Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | May 24, 2024

Congregation Update: Like a Rush of Wind

Blog|The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost ushered us through a threshold, from the great 50 days of Easter to the long, green season of the church. With the descent of the Holy Spirit, the apostles – and we – are sanctified in our dazzling diversity and sent with an array of gifts for the church and for the world. This Holy Spirit, and the ongoing presence and activity of the Spirit, defies categorization in the mystery of the Triune God. But scanning for that combination of diversity and gifts, I’ll share some examples of the Spirit at work.

The Spirit calls new people into ministry. At this time, Grace Cathedral has more people in formal discernment for Holy Orders than at any other time in my lived memory or research, at least 25 years. Last weekend, three of those in discernment graduated from seminary. They include the Rev. Erin Wiens St. John and John McLean Wolff, both at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, and the Rev. Brendan Nee, at Episcopal Divinity School at Union, in New York City. Their academic achievements, as well as searching personal, spiritual and community work, commend our accolades. But they also invite our hope for the present and the future.

The Spirit witnesses in new ways. The BCP Lectionary, and beginning in 1992, the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), has provided a foundation for preaching and liturgical patterns that are shared by many mainline churches, often including the Roman Catholic Church. But the RCL excludes significant parts of the Scriptures and, therefore, of God’s story. (Curious? Check out the citations included in the RCL.) To that end, I’m delighted that the Wednesday evening Vine congregation has begun experimenting with an alternate lectionary, compiled by Hebrew Bible scholar and Episcopal priest, the Rev. Dr. Wilda Gafney. This selection of readings and pairings brings fresh perspective to festivals and ordinary time, and provides rich resources for sermon dialogues.

The Spirit gathers and celebrates a diverse body. We hold to fast to the conviction that God loves everyone, without exception. That universal divine love and justice is so important to celebrate because we fall short of reflecting it both in the world and in the church. Here’s the Spirit’s nudge toward the values of the Upper Room: join us for Pride Mass on Sunday, June 2, at 6 pm, in the cathedral online, and hear from our beloved Rev. Miguel Bustos in the pulpit, and sing new hymns from the queer hymnal. Then, join the diocese in celebrating Juneteenth on Saturday, June 15, at 11 am at St. Paul’s, Oakland. There, the Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop Diocesan, will preside, and the Right Rev. Austin Rios, Bishop Coadjutor, will preach.

Finally, the Spirit calls us to rest and refreshment. As part of the congregation decamps to The Bishop’s Ranch for our annual congregation retreat, they go with our prayers and blessing, and for our shared life and common good.

Every good gift,

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