August 07, 2017
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are, I believe, at a very significant point in the life of our beloved Cathedral community. I have had the privilege and joy of serving as your Dean for almost exactly two years, and I am looking ahead to the future mission and ministry to which I believe God is calling us as part of his church in Chicago.
The cathedral is blessed with a Chapter that is embracing a vision of growth, and a staff team of the highest caliber, and I think we have great opportunities ahead of us to serve God and our neighbors in the city and diocese. We are also at a point when we are ready to start considering plans to launch a capital campaign to address some of the building-related issues that will need to be a priority for us before too much longer.
But if we are to fulfill our potential, and achieve what will be necessary to grow our mission in the coming years, I am convinced that we need to put in place a more prayerful foundation to undergird all that we are hoping to do. To that end, as I mentioned in the cathedral on Sunday morning, from the week after Labor Day, beginning on Monday, September 11, we are going to start saying Morning Prayer in the cathedral, each weekday at 8:45 a.m. for about fifteen minutes.
The tradition of daily prayer goes back to the earliest Christian centuries, and, in turn, has its roots in Jewish traditions of prayer. Saint Benedict expected his monks to pray seven times each day, to provide a spiritual heartbeat that was at the heart of the life of their monasteries. Since the Reformation, within our own Anglican Prayer Book tradition, this has been simplified to the custom of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Many of our sister cathedrals across the Episcopal Church (and the world) offer one or both of these each day.
While I am fully aware that for many, if not most, of our members, it will not be possible to join us on a weekday morning, I hope that we for some, this will be both possible and desirable. Morning Prayer offers a chance to take part in a conversation with God, rooted in Scripture, that has existed for centuries before we were born, and will continue onwards into God's future. It can be the most wonderful way to start the day.
For us to undertake this in a regular, committed and secure way, I am hoping we can arrange a simple rota for attendance each day (not necessarily to lead the service - just to be there and join in), and I am delighted that parishioner Cynthia Moore has agreed to help oversee the coordination of this. If you would like to commit to take part in this 'heartbeat of prayer' on one or more days a week, please email her.
With my prayers and warmest wishes for the remaining days of the summer,
The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington