History and Hospitality ~ Ministry of the Cathedral Chapter With Support from ‘The Alleluia Fund’
Building in spirit on its stated mission to be ‘Your Cathedral, Our Cathedral’, the Cathedral Chapter has recently embarked upon financial, spiritual and logistical support for three very exciting projects which reflect both the Cathedral’s centrality to our diocesan life, near and far, and its role as a place of public welcome, respite, solace, prayer, worship and nourishment to the wider world.
On November 10th and 11th, St. Paul’s Cathedral will mark its 40th anniversary of consecration. In the course of this interim time, a significant trove of archival material and media, relating both to that event as well as to other signature events in the life of the diocese, such as the investiture of Bishop Ely and the investiture of Bishop McLeod, were uncovered. Being as they were in formats no longer in use, and in some cases no longer fully retrievable, a significant effort was made to locate a specialized media vendor who could transfer these aging and vital experiences into a modern platform. That technological transfer is now taking place, and the financial support of the Cathedral Chapter, assisted by the Alleluia Fund, is helping to recover this essential reflection of our life together. Once reclaimed and converted to modern CD/DVD format, a “living record” of our wider life and history will become available for all to see and share.
In addition, for many years the St. Francis Chapel has been a special gathering place; a small, sacred niche in our otherwise modern structure, which is used for prayer, quietude, meditation, small worship services, the mid-week healing ministry, and an occasional song lifted majestically to God. But, built as it was out of the original entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the efficacy of that space had come into much question due to a lack of insulation, difficulty in heating and cooling, and a general neglect. At times, the Chapel even became de facto storage space, as various challenges simply made it too difficult to use properly. For many years the people of St. Paul’s have dreamed and imagined a retrofitted and renewed Chapel, restored in both purpose and potential. After enormous effort, the entire north wall was completely removed; high efficiency insulation was fully installed; new lighting added; wallboard, plaster and paint redone; electric upgrades for high-tech IR panels was wired, if needed in the future; a lovely handmade set of inset shelving was added, and the Chapel has now been brought back to a rich, wondrous and varied life. In addition to previously mentioned uses, we find that people from all walks of life – those simply visiting the Cathedral, tourists on a jaunt, the hungry and broken and homeless wishing respite and shelter, a couple from far away wishing a sacramental blessing of their lifelong vows, and many others – find their way to this holy space. The feel is deeply moving, reassuring, Godly, comforting, welcoming, broad, high and deep. In its unique way, the St. Francis Chapel is everything we would wish a “church space” to be, near and far, open to all, inviting to everyone. The Cathedral Chapter/Alleluia Fund were, again, instrumental participants in helping us realize this vision, with financial support, prayers, and deeply felt spirit. All who have and will benefit are deeply grateful.
Finally, looking forward into 2014, the Cathedral Chapter and Alleluia Fund have boldly and joyfully leant their support to a long overdue and yet vital project: the creation of an ADA certified curb cut, and handrail assistance as needed, to make the lower entrance to St. Paul’s fully handicapped accessible and ADA compliant. This undertaking will serve the many groups from beyond the diocese, and throughout not only the state but the country, who use St. Paul’s at various times during the year.
This comprehensive support and vision reminds us yet again of the shared and precious legacy of which each of us is an inheritor and spiritual trustee. It is the deep prayer of the Cathedral Chapter, living into and working closely with the expansive vision of the Alleluia Fund, that the mission of ‘Our Cathedral, Your Cathedral’ will continue to grow in our lives, in our hearts, and in our relationships with one another and with the world.