Letter from the Interim Dean
June 16, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Bishop O’Neill installed me as interim dean just over two weeks ago. Since then, the vestry and the members of the Cathedral staff, both lay and ordained, have welcomed me into important conversations about what is possible in this time of discernment. No one thinks that the Cathedral is on hold until the permanent dean arrives. Instead, everyone sees this as a time for discovery and for doing the sort of work that, perhaps, happens best between permanent deans.
A great deal will be accomplished in this interim time because you are capable and ready. The quality of your leadership is staggering. Few congregations—even prominent ones—have such intelligent, talented, and dedicated leaders. Your leaders, too, understand their work as a ministry: a way of letting Jesus carry out his mission in this time and in this place. You would expect that of the clergy, but here at Saint John’s all of the ministers, lay and ordained, staff members and volunteers, know that what they do is not just a job.
I sense that everyone at the Cathedral, not just the leaders, understands that our common life is a holy life and this is a holy time. “Fecund” is the word Mother Elizabeth Marie used in her sermon this past Sunday. This is a time when growth is possible, not because we will make it happen, but because God will call it forth in us. So two questions are before us: First, how can we open our eyes to see what God is doing, and, second, how can we make ourselves so open that God can be doing these things through us?
As you have introduced yourselves to me, I have sensed how grateful you are to have been invited by God into the divine mission. I have recognized how thankful you are to know God, how dedicated you are—each in her or his own way—to making the Cathedral a whole and healthy place, and how hopeful you are about its future. Handshakes and brief words on the steps after Sunday Eucharist and unplanned midweek conversations in the Welcome Center have given me glimpses into the kind of people you are. You care deeply about the Cathedral, and this year will give all of us an opportunity to articulate its identity and mission anew. What role does this congregation play in the unfolding of God’s reign? What is God doing through us for the good of those behind our walls? And what is God doing through us for our own salvation? Engaging these questions will prepare us to call a dean, not who will give the Cathedral a mission and an identity, but who will encourage and challenge the congregation as it moves ahead in what is already yours.
My part in that work will begin in earnest in early July. Right now, I am dividing my time between Denver and New York. Moving, as you know, is a tedious and taxing business, and I did not see this move coming. It was only days after Bishop O’Neill first spoke to me that he asked me to stand in his place among you during this transitional year. Then, less then two weeks after that, he installed me as your interim dean. That did not give me time to wrap things up in New York and get things lined up here in Denver. Now, however, all of that is underway. Soon, I will be settled in Denver and we can begin our work together in earnest.
Change will come during the time I will be with you. That is inevitable. I promise you that in important matters I will not act unilaterally and that every significant change will be made in collaboration with lay and clergy leadership. I also commit to explain to the entire parish any changes that might cause confusion or require a change in established patterns. This is a time of change, not of destabilization. By Baptism, God has made all of us parts of the Body of Christ, unworthy though we are, and God has given us a share in Christ’s mission. The mission belongs to all of us, each in a different way. The leadership and I promise that we will keep everyone as much “in the loop” as possible. Please let us know if you see gaps, but please trust that they are the result of human oversight and not ill intent. All of us are in this mission and in this time of transition together.
The Reverend Dr. Patrick Malloy