Dean Letter: Cathedral Ministries

Hello St. Paul’s,

This week I’m addressing questions posed by members of the daily Morning Prayer congregation. The group includes some people who have joined St. Paul’s since the pandemic, so they are curious about the ministries listed in our literature. Maybe you too are curious, so here’s a brief description of some of them.

The Altar Guild, whose members are also known as sacristans, takes care of the materials that we use in worship, from polishing the silver candlesticks to embroidering linens to ordering wafers and wine to taking vestments to the dry cleaner’s. Altar guild teams prepare what we need for Sunday morning and clean up after worship. My letter next week will be an interview with Konnie Dadmun, our Canon Sacristan, who knows more about Altar Guild ministry than anyone.

The Arts Committee, also known as the Cathedral Center for the Performing and Visual Arts, really took off during the tenure of the second Dean, John Chane. Ric Todd is the chair. This committee organizes art exhibits several times a year in the cathedral and also mounts occasional dramatic productions. During the pandemic, the main activity in this area has been the monthly Zoom play readings directed by Bill Eadie.

Did you know we have a cathedral blog? It’s called All Our Voices, and all parishioners are invited to submit opinion pieces, essays, recipes and more. You can find it at stpaulcathedral.org/category/all-our-voices.

Susan Forsburg is our wonderful cathedral photographer. She has been taking pictures of the cathedral and its people for over a decade, and many of her photographs, along with some by other parishioners, can be found on our Flickr account at flickr.com/photos/stpaulscathedral/albums.

Our ministry for children, youth, and families is small but mighty. Just before the pandemic we blessed a dedicated space in the nave for young children: it’s called the Prayground. Unfortunately the soft materials used in the Prayground aren’t conducive to being easily disinfected, so it is not in use at the moment, but Maya Little-Saña, our gifted minister for children, youth, and families, has built a terrific online program caring for younger children, youth, and parents; and some day we will be back in person.

Cursillo is a Spanish word meaning “short course”. The Cursillo ministry focuses on a residential weekend retreat of renewal, followed by regular small-group reunions designed to encourage and strengthen our faith. Despite the name, the retreats are generally held in English.

Education for Ministry is an incredible formation program for lay people. The University of the South at Sewanee created EfM as a way for lay people to enrich their faith with a deep dive into Scripture and the history of the church. It’s a four year course of weekly classes with a lot of reading. EfM groups are no larger than 12 people with a mentor; they meet every week for a shared meal, theological reflection, and study. We currently have two EfM groups at the Cathedral. Five people are graduating this spring, so there will be openings for the fall.

A comprehensive list of our ministry groups is on the website at stpaulcathedral.org/our-ministries/. Many of them have been on hiatus during the pandemic, but more than you might think have kept in touch with online meetings and reunions, even if they haven’t been able to do the core activity of the group. New members are always welcomed, and the “our ministries” web page includes a name and number to contact for more information about each ministry. This is a good time to learn about our ministries and think about where you feel called, so that when we completely open back up you will be ready to get involved.

See you on Sunday!
Penny

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