Dean Letter: Keeping in Touch

Hello St. Paul’s,

Since the pandemic began I have written over 500 letters to members of our parish community. I don’t have a printer at home, so they have all been hand-written: my handwriting has actually improved! About half of the letters to date have been thank-you notes for 2021 pledges. The rest are divided among thank-you notes for individual gifts of time, talent, and treasure, pastoral notes to those who are suffering or bereaved, welcome notes to newcomers, and just keeping-in-touch notes with cathedral folks, including those who haven’t engaged in our Zoom activities.

Each Sunday morning I scan the 10:30 video for images of people I haven’t heard from recently, and I write notes early the next week. I have received a good number of letters back, and I have yet to hear from anyone who didn’t appreciate the contact.

One of the epidemics we are suffering from in 2020 is loneliness, and this long-term isolation can have a serious negative effect on cognitive health, especially for our elders. We can all help to alleviate the loneliness by reaching out to one another. Thanks to our Realm member database we all have access to contact information for our cathedral friends. So I want to invite you to participate in an Advent spiritual exercise.

During this short season, I want to encourage you to pick up a pen or the phone, or send an email to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe you’ll make a commitment to do this daily, maybe less often, or maybe you’ll think of a number and aim to contact that many people before Christmas (Christmas Eve is 21 days from today: can you reach 20 people?). You don’t have to write an epistle: two or three sentences are enough to let someone know that you are thinking of them. You might even initiate a small-scale Zoom meeting and invite two or three friends to join you for a catch-up chat.

If you come across someone you think could really benefit from multiple contacts, let me or Brooks know and we will make sure others reach out. Nobody should suffer alone, and we need to make an intentional effort to keep our cathedral community strong and healthy until we can once again gather in person.

Let me know how this goes for you: I love to hear news of our cathedral family.

See you on Sunday!

Your sister in Christ,


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4 thoughts on “Dean Letter: Keeping in Touch”

  1. Dear Dean Penny,
    I am one of those who received a lovely note from you. I have a printer but no note cards. So, if you could just imagine that this comment comes on some creamy, ecru, embossed stationery, I would be grateful. Thank you for your kind words and for the warm and spirited welcome that I have received from Evening Prayer Zoom participants.

  2. Dean Penny,

    I do enjoy the cards you send. Hand written, beautiful stationery. It is so apparent that you love your congregation. Thank you.

  3. Hi, Penny, I was one of those that received a card. Thank you, it was highly appreciated. But I will say since January with COVID, I have been typing and writing reports by hand. My typing has gotten better, but my handwriting is worse. I did think that it could be worse, but you saw a sample and know how terrible it has become.


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