Thursday, November 21, 2019

Stewardship witness: Frank Borik

Hello Everyone,

My name is Frank Borik, and I and my wife Stella have been attending St. Paul’s for 20 years this past August. When Pat Krader asked me to speak as a stewardship witness, I knew I had to do it. Quite honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t get asked earlier, and I said to myself: “OK, I guess it’s my turn.” So here I am.

And, as I thought about it, there have been so many things that St. Paul’s has given me; from a place to enjoy my passion for musical performance, a spiritual home, comfort and support in time of need, a wonderful social life. But in order to run the church, you need the money. Yes, today it’s about the money. So, how does one try to quantify that which cannot be quantified? How do I talk about the many things I receive that money cannot buy?

Then, I thought, maybe I’m not approaching this correctly. Is there a way I can estimate the value of my pledge in terms of money? What if I took the 75 ministries that St. Paul supports and compare that with an equivalent service in the economy? What if I used my professional skills in cost estimation for the Government and come up with a number that quantifies that which IS quantifiable. And I’ll see if what I’ve been pledging all of these years makes sense from the viewpoint of a smart investor.

Let’s start with the Sunday services. Here we are, and every week we get to enjoy a professionally produced musical drama in this splendid theater, and each week we leave feeling moved. How much is a 90 minute show of this caliber and subject matter worth? $50.00 per ticket? Probably underpriced considering, but take that and multiply it by the over 24,000 attendees we had last year – That’s over $973,000. Add the weekly services and now it’s over $1.1 million! Funny how that matches our stewardship goal. So, we get our dollar’s worth just by coming every Sunday. But wait, what about all of the other 70+ ministries that St. Paul supports? Let me give you a brief summary of what I came up with:

  • Stephen Ministry and 12 step programs: $420,000 in equivalent psychological services
  • Showers of blessings: $28,000 for a truck stop shower and a haircut
  • Arts committee: $23,000 for art exhibits
  • Cathedral Forum: $40,000 in continuing education credits

I could go on, but my time is getting short. The bottom line is that the ministries of St. Paul’s provide over $2.2 million in equivalent value to people throughout this city, and even beyond. I don’t know about you, but getting a 2-for-1 return on my investment is a pretty good deal! Truly, our monetary contribution is the parable of the fishes and loaves made manifest.

So, what are you waiting for? A pledge to the cathedral is an investment that pays off in miraculous ways, just like those loaves and fishes, changing the lives of countless people throughout San Diego. Fill out your pledge card and come and join me at the altar. It’s the best investment decision you’ll ever make.

Civil Conversations

Dear St. Paul’s family,
I don’t think anyone will dispute the fact that we are living in a time when the social fabric of our society is being stressed and torn by disagreement. Not long ago it was possible to disagree over any number of topics and remain in relationship. But in the USA today it’s almost impossible to have a civil conversation with someone who belongs to a different political party. The language of disagreement has become toxic and demeaning: we confuse views with character and dismiss those who disagree as idiots or monsters.
We have largely withdrawn into sub-cultures or bubbles of those who share our views. Social media magnifies this tendency by only showing us what the algorithms say we want to hear.
But the church is different – or should be. We come together, not because of our political views, but because God calls us to one altar, to worship as one body, to be transformed by the love of God in Christ. St. Paul’s is well known as a very progressive congregation, but it isn’t monolithic. Despite what you may think, we have fellow congregants who voted for the current president and would vote for him again. We have fellow parishioners who are not convinced that same-sex marriage is holy or that abortion should be legal.
You may never know the identity of those in very small minorities in our midst, because they will not dare to out themselves, after hearing the contemptuous way the holders of such views are often treated among us. I am not exempt from that behavior and I am sorry for it. But I can confidently tell you that there are good and kind Christians among us with whom I deeply disagree, and I want to believe that you and they would like to be able to discuss our differences within the context of a Christian community. And it seems to me that part of our call as followers of Jesus is to promote ways of communicating that are kind and loving, in the hope that we can make a difference for good in the world.
How might we model such conversations? We can start by moderating our language, in person and on social media, always bearing in mind that we may be hurting the feelings of someone we care about. And we can work on ways to listen to other views, perhaps from the holders of those views or perhaps from third parties (such as clergy). If you are willing to join me in crafting such conversations, please let me know. Perhaps we can find a way to influence our community for good and start the healing of America.
Your sister in Christ,
Penny
PS Unless some urgent topic arises, I will be taking a break from writing weekly letters during the Advent and Christmas seasons. Feel free to send me ideas for future topics: the Epiphany will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Construction Update November 20


Meeting notes:
  • Reviewed schedule.  Things are on track for elevator work, they are up on the 2nd and 3rd floor working now.  There are wires and adjustments to happen over the next few weeks.
  • We’re moving forward with Bay Alarm’s fire monitoring for the elevator lobbies.  We reviewed bids last week, found a solution that works and are working on the installation scheduling now.
  • Elevator interior finishes discussion of painting the existing panels vs. replacing the panels vs. re-laminating the panels.  Costs are being explored, and a solution is TBD.
  • Lobby finishes: the ceiling guy is coming in tomorrow; the lighting should be in by the end of the week and then they should be able to have inspection.  Ceiling tiles are in hand.  Then flooring, wall and rail paint and lobby should be complete.
  • The hot water piping for the Sacristy is in good shape.  Greystar removed the old insulation and reviewed the pipes.  They reinsulated with new material as well.  Everything looks good so that is helping the Sacristy heat project progress.  There is still an evaluation of the existing piping for radiators in the Sacristy.  More review is required.  Also discussed adding programmable thermostats in the process.
  • Second floor landing should be ready in time to use this weekend.  It is a temporary scaffolding, so we want to make sure there are “no parties” on it.
  • The lights for the covered sidewalk walkways are on order and will be installed as soon as they arrive.
  • Discussion about the 3-minute 24 hour drop off zone in front of the Cathedral with Chris Ward’s office and others to respond to pushback on parking from the neighborhood.  Tom D will accompany Brooks to a Thursday morning meeting to review the situation and advocate for our loading zone.  Greystar will provide supporting documentation about the street plans as well. 
  • Covered sidewalk walkways on 6th Ave will be installed soon.
  • Next meeting is in one week on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 from 9:15a to 9:45a in the Fireside Room.  Tom D. will not be able to attend.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Sunday Sermon: Going to Church; Being Church

“The days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” If you’ve looked at the other side of our campus lately this sentence might be resonating for you in new ways. In some of the conversations I’ve had over the last few months, people with long memories have spoken of the house that once stood on the corner of Sixth and Olive, or of the fundraising and construction of the administration building. We are witnessing to the truth of Jesus’s words, that buildings, however impressive or beloved, come and go, but what endures is the community of the faithful. On this ingathering Sunday it’s helpful to be reminded of such priorities.

The disciples in our Gospel passage are dazzled by the magnificence of the Temple. It looks like a residence worthy of God, something eternal and immovable. But this Temple was new, in fact still under construction, when Jesus and his disciples visited. It replaced a temple built 500 years earlier, after the Jews returned from exile, and that temple in turn replaced the first temple built by King Solomon about 400 years before that. And the Temple that so impressed the disciples would actually be destroyed by the Romans less than a decade after it was finished.

I want you to look at a hymn that we will sing at the 10:30 service. It’s number 665: All My Hope on God is Founded. Look at the second verse: “Mortal pride and earthly glory, sword and crown betray our trust; though with care and toil we build them, tower and temple fall to dust.” We love our beautiful church, and we all want to care for it. But what if one Sunday we all arrived and there was no building here? What if the “big one” hits San Diego and we can’t afford to rebuild? Who will we be? What will happen to the church?

Almost exactly 79 years ago, on November 14, 1940, the medieval cathedral in Coventry, England, was bombed into ruin, along with most of the city. In the days following the destruction, the cathedral stonemason noticed that two charred beams had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up on an altar and inscribed the words “Father, forgive” on them. A local priest made a cross from three medieval nails and added it to the display.

Out of those first grief-filled gestures grew the Cross of Nails ministry of reconciliation, as the people of Coventry reached out to the people of Dresden and other cathedral cities destroyed in the war. Today over 230 churches across the world are part of the community of the Cross of Nails. Though tower and temple fell to dust the Church survived and thrived; new ministries came about, and Coventry’s Cathedral was eventually built anew amidst the ruins of the old.

Jesus tells his disciples to be ready to bear witness when all seems lost. He says they will be given “an opportunity to testify”. What does it mean to testify? It simply means telling your story, telling your truth. It can be as formal as a Congressional impeachment hearing, or as informal as sharing your life story with a new friend over coffee. Last Sunday Jeff reminded us of the theme of our diocesan convention: words of Jesus from the Acts of the Apostles, “You will be my witnesses.” This week parishioner Irving Hernandez was in Washington DC to bear witness on behalf of the nearly 800,000 Dreamers in this country. He will share his story with our Spanish-speaking members next Sunday.

In our English services we’ve heard some powerful witnesses throughout this season’s pledge campaign. I’ve been deeply moved by the vulnerability and courage of our parishioners. When we tell our own stories we are compelling, because the truth shines through. Our bishop knows that we need practice at telling our stories, being witnesses to God’s action in our lives. So she made sure that those of us who attended convention had many opportunities to share our stories in dyads and small groups. It brought us together as a diocese, just as hearing our stewardship witnesses here has brought us closer together.

This is the church: people coming together, sharing our stories of God, sharing our pain and our joy, sharing our resources of time, talent, and treasure. We can be church within these sacred walls. We can be church in a parishioner’s back yard. We can be church at Parc Bistro over brunch. One of my first experiences of true church happened shortly after I was orphaned at the age of fourteen. Our house was to be emptied and sold; my adult siblings had to return to their lives in mainland Britain; and I needed to finish out the term at my school in Belfast before travelling to my new school in England. There was a six week period when I would have nowhere to live.

The dean of Belfast Cathedral, our church home, and his wife offered to take me in for those six weeks. Sammy and Isabel were older people, long past the parenting stage of life, but they willingly sheltered a traumatized teenager whom they didn’t know well. Their hospitality still stands out for me as a model of what church should be.

The letter to the Thessalonians offers some pointers on being church. Each member needs to contribute as they are able. The much-quoted statement, that “anyone unwilling to work should not eat”, is about the work of the church, not about living on welfare. This isn’t telling us to let the poor and needy starve: one of the most fundamental tenets of our faith calls on us to feed those who cannot feed themselves. This is about discipleship. The work of the church starts with the liturgy, where we come together to eat the sacred meal. The privilege of Communion comes with a responsibility to participate and contribute. Being merely a consumer of the church’s services is not being a follower of Jesus. Each one of us has the capacity to grow in faith and deepen our knowledge of and trust in God.

The church has longstanding practices that equip us for this growth: structured prayer and reading of Scripture through the daily office; engaging with the sermon on Sunday and applying it to your own life; finding times to be still and allow God to speak to you; acquiring the habit of seeing Christ in others, especially those who irritate or offend you; taking confession seriously; telling the truth and sharing your own story with honesty and vulnerability.

Today’s Collect guides us to inhabit Scripture, to let it soak into our lives, as we hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest God’s word. We’ve been reading from Luke’s Gospel for most of the last year: perhaps you have digested Luke’s message of care for the voiceless, those on the margins, the lost and the last and the least. In two weeks we will celebrate the beginning of a new church year, and we will start reading the Gospel of Matthew. How will Matthew’s witness nourish us? What will we gain from inhabiting that portion of Scripture? I encourage you to sit down and read the entire Gospel of Matthew from start to finish some time before December 1. Get a sense of the sweep of the story, from the family tree of Jesus that goes back to Abraham, to the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.

Stuff happens. Tower and temple fall to dust. Everything changes and decays. People die without warning. Jobs disappear. Homes are lost to wildfires. Families are scattered. But Jesus promises us that in the end, God will win. Even in the most extreme catastrophe, God is with us, and God will always have the last word. In the final words of hymn 665, “Christ doth call one and all; ye who follow shall not fall.”

November 17, 2019
The Very Rev Penelope Bridges

Stewardship: Justin & Roland

Good morning, I am Roland Tactay. When Pat approached my husband, Justin Lewis, and me about sharing a lay witness about stewardship, we were a little taken aback, honestly. There were no wings of the cathedral emblazoned with our names; no stained glass windows donated by our great grandparents; and nothing that seemed extraordinary about our stewardship commitment at all. But then… we we sat down and thought about it. That was exactly the point. Stewardship is not about names in marble or stained glass windows, it’s about supporting an institution that supports you—emotionally, culturally, socially and, of course, spiritually. So that’s the framework through which we view our stewardship.

Emotionally: St. Paul’s is more than a place to be “hatched, matched and dispatched.” It is our church home for all of the ups and downs in between those milestones. Our lives are constantly in motion, and the Cathedral provides a grounded foundation, a lighthouse in the storm, and a constant against which all of the troubles of the world can be seen in context.

Culturally: The pages of Cathedral Life are filled with opportunities for outreach, activism, personal growth and experiencing the diverse culture that makes up our Cathedral community. We live in North County—so have a slightly longer ride home than most—and it’s still not long enough to read about everything that is going on at the Cathedral every week!

Socially: No matter who we are outside of the Cathedral the rest of the week, when we walk through these doors and take our seats here on Sunday morning, all of that melts away. Every age—from strollers to walkers. Every color of the rainbow. Every configuration of family. And every tax bracket. We’re all here for the same reason: parishioners sharing the Gospel.

And Spiritually: Every Sunday—without fail—we leave the Cathedral spiritually renewed. Fantastic preaching that speaks to us, and inspires us. Amazing sacred music that is uplifting and grounded in a diverse Anglican tradition showcasing the breadth and talent of our own choir as well as special guests. And a sense of community that is welcoming and embraces “you who have much faith, and you who have little; you who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time or ever before; you who have tried to follow and you who have failed…” One Sunday, when we first started attending the Cathedral, I came in while Justin parked. When he paused at the door the usher kindly asked “can I help you find a seat?” He said, “no, I’m just looking for my husband.” To which she replied, “This is a great place to find one!” That’s when we knew we’d found our church home!

Those are just a few of the reasons that stewardship is important to us, but we’d invite you to think about how St. Paul’s brings you joy, because stewardship is deeply personal. Stewardship is a commitment to the Cathedral that should mirror the commitment that you feel the Cathedral has made to you. How is your life better as a member of this awesome place? And how would you like to support it?

Thank you.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Stewardship: Joanna Airhart

Good morning, my name is Joanna Airhart. I sit up there with the sopranos. This church is in my DNA. St. Paul’s was downtown in 1899. My paternal grandparents were courting, so my grandfather would walk my grandmother home after her choir practice. When I was 6 years old my mother brought me to St. Paul’s. I am sure my mother wanted her children to grow up in the church. St. Paul’s has been my foundation in life since I was 6. Joined the Girl’s Choir at 8.

You see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John here on the pulpit. They are glued down now. When I was a kid I could hold them like babies. St. Paul’s had become my home.

My mother and her mother wanted a girl in long formal gowns with the long gloves too. Early 60’s society diet doctors were handing out amphetamines. My mother meant well, but had no education about what a family history of addiction can do to a teenager. I didn’t know that what was wrong with my moods was depression. The “diet pills” were finally what my serotonin had ben waiting for. I felt normal.

My 22 years of addiction began with that legal speed. All through college I bought illegal speed and then began smoking pot. I wasn’t able to compete my degree. When I turned 21 I stayed in my bedroom for 3 months with speed in the day, sleeping pills at night, and vodka. I got my first preschool teaching job and made some friends that all did drugs. Around this time in my life, church and choir were getting in my way of my weekends on acid in the desert. I quit choir and I quit church.

You know the beach poem, Footsteps in the Sand? That was me. You couldn’t see my footsteps because God was carrying me. The next 10 years were drug centered. Crystal meth became my love. I got married here at St. Paul’s but left him after 4 years because he wouldn’t let his hair grow long. I was a drug addicted hippie. No plans, no motivation. Then I met the not- perfect person for me, someone who grew marijuana for a living. Therefore, I became a drug dealer. That is until people would call me on the school phone wanting to buy pot.

Did I mention I wasn’t going to church? The not so perfect person asked me to move to Oregon. I thought that if I didn’t get out of San Diego soon I was going to end up in jail. So I moved to a hippie conclave in the mountains of Oregon. Guess what? God accompanied me to Oregon. Life happened and I became pregnant and was going to be a single mother. I too, like my mother, wanted my child to have a foundation in the church. I started going to Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon. Then, 36 years ago on Thursday, there was no heart beat. Mary Elizabeth was is her name.

I started volunteering with teenagers at the Corvallis church. The following summer I promised the youth leader that I wouldn’t do any drugs at the coastal summer camp. Well, I kept my promise. God came to me at that church camp. I had a revelation that I had been on some form of drug daily for 22 years. I knew I wasn’t going back but I had no idea what I was going to do. From the camp the chaplain sent me to a treatment center in Portland. My Oregon church friends were there for me. I got clean and sober 9 months after Mary died. 3 years after her death, I woke up with a start and said “she brought me back to God.” When I could afford a grave marker, I had “God’s Gift” engraved under the picture of a baby angel holding a cross.

I was sober so I was able to complete college. I became a drug counselor in Florence, Oregon. Then a few years later I heard the loud voice of God saying, “Joanna, what are you doing here? Go home.”

I came home and took care of my ailing mother. I can now visit her in the columbarium.

When I came back to San Diego I didn’t know anyone who was free from drugs and alcohol. I came back to St. Paul’s, and I slowly began to join a small group here and there. Of course, I came back to the choir. I slowly began to make a friend.

When my mother died, 8 years after I came home, the whole choir turned up for the 11 AM funeral on a work day.

I am telling the story about addiction and recovery because it is MY story. God never left me. I could have died countless times but I didn’t. It is because God never left me even when I didn’t remember that fact.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is my home. From my front row seat in the choir I get to see the Lord’s Prayer window. I get to be close to the altar. What an honor!

St. Paul’s was there for my grandparents over 120 years ago. St. Paul’s was there for me when I was 6 and then built my solid foundation for life. This solid God filled place will be here for the next generations upon generations.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pledge Ingathering Sunday

Dear St. Paul’s family,


This fall’s series of socials has been wonderful. About 100 of you attended one of the three gatherings, and it was very clear how much cathedral people enjoy being together. I was glad to share my own excitement about where we are, with the construction well under way, the staff safely relocated, and a Chapter that’s ready to do some solid strategic thinking about the years ahead. We have a very strong and diverse slate of candidates for Chapter this year, which tells me that there is a positive and energetic spirit throughout the congregation. Let’s have some more socials throughout the winter – would you like to host one?

As we look to grow beyond our walls I am deeply grateful to those who offer their homes for cathedral gatherings, who invite friends and neighbors to experience our beautiful worship and light-hearted gatherings, who include the Cathedral in their estate plans to strengthen our longterm future. I am touched by the encounters I have outside of our walls when someone unconnected with the church recognizes St. Paul’s as an inclusive and welcoming community, or when someone approaches me to ask about the Episcopal Church. We are making a difference in this city, as we demonstrate that there is a way to be Christian that defies the stereotype of discrimination and exclusion.

I’m looking forward to next year when we will create a soft space for our children in worship, take advantage of the construction fencing to tell the world who we are, and strengthen our ministries to unchurched and Latino neighbors, while maintaining our exquisite music and worship and serving the homeless among us. There is so much to look forward to!

As we make our ingathering of pledges on Sunday I will be giving thanks for each of you who make a commitment to support this remarkable church. We can’t be here without your active engagement, and every pledge makes a difference. I hope you experience the joy of giving so that we can continue to Love Christ, Serve Others, and Welcome All.


Your sister in Christ,


Penny

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Letter from the Bahamas


Dear Dean Bridges,

We acknowledge receipt of a cheque from St. Paul's Cathedral in the amount of two thousand dollars one hundred and thirty-four dollars ($2,134.00), a donation toward the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund.

We were touched by your generosity and are deeply appreciative of your outreach.

Please be assured that the funds will be used responsibly and accountably.

Hurricane Dorian has had such a massive impact that it will take all of us to effect the long process of relief and restoration.

May God bless you and the members of St. Paul's Cathedral.
This letter comes with my very best wishes.

Yours sincerely,
The Rt. Rev' d. Laish Boyd
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF THE BAHAMAS

Construction Updates November 13


Meeting notes:
  • Kathleen advised they were signing the paperwork for the Brian Cox Mechanical (BCM) quote for the Great Hall Basement HVAC project. Review of paperwork by Tom D., and discussion of timeline of project.
  • Kathleen brought forward Joe’s proposal from BCM for restoring heat to the Sacristy.  Review and discussion of paperwork and schedule.  Tom would like a good review of the existing pipes since they are currently exposed due to construction.  “We may not get an opportunity to see them again for another 100 years.”  Rocky will work on checking the pipes for any leaks/pressure issues/insulation issues, et. al.
  • Temporary 2nd floor landing is being developed to get something out there and aid our traffic flow.  Possible scaffold jacks attached to the wall for the 2nd floor only.  The guys are coming this afternoon to assess.  Also, first floor landing will be resolved today.  Kone has been great during the disruption of pathway.
  • Elevator finishes are being turned over to the interior design team to work on matching up lobby finishes with interior elevator cab finishes.
  • Coordination for the HVAC schedule to get the equipment into the room over the pantry, which we are now calling the Condenser Room, is good with the digging and schedule for Greystar.  We expect the condensers to be ready to install around the first week of December.
  • Elevator lobby is cleared to do the ceiling by the Kone elevator team. Rocky will get the ceiling guy in Wednesday to begin work.  Smoke alarm is critical to get installed asap.  Would be nice to get them in before the ceiling finished.
  • Kathleen has quotes from Bay Alarm and will follow up with Tom D. review of proposed fire alarm system.  She will call and follow up about scheduling as well. (Kathleen called Bay and advised about asap status of the work.  Colleen from Bay will check their schedules to see if we can rush the work to meet our needs.)
  • Flooring is on schedule for delivery around 11/20 and there will be enough to do the floors in the elevator as well. 
  • No date set, but elevator inspection will be in a few weeks.
  • Review if we need AT&T line any further for elevator.  Kathleen will check with Tim F. from The Computer Admin and follow up. (Kathleen and Tim met, AT&T can be canceled, and Kathleen will call Wed. to do so.  Cox will carry the elevator line and Tim is having the cabling team come out to get that set up most likely end of this week, beginning of next week.  Also reviewed with Tim and Rocky the exterior internet line running on the outside of the north wall of the Great Hall.  Tim reviewed recently installed hardware in the workroom.  Can’t cut the exterior lines yet.  The cabling wasn’t completed properly, but Tim will resolve when the cabling team come in.)
  • Rocky advised the old sidewalk around the property will be broken up and removed and traffic rerouted into the protected covered walkways.  There will be lighting and paint added to the new structures.
  • Tom advised we should really make sure the piping for the Sacristy heat project be reviewed and confirmed in good shape now as we won’t get another chance for the next 100 years to get at the currently exposed pipes.  Review insulation and any abatement issues as well.
  • Next meeting is in one week on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 9:15a to 9:45a in the Fireside Room.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Essay: In Praise of Form and Order

Robert Heylmun just returned after a month in Italy and shares this reflection on how he missed our St Paul's "form and order" in worship

Oct 29, 2019
 I’ve just listened to Andrew Green’s sermon on the importance of being mindful of what words we use. Very good advice. But the distinction between using hateful words inadvertently, or on purpose for that matter, and using words that want to express constructive criticism takes some careful navigation, particularly when the topic has to do with a particular church’s liturgical practice. I’m about to embark on that voyage and I hope to navigate it carefully.

I took a seat ten minutes ahead of the service. Things began with acolyte lighting the altar candles with a series of book matches. It took her four matches as each burned toward her fingers and before she could get all of the candles lit. Then came the helter-skelter running around to grab the processional cross and lights for the procession. The same acolyte was also the crucifer and just so she wouldn’t miss things on the way up the aisle, she carried a bulletin too.

The processional hymn, “How firm a foundation” (Lyons) has five verses and the organist announced it by playing the first line in what you’d expect from a standard organ registration for a hymn. We sang the first two stanzas by which time the chancel party had reached their places and the choir assembled itself so as to display what turned out to be its star soloist who was bang up front and facing us. At verse 3, the organ suddenly went to accompaniment mode so that the soloist could dominate the hymn. We, meanwhile, we were at sea about whether to sing along or not. Verse 4 got louder but not by much, apparently with the hope of having us hear the rest of the choir now singing parts. Verse 5 found us back at the original registration and we timidly joined in to finish the hymn.

Now there’s something wrong with that. Hymns aren’t meant to feature soloists for one thing but instead are meant to engage the congregation in participating in the service and singing praise to God. Clearly this idea was lost on the organist.

The Gloria, written by the organist with English words, suddenly got sung in Italian (words on the facing page) which would have been fine except that the directions said “All remain standing and sing in English.” Who knows who decided that change at the last minute? Time for the readings. The lector sits well back in the congregation and after the Collect of the Day (this in English) proceeds all the way up the center aisle toward the lectern to read and then regains his seat all the way down the central aisle. Psalm chanted in English came next, and then the second lesson read by the match lighter/acolyte/crucifer who got a poke in the ribs to get her to the lectern.

To the front of the chancel came the Gospel party, match lighter/acolyte/crucifer carrying the cross and her bulletin, just in case (of what?).

The Prayers of the People were prayed in two languages by two men who were confused about where to be to do this. “You need to be over here!” and finally they got it all going at the lectern.

I could go on with this but at the risk of bringing down the wrath of Fr. Green, suffice it to say that the entire service was flying by the seat of its pants and like the chaos before creation, “was without form, and void.” I tried very hard not to compare what was going on, or not going on, with the order of service that I’m used to. I tried equally hard to give this seemingly unplanned service the benefit of the doubt: they have to deal with a largely transient and tourist congregation (not necessarily true); they have to include two languages; and I’m not sure what else might justify what went on.

All I know is that when the Episcopal service is orderly, it serves to promote communal worship. When things run smoothly, we don’t have to worry about the sort of “Who’s on first?”, “Your turn. No, it’s your turn!” bumps and jars that were the mode of the service I just described. As a parishioner there that day, you were so busy wondering what blunder would make you giggle that the sense of worship disintegrated to be replaced not by Holy Mysteries but by the suspense of what would go wrong next.

Thus, my paean to form and order. Nine hours later, the Holy Eucharist from St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego arrived on my laptop here in Rome, “cleansing the thoughts of our hearts and minds” of silliness and sloppiness in liturgical practice elsewhere and restoring the dignity and beauty of Episcopal worship. I hope not to have violated the advice of using hurtful words; if I have, I will join the tax collector in praying that God be merciful to me, a sinner.

Robert Heylmun

The Sunday Sermon : DIscipleship

Several of us went to diocesan convention in Palm Desert for the past two days. It was our new bishop’s first convention with us, and I have to say it was a real treat to see her in action.

I’m sure most of you have heard the narrative of church decline; maybe even seen the graphs highlighting plunging attendance. Our bishop challenged this narrative of death. She pointed over and over again to the angry world around us. The world needs the church, she said, because the world needs love. It is what we are here to do: share the good news of the love of Jesus Christ. She shared her story of her experience of that love. Because she has experienced it, she is confident that others facing the toils of this world will benefit from hearing of the love of God as well.

How have you experienced the love of God? What does it mean for you to have a relationship with God? How do you nurture that relationship, and move deeper into it? How do you endeavor to follow the risen Christ more closely?

At the convention, we looked at some data that showed that Episcopalians have a difficult time answering these kinds of questions. But we also heard that Episcopalians want to answer them. That is one of the reasons that the bishop has called for next year to be a year of discipleship, of formation in our faith of how to follow Christ more deeply.

We spent some time in groups talking about how to be disciples through a series of questions. My groups started by talking about service projects— things like Showers of Blessings, or Food Pantries. But after a little conversation we realized that in order to go deeper into discipleship we really needed to have some conversation about what a disciple is. It became clear that for some of us, discipleship was seen as an obligation, a burden— something to be done begrudgingly as a duty.

I think that definition is a definition of the dying church.

Because if we believe in the God of love, the God of the living, then following the God of the living must be life-giving. We must reclaim discipleship as a life-giving, nurturing way of life and reject definitions of discipleship that are weighted down as a kind of work towards some distant reward or some duty owed for some distant favor in the past.

What if instead discipleship were a part of an active and present relationship in the here-and-now with the God of the living? Healthy discipleship sure is that. Discipleship as a life-giving thing need not be always easy— worthwhile things rarely are— but that need not make it a guilt-ridden obligation nor a duty-bound payment towards a debt. No, discipleship is the very thing that gives us new life! The act of following Jesus itself that renews us and transforms us, time and time again— taking us deeper and deeper into the heart of God.

At one workshop presentation at the convention, a priest from St. James in New York shared that congregation’s journey into a deeper level of discipleship. They did many things together as they agreed to embark on a journey of formation as disciples. One of the simplest things they did that stayed with me was to be very clear with new members what they hoped for in their disciples. It was so simple I wanted to share it with you.

Just three words: pray. Work. Give.

That’s it.

Pray regularly, every day, maybe more. Study the scriptures. Get to know the Jesus we follow, not only in the scriptures but in prayer. Be changed by prayer.

Work. Serve your community. I like to say being baptized is not a spectator sport. You have to jump in. By being a part of a ministry, we participate in the larger work of the church to share the love of God. And we are changed.

Give. Be generous. Giving in gratitude and generosity are the keys to a larger heart. It changes us, loosening our attachments and helping us grow towards the world around us.

And so discipleship is transformative. The more we love God and our neighbor, the better we get at it because the more we are changed by the God we follow.

What does discipleship mean to you? How do you commit to go deeper in your journey with God? I pray that it brings you new life— so much that you can’t wait to share it with a world that needs to hear it.

The Rev. Canon Jeff Martinhauk
Proper 27C, November 10, 2019
St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego
Lk 20:27-38

Sources Consulted:
Feasting on the Word, Year C, Vol.4. Ed. David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 2010.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Quiet Advent

Dear St. Paul’s family,
In a couple of weeks we will come to the beginning of a new church year and the Advent season will be upon us. Conveniently for the makers of Advent calendars, the season actually starts on December 1 this year. (That is Thanksgiving weekend, in case you are wondering). It’s been a whirlwind of a summer and fall at the Cathedral, and we are all feeling the stress of the office move and the constant changes generated by the construction. Additionally, with the loss of two staff positions, the beginning of the program year has been especially challenging for our staff and leadership.
In order to allow ourselves to breathe and enjoy the quiet beauty of Advent, we are looking for ways to make this a Quiet Advent. It’s no easy task, with special carol services, the Alternative Gifts Expo, the Messiah sing, Christmas bulletins to prepare, and of course the spectacular and historic Gala on December 13, but there are some opportunities. There will be no Advent midweek formation series this year, and we are not holding several regular meetings, including the Buildings and Grounds, Stewardship, ministry leaders (second Tuesday), clergy, pastoral care committee and executive staff planning sessions. We will also be discontinuing the 5 pm Eucharist service on Saturdays: this will allow sextons, clergy, and sacristans to take a small break before the hustle and bustle of Sunday.
Weekly staff meetings, Sunday Bible study, Chapter, Women Together, and all other regularly scheduled worship services will take place as usual.
If you would like to host an informal book discussion group in your home during Advent, without clergy involvement, I want to encourage you to do so. You can set your own meeting days and times and select your own book, although I will be happy to suggest a short list from which to select. We will gladly list contact information for such groups in Cathedral Life.
I want to encourage you to make space in your calendar for Advent and to simplify as much as you can for the season. We all have more than enough to do, and taking Sabbath time is not only blessed but mandated in Scripture.
Your sister in Christ,

Penny

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Construction Update November 6

 Regular Construction Updates


Meeting notes:
  • Discussed the possibility of meeting weekly again.  Some communication was lost when we went to bi-weekly meetings.  We’ve decided due to schedules that we will meet on Tuesdays in the Fireside Room from 9:15-9:45a going forward.
  • Temporary 2nd floor landing is being developed to get something out there and aid our traffic flow.  Possible scaffold jacks attached to the wall for the 2nd floor only.
  • Elevator finishes are being turned over to the interior design team to work on matching up lobby finishes with interior elevator cab finishes.
  • Talking about replacing the Great Hall red entry doors due to deterioration.  More discussion to come.
  • Check in on elevator schedule, but Rocky will get back to us with more information on completion date.
    • Still waiting on Smoke detector quote from Bay for the elevator lobbies.  Kathleen will follow up on bid.
  • The HVAC suggested improvements for the Great Hall basement have been approved and scheduling/timeline to follow.  SPC has a generous anonymous donor who will be funding the project and Chapter has agreed to accept the gift and move forward with the work.  Thanks to Joe Williams for taking time yesterday to meet with the then potential donor and helping explain the intricacies of the project.
  • Rocky checked in on the Great Hall door estimate.  The guy he initially had come out doesn’t want to touch it but is brining someone else out this week to look at it and see what can be done.  Kathleen advised Chapter has agreed the work on the door is a priority and to go forward with the estimates, we’ll work on funding once we know more about the costs.
  • Discussion about holding off of the Queen’s Courtyard lift installation ensued.  Tom suggested since the footing for the new staircase on the east face of the building needed to happen, and with the Gala approaching in mid-December, that holding off on ripping up the Queen’s Courtyard would probably be best.  Greystar can accommodate this request but is hoping to finish work sooner than later.  Tom advised that if after sleeping on it they didn’t feel comfortable with this request, we can readdress it next Tuesday.
  • Next meeting is in one week on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 from 9:15a to 9:45a in the Fireside Room.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Sunday Sermon: For all the Saints

Almost every Thursday I preside at the noon Eucharist in our chapel, and almost every time we celebrate the life of a saint, someone whose life and perhaps death reflected their love of God in Christ through devotion, faith, and courage. In the Episcopal Church we don’t require evidence of miracles, only that someone demonstrated one or more of the qualities of faith, heroism, love, goodness of life, or service to others for the sake of Christ. A saint is not a perfect person, and should always be regarded in the light of their own historical and cultural context.

If you attend a weekday service here you have at least a 75% chance of hearing about someone the church regards as a saint: men, women, clergy, lay persons, teachers, evangelists, martyrs, peacemakers, activists, soldiers, missionaries, and even politicians ( we remember Frances Perkins, US labor Secretary, founder of Social Security and gay Episcopal lay woman, on May 13).

On Thursdays in October we remembered: John Raleigh Mott, an American lay person who led the YMCA; Vida Dutton Scudder, an educator and social welfare activist; Ignatius of Antioch, a first century bishop and martyr; Hiram Hisanori Kano, a Japanese American priest who was interned during world war 2 as an enemy alien but ministered in the camp to both his fellow Japanese and to US soldiers imprisoned for going AWOL; and Bishop Philip Lindel Tsen, an Anglican bishop in China who was persecuted for stressing the ties between Japanese and Chinese Christians during a time when two nations were at war.

And today we give thanks for them all, that great and glorious cloud of witnesses who came before us and who continue to illuminate, challenge, and inspire our lives.

The idea of a saint has evolved over the ages. In the Hebrew Scriptures we hear about prophets, judges, and kings who obeyed the law of Moses and ruled with justice and mercy. In the books written shortly before the Christian era we see descriptions of “holy ones”, which sometimes means angels and other times means virtuous Jews who resisted or overcame persecution. In the early Christian church the apostles were venerated along with martyrs, while St. Paul refers to all church members as saints. It was the Irish who started the tradition of a general celebration in early November, as a counter to a pagan festival of the dead, and in the 8th century Rome made it official throughout the western church.

The book of Daniel belongs to that category of books written just before the Christian era. We classify Daniel as one of the prophets, but it’s not a prophetic book. It really belongs in the same category as the Revelation to John, as an apocalypse, a type of literature designed to comfort and encourage the faithful in a time of persecution, an elaborate description of a hoped-for future when God will prevail over the wicked and God’s Kingdom will replace the kingdoms of earthly tyrants. I think that today is our one Sunday during the year when we hear from Daniel, so it’s worth spending a minute with this book before we move on.

Daniel was written around 167 BCE, when Israel was a small, westernmost outpost of a Eurasian empire ruled by a series of kings called Antiochus. Unrest in Jerusalem resulted in Antiochus IV persecuting and massacring the Jews. A pious Jew living under this persecution wrote a collection of stories to encourage his fellow Jews to hold fast to the hope that God’s kingdom would ultimately prevail over the corrupt and brutal kingdoms of the world. This writer took the name of Daniel to remind his readers of a legendary hero of Jewish history, and he set his inspirational stories in the time of an earlier conquest, when faithful Jews did indeed overcome their enemies and survive to carry on the story of salvation.

Do you ever have dreams that trouble you? Whenever I had a nightmare as a child it was about our house catching on fire. Maybe you’ve had similar nightmares lately, with all the wildfires that are igniting to our north and our south. These days, my most vivid and disturbing dreams are about liturgical disasters - getting lost in a huge church, forgetting what I’m supposed to do in the service, finding myself inappropriately attired. I sometimes wake myself up laughing at the absurdity of the dream.

I’ve never had a dream as detailed as Daniel’s dream, with his descriptions of the four beasts, each one representing a corrupt human kingdom destined to pass away before the triumph of the kingdom of God. You’ll have to open your Bible and read the omitted verses to appreciate the vivid imagery of Daniel’s vision: the purpose of the verses we read today is to focus our attention on the holy ones, those faithful servants of God who endure through the persecution and receive their reward in God’s kingdom.

That focus provides our link to the Gospel. We are blessed, Jesus says to his disciples, if we remain faithful when times are hard, because God will ultimately bring us out into a place of abundance. I think that’s a hard thing for us to hear, because on the whole our lives are pretty comfortable, compared to those who first heard Jesus’s words. For most of human history and still today across the world, life is a struggle. The promise of a heavenly reward is treasured when there’s precious little in this life to look forward to. Apocalyptic literature like Daniel doesn’t speak to us as powerfully as it did to the people of a defeated, occupied, and persecuted minority.

But we still pay attention to Jesus, because there are those among us who are poor, there are those who hunger both physically and spiritually, there are those who are grieving, and there are those who are the targets of bigotry and malicious gossip. And Jesus is very clear about how we are to behave towards one another, no matter how different our circumstances or how deep our disagreements: love, bless, pray, give. We do these things because of who we are, the holy people of God, set apart and consecrated to do the work of bringing God’s kingdom to fruition, in partnership with all the saints who have gone before us.

We sit in this beautiful place today because of, and only because of, those members of the communion of saints who sat here before us. We are blessed by the generosity of previous generations of faithful people. People like Stew Dadmun, who helped to found SPSS, and Norm Crispen, who brought donuts to share every week and whom we will celebrate at a special reception following this/the 10:30 service. They and many others were members of our legacy society, planning for the future of this community of faith for long after they were gone, and we give thanks for them and their vision.

Imagine that 100 years from now people will celebrate All Saints Sunday in this cathedral. Will they give thanks for you and me in the same way and for the same reasons? I hope so. This vibrant parish is our inheritance, and we are blessed to be its stewards for a short time and hopefully to leave it even better than we found it.

And so we pray today for the grace to follow the blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we too may learn to trust in the riches of God’s love and the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.

The Very Rev Penelope Bridges
All Saints Sunday Nov 3, 2019

Friday, November 1, 2019

Simpler Living: Low Waste Christmas

Christmas is among my favorite times of the year. I love the friendliness people share, when looking at Christmas light displays, attending concerts or even while shopping. I love the mound of gifts under the tree -- and I love slipping a new package into the pile (and having my children discover it, shake it, wonder about it). Unfortunately, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week! (1) That extra waste is often not recycled and not recyclable. Wrapping paper with foil or tape embedded cannot be recycled, neither can embellished cards. Organic materials, like paper, that are sent to the landfill either do not decompose, or they create methane gas by decomposing anaerobically (i.e. without oxygen). Creating greenhouse gasses and filling landfills is not in accord with the spirit of the season.

All is not lost. You can give beautiful gifts without creating waste. Wrapping gifts in reusable wrap is an easy way to eliminate the waste without eliminating the fun. Use cloth gift bags to wrap things quickly and easily (tied with a reused ribbon) or explore the art of furoshiki to wrap a gift in a length of fabric or a scarf. Upcycle a shirt into wrapping. Check out the “FAQs on Holiday Waste Prevention” from Stanford (1) and this article from The Guardian (2). You might look at Pinterest for other ideas. It's a small change that can have a huge impact, if we all do our part.

Roberta Price

(1) Stanford University, Department of Land, Building and Real Estate, https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/20/save-wrapping-paper-christmas-gifts-eco-friendly


Note: Roberta and all of us at Simpler Living would welcome your comments, suggestions, etc. What have you done to make your Christmas more low waste? What would you like to try? How can we support each other to change habits that are not always so earth-friendly? Through this blog, we hope to initiate a dialogue that will lead us all to action. And come by our Simpler Living table on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month for some examples and further sharing!]

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Finance and Transparency

Dear St. Paul’s family,

I want to share with you some information about our cathedral finances. While money is rarely a favorite topic of conversation in the church, it is crucial that we manage your gifts in a responsible manner and that we practice transparency.
Our accounting practices have come a long way in the last six years. Our finance team has worked hard to bring us to a point where we can celebrate the fact that we have now undergone five consecutive clean annual audits (an annual audit is required by diocesan canons). I am deeply grateful to our finance director, Erin Sacco-Pineda, bookkeeper Molly Green, treasurer Betsey Monsell and administrator Kathleen Burgess for constantly improving our policies and procedures. We continue to strive for best practices.
Some of the policies we now have in place include: a requirement for staff to promptly report all purchases on cathedral credit accounts; a requirement to appoint an audit committee by September for the following year’s audit; and thresholds for check amounts that require two signatures. Required procedures include a carefully structured procedure for counting donations that separates the roles of handling money and updating records; and a monthly report on all our funds and accounts to Chapter.
Your pledges are by far the most important source of revenue for St. Paul’s, providing about three quarters of funding for our operating expenses. But we also have the blessing of income from parishioners of the past who remembered us in their estate planning. Cathedral leadership invested the legacies, along with funds from many other churches, with the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), and our endowment committee, appointed by Chapter, meets regularly to review the yield and the balance of investments. Our policy for many years has been to draw 5% of those funds (known as our enduring funds) to support our operating budget, but we are watching the markets and have recently decided to draw only 4.4% next year, to enable the principal’s growth to keep pace with inflation. Similarly, the LLC which Chapter created some years ago to handle the sale of the land next door now has funds from those sales invested with ECF, and that body has also decided to reduce the draw, from 5% to 4%, for the same reasons.
Together, the expected yield from these invested funds in 2020 will provide almost 25% of our revenue. The rest is up to you! If you ever have questions about our finances, any of the finance team will be happy to sit down with you. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our mission.

Your sister in Christ,

Penny

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Liturgical fashion Show

St Paul's has an extensive collection of beautiful vestments for all liturgical seasons.  Some of them are not seen in services for various reasons (for example, pink would be used only twice a year, and since we don't have much beyond a chasuble,  such as stoles and frontals, we can't use it.  We don't use maniples or "priest purses" or dalmatics.  And some of them are lovely but we haven't used them recently !)  We had a liturgical fashion show to share some of these wonderful pieces shown by professional models, with a little flourish from our own Gabriel.

 What a treat!

More at the flicker site here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stpaulscathedral/albums/72157711525300782






















Video celebrating Brooks

We celebrated The Rev. Canon Brooks Mason and his 25 years (so far!)  of dedicated service to the Cathedral this weekend.  Here's a short video we put together for the occasion.  Thank you Brooks for all that you do!

(Click on the video and enlarge using the expansion box on the lower right to see it at a larger size)



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Porta Potty

Dear St. Paul’s family,

If you’ve ever been involved in a home improvement project of any size, you know that nothing goes according to plan. Our current Cathedral Campus Redevelopment Project is no exception. As you must have noticed, there is significant work being done in the Great Hall building: our development partner Greystar is making several improvements to our electrical supply and accessibility so that we can operate throughout the construction period of the next three years.
One of those improvements involves the rebuilding of our elderly elevator.  The ramp along the east side of the building has been completed, and the elevator lobby work is almost done, but there have been several hiccups and the schedule we had hoped for, whereby we would have an outdoor lift installed to allow access to the Great Hall office suite during the elevator work, has not materialized. Work on the elevator began this week, and we came up against the unwelcome fact that we will have no bathrooms accessible to those who cannot manage stairs for the next two to three months, which will likely encompass the Gala150 and Christmas.
Our elderly and less physically able parishioners are cherished members of this community, and it has become an urgent matter to provide bathroom facilities of some kind throughout this time. So we have arranged to rent a deluxe, wheelchair-accessible mobile bathroom for the duration. We are limited to locating it within 20 feet of the street, for the weekly cleanout, which unfortunately means that it will be stationed in the Queen’s Courtyard. Kathleen is working on a way to disguise it, but we will likely not have the disguise in place by this weekend. It won’t be pretty, but I hope you will understand that providing bathroom facilities for everyone is a critical part of our welcome to all.
The bathroom will be equipped with a combination lock and ushers, docents, and staff will have the combination to share with parishioners who need it.  In order to keep the bathroom in good shape, we will limit its use to those who are unable to manage the stairs to the Great Hall bathrooms, and also to those who are genuinely engaged in our ministries, so please don’t share the combination with others.
We are all learning to be flexible as we work through all the complexities that will ultimately result in a much improved and fully accessible campus. Thank you for your patience!

Your sister in Christ,

Penny

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Construction Update October 23

Regular Construction Updates
Meeting notes:
  • Switch over of power is still on for 10/24 pm to 10/25 am.  Rocky has their electrician on site at 9pm 10/24 and SDGE is expected to arrive, deenergize transformer to building.  They’ve pulled wires and they come back early a.m. to complete the work.  So when they “stab” the new meter they’ll check all is safe and then flip the switch in the GH building.
  • Cathedral improvements are focused on the elevator renewal.  The lobby is out of commission until the elevator heavy work is completed.  Work began, on schedule on Monday 10/21/19. 
    • Floors for the lobby will wait until the elevator work is further along.  There is a 4 week lead time on the nosing, but the deposit is in for the flooring so we should get an ETA early next week on delivery.
  • ATT & Cox interruption of service intermittently will occur Friday 10/25 and Monday 10/28 while they run the cables from the street to the facility and remove the old telephone pole that was once in the Olive St. parking lot with these lines on it. It is expected to be quick down times for the work.
  • Talking about replacing the Great Hall red entry doors due to deterioration.  More discussion to come.
  • 2nd floor outdoor hallway lost lighting when we cut power from the Admin building.  We need temporary lighting or a fix for the existing lighting.  It’s too dark without it.
  • Advised about SPC brining in an ADA compliant Port-o-Potty into the Queen’s Courtyard.  It will be delivered Thursday 10/24/19 and stay until elevator project is completed or ADA bathrooms are once again accessible.
  • Reviewed HVAC project estimates with Joe.  Moving on from McParlan, other vendor has been consulted.  Suggests $144,000 for basement HVAC only.  There is a heating kit for GH, it includes equipment for heat and cooling, reduces the main load off boilers and would mean we would need smaller boilers.
    • Before spending money on engineers, Joe suggests SPC decides if we want to spend $145-250,000 on the HVAC for the Great Hall before engaging the engineer study that would cost about $9,000-$13,000.
    • Suggestions for partial solutions were discussed.  Window units will be going out of the north offices in the basement due to the CCRP, and possible “mini split system” could be installed instead.  Options are being reviewed further.
  • AT&T line is down but that’s ok as it only served the elevator for emergency help.  It was to be landed on a Cox line during the transfer over, but that work hasn’t happened yet.  Tim from The Computer Admin is following up.  He put the work order in several weeks ago.
  • SPC asked about lighting the sidewalks around the church block.  Once pedestrian barricades go up, there will be lighting.  This will be both on 5th and 6th Avenues.
  • Next meeting is in two weeks on November 6, 2019 at 10:30 in the Fireside Room.