Creating Change

Dear ones,

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.

Blessings,









The Rev. Canon Jeff Martinhauk

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5 thoughts on “Creating Change”

  1. Jeff: So glad that you have a venue like the weekly email newsletter to follow up on questions, concerns, and uncertainties raised by folks in response to your provocative sermon last sunday–and that you are being so open! It's good that "God is (always) doing a new thing," because things are always changing! I look forward to the ideas that will be shared and discovered in the coming months as we all explore the possibilities together. I have two areas of particular concern: Drawing new people to the cathedral community, and rooting them here spiritually by providing them with fertile ground. What that ground looks like (and whether or not guitars are involved, haha!) is beyond me at this point. I will say that the whole broad field of "spiritual practice" has been on my mind for the past six months or so, and how we might build an infrastructure (of people, practice, and resources) that makes it easy for folks (current and new) to take up those time-honored practices, so that the Holy Spirit can deepen their/our relationship with God and with one another, and experience transformation in their lives and in community. That's a tall order, I know, and I'm humbled and intimidated by what I've suggested. Anyway, that's my two cents at this point.

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  2. Thank you Wayne! I love that idea. I love that we have a labyrinth as an example of a practice, and two centering prayer groups. I hope that a new practice-based ministry will be launching in June but I’m not quite ready to announce it yet. And so the idea of a central resource for those and other practices sounds wonderful to me. I’d love to hear more.

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  3. Oooh, I'm intrigued by the phrase "practice-based ministry." Maybe you can give me a few hints in personal email, eh? (Wink wink nudge nudge)
    😉

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  4. As I left church after your sermon, I commented to you that it would raise some hackles. And it did. Some people heard, incorrectly it seems, that the intention is to clear the decks of old practice and liturgy and replace them with something (as yet unidentified) new. The Church has proven itself to be resilient and accepting of change (general but not universal acceptance of LGBT people for instance) and I for one look forward to the plans you and the clergy may have in mind in an effort to mend the current problems at SPC. I would hope, as you do, that we can move forward together with open minds and hearts, shedding our own issues, prejudices, dislikes, and above all, our own arrogance. This last will require all of us to look inward toward not only our motives for the welfare of God's Church, but also to look inward with a bright light on our own egos, moving them out of the way, and accepting the possibility that we all might have shared in the arrival of SPC's financial woes. Such an acknowledgement will help us avoid future mistakes and will guide us to right pathways for renewal and health.

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