Dean Letter: Online community

Dear St. Paul’s family,
We are still here. And we are here for each other. I want you to keep repeating those phrases. The Cathedral building is closed but the Church is still very much in business. I am impressed by the creativity, hard work, and dedication of our staff and lay ministers as our ministries are catapulted into the 21st century. Here are some of the wonderful things that are happening, thanks to the wonders of digital technology:
Our family ministry is drawing in families who have not recently been active, as Maya offers daily activities and regular online conversational opportunities for all ages.
The two Centering Prayer groups led by Lucinda Parsons are now meeting online and offering prayer for the world. 
Our daily Morning Prayer service, which for years has been attended by one or two people, is regularly seeing five or six attendees.
Our worship team has adapted, and then adapted again, as guidelines have shifted, to offer multiple opportunities to worship on Sundays. We are constantly having to try new technology platforms: can you believe that churches managed to crash the behemoth programs of Facebook? 
The “What is an Episcopalian” class is very well attended, even though we don’t know when our Bishop will be able to preside over a confirmation service.
A new meal-delivery ministry is under development, in anticipation of a time when cathedral households might be too sick to cook for themselves.
All these are signs of hope and faith, and a witness to the love that we share. 
As you know, we have created a ministry called Circles of Love, to help us keep connected throughout this time of isolation and uncertainty. It is typical of this congregation that we have received many more offers to lead a circle than to participate in one. I love this about our community: that you are more ready to give than to receive. Each circle is mutual: one person may be the initial convener, but everyone gets to both give and receive. However well and strong you feel today, it always means a lot to receive a call from someone checking in. When I say “call”, we are encouraging initial contact to be via telephone, so that everyone is included. If a circle comes to a mutual decision to meet via video conference call, that is wonderful, but not necessary. The important thing is to have a regular conversation, whether one-on-one or in a small group.
Everyone is welcome to participate in any or all of our online ministries.
As of the time of writing (Tuesday morning), the plan for Sunday worship remains the same as last week: however, watch for later bulletins with updated links. You can always find the most up to date information on our web site at The very first thing you see on that site is a link to our online gatherings.
As we move through Lent towards Holy Week, we move more deeply into the mystery of the Cross. We are all suffering this Lent, through our enforced fasting from Communion and through the many adjustments we must make to our comfortable lives. Remember that Jesus knows our suffering and participates in it with us.
One part of our sacramental life that I especially miss is the second Proper Preface for Lent: “You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the Paschal feast; that, fervent in prayer and in works of mercy, and renewed by your Word and Sacraments, they may come to the fullness of grace which you have prepared for those who love you.” (BCP p. 379)
Easter WILL come, and it will be joyful. Meanwhile, reach out in love to one another and give thanks for this strong and adaptable community.
Your sister in Christ,

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