I would like to take a few minutes to discuss the events of the past couple of months pertaining to the request of Pursuit Communities to use half of Schuyler Hall for worship services on Sunday mornings.
First, Chapter recently enacted a new Mission Statement for the Cathedral. “We seek a deeper relationship with God and each other in Jesus Christ thorough:
*Celebrating the sacraments faithfully
*Proclaiming the Gospel boldly
*Embracing diversity joyfully
*Serving all passionately as a Cathedral
Pursuit Communities is a downtown non-denominational church and a conservative church with different views of the Gospel than our Cathedral church. Dean Kinman was willing to welcome them in the hopes of our parishioners and their congregants having a dialogue whereby our parishioners could provide them with the knowledge that our Mission Statement is a living document and Chapter is living into the statement when making decisions and policy; specifically, to be an INCLUSIVE church.
At the September Chapter Meeting some members were troubled with this initiative. Therefore, at the October Meeting, Jennifer Grant, Tom Gardner and Timothy Smith volunteered to discuss issues with the leadership of Pursuit Communities.
Remember, this was all exploratory – NO decisions were made about the use of space by Pursuit Communities. NO meetings have been scheduled.
Meanwhile, telephone calls, emails by the score, were received by the Dean, Wardens, and members of Chapter denouncing this issue. Mike Kinman led a discussion about the initiative at a forum last Sunday after the 10 AM worship Service and also made a video presentation in an effort to talk one on one with parishioners. It became apparent by the Dean, Vicar and Wardens that what we were discerning were feelings of ANGER, HURT, AND WORSE: FEAR! We realize that many gay parishioners have been ostracized and shunned by their former churches and communities but were accepted and welcomed by the Cathedral congregation. Their fear of losing such brought about the emotions just outlined.
Dean Kinman called a meeting of the Executive Committee this past Thursday to discuss
Making a decision on this initiative. The Executive Committee decided to recommend to Chapter to end the initiative. Then, in an act of SHARED LEADERSHIP which has been Mike’s mantra ever since he has been the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, all Chapter members were queried via email to approve or disapprove of the Executive Committee’s termination of this issue. The Chapter unanimously voted to terminate.
I would like to invite you to take a look inside the Chapel and notice the names and dates of the deceased in the Columbarium. There are many young men who died of AIDS during the 80’s era. Once stricken with Aids, death followed. A number of those stricken with Aids, came to this Cathedral to die, to die with dignity. They were accepted, and welcomed by this congregation.
Those sick with AIDS knew this Cathedral was a HAVEN. And today it is still a haven for those in distress and will be haven in the future.
This altar is where we partake of the symbolic body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This altar and holy communion is open to ALL, the rich and poor, gays and straights, male and female, people of all races and ethnicisities.
God Bless this Cathedral and God Bless this congregation and clergy.