Sunday, April 10, 2011

Coming together on Sunday morning at Christ Church Cathedral

The Very Rev. Mike Kinman delivered these remarks to all three services on Sunday, April 10.

I want to take just a minute or so to keep you informed of some changes I am looking at in our Sunday morning structure and what the next steps are in that process.

Ever since I arrived as your provost, I have been trying to make our worship life together the best it can be to praise God with excellence, to be inviting to people of all generations, and to promote the life and growth of this Cathedral community. We’ve tried several different things and we have learned from all of them. Over the past several months, it’s become more and more clear to me that the best way to get to that place of excellence, accessibility for all generations and growth, is to consolidate our Sunday morning schedule. So I am in a process of consulting with and listening to a broad range of people as I consider doing just that.

Right now, we are a community of 250 or so people on a Sunday spread across three services in a space that seats 350-400. That scatteredness not only encourages division in the congregation, it actually impedes the growth of any one service.

It also ignores the fact that one of our greatest strengths as a Cathedral community is just that – this Cathedral community. We are a church that LOVES being together. You’ve just seen it. In our liturgy, the moment of highest energy is the Peace -- we literally launch out of our chairs to embrace each other! We flock to opportunities to be together. We are at our best and strongest when we are gathered in one place as one Body. This has been borne out the past two summers when we have gone to one primary service – and we felt the energy of having the church full and everyone together.

We are the Cathedral of the Diocese of Missouri, which means we must set the standard for excellence in worship for all ages and people. As your dean, it is my job to set the structures for doing that, and as Vicar it is Amy’s job to fashion that liturgy. Those jobs are sacred trusts … which means that you can trust us only to make the decisions we believe are best for the life of this Cathedral and you can also trust us to listen deeply to you in that process. And that is what we have been and will continue to be doing.

Over the past several months, I have engaged in a consultative process with Amy, Pat Partridge, the Executive Committee of Chapter and others in the congregation. Out of that process, I am right now persuaded that what is best for us as a congregation is to have two services on Sunday mornings. The first, an early, more meditative Rite I service in Bofinger Chapel, where the space will better suit the size of the congregation. The primary service a Rite II choral Eucharist much like the principal service we have had in the summers, but with a separate liturgy of the word for children and youth, with all of us together for the celebration of the Eucharist.

The next step in this process will be a conversation at this Thursday night’s Chapter meeting where I will listen to the voices of your elected representatives. I have not made any concrete decision yet and I am still listening, thinking and praying … particularly in terms of what time is best for this main liturgy not just to promote its growth but to promote the growth of our Sunday School and adult Christian formation programs.

I am happy to meet with any of you face to face to talk about this and I will be available after the service today. Please do not email me or Facebook message me or leave blog comments with your opinions about this.  Liturgical changes are exciting and also deeply effect the life of a community. And I think we’ve all experienced that email is a not the best medium for anything with deep emotional content.

My plan is to announce my decision on Sunday, May 1, and to have any change go into effect on Pentecost Sunday, June 12. Finally, I ask your prayers as I make this decision and ask us all to approach this with the spirit of grace and adventure I have seen so often in our time together. Thank you.


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