One week later, and our vestry only grows in energy and enthusiasm:
Moving ahead with construction, a transition timeline, a new presence in the office,
thoughts on our sacred ground, and Big News just around the corner…
Although formal minutes of our recent special vestry meetings will be posted on a different page of our website, we want to update you promptly and regularly on this page about our progress in preparing for this important time of transition. Last night was our second session with the Reverend Gary Jones, and we began by tending to several important matters of upkeep. Our Junior Warden, Dave Bray, has been hard at work with our Building and Grounds committee to solicit bids and authorize the rebuilding of the wall around our parking lot, which is a matter of safety as well as beauty. Stone that complements the stonework on the cathedral had been examined some time ago, and bids finally came in just days ago. The vestry gave its approval to begin work as soon as possible. And although very little seems to happen rapidly in this post-pandemic world, we hope you will see and be proud of our new and attractive parking lot wall in the next months.
Thanks to the continuing good work of Jordan Bishop, our vestry Secretary, our Dean Transition page now includes a Transition Timeline, so that you can drop by this page anytime and check on our progress, as well as see various steps yet to come. As we will continue to say, your input will be some of the most important of all, and the vestry is excited about projects that our stewardship committee is working on that will evoke the heart and soul of our beloved cathedral and help us articulate our love the cathedral, our core values, and our hopes for the future. We can’t wait!
In addition, the vestry expressed its deepest gratitude for the good work of Nancy Elliott who has faithfully and effectively served as Cathedral Administrator for seven years. Recognizing the magnitude of our loss, as Nancy moves on to another position, and the importance of maintaining good administration of our cathedral life and ministries, the vestry, with the dean and bishop’s approval, appointed Rosemary Bratton as the Interim Cathedral Administrator, until we can hire a permanent replacement. This was an extraordinary move, because vestry members cannot hold staff positions, so Rosemary will have to step down temporarily as a member of the vestry. However, the bishop agreed that the senior warden could invite Rosemary to attend vestry meetings where she will continue to participate in discussions but without voting privileges. The senior warden promptly did so, and the vestry was relieved to keep Rosemary’s good insight at the table, while benefiting from her expertise and attention to detail in the office. Since this is Nancy’s last week, Rosemary will begin right away, and when the permanent Administrator is found, Rosemary is expected to return to her unfinished term as an official member of the vestry.
Recognizing the need for full and engaged vestry membership, the vestry is also now seeking to fill Nina McConigley’s unfinished term within a week or so, which will complete our vestry team. Vestry members are suggesting nominees to our Senior Warden, Robbie Darnall.
We spent a good bit of time at this meeting talking about our Outreach ministries, the many ways in which our cathedral community is “Good News” for our community and the city of Laramie, including our Clothing Cottage, Prayers and Squares, the Hilde Project (Jail Ministry), the Period Project, Art Classes, the Pancake Breakfast and many other acts of hospitality, and of course, the Laramie Soup Kitchen, one of the city’s most vibrant and extensive ministries with our brothers and sisters who often struggle on the margins.
We hope our concern for the spiritual well-being of all people is expressed in all we offer, and we noted that our affiliation with the Laramie Soup Kitchen at St. Matthew’s Cathedral is one of the most widely recognized (and admired) ways in which the larger community understands who we are as a cathedral. There are certain inconveniences and occasional misunderstandings with this important resident ministry, but what marriage or love relationship does not have these things! We spoke about the terrific leadership of Soup Kitchen Executive Director Ted Cramer, who has cultivated a spirit of reverence for the poor and marginalized that preserves the dignity of all who come to our campus (sounds like our Baptismal Covenant!). And since we believe that in welcoming and caring for “the least of these” is the same as welcoming and caring for Christ, occasional misunderstandings and inconveniences seem to us a small price to pay for the privilege of serving Christ himself.
For Ted’s part, he has expressed his deep gratitude for the Soup Kitchen’s location on our campus. It would be possible for the Soup Kitchen to move nearby to larger and more efficient facilities, but Ted remarks that there is something about welcoming the hungry on what we all recognize as sacred ground. There is something about being in the environs of the cathedral that kindles and brings out the holy within us all, and clients of the Soup Kitchen are no exception. This humbles and inspires us, and we have begun discussing how we can deepen our spiritual relationship, as well as our practical partnership with the Soup Kitchen, so that there is a growing feeling of even more mutual ministry about this holy work in which we have been engaged together for so many years. As we ponder the many future ministries of the cathedral, we believe that Outreach will be an area where we are likely to see an evolution and blossoming of all that is best about who we are. But there is SO MUCH MORE! Stay tuned.
Finally, we continue to discuss with our bishop the makeup of our Search Committee (so many devoted people to choose from), and we sense we are very near to an announcement about who will serve as our Interim Dean. Once again, Bishop Chandler has been working on this diligently, following leads in Wyoming and across the nation, and we are grateful for his enthusiastic partnership. We hope that by next week we will have a couple of big announcements. And through all of this, any update would be woefully incomplete without mentioning the grace and love with which Dean Brian has navigated this emotional territory of transition. How blessed we are. And as you’ll see in the timeline, our celebration of Dean Brian’s ministry with us is a centerpiece of all we are doing now.