As I write to you this week, I realize that we are in the middle of Lent and not only can I not believe how quickly the time is going by, but as I walk the grounds of the Cathedral in the mornings and evenings (when I return from my workout at the gym), I am overwhelmed by the presence of God that I feel here and with all of you. I am continually struck by the depth of faith of this community and your commitment to the mission and ministry of our Cathedral.
As many of you know, I was on Hawaii Island last week Thursday and Friday to attend to personal matters before returning to Honolulu early Saturday morning to lead a retreat for the Episcopal Church Women (ECW). It’s interesting to me that when I go back to the Big Island, I feel like I’m visiting rather than going home. This is because Honolulu is now my home and the Cathedral is my church. A big part of this feeling comes from the fact that the week before last, I paid off my pledge and capital campaign commitment to Holy Apostles ($1110 & $2665). Beginning in April, which marks the beginning of the second quarter of the fiscal year, I will be making pledge payments to the Cathedral of Saint Andrew and feel honored to do so because of the way that you have all welcomed me back into the fold.
I recorded a count of 259 people at our services this past weekend. I presided at all five of them and preached at four (there is no sermon at Compline). I’m encouraged by our worship numbers, the musical offerings at the 8:00, 10:30 and Compline services, the positive responses to my preaching efforts, and the sense of spirit that I feel that as we gather together to worship the God we love.
The worship weekend ended with Compline on Sunday evening at 7:00 and, for me, it was a wonderful way to culminate the worship experience for me at the Cathedral. Todd and the choir have worked very hard to provide this offering and I encourage those of you who can to consider attending, because I find that it sets a nice tone for my week and I would like for you to leave the service with the same feeling, which is being grounded in the presence of God.
Our Worship Committee met on Monday afternoon and we evaluated Ash Wednesday and Lent and then made preparations for Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
We also discussed the issue of people’s inability to hear what’s going on in the Cathedral sanctuary. We came to the conclusion that part of the problem may be the sound system and that part of the problem is me. As such, I am going to ask Bryan to bring in a sound engineer to make recommendations about our microphones, speakers and amplifier. I’m told that this is been done in the past and that we were provided with a quote of $20,000 to adequately address the issue. Sadly, we are not currently in a financial position to expend those kinds of funds. I am hoping that we can implement a more cost-effective measure to address the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. I have also agreed to a suggestion to retain the services of a voice coach in an effort to learn how to make my voice work in a challenging auditory space. So please know that we have heard your concerns and have taken them to heart.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
As I mentioned in last weeks letter, we have decided to completely close the office on Mondays and will use it as an in-house workday. This worked out very well this past Monday and we were able to accomplish a great deal of the tasks that were set before us. I really, really thank you for your patience and understanding and the way that you all have honored this particular need so that we can stay focused (without interruption) on preparing bulletins, reconciling bank statements, working on sermons, and preparing contracts and letters of agreement. I am very grateful to you.
My week has been taken up with the various meetings – Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Nohona Hawaii, staff meeting, and various individual conversations. I also spent time working on a sermon for the 7:00 service (Fr. Malcolm will preach at 8:00 and 10:30). The rest of my time was spent writing Letters of Agreement and Memorandums of Understanding for various needs at the Cathedral that need to be met by such documents. I also completed another module for my doctoral work, which assessed and analyzed the numbers at the Cathedral (budget, pledge offerings, Average Sunday Attendance, and other income).
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
I am writing to you on a Thursday morning and today I have meetings with two members of the staff as well as a meeting to go over the terms and conditions of weddings and funerals conducted at the Cathedral. Then later in the afternoon I am working with the voice coach whose services I retained as well as consulting with a sound system expert to evaluate our microphones and speakers.
Tomorrow, which is my sabbath day, I will be in Kailua for spiritual direction. This is something that I do once a month. Then on Saturday I have a luncheon with a parishioner and then will preach and preside at the 5:30 Eucharist in the Cathedral.
For now, I will close with warm thoughts and fervent prayers that we all continue to experience a deep, reflective, and meaningful Lent. I look forward to seeing you all at worship this weekend and until then, please take.