Dean of All Saints’ Cathedral addresses our changing congregational relationship

In many churches, summer is a time when the life of the congregation slows down.  Not so at All Saints’. Right now, preparations for the Great Hunger Book Sale are in full swing. The Holy Trinity of Sue Cornell, Kathy Nelson, and Mary Kaems, has the basement and the first floor humming with activity.

The books that have been taken in during the year are being sorted by a dedicated crew of volunteers.  As in past years, we have student interns provided by a jobs program through the City of Milwaukee. Tables and shelves have been set up throughout rooms in the basement and on the first floor. And books continue to pour in. The last day to drop off books is this coming Wednesday, July 27. As always, there are still plenty of opportunities for people to volunteer.

Ongoing engagement with St. Paul’s is continuing. The leadership of the two parishes is starting to look seriously at how we can cooperate in mission and ministry. Father Lane Hensely, the interim rector at St. Paul’s, and I have spent a great deal of time looking at ways the two congregations could be partners-in-ministry. The cathedral Chapter and the vestry from St. Paul’s attended a bar-b-q at my home a few weeks ago. People enjoyed a time of relaxed fellowship and had a chance to become acquainted. Father Lane will host a similar function sometime in August as the two parishes look toward their respective futures.

In that spirit of cooperation, I will have the pleasure of being the guest preacher at the 10:00 service at St. Paul’s this Sunday. This is possible because of our staggered service times. Father Lane will join us at the 9:00 a.m. service at All Saints’. Then he and I will head over to St. Paul’s for their service. While I am gone in August and September, Father Lane will be one of the guest priests at All Saints’. 

And that brings me to another important topic. Sabbatical time. Part of a standard agreement between priests and congregations in our diocese is the opportunity for sabbatical time. Usually, a rector is eligible for a sabbatical after 7 years of service to a parish. Typically, the length of a sabbatical is based on one week of sabbatical time per year of service. I came to All Saints’ in September of 2010. 

Sabbatical time is more than a paid vacation. While relaxation is certainly a component, sabbaticals are also meant to provide an opportunity for spiritual renewal and professional development. I started contemplating what to do on a sabbatical around 2018. In 2019 COVID turned the world on its head. It was not a practical time to consider a leave of absence.   It was an intense time of trying to keep the wheels on the bus here at the cathedral. It was complicated when we lost Father Peay. In addition, there was no opportunity to do any traveling during the peak of the pandemic.

As many of you know, I have arranged with the Chapter to be gone during August and September. You have no idea how thankful I am for this time away. I will be spending the time catching up on tasks around the house; doing some traveling, including a motorcycle trip around Lake Michigan; studying a movement in the church called, “The New Monasticism”; and finally ending with a week-long retreat.

During that time life will go on. We have an outstanding line-up of guest priests who will be at All Saints’ on Sundays. Deacon Chuck Zellermayer, a friend of the cathedral will be present at many of the services.  Clergy will be available for emergency pastoral needs. Father Joe Mazza will be leading the weekly Bible Study. The daily online service of Morning Prayer will be led by several people.  Our shut-ins will be visited by parish members. Our new office administrator, Cindy Wilmeth, is settling in wonderfully. The choir will begin practicing and singing in September. And to that note, we will return to our regular Sunday schedule of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. when I return on Sunday, October 2.

Hosting ordinations, especially the ordination of deacons, is a special ministry of All Saints.  As part of “business as usual” during the summer months, we will welcome Bishop Jeff Lee, next Saturday, July 30, at 10:00 a.m., when he ordains Lynn Zobel to the diaconate. Lynn is a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, in Racine. After her ordination, she will begin her ministry there. Please keep her and the people of St. Michael’s in your payers. 

And finally, an update on the organ. We have been without the organ since a lightning strike in mid-June. We have ruled out many issues. Currently, we hope that the issues have to do with some electronic components. These parts are scheduled to be installed next week. The damage to the organ is covered by insurance, and a generous donation from a parishioner will cover the $1000 deductible. Please keep your prayers coming and your fingers crossed.

I will share more sabbatical details next week.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email