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!
Weekly Prayer Services on Facebook Live
Monday Morning Prayer @ 8am
Wednesday Noonday Prayer @ noon
Friday Night Compline @ 7:30pm
Wherever you are, take a moment to pause in prayer with the St. Mary's community for any or all of these prayer services - to begin the day on the first day of the week, to mark midday in the middle of the week, or to the end the day before the weekend. Go to the St. Mary's Facebook page and click the "video" button to begin watching live.
If you are interested in leading either Monday Morning Prayer or Friday Night Compline, please send an email to Rev. Patrick Williams at email@example.com to be added to the list. You will receive instructions on how to lead the prayer service as well as how to stream via Facebook Live, if necessary.
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:
Virtual Christian Formation Offerings Our Wednesday evening series continues September 2 at 7 pm with Rev. Patrick Williams and a discussion of the Episcopal Church's participation in the Poor People's Campaign. This is in advance of Labor Day which is Monday, September 7th. This event will take place on Facebook Live. Go to the St. Mary's Facebook page and click the "video" button to begin watching live.
Justice & the Poor: The Episcopal Church and the Poor People's Campaign: One of the most pressing issues facing the City of Memphis and our nation is poverty. As we prepare to celebrate Labor Day, join Interim Dean, Patrick Williams, and the Rev. Melanie Mullen, Director of Reconciliation, Justice & Creation Care for the Episcopal Church, for a conversation about justice and poverty, the Episcopal Church's engagement with the Poor Peoples' Campaign, and ideas for how you too can join in this movement to adequately value the dignity of all human labor and human life.
Wednesday, September 9th 7 pm (speaker TBA), we host a conversation and presentations centering on Sister Constance. September 9th is the Feast Day of Sister Constance, who was the leader of a brave group of Episcopal nuns at our very own Cathedral during the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis. Read about Sister Constance on the Cathedral's website at:http://www.stmarysmemphis.org/about/history/
Rev. Jerry Harber's Sunday School Class Sundays at 1 pm
TWISTED SCRIPTURE: Understanding the scriptural and theological roots of intolerance and worse for those “not like us”
How does Jesus’ teaching about the centrality of love get replaced with the prejudice against, or even hatred of, people because of their race or other characteristics? You may be surprised to know that Holy Scripture can be interpreted to support such ideas. Come learn how this happened and how Christians who follow a Jesus of love can respond.
You’re invited to join other folks from St Mary’s, from other churches, and from out of town as they gather each week for an hour of study. To attend on any smart device, email Jerry at jerry.harber [at] gmail [dot] com and he will send you the information you need.
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
The 1878 Yellow fever epidemic decimated Memphis. This year we pay special homage to those care-givers and victims in our pandemic-stricken world.
This week we honor Sister Constance and her companions with daily offerings by special guests who reflect on the question:
What message or legacy did the sisters leave that resonates with you today?
Monday, September 7th:
Tuesday, September, 8th:
Wednesday, September 9th:
Sister Hannah, of the Community of St. Mary, Sewanee, TN. Sr. Hughetta Snowdon, the one surviving Sister from the Yellow Fever Epidemic, moved to Sewanee, TN, after the epidemic, and in 1888, with the help of other Sisters, started what is now the Southern Province of the Sisters of St. Mary in Sewanee, Tennessee. Click here to view on YouTube. Click here to view on Facebook (no account needed.)
Evie Fowler, a student at St. Mary's Episcopal School, who sings and plays guitar on "Day by Day." The hymn, known as SUMNER, was written by Arthur Henry Biggs with lyrics attributed to Richard of Chichester, 13th century. Sr. Constance and other Martyrs were teachers at St. Mary's school then located at the Cathedral. "Day by Day" has special meaning for St. Mary's students, as singing it together is a part of the daily chapel tradition. Click here to view on YouTube. Click here to view on Facebook (no account needed.)
Thursday, September 10th:
Friday, September 11th:
Bishop Phoebe Roaf Click here to view on YouTube.
There will be a special pre-recorded service of Letters and Music on Sunday, September 13th, that will include reflections from Margery Wolcott of Constance Abbey and Sophie Droke, a senior at St. Mary's Episcopal School. There will also be a virtual pilgrimage to Elmwood Cemetery, featuring prayers and the Litany of Remembrance, said by the Sisters of the Community of St. Mary in Sewanee. Both videos will be available by 6 am on Sunday on our Worship page.Read More
Dear St. Mary’s Community,
We write to inform you of an administrative change that has occurred as a result of a diocesan review by the Bishop and Standing Committee, as required under Diocesan Canon 19.2(d.) The purpose of this required review was to assess the administrative and financial health of each congregation within the diocese. Upon completion of this assessment, all congregations were formally classified as either parishes or mission. It is our understanding that at least half of all congregations within the diocese, including St. Mary’s Cathedral, were classified as missions, while the rest were classified as parishes.
The status of a church as a parish or mission is determined by its recent history as a sustainable faith community. The factors that go into such a decision include whether it has made its full contributions to the Diocese, whether it provides an adequate living for its full time Clergy, and whether it is able to pay its current operating expenses from its own resources, without assistance from Diocesan funds. St. Mary’s has not over the past few years made its full share of contributions to the diocese, and its operating expenses have had to be covered in part by taking funds from its endowment, which is not a sustainable course for more than a few more years.
Among the items on which the vestry will work with the new Intentional Interim Dean will be plotting a course toward sustainability. One of the goals of this endeavor, other than looking toward long-term sustainability will be the reclassification of the church as a parish.
Please know that this administrative reclassification does not affect St. Mary’s status as the Cathedral, nor does it impact you as a member. Worship, ministries and activities will not change. The Vestry (or Mission Council) will have the same responsibilities and fiduciary duties. It does mean, however, that the Cathedral would have to seek approval from the Diocesan Finance Committee as well as Bishop and Council, in order to spend non-budgeted funds that would exceed 2.5% of the aggregate annual budget. This is the same procedure that the diocese itself also must adhere to for similar expenditures.
At the diocesan level, the reclassification does not affect anyone’s eligibility to serve on Diocesan committees. Further, it neither affects the number of delegates that we can send to the Diocesan Convention, nor the assessment of our contribution to the Diocesan budget.
Finally, you should also be aware that the required diocesan review which brought about this administration reclassification happens every three years. Therefore, the reclassification is not meant to be a permanent status or a punitive one but an opportunity to work with the diocese toward a sustainable future. Again, the vestry is committed to working toward a sustainable future and with your continued faithfulness, support and prayers, coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit, we believe that a sustainable future is indeed possible.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask a vestry or clergy member.
Scott Morrell, Sr. Warden
Julie Byrd Ashworth, Jr. Warden
Patrick J. Williams, Interim DeanRead 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