Although we cannot be physically together for a time, the church still gathers. Join us each week to find God's peace and connect through St. Mary's love! Click here to view this week's offerings which are published on our Worship page.
While we cannot gather for in-person services, the talented musicians of St. Mary’s deliver joy through videos, under the direction of Director Dennis Janzer. St. Mary’s is now recording and posting services from within the Cathedral: clergy and musicians, with organ, piano and singers, all joined together. We will also share a musical offering each Wednesday featuring the cathedral’s musicians. We welcome you to connect with the Cathedral community through these selections created to bring hope, strength and peace. Click here for the latest offering!
Presiding Bishop Curry will offer 'Habits of Grace': video meditations that will be posted every Monday through May. Come here for some inspiration to start your week!
We are here. Our clergy and pastoral care teams are active and available to you.
Please call the church (901-527-3361) or email Patrick Williams (pwilliams_at_stmarysmemphis_dot_org), Eyleen Farmer (efarmer_at_stmarysmemphis_dot_org) or Drew Woodruff (dewverger_at_aol_dot_com)
All in-person adult and youth programming is halted at this time.
Virtual Christian Adult Formation Offerings:
Sermon Chat: Soul-stirring Discussions on Wednesdays at 7 pm
This (virtual) gathering of our St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral faith community will provide the opportunity for a spiritual discussion driven by responses to the weekly sermon. Clergy will be present to guide discussion, including what inspired the sermon and scriptural and theological themes that are explored. Bring your beautiful voices and big hearts to these discussions, and please ask your friends to join!
Advance sign-up using Eventbrite is required. Click here to register for the Wednesday, August 12th 7 pm Sermon Chat
The Sermon Chat is the kick-off event for the Fall 2020 Adult Christian Formation Schedule. We will have weekly events on Wednesdays at 7 pm starting August 12, 2020. The events will be virtually presented either via Zoom or Facebook Live, depending on the event.
August 12th & 19th: Sermon Chats with the Rev. Eyleen Farmer and the Rev. Patrick Williams
August 26th & September 2nd: Musical Musings featuring Dr. Dennis Janzer and Paul Murray
September 9th will feature a Martyrs' Day discussion of our heroes from St. Mary's
This tentative schedule may change, but we wanted to let you know what is planned so that you can reserve Wednesdays at 7 pm for an adult Christian Formation offering. We will be filling out the schedule as we go along, adding offerings during the Fall as the presenters are confirmed. Our ever-popular Rev. Jerry Harber continues his Bible discussion series Sundays at 1 pm. This series, which continued with no interruption via Zoom in March after the pandemic-related church closure, continues into the Fall. (See below for information on Jerry's series.) We invite everyone who would like to delve deeper into our Scripture to try out Jerry's series, too. While we may not be able to gather in person, we can still enlighten ourselves and listen to God in different ways, as we are able.
Rev. Jerry Harber's Sunday School Class Sundays at 1 pm
Keeping our Vows: The meaning and implications of our baptism
When we witness another's baptism, we also join them in making certain promises for how we'll live as Christians. In The Episcopal Church, there are five of them; in other churches the numbers differ and the way they are worded differs, but there are many similarities. The danger for us is we say the words, but don't live the life. This series will plumb these promises and offer practical ways to faithfully keep them in our daily lives. The goal of the series is to emerge with a deeper and more vital commitment to our faith and our Lord.
In order to join the Zoom group, please send an email to jerry.harber [at] gmail [dot] com and he'll send you the Zoom information including a password to avoid ZoomBombing.
You can join the meeting either audio only or video/audio.For audio only, you can use any phone, including a land line. We can hear each other, but not see each other. For video/audio you need a smart phone, or either of the following with a camera and wifi connection: tablet, laptop, desktop.
Social Justice & Outreach is a hallmark of ministry at St. Mary's. From Wednesday Eucharist and Breakfast to Walk with 901 to Pop-Top Ministry to the Servant Ministry Team, we have a variety of programs and events that work to bring the Kingdom of God alive.Learn More
The Cathedral has a long tradition of musical excellence, and our worship and music reflect this while being flexible to remain vibrant and living. Our music is rooted in the great Anglican choral tradition while we sing joyfully from other traditions. The Choir is comprised of volunteers and paid section leaders.Learn More
Dear St. Mary’s Community,
On July 15, I wrote an update to you about ongoing discussions and planning of the Committee of Return. Again, the Committee of Return (COR) is charged not only with thinking through the logistical issues related to a safe return to in-person worship but also discernment of the conditions whereby it would be deemed an acceptable level of risk to resume in-person worship.
At this point, I write to say that the COR has been monitoring the COVID-19 statistics of Shelby County and the State of TN. What we see is that the trend in number of cases, positivity rates, and hospitalizations continue to increase at a significant rate. Current information on the specifics on those statistics can be found here: https://twitter.com/ShelbyTNHealth and here: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/news/ among other sources. We also note that Governor Lee’s State of Emergency for the state of TN remains in effect until August 29. While the State of Emergency order allows houses of worship to be open, it also urges that houses of worship continue online services whenever possible. Given the rising statistics and the state’s urging to continue online worship, the COR still does not believe it is an appropriate time to begin a return to in-person worship. St. Mary’s will remain closed to in-person worship at the cathedral, indefinitely. To be sure, what the COR is looking for to be deemed a comfortable level of risk for a return to in-person worship is a sustained period of decline in the statistics that I have just mentioned, as well as the lifting of State of Emergency orders.
This is an incredibly difficult decision to make and one that we know is both difficult and painful for members of our community, as it is for members of the COR. To that end, our hope and prayer is that you might be able to trust that these decisions are always made with the health, safety, and well-being of all as our major priority. As I have said previously, this is way in which we are trying to live out the commandment of Jesus to love one another.
Nevertheless, not being able to meet for in-person worship Does Not mean that we are not joining together as a community in worship. Online Sunday services continue, and I will speak more about that later. However, recognizing the deep desire to be able to join together in prayer and be connected in a real-time sense, we have set out to offer prayer services at various points during the week that will happen live on Facebook. The prayer services are as follows:
· Monday Morning Prayer @ 8am on Facebook Live – beginning, Monday, August 3
· Wednesday Noonday Prayer @ 12 noon on Facebook Live – beginning, Wednesday, August 5
· Friday Night Compline @ 7:30pm on Facebook Live – already happening; next date is Friday, July 31!
Our hope is that the Monday Morning Prayer and Friday Night Compline services, in particular, will become services that are led by both clergy and laity. That is, not only by clergy but by you as well – individuals, families, St. Mary’s groups, etc. In the coming weeks you will see more about this, including a sign-up sheet and instructions for those interested in leading a prayer service. In this way it will truly be the church being the church, praying for and with one another and for the world!
We know well the deep desire and indeed longing that so many of us have to find a way to return to worship. We share that longing with you and will be so gratified when that day comes. Yet until we are able to return safely to in-person worship, we hope that you will join us as we continue to gather as a community of faith, now online. We have continued to work on improving the quality of our online worship experience over the past several weeks and have heard from many of you in recent days of your gratitude that we are moving in the right direction and that things are getting better each week. On average, we have about 100 views for our Sunday services on YouTube. Each view could be one person but also could be multiple persons in a household viewing worship. Though we do not know how many are actually viewing in a household, we invite you to be a part of that number, if you are not already, and share with your family and friends via YouTube and Facebook!
Over the longer term, we have also been made aware that not everyone will come back to the cathedral immediately, whenever we reopen, and may not return until there is a vaccine. Whatever the reason, please know that we are also working to establish a more permanent video system within the church that will ultimately allow us to effectively stream our services on a permanent basis, so that a return to in-person worship will not mean an end to online streaming of services for those who are not or who choose not to attend in person.
If you would like to donate toward this new video equipment and its installation, please send your contribution to St. Mary’s Cathedral with “new video system” written in the memo line of a check or you can use the donate feature of our website and select “Audio/Visual Project” for your donation. Know that your contribution is appreciated, and it will help us to ensure that our worship services will always be available for as wide an audience as possible.
Sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ, these are tough decisions that have been made but decisions that have been made in love. As we continue to journey during this time of physical separation from one another and our cathedral, let us remember the One from we are never separated, regardless of where we are. As the Apostle Paul proclaims, “For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ (Romans 8:38-39; New Living Translation)
Interim Dean Patrick WilliamsRead More
Greetings St. Mary’s Cathedral Community!
I am writing this letter as an update to you on where we are with COVID-19 and our – the Committee of Return's (COR) - thinking with regard to the process of reopening. First, however, let me say thanks to all of you who responded to the recent survey about reopening for in-person worship. We had 80 respondents to the survey and they were very helpful in letting us know the pulse of the congregation at present, in terms of a potential reopening. What we found out is that some of you do not plan to return to the cathedral under any circumstances until this pandemic is over. Many others of you can envision a return to in-person worship, with sufficient precautions in place, for worship taking place either in the sanctuary or in an outdoor space. Still others said that you would be willing to attend an in-person worship service both in the sanctuary and in an outdoor space. As we suspected, people are of varying opinions and that is perfectly fine. With so many different factors and risk levels to consider that really is to be expected.
At present, the COR has yet to make a decision about in-person worship in August but continues to monitor hard data about the spread of COVID-19. We also remain attuned to the evolving guidelines and guidance from officials at all levels, including our local officials as well as public health and medical community professionals and our diocese. As you are likely aware, the cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County continues to trend upward. Additionally, and, equally important, hospitalizations and positivity rates also continue to increase. These are some of the key areas that we are monitoring as part of our decision making process.
Despite the lack of a firm date for reopening for public worship, however, the COR continues its work of planning for the eventual reopening of St. Mary’s Cathedral. As such, I can tell you that worship will necessarily be different from what we have been accustomed to in the past. Some of the things that you can expect in a return to in-person worship in the initial phase include the following:
· Worship will be limited to a max of 50 people in total – includes clergy, musicians, etc.
· You will need to RSVP to attend worship – online or via telephone
· Seating will be marked with 6ft of distance between persons, except a family unit that lives together can be seated together
· Wearing of masks will be required at all times when in worship; persons who refuse to wear a mask will not be admitted – there will be a limited number of masks available for those who forget to bring theirs
· There will be no congregational singing – only vocalists/musicians will sing
· There will be a designated spot for the offering; no plates will passed around the congregation
· There will be no passing of the Peace or touching of others
· No Sunday formation on premises for adults
· No children or youth Sunday School, Youth Group, Children’s chapel or nursery – all children will need to stay with family for the duration
· No hospitality hour after worship
· Plenty of hand sanitizer will be available around the church
The listing above is not meant to be a comprehensive list. It is only meant to give an idea of some of what to expect whenever there is a return to in-person worship and activity at St. Mary’s. Nevertheless, more detailed information will be available as we get closer to the point of return.
Again, I must stress that I, personally, and the COR, collectively, take your health and safety extremely seriously and that is our utmost concern as we seek to make these important decisions. Also, I am very aware that our time in exile from our beloved cathedral is now over four months. To that end, we have heard from you that it has been difficult to maintain a feeling of being connected to the community and that, in particular, many of you would like a way to participate online in live worship opportunities. As a result, we will look to our tradition and utilize the Book of Common Prayer to increase our weekly worship offerings. In particular, we will offer the following live options:
· Monday Morning Prayer @ 8am – begins on Monday, August 3, on Facebook Live
· Wednesday Noonday Prayer @ 12 noon - begins on Wednesday, August 5, will be streamed on Facebook Live
· Friday Night Compline @ 7:30pm – begins on Friday, July 17, and will be streamed on Facebook Live
It is our hope and prayer that gathering online for these times of communal prayer will indeed help us to reconnect or to maintain our feeling of connection as a community of faith. Part of the way that we hope to foster this is that we will be looking to you to volunteer to help keep these prayer services going over the long term. The clergy team is honored to get things started but we hope that many of you will also begin to sign up to lead the Monday morning prayer and Friday night compline services, particularly.
Please stay tuned for forthcoming information on how to sign-up to host these services once we get started. Also, stay tuned for a decision in the coming couple of weeks on whether we will return to in-person worship in August and please keep all of this in your prayers.
Finally, let me express my gratitude to you as a community. I am grateful for your patience. For your trust. For your strength. For your continued generosity and support and for your ongoing prayers that sustain us as a community. It is all of these ways that you express your faith in the living God that we will together discern the path that God has set for our future.
Peace & Blessings,
Patrick J. Williams+
Interim DeanRead More
An Announcement from the Vestry
Monday, June 1, 2020
Dear People of St. Mary’s,
As you know, May 31 was Laura Gettys’ last day at the Cathedral as Interim Dean. Many of you participated in giving her and her family a heartfelt sendoff on Sunday. We had a drive-through farewell for Laura and family in the St. Mary’s parking lot under a festive Pentecost-decorated tent lined with red carpet and white chairs. Between 40 and 50 cars, including Bishop Phoebe as the last car, drove into the lot; we all stayed in our vehicles and said our farewells at a safe distance.
Although you may have heard this already, we want you to know that your vestry approved an agreement with the Rev. Patrick Williams to be our Interim Dean from June 1 until August 31. It is possible that this agreement could be extended by a couple of months, depending on circumstances. To assist Patrick, the vestry approved an agreement with the Rev. Eyleen Farmer to be with us part time as long as Patrick is Interim Dean.
The Search Committee is back in high gear, sifting through applications for the permanent Dean position. The job opening for the Dean’s position closed on June 1. We are excited to see this process move forward.
We appreciate your support and prayers for our beloved community during this time of coronavirus and transition. If any of us – vestry, clergy, or staff – can assist you, please let us know. If you become aware of any needs of our fellow parishioners, let us know that as well.
For the vestry,
Scott Morrell, Sr. Warden
Julie Byrd Ashworth, Jr. WardenRead More