Health & Safety Protocols for Public Worship

July 14, 2020

We are glad to welcome you back to St. James Cathedral for in-person worship. We are taking every precaution for your safety. The building has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, seating is distanced, facial masks are required, and hand sanitizer is available in abundance. For the safety of everyone, we ask you to observe these protocols:

  • You must make a reservation to attend. Click here to reserve your seats
  • Do not attend if you have flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • You must arrive by 10:55 a.m. to be guaranteed your reserved seat(s). Walk-ins will be seated in remaining seats after the opening procession.
  • When you enter, check your family in at the Welcome Table.
  • Always wear your face mask except when partaking of the bread at communion.
  • Maintain six feet from others except members of your family.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you enter the cathedral. Sanitizer is also available before receiving communion.
  • Follow the directional arrows for each aisle.
  • Feel free to speak the responses while masked but during this phase of re-entry we will refrain from singing.
  • At the exchange of the Peace, wave, bow, or offer some other contactless gesture while maintaining a safe distance.
  • The collection plate will not be passed in the pews or brought to the altar. Place contributions in the offering box found at the back of the Cathedral by the baptismal font.
  • Follow the directions of the usher for taking communion, one side at a time.
  • At the conclusion of the service, exit the cathedral by the side aisles, through the Wabash doors.
  • Use restrooms down the narthex stairs (Wabash entrance) or in the Welcome Center.
  • At the conclusion of the service, use the side aisles to exit the cathedral through the Wabash doors.
Author: Robert Black

Public Worship Resumes on Sunday, July 19

July 13, 2020

A Special Message from the Dean

The past four months have been unlike any other time in the past century, as we faced the challenges of a pandemic that swept the world. During this time, our beloved St. James Cathedral building has been closed but not the church! You are the church, and through online worship services, Sunday school classes, small groups, forums, meetings, music lessons, virtual coffee hours, plaza Meals Ministry and planning for Summer in the City, have continued without pause, although in different forms. God has been working through us despite the physical distance between us.

Now it is time to return slowly and carefully to in-person worship. As you know, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago are in Phase IV of a cautious and wisely administered re-opening. Alongside this, the Diocese of Chicago has created guidelines for the resumption of live worship. Our plan is to resume a celebration of the Eucharist this coming Sunday, July 19 at 11:00 a.m.

After a very considerable amount of detailed and careful work by the Cathedral Chapter, ministry leaders and staff, I believe it is both safe and appropriate for us to take this step. For now, we will hold just one service each Sunday at 11 a.m. Provided the pandemic does
not deteriorate, I hope that we will be able to move towards two and then three services in the coming weeks, but this is something we will review later in the summer.

We have taken every precaution for your safety. The building has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Seating will be properly distanced and limited to 50 people, and a reservation will be required. There will be glorious music from the organ and virtual (recorded) music by the choir, but no live singing. 

The Eucharist will be offered in one kind only (the bread). You may or may not feel that the time has come for you to rejoin us in person on Sunday mornings, and for now, our podcast Sunday service will continue to be offered alongside our live worship. But whether or not you choose to join us on Sunday, I hope you will give thanks that we are able to take this significant step, and that you will continue to share my prayers for an easing of the pandemic and the suffering it has brought to so many people.


Interested in attending Sunday's Eucharist? Read more about the Public Worship Health and Safety Protocols.

"Turn to the Path of Love" - The Dean's Response to the George Floyd Protests in Chicago

May 31, 2020

The following is a statement about this weekend's protests in Chicago in response to the murder of George Floyd, written by the Very Rev. Dominic Barrington on May 31st.

George Floyd could not breathe - a fact of which nobody was in any doubt, including the man charged with his murder, and many bystanders. Derek Chauvin’s knee remained a crushing force on Floyd’s neck for very nearly three minutes after he had already become unresponsive. The end result was inevitable.

It was a moment when the Minneapolis Police Department, if not the entire nation, went very low - and not just because of Mr Floyd’s murder, but because it was far from being a one-off event. As President Obama observed two days ago, “for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’…. We can and must be better.”

And that ‘better’ is well described by our Presiding Bishop, as being a call to follow ‘the path of love’ - because “Love does not look like the harm being caused by some police or some protestors in our cities… Love looks like all of us…standing up and saying ‘We can do better than this. We can be better than this.”

At a time when we are all too conscious of racial inequality, both through last week’s events in Minneapolis, let alone the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color, let’s strive to follow Michelle Obama’s call to “go high”, which she defines as ‘not seeking revenge’ or responding ‘from a place of anger or vengefulness’, but seeking to ‘reflect the solution’. 

On this day that the church celebrates the breath of the Holy Spirit offering the world a new vision of unity and harmony, may those of any faith and none turn to the path of love, and help us all to ‘go high’. Nothing could be more needed in our nation and our world.