Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | September 2, 2022

Congregation Update: A New Season and New Ways to Learn

Blog|Steph McNally


Labor Day is said to mark the “unofficial end of summer.” I wonder what this expression evokes in you? 

As a teacher, the end of summer has always meant the return of students crashing like a wave through the door of a previously quiet classroom, transforming everything in their wake. 

As the Associate for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry, I enjoy surfing this wave weekly, gathering with our cathedral’s youngest congregants at 11 am each Sunday for worship, learning, and play. Our children have so much to teach us. They have an innate sense of the sanctity of nature. They know instinctively the truth of the psalm we hear this Sunday, that God’s creation is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (139:14 NRSV). Our young people can teach us how to sit with this creation, immersing ourselves in the wonders of a shell, a strand of seaweed, and the grains in a handful of sand. 

The sensibility of a child, the capacity to love the environment for the miracle it is, maybe just be what we need to save the world. 
Families with children are invited to gather at Crissy Field for a morning prayer service at 11 am this Sunday, September 4. We will worship and enjoy food and fellowship with each other. Please email me with a map and further details! 

We gather outdoors to mark the beginning of Creationtide, a season that celebrates our divinely created world and calls for us to protect this fragile and threatened paradise. This season is observed throughout The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, traditionally culminating with the Feast of Saint Francis. At Grace Cathedral, we’ll hear its themes, especially in the people’s prayers, and extend the observance through October 9, the eve of Indigenous People’s Day. 

On Sunday, September 11, there will be two special opportunities for the congregation to gather. Our Congregation Town Hall Meeting will take place at 9:30 am. Then, after the 11 am Choral Eucharist, we will gather on the plaza for Congregation Sunday.
Our Grace Cathedral Youth Group will host a fundraiser for the Grace Cathedral Racial Justice Youth Pilgrimage to Alabama and Georgia in the summer of 2023. Jewelry, baked goods, and hand-made cards will be on sale, with all funds contributing towards youth participation in the pilgrimage. I am inspired by the desire of our youth to undertake this pilgrimage during their (often brief) summer break.  Our young people have an innate sense of fairness. They respond passionately when they can see something is unfair and refuse to accept that there are systems of racism too big or perpetual to be dismantled. I am so grateful to the cathedral for providing our youth with the opportunity to act on their desire for justice and change. I would be delighted to hear from you if a youth in your extended family or community would like to attend. 

I am also grateful for the opportunity I was given last week to take part in the Grace Cathedral mission to the border, a pilgrimage organized by the Rev. Dr. Greg Kimura, with the Rev. Canon Anna Rossi, our Content Marketing Manager, Alina Dennis, and members of our congregation in attendance. We visited schools and shelters supporting children and families awaiting resettlement in the U.S. I have shared my reflections on this transformational experience in this blog post, which features images captured by Alina Dennis. I pray we can continue to build relationships with this community and the organizations providing it with stability and hope. 

Special events coming up in the next few weeks include: 
  • Congregation Town Hall Meeting: Join us for our annual Town Hall on Sunday, September 11, at 9:30 am. Dean Malcolm Clemens Young will lead a discussion of the congregation survey results and provide updates on cathedral life.  
  • Congregation Sunday: After the 11 am Choral Eucharist on Sunday, September 11, join us on the plaza for one-on-one exchanges with ministry representatives. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what ministries do and how you can get involved in them! 
  • Visitor Experience and Cultural Membership Photo Shoot: Volunteers of all ages are needed for a Grace Cathedral sightseeing visitor photo shoot on Wednesday, September 21, from 11 am – 1 pm! For more information, please email Julie Knight by September 18. 
  • Yoga for Change: This morning of gathering with good intentions to benefit The Community Preschool takes place on Saturday, September 24, at 10 am. Your participation will help support student financial aid, daily nutritious meals, and our dreams of opening a parent resource center. 

Thank you for being part of the family of Grace! 

Steph McNally 
Associate for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry 

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