The Latest Cathedral News Author: The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington

An Update Regarding the Sale of 65 E. Huron

June 22, 2022

During the past two years we have provided periodic updates on the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s intention to sell their headquarters at 65 E. Huron, the lot adjacent to the Cathedral. As you may recall, St. James has sought to collaborate with the Diocesan leadership – known as the Bishop and Trustees (B&T) – to ensure that the Cathedral parish is not adversely affected in the aftermath of the sale. 

The issue resurfaced this month when B&T announced that it was resurrecting efforts to sell 65 E. Huron, and we are decidedly disheartened to report that St. James would face a potentially profound – and possibly dire – dilemma if the final parameters of the sale adhere to the terms that Diocesan leaders have arbitrarily imposed on our community. 

Simply put, the proposed terms of the sale would unilaterally assign new cost burdens to St. James without providing revenues commensurate with those obligations. Those new expenses – partially resulting from B&T’s decision to abdicate its current role as a de facto landlord to the parish – would include full responsibility for the hefty cost of deferred maintenance of the Cathedral building; replacement of heating and cooling systems that would be decoupled from the church structure during demolition of 65 E. Huron; replacement of ADA-compliant access to the building and elevators; and replacement of our existing parish hall and office space for Cathedral staff.   

The arrangement seems destined to leave the parish financially impaired, plagued by long-term structural deficits that could force the elimination of ministries which serve the critical needs of our several communities. Indeed, barring some change in the Bishop & Trustee’s plan, we must even account for the possibility that St. James, as a parish, could be forced to close.  

Fortunately, there is time to avert such a plight for the parish. The history of real estate development demonstrates that a “win-win” – a proposal that lifts all boats – is possible.

This is why we’re raising awareness now about the manifest harms the property sale as proposed could inflict on the Cathedral. Accordingly, Cathedral Chapter has sent a letter to B&T notifying them of our concerns. 

Our letter follows many previous overtures we have made to B&T asking to work in concert on a structure for the sale that would promote the stability of our shared mission and ministries. We remain hopeful that, by clearly explaining to B&T how its proposed terms of sale threaten the Cathedral’s financial future, its members will entertain the dialogue necessary to achieve a mutually harmonious solution, so no harm is done to their mother church.  

We will, of course, be keeping the Cathedral community apprised of this issue as it evolves.

Nicole Spencer
Senior Warden
Susan Fickling
Junior Warden
Erin Maus
The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington
Dean of the Cathedral

An Announcement from the Dean

March 17, 2022

In a few weeks time, I will be embarking on a period of sabbatical leave agreed some months ago with the wardens, Bishop Chilton and my colleagues. Having served six and a half years as your Dean, it feels time to take a break from my duties to recharge my batteries, and prepare for the next phase of our common life together.
My last Sunday at the cathedral will be April 3, and I will be combining my sabbatical entitlement with my annual vacation, and returning to my duties in the second half of August. During this time Lisa will be acting as Dean (which is why she has the role of Sub-Dean), supported by the rest of our outstanding staff, wardens and chapter members. Alison, of course, will continue in her work as Director of Children’s Ministry during this time, joining me for the vacation part of my break from ministry.
Some of you may be surprised that I plan to be absent for Holy Week and Easter, and you would be correct in guessing that missing the most important days of the Christian year went against my instincts! However, I was given strong advice from those more senior and experienced than me that a clergy sabbatical should include either Christmas or Easter, being the two most stressful times of a priest’s working year, and, recognizing the wisdom of this viewpoint, I have planned accordingly.
St. James is a wonderful community of committed Christians – clergy, staff, elected lay leaders, volunteers, and every one of you living out your own vocations. I am deeply confident that the mission and ministry God has entrusted to us all will continue to flourish during my brief time away from you all. I am grateful to those with whom I work with day by day for helping make this possible for me – and I am grateful to you all for your kindness and support during the time I have served at St. James.

Dean's Forum - Back to Basics

September 08, 2021

After eighteen months during which our experience of church has been highly limited, the cathedral clergy are pleased to offer a refresher course in being a church-going, Episcopalian Christian! Join us for a year-long Dean’s Forum discussion series beginning on Sunday, September 19, which will cover many aspects of Christian faith and life, including:
The Bible
The Holy Trinity
The Creeds
The history of the Church
Christian ethics
Each session will begin promptly at 10 a.m. in Kyle’s Place. We hope it will be possible to make these sessions available by live-stream, but the results will likely be not very satisfactory, and you are encouraged to attend in person if possible.