Sr. Warden's Annual Meeting Remarks

January 31, 2020

From Outgoing Senior Warden Erin Maus

I am pleased to report on behalf of your Cathedral Chapter.

The theme of last year’s Chapter report that I shared with you was “growth,” as we had experienced incredible growth in all aspects of our life together. 

As you read in the ministry reports, continued growth -- both organic and planned -- could very well be again the theme of this year’s Chapter report.  We continue to grow in all that we do:           

  • from the numbers of folks who come through our doors;
  • to the number of children, youth and young adults learning, growing, singing, serving, and worshiping among us;
  • to the breadth of spiritual formation opportunities we experience together;
  • to the number of people impacted by our missions; and
  • in the amount of financial support pledged to provide for all that we do in this place. 

One beautiful manifestation of that growth is the bustling life of Wednesday night at St. James.  For the past two years our choristers have led Evensong on Wednesday evenings, offering to largely our chorister families an opportunity to worship together.  The families then share a meal together, and our children go outside on the plaza and, through their laughter and folly, remind the neighborhood that we are here. 

The adult formation and now prayer opportunities shared on Wednesday nights opens the beautiful Evensong offered by our Choristers to a larger number of people, and creates not only a new shared worship opportunity, but also an opportunity for community building and personal connection.  

I encourage anyone who has not had an opportunity to attend a Wednesday Evensong to come and experience the vibrant life of this Cathedral on a Wednesday night.  Personally, Evensong has become the most impactful 15 minutes of my week.  I am reminded, by our children, in those 15 short minutes of the presence of God, the importance of prayer, and the need to center myself in the midst of a busy week.  The community and opportunity for personal connections that follow are just spiritual reinforcement of that lesson.  So please, come and experience that for yourself. 

But today I’d like to focus on a slightly different theme, and that "is organizational maturity."  The health of this Cathedral is dependent upon the organizational maturity of its missions, as growth in any mission we undertake without such maturity can lead to a lack of direction, chaos, and, potentially, even long-term failure.  Your clergy, Cathedral staff, lay leaders and Chapter have collectively and collaboratively worked very hard this year at ensuring our ministries are organizationally maturing -- that they have proper leadership and management, that they have proper support from clergy staff, that they have an organization plan and ministry goals that can be measured, and that they are fiscally responsible and accountable to a prepared budget. 

Our ministries each report to Chapter, and some ministries have Chapter members serving on their planning committees.  Chapter has been particularly focused on ensuring that each of our ministries is properly supported in the Cathedral’s operating budget and by our staff, so that we are managing and supporting that growth through proper oversight, financial support and succession planning.  The primary goal of this focus is to ensure our ministries' long-term sustainability and success.

As I close, I want to take the opportunity to personally thank all of you for entrusting in me the opportunity to serve as your junior and now senior warden. We all have different viewpoints of what happens in the Cathedral.  Serving on Chapter -- especially being a warden -- provides a unique opportunity to "see behind the curtain," so to speak.  And it has personally been an honor to witness the work of your clergy in action.  Their leadership, vision, spiritual guidance and support for this dynamic Cathedral is frankly, extraordinary.  It’s a really hard job.  

The same is true for Cathedral staff.  They work tirelessly to support all that happens in this place and do so most often without any fanfare.  They are an incredible group of people and should be commended not only for the quality and professionalism of their work, but also for their dedication to the mission of the Cathedral.  

And finally, I want to acknowledge the backbone of this Cathedral—all of you.  We, the parishioners of St. James Cathedral, are collectively responsible for the life of this Cathedral, as it is our parish and home. The lay leaders among us volunteer their time, talents and treasures to this place, and without them, much of the vibrancy and the growth we have been hearing about, and the work of this Cathedral would not happen.  Thank you to our lay leaders for your dedication to God’s work in this place. 

St. James has been a part of my life for 20 years, and I firmly believe we are growing into all that this Cathedral can be.  I am as excited as I have ever been for the future of our church. Thank you again for allowing me to serve all of you and this Cathedral.   

Author: Robert Black