Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | December 13, 2021

Join us Online for a Very Special Bishop’s Pageant, and In-Person for a Live Nativity Scene!

Blog|Steph McNally

Join us online for a very special Bishop’s Pageant at 11 am on Christmas Eve.

As a result of discernment by members of the Office of the Congregation, and at the direction of our Bishop, we have decided that, despite our earlier hopes to meet in person, this year’s Bishop’s Pageant will be held online only. 

We have made this decision out of an abundance of caution. It’s a decision informed by the arrival of the Omicron variant, and the uncertainties this brings.  

I suspect for many of you this will not come as a complete surprise, especially in a year that has asked us to pivot and shift so often that it sometimes feels like we are getting tied in knots. I know, however, that this news will come as a disappointment for many. 

Many of us, including many children and families, make an annual pilgrimage to our Cathedral for the Bishop’s Pageant. Many others volunteer their time and gifts, serving as dressers, ushers and every kind of supporter. I am honored to be connected to such a hallowed tradition. 

The good news that I want to share with you is that I believe the Bishop’s Pageant we will offer online at 11am on Christmas Eve, while different, will capture the beauty and spirit of this event. I believe this after seeing the care and joy that many people have brought to the making of it.  

I am delighted to share some behind-the-scenes images from the filming of this year’s Bishop’s Pageant in this blog. I hope these convey something of the heart and soul many have poured into the creation of this year’s Pageant, and what a wonderful event it will be.  

I have spent the most magical few days watching the Pageant being filmed.  

I have had the great privilege of witnessing our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, tell, with warmth and profundity, the Nativity story, leading us through the Cathedral and along the road to Bethlehem.  

I have watched a large number of children, from our congregation, the Cathedral School for Boys and the Community Preschool, enact, respond to and gaze with awe and wonder upon this story. 

My sincere gratitude goes to the many that have made this possible, and helped us move, in a span of days, from planning for an in-person Pageant to an online, prerecorded event. First and foremost, I must thank our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, for his leadership and championship of the Pageant. Thank you to our dean, the Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, for his great support and wonderful welcome. Thanks also must go our remarkable production and music teams at Grace Cathedral, to the Rev. Mary Carter Greene and the Rev. Anna Rossi for their work on our Pageant script, and to our Communications team for helping us continue to communicate our news! Special thanks to Father Timothy Seamans from the Cathedral School for Boys, and to our many Grace parents, who moved heaven and earth to help us fill our Pageant with shepherds, magi and angels. And a very special thanks to all children who participated!

I can also share that we will be offering a live Nativity Scene, complete with animals, on the plaza at 11 am on Christmas Eve. Children will have the opportunity to come in costume, or to dress in a costume, and participate in our Nativity scene. We would love to see you there.  

Making the Pageant reminded me, as I am often reminded, of the power of seeing the world as a child. There were many times during filming when I was aware I was preoccupied with a multitude of different concerns.

What repeatedly brought me back were the moments of divine beauty and grace I witnessed involving our children: our young Mary and Joseph gathering around “their” newborn baby, eager to meet and know this beautiful child; our Magi carefully cradling their gifts as they processed towards the Holy Family; the faces of our angels lit up with broad smiles as they called out greetings of peace and joy. What I saw that day reminded me of the capacity of children to immerse themselves in the moment, to find sources of wonder and joy in any circumstance. 

I believe this Christmas, our children will continue to find the joy, and the light, to see the wonder in moments that we may find difficult. I have seen our families go through so much, and endure so much, to ensure their children continue to experience joy and wonder.  

I know that, together, we will still be able to ensure this is a very special Christmas for our children, and for all of us. As I was reminded through the making of this Pageant, one of the great mysteries at the heart of our faith is that of a baby, a “poor king” born in difficult circumstances and times, whose birth brought light to the world. This light remains with us always, present always, even in times when it is difficult to see. We can see it in the beauty of every newborn baby, and reflected in the faces of all of God’s children.

Thank you for the blessing of your families, and for being part of the family of Grace,

Steph McNally
Associate for Children, Youth and Family Ministry

Share to your favorite platform or Email to Family & Friends