Dean’s Letter: The Cathedral as Host

Hello St. Paul’s,

You might have noticed that we seem to be hosting more events, of various kinds, than we used to. This is not an accident! Here are some reasons for our event ministry:

  • As the Cathedral for the diocese, we are of course available for diocesan events such as ordinations or the annual convention.
  • St. Paul’s claims a longstanding identity of “Cathedral for the City”, implying that we honor the Anglican tradition of a cathedral serving as a multi-use resource to the whole city around us.
  • Hospitality is one of the oldest virtues and responsibilities of people of faith, going back to Abraham’s welcome of three strangers in Genesis, and it is a priority value for us here, as demonstrated by the invitation to Communion that we say every week.
  • Radical hospitality is a dimension of evangelism, as we seek to share God’s love with all of our neighbors.
  • The declining number of pledging households creates an imperative for us to find additional sources of revenue if we are to continue our mission to Love Christ, Serve Others, and Welcome All.
Guild Room

Several years ago we started to dream of expanding our availability and usefulness to the community. During the pandemic lockdown, Kathleen formed a Revenue Research Task Force of parishioners with marketing and business skills, and this group developed materials to help us become more organized as an event space (check out At the same time we replaced the pews with chairs and installed better lighting, making the nave more adaptable. Once construction of 525 Olive was complete in 2022 we started to move forward with promoting our various spaces. Over the last year we have seen a significant increase in demand for our spaces, which include the Nave, the Great Hall, the Guild Room, and several smaller rooms. And we have been intentional in not limiting uses to traditional church-type events, although we do draw lines when the use seems antithetical to our mission.

Sound Healing Event

The resulting activities engage thousands of people over the course of the year, over and above our Sunday attendance.  This arm of ministry stretches out in the local and regional communities to people who may not have experienced church or religious settings in an open and welcoming way, whether because they are LGBTQ+, or they have been wounded by a fundamentalist background, or they simply have no concept of a faith community. Once they have experienced the hospitality and beauty of St. Paul’s, they are often interested in coming back and getting to know us.

It takes a lot of preparation and assets to be available to the community.  We utilize “billable hours” with paid staff in planning the events, communicating with event coordinators and their vendors, setting up for the events, executing and cleaning up after the events, bookkeeping, insurance compliance and more. Administrative staff work with our Facilities Team to ensure that the campus is prepared for the events and that users have everything they need. Over the last 18 months we have concentrated on building up our stock of linens, silverware, outdoor heaters etc.

Project Blank Art Show

We train our staff to have strong customer service skills and the small but mighty Facilities Team is frequently complimented on their work and the assistance they provide our events. Our administrator Kathleen Burgess is very sensitive to the needs of each user, working to negotiate rental rates appropriate to the organization’s size and purpose. Most of our events are for non-profit entities, and they appreciate our efforts to keep rates as low as possible. We also try to balance the environmental impact of events with the workload for staff, so we provide reusable tableware for groups of up to about 80, but beyond that, we use disposables at present.

As campus usage increases, the burden on staff also increases, and we need help from the congregation in a number of tasks, such as food prep, flower arranging, kitchen duty, and helping guests find their way around campus. This is a terrific opportunity for someone to step forward and create a Hospitality Team, members of whom we could call on as needed.

Light Up The Cathedral

Our events ministry provides a pathway for us to reach many neighbors and demonstrate God’s love for them, fulfilling our role as Cathedral for the City. It is holy work. If you would like to be a part of this exciting ministry, please contact Kathleen at

See you on Sunday!

Your sister in Christ,

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