Blog|The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi
As I write, one of the largest groups of incoming choristers is at choir camp at The Bishop’s Ranch, getting acquainted with one another, new music, and some new music staff. They are finding ways to stay cool as daytime temperatures soar into the nineties and settling onto the grassy hilltop outside the chapel for compline prayers beneath a blanket of stars. Back at the cathedral, we eagerly await their voices, the start of the school year, and the liturgical occasions that welcome and recognize the choristers.
Among the new music staff is Peter Meredith, Voice and Music Theory Instructor. Peter first came to Grace Cathedral as a musician at the 6 pm Eucharist and took up varied and increasing roles in the liturgy department, becoming Senior Associate for Worship and Music. I’m delighted by his appointment and know we’ll continue to be enriched by his considerable talent and presence.
In light of this staff transition and others, we’ve posted a clergy opening for a Succentor to work closely with me in the visioning and preparation of the cathedral liturgy. Your prayers for the search process are much appreciated! During the interim time, we’ll experiment with ways to streamline while striving to ensure the distinct character of each service.
This Sunday, we’ll introduce a combined leaflet for 8:30 am, and 11 am Eucharists. Much of the combination is achieved graphically. There will also be a few minor changes to the liturgy. For the liturgically curious, you can preview the leaflet on the leaflets page of our website. We assume that there will be a process of fine-tuning based on the experience of praying together.
Last Sunday, we blessed a few representative backpacks at 11 am Eucharist. Through the extraordinary efforts of our Congregation Council, Phoebe Campbell, the youth group, and others, we collected and filled 175 backpacks for students in Bayview Hunters-Point to start this academic year with the supplies they need. Hats off to everyone who organized, donated, packed, and promoted Backpacks for Bayview — all while simultaneously feting our beloved Jude Harmon on his last Sunday as Canon for Innovative Ministries!
This Sunday, the liturgy will also include the blessing of a mission we hope will similarly multiply in impact. On Wednesday, August 24, Vice Dean Greg Kimura is leading a group of us on a day pilgrimage to Tijuana, where we’ll visit the programs established by PILA global, bringing quality and emotionally-appropriate education to children who live in refugee shelters. Through our visits on the ground, conversations with local leaders, and prayerful reflection, we hope to discern ways that the cathedral impacts the lives of these children and the root causes of their displacement. If you missed the opportunity to join in August, watch for news about another trip in early October with Episcopalians from Southern California.
One of my best teachers is the Ven. Canon Nina Pickerrell. She loved choir camp, founded Bayview Mission, and has an unusual repertoire of profound one-liners to life’s most pressing challenges. Among those phrases: “it’s how you are with it.” Our lives, individually and collectively as a congregation, can be fast-changing. The mercury can rise outside our windows as well as inside us. Finding ways to cool off, sing under the stars, and give back, especially to children, can help us be with one another (and ourselves) peaceably and playfully. It’s how you are with it.
The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi
Director of Interfaith Engagement