News

An Update from the Cathedral on COVID-19

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)

God’s Peace,

Patrick+ 

Interim Dean Patrick Williams

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COVID-19 Update from Interim Dean Patrick Williams

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 Dean

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An Announcement from the Vestry

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. Warden

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COVID-19 Update from Canon Patrick Williams

Dear St. Mary’s Community, 

As closures and other restrictions are being lifted or modified around the country, including here in the City of Memphis, we are aware that you have more questions about a specific date of return to in-person worship at St. Mary’s Cathedral. As you may have already read in previous communications, a “Committee of Return” (COR), comprised of both clergy and lay leadership from our community, has been assembled thanks to the strong leadership of our outgoing Interim Dean, Laura Gettys, to whom we are extremely grateful. This COR has been formed to thoughtfully work through the logistical and practical issues associated with a return to in-person worship. As a member of the COR I can say that we approach this task from the standpoint of trying to follow what Jesus called the greatest commandments - love of God and love of neighbor. The way that we seek to live into these commandments is by keeping YOUR health and safety as our utmost priority. To state it plainly, YOUR health, safety, and overall well-being is our highest concern in our decision making process. 

We understand that for so many of us, the Cathedral has served as a source of inspiration and great hope. It has been the place that we turn to, especially during the most troubling times in our lives. That is, at least in part, why being away from the Cathedral has been so painful. We long for the beauty of the building and even more for the warmth of the fellowship that exists within, during what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times that any of us have ever had to face. 

Therefore, the task of planning for a return is not one that I nor anyone on the COR takes lightly. As such, we have discerned that the best course of action at present is for St. Mary’s to NOT begin in-person worship in June but rather to continue our online, virtual worship for the near term. Our decision has been made as a result of thoughtful discussion from the COR about our particular context as a faith community, ongoing conversations with other area faith leaders, attention to guidance and research from the healthcare community, and in consultation with the Bishop and her staff. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor the trends and overall impact of COVID-19 on our city and region. We will also continue our conversations with the broader faith community about what is being learned about the virus, how we might best mitigate its impact upon us, and ​when it is actually as safe as it can be for us to make an in-person return​. Again, your health and safety is our highest priority. 

While this decision may be deeply disappointing for some, you have our word that we will continue to work diligently on developing as safe and as effective of a plan as we possibly can, for that future date when we joyously return to our beloved Cathedral and can see one another face to face again. Even still, we expect that those gatherings will begin with very limited capacity. In the meantime, we hope that you will continue to join us online for virtual Sunday worship and daily musical offerings and continue to read our Thursday e-news for more information about parish life and beyond. 

St. Mary’s, despite the challenges that we are facing, it is because of your sustained prayers and devotion to this community and by God’s grace that we continue as the body of Christ, now scattered yet also gathered online, via telephone, or even old-fashioned hand written letter communication. In all of these ways and more we are reminded that the Spirit of God lives on between us and will carry us until it is safe for all of us to meet together again in-person. 

Finally, stay tuned for an update from us by early July about our timing and process for return and know that whatever decisions we can make will necessarily be subject to revision based upon what happens with the pandemic. Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the clergy team, including the Rev. Eyleen Farmer, who officially joins us on June 1. 

As we continue to pray for one another and for the world, I offer this prayer - A Prayer For These Uncertain Times, written by ​the Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Clark-King. 

Holy God, who created us for and from love, in this time of social distancing, hold us close in your arms.​ ​Comfort those who are afraid, enliven those who are bored, give courage to those who are distressed, and warm those who feel the cold touch of loneliness. Breathe in, with and through us as we walk through uncertainty into a new future knowing that you are with us now and await us there. In the name of Christ the Beloved we pray. Amen.

Wishing you God’s Peace,

Patrick+

The Rev. Canon Patrick J. Williams 

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A Letter from the Senior Warden

Friday, May 8, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s Parishioners:

I bring you greetings on behalf of our Cathedral community – vestry, clergy, and staff. I hope you are well in this unprecedented time and making it through as best you can. 

We’ve been in transition for over a year, and we have a bit more transitioning to do. As you can see from her letter, Interim Dean Laura F. Gettys is responding to a new call which will take her away from us. As Senior Warden I cannot thank her enough for her leadership, abilities, and love for all of us, over her ten years here. In her year and a half as Interim Dean, she has worked hard to impose order on the running of the Cathedral, instituting procedures and helping us get our finances in order. The Bishop shared these thoughts: “I would like to thank Laura for her faithful, dedicated service to St. Mary’s Cathedral and the diocese. During this period of transition, the diocese will continue to provide support for the clergy and lay leadership of the Cathedral.”

I’ll admit that change isn’t easy for me, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. But change we must and change always brings with it new opportunities. Let’s take things a piece at a time: 

Laura’s last day with us will be Sunday, May 31, the day of Pentecost. We will not be in the Cathedral on that Sunday, so that will make saying good-bye hard. We’ll have to do it in person later. Laura won’t be far down the road – we know where to find her!

Canon Pastor Patrick Williams will complete his 3-year term with the Cathedral at the end of August. He may be able to stay a month or two longer, but he is in the process of seeking new calls, and we certainly wish him the best in his search and thank him for his service to our Cathedral.

Deacon Drew Woodruff will continue to be with us, as he has for over forty years. Thank you Drew!

To assist Patrick and Drew, we are very blessed to have the services of the The Rev. Eyleen Farmer. She is retired, and her resume is very impressive. She has served as Associate Rector at Calvary and Grace-St. Luke’s. Many of you know her as the founder of Thistle and Bee. This organization’s mission is to help women who have survived prostitution and trafficking to thrive. It began with a social enterprise based on beekeeping and selling honey, and they provide each woman services based on her needs. 

The vestry has spoken with Bishop Phoebe about these changes and the next phase of our transition. She is going to allow the search for our new dean, which had been unofficially suspended during the COVID-19 event, to go forward. Our hope is to have a new dean in place by Advent.

We will continue to have online services on Sundays, other online events during the week, music from choir members and others every day, and our food ministry weekly. Bishop Phoebe and the clergy of the diocese are formulating plans to reopen our churches. We won’t do it until it can be done safely.

I know this is a lot of information to digest at one time. Please reach out to me, the clergy, the staff, or any vestry member if you have any questions, or if there is anything you would like to discuss. 

Together, we will march forward, as St. Mary’s has for over 160 years, listening to God’s call to us and doing our best to discern and fulfill it. We’ve been there through good times and hard times. We’re still standing, and we are always the better for the experience. It is a pleasure to serve with you.

Faithfully yours,

Scott Morrell

Sr. Warden

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Transition of Interim Dean Laura F. Gettys

An Announcement from the Interim Dean 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Dear Cathedral Family,

I greet each of you in this season of Easter joy which finds us living into God’s promise of new life in surprising new ways.  

At our annual meeting in January, our faithful lay leaders and I shared a lot of news with you, and among other things we celebrated the good, hard work done during this transition time around finances. The Cathedral is clearer about where we are financially, and we have a better grasp on the scope of our budget and expenses. Still, as we shared with you then, we know that we do not have the financial ability to support two full time clergy. Though I hoped to remain until the new Dean arrived, I also recognized that I needed to begin discerning my next calling because there could be no overlap of my tenure with the next Dean.  

With prayerfulness and hope, I have accepted the call to become the Associate for Outreach and Engagement at Grace-St. Luke’s Church, Memphis, beginning July 1st. My last day at the Cathedral will be Sunday, May 31st. This means, of course, with Bishop Phoebe’s decision to continue with no in-person worship until June 1st, we will have to be creative through Zoom and other ways to honor our ten years of ministry together. Know that I long for the opportunity to be with you all face to face to express our farewells, and the Bishop has given her blessing that I return in person at a later date when we can all gather together more fully. More details will be coming in the next week about how we will share in our important goodbyes.

Recognizing that my time could not coincide with the new Dean’s, please know that I have been preparing the ground for the Cathedral’s next Dean and will remain a resource for him or her. The Cathedral boasts an extraordinary vestry and a depth of lay leaders who will guide and support you, and they will need your support as will your next Dean. Bishop Phoebe is also committed to shepherding the congregation through these transitional waters. She cares deeply for this place. Additionally, the Reverend Eyleen Farmer will join the St. Mary’s family beginning June 1 on a part-time basis to serve with Canon Patrick Williams.  

We have shared so much in these ten years. I could never have dreamed how much we would grow together as we all learned how to care for one another. I am a better priest because of you. It has been my honor to share in more-than-I-can-count sacramental moments in worship and in walking beside you through your most tender times. I also have loved blowing bubbles with you and brushing angel dust from the ceiling from our shoulders. I’ve been inspired over and over again by your capabilities of radical welcome and love to all God’s children. Together, we have deconstructed many social barriers and helped bring together so many people for a higher cause. And I will always remember how you cared for me and my family through the fire at our house, as well as the daily challenges of raising a family, and made a way for our family to make a home here in the pews. Thank you for the ways you have loved us. 

Serving as your Canon Pastor, your Interim Dean, and as a fellow traveler, I have seen so much strength in our beloved community. I know God has wondrous things in store for all of us, and I’m glad that I’ll be a nearby witness to the Cathedral’s next chapter. May we recognize the Holy Spirit closely with us as we take our separate paths, and may our eyes open wider to the magnificence of Divine Love. 

With my deepest gratitude for the journey,

Laura F. Gettys 

Interim Dean 

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Parish Survey Results from the Dean Search Committee

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Parish Survey last month. We had a great response, and the candor and insights are most helpful as we move forward. Here’s a brief summary of the findings; for more detailed results, click here.

  • We successfully delivered 502 surveys; of those 160 were returned for a return rate of 32 percent. 

  • Overall, 87 percent of parishioners rated their general sentiment about St. Mary’s as either Very or Somewhat Favorable. 95 percent said St. Mary’s fulfills its mission statement Very Well or Somewhat Well. More than 80 percent of respondents said the overall atmosphere is either Very Joyous or Somewhat Joyous.

  • The three most cited strengths of St. Mary’s were the music ministry, the building/physical edifice, and the diversity of the congregation and its community outreach. However, even though the building and the community outreach are seen as strengths, both drew unfavorable responses as well. “Building Maintenance” and “Achieving a Better Balance Between Congregation and Community” were frequently cited as “areas of potential change.”

  • The state of St. Mary’s finances emerged in this survey as the area of greatest current concern. When asked to list what St. Mary’s should change, financial health was one cited most often. 

  • In the survey question asking for input on qualities needed by a new dean, Management/Administrative/Business Skills/Organized ranked among the top five qualities. Other qualities include New Direction, New Ideas, New Energy as well as Friendly and Compassionate. 

For more information or questions, please contact Dr. Jerry Harber, Dean Search Committee Chair jerry.harber@gmail.com

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Inquirers' Class 2020

Do you have questions about the Episcopal Church? Is it time for you or one of your family members to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church? 

Classes begin January 26th, 2020 and run through every Sunday until March 1st with Bishop Phoebe Roaf's Visit for Confirmation/Reaffirmation/Reception on March 1st, 2020.

The class takes place in the Sisters' Chapel.

Click here for more information and class schedule.

For more information, contact Canon Patrick Williams: pwilliams@stmarysmemphis.org or Interim Dean Laura F. Gettys: lgettys@stmarysmemphis.org

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A Time of Transition

During this time of transition, in addition to the clergy, members of the Vestry will serve as ministry heads for each of the six areas of ministry. As questions arise, know that there is a Vestry member ready to assist you with your question. 


Service/Outreach: Tom Edwards 901.409.6820


Worship: Steve Kite-Powell 901.603.2933  


Education: Julie Byrd Ashworth 901.413.5961


Evangelism: Posey Hedges 901.335.5854  


Pastoral Care: Sybil Onwuka 901.277.1240  


Stewardship: Pat Kelly 901.262.4534  

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Transition News

Interim Dean

The goodness of transition continues with exciting news: Laura Gettys has been appointed Interim Dean by Bishop Don Johnson and Bishop-Elect Phoebe Roaf. The Cathedral Vestry approved at their February meeting, and Senior Warden Scott Morrell announced last Sunday, February 24th at the 11 am service. Laura will serve in this capacity until a new Dean is selected.

Dean Search Committee

These people were elected by the Vestry, based on their qualifications and demonstrated support of the Cathedral:

Jean Fisher

Jerry Harber

Ernest Kelly

Aimee McMillin

Kelly Morice

Graham Ross

Gillian Steinhauer

Marcos Villa

Robert Watson

Roger Wolcott

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A Statement from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Tennessee Regarding the COVID 19 virus, Coronavirus

Good people of St Mary’s, please read the letter from Bishop Phoebe in regards to the COVID 19 virus, Coronavirus.  St Mary’s wants you to stay informed and healthy. Join us Sunday as we will be sharing some of the precautions St Marys is taking to continue worshipping together while seeking effective practices to remain healthy.

Laura+

Click here to read the statement

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St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Seeks New Dean

At St. Mary’s, we are a house of prayer for all people. We see ourselves as a diverse parish, a people who strive to affirm the dignity, sanctity, and equality of every human being; as we kneel side-by-side and break bread together in this sacred Cathedral. We stand ready to support our new Dean in efforts to engage and deepen the relationship with all the people of St. Mary’s—encouraging each of us to find commonalities as a congregation, while appreciating the differences in our individual spiritual journeys.

Our history now spans more than 160 years, and the traditions and legacy forged through those 16-plus decades—good and bad—inform the future for St. Mary’s. We are ever mindful of the historic role St. Mary’s has played in significant Memphis events, including the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878 and, 90 years later, the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike and tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are proud of our history, our heritage and our social justice leadership as we look forward to the future with pride and prayerful hope.

Click here to read the full parish profile.

For more information or to enter the search by submitting your resume and personal OTM profile, please contact Canon Sharon Alexander at salexander@episwtn.org

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A Word from the Dean: April 2, 2020

Spring has sprung all around us, good people. The birds continue their symphony, the buds and flowers are popping out all around us. Beauty abounds even in a pollen haze. I hope those that can have been able to get outside to enjoy our natural world. We have moved from Winter to Spring. Winter is finally over. And before the COVID-19 virus, we would have been planning services in our cathedral for the upcoming holy days and the Great Triduum leading to Easter. Sadly, this year will look differently as we remain sheltered in place.           

Sacred spaces are important, and our holy space at St. Mary's is special to so many. I name my own grief at not being able to gather together in our sacred space, and I know I'm not alone, because so many of you have shared the same. Not being able to gather collectively in our cathedral during Holy Week and Easter only adds to the magnitude of that grief, but I believe there is an invitation here for us. Where in your own home or living area might you create your own sacred space? All it takes is setting apart a corner or special spot and simply placing a candle, cross, Bible, or other object on a piece of cloth. Scripture encourages us to set aside a space for prayer (Matthew 6:6.) Where might yours be? Click here for some ideas. It occurs to me, as we move into some of our most sacred of days with Holy Week and Easter, we can attend to both our spiritual and emotional health by creating our own sacred space. During this temporary time we are away from St. Mary's, I invite you to create a sacred space and use it during these upcoming days of Holy Week and Easter (and beyond!). If you would like to share, take a picture and send it to us at amusick@stmarysmemphis.org, and we will share these wonderful sacred spaces as a part of our Thursday e-news. 

I have been giving thanks for the creative ways we have now in place to remain connected spiritually and emotionally. I am especially thankful to the St. Mary's staff who, because we do not have a full-time communications strategist or videographer, are working tirelessly to learn new online capabilities and dream new ways of sharing God's Good News and Way of Love. Thank you to the many parishioners who have so generously offered their interpretations of scripture for our weekly Lenten meditations. I have personally been touched by your illumination and call to see God's invitation around us. Also, thank you for the ways our children's Sunday School teachers are finding ways to connect with our kiddos in such loving ways. One classroom has taken their Sunday lesson "on the road" and made porch deliveries! I have also been so touched by the generosity continuing for our Wednesday food ministry. So many are stepping forward financially and with food items. Amazing! And lastly, I hope you are finding comfort and peace in our newly created, musical meditations now sent daily to your inbox. Christ is indeed present all around us! 

Below is our upcoming schedule for Holy Week. It has been gathered and created with love, creativity, and a whole lotta faith. All of us here at the Cathedral pray that these Holy Week and Easter liturgies will nourish and bless you as we gather to retrace the final days of Jesus' earthly life. For 2,000 years people of faith have been walking this path together. We will continue to do so this year in both familiar and new ways. Trust the Spirit and know that God will be and is with each and every one of us. 

Faithfully,   

Laura

Holy Week and Easter:

Palm Sunday 10 am via Facebook live-streaming            

You will need two items with you for this service:

  • Branches like crepe myrtles, magnolias, or any kind of branch near your home that can be cut (with approval from neighbors!) to be waved around like a palm branch
  • A candle to light

Maundy Thursday 

A resource packet will be sent out Monday, April 6 by email and post for a home gathering service with prayers and scripture and a pre-recorded sermon by Deacon Drew Woodruff. 
You will need these items to gather ahead of time:

  • A bowl of water and a small towel to dry wet feet.

Good Friday   

Come gather for prayers, sermon and to hear the sacred Passion chanted by choir members 

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil   

A resource packet will be sent out Monday, April 6 by email and post for a home gathering service with prayers and scripture. 
You will need to gather ahead of time:

  • A bible, a candle, a bowl of water

 Easter Sunday  10am via Facebook Bishop Phoebe will be our preacher and share a pre-recorded sermon.            

You will need some celebratory items:         

  • Bubbles, champagne, an Easter bonnet and/or bowtie, Easter eggs, the sky is the limit!
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