path will be marked by the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Those charisms are what help change the world from an empire of fear to a kingdom of love, and what we committed to in our baptism.
There is a lot of information to deliver, so stay tuned. How we engage with each other in Christian community around it is up to you.
The Rev. Canon Jeff Martinhauk