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Dear Beloved Friends,
God gives us so many gifts, yet some particularly stand out because of their ability to not only transform, but continually bless us as well. St. Paul’s Cathedral is such a gift to me.
Thus it is with a mixture of excitement and anticipation, as well as sadness that I write to tell you I will be leaving the Cathedral staff at the end of October. Our bishop, James Mathes, has asked me to serve as Canon to the Ordinary, and after much prayer, reflection, and conversation with many wise people including John Chane, our former dean, and retired bishop of Washington, and Rebecca McClain, our wonderful interim dean, I have accepted the call. As Canon to the Ordinary, I will be working with clergy and congregations in transition (including the Cathedral!), assisting them in deepening their spiritual life, and helping to further the mission of this diocese to follow Jesus with faithfulness and integrity. Given this work, I am deeply humbled by Bishop Mathes’ request I join his staff.
And I am deeply humbled to have been able to be a part of the Cathedral community as one of your priests for the last 12 years. The Cathedral truly is exceptional—incredibly open to where the Spirit may be leading it, loving, and inclusive in the finest sense of the word. You have also been so gracious in allowing me to share in your lives and spiritual journeys. I know I am a better priest because of my time with you and all the wisdom, humor, and true moments of grace we have shared.
It helps me during this time of transition to know I will continue to serve with you in my new position as we all seek to serve God’s people, and bring about God’s Kingdom. Together in the words of the liturgy we are now able to use to bless, and marry same-sex couples, we will be blessed, and with God’s help, be a blessing as well.
I ask for your prayers as we move forward, and certainly you will be in mine. Please know I will carry you and this blessed, sacred Cathedral community close to my heart all my days.
The Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas
It is a state of the heart, this time between times and thus, a tender time. Here is the latest news to share. I am mindful that it reflects another threshold for the beloved community of St. Paul’s and makes this current transition even more poignant.
The Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, Subdean of our Cathedral has been called to serve as the Canon to the Ordinary under the leadership of Bishop Jim Mathes. She enters into this between time with a deep knowledge that she has loved and has been loved through these many seasons at St. Paul’s, but is now called to a new work.
It has been my absolute joy to work alongside Allisyn and to watch one of the most gifted priests in our church in action. She will bring light and life to many in the Diocese of San Diego and will be a blessing to our bishop, the clergy, and the good people who faithfully serve the Church in the name of Christ.
Not having sufficient words to express what I feel about these times between times and this news, I offer the last stanza of a poem, “For the Interim Time” from John O’Donohue’s last book, To Bless the Space Between Us:
What is being transfigured here is your mind,
Allisyn will begin her new work with Bishop Mathes on November 1, All Saints’ Day. Allisyn’s last Sunday (in her role as Subdean) at St. Paul’s Cathedral will be October 27. In these days between, let us remember the many joys and blessings we have shared, knowing that our hearts become more refined in the interim time.
The Very Rev. Rebecca McClain
August 13, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Over the last several weeks, I have pondered and prayed about how best to fill the position of canon to the ordinary. Some have suggested that we undertake a broad and thorough search. However, I have found myself drawn to one person who I believe will be the ideal candidate to fill this vitally important position. After seeking the Standing Committee’s counsel and consent, I have invited our colleague, the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, to be canon to the ordinary, and I am delighted to tell you that she has accepted the call.
As you know, it is critical that the canon to the ordinary and the bishop be part of a strong and wellconnected team. Allisyn was my first contact from the nominating committee after I became a candidate in the episcopal election. Throughout that process, she was my shepherd. At my consecration, she served as my chaplain. Her liturgical and spiritual guidance to me has not stopped since that day. I have very much come to value her wisdom, skill, and dedication. Over the years, we have worked closely on a number of projects. She has served as chair of the Commission on Ministry during the time when we revised our ordination process and more recently she has served as president of the Standing Committee. She has my complete trust and I sense she also has yours.
As canon to the ordinary, her focus will be on the spiritual life of the diocese by promoting healthy congregations, and shepherding transitions in clergy and ministry. She will undertake a regular visitation schedule much like a bishop, coming to know you fully, and I am sure falling more deeply in love with this wonderful diocesan community. Allisyn will conclude her service to the Cathedral at the end of October and begin her work as canon to the ordinary on All Saints’ Day. At our convention, we will install her as a diocesan canon.
In closing let me say, that I am keenly aware of what we are gaining in the diocese in calling Allisyn to this position. I am also aware of what she is leaving and what the Cathedral is losing. Please join me in giving thanks for Allisyn’s willingness to serve our diocese and hold her and the Cathedral in your prayers during this time of transition.
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego