The Latest Cathedral News Author: The Very Rev. Lisa Hackney-James

Welcome The Rev. Canon Christopher Griffin

January 18, 2023

Canon for Community Partnerships

The Rev. Christopher Griffin has begun his work with us this week as Canon for Community Partnerships. Many of you will recognize Chris, as he has recently served on Cathedral Chapter and has shared his remarkable gift for preaching at St. James on several memorable occasions over the past year, including Pride Sunday and Holy Week. 

Chris will serve in a part-time capacity at St. James while continuing in his role as Vicar of St. Martin’s Epsicopal Church in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, where he has served for 13 years. We can expect to see Chris periodically on Sundays, and during the week he will work to extend our partnerships with other institutions beyond our walls, expanding our focus on advocacy, and strengthening our ties with various communities within the city and diocese of Chicago. Through this collaboration, Chris will also embody the interest in shared ministry that has taken root in recent years between St. James and St. Martin’s - a congregation and context distinctly different from our own, but a community who shares with us a commitment to expressing our faith through radical inclusion, a belief in the transformative powers of the arts, and of course a confidence in God’s presence among and between us.

Chris’ new role also reflects my commitment, during this time of transition, to restructuring our clergy staff to be a bit leaner and focused on mission-critical priorities. We’re committed to yielding the same – and even greater – impact from this new configuration, in no small part by investing in leadership with the experience and gravitas that Chris will bring to his role. Prior to his two decades of priestly ministry, he served a decade as an elementary school social worker and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools and before that within the corporate world. In addition to his seminary training, Chris holds degrees from MIT, Harvard and University of Chicago.

Please join me in rejoicing over the addition of Chris to our cathedral staff. He will join us on Sunday, January 22 for all services, and we look forward to welcoming him then.


A Message from the Provost of the Cathedral

November 05, 2022

Dear Friends: 
It is with great joy that I write on the feast of All Saints to greet you for the first time as Provost of St. James Cathedral. This is, of course, the day when we in the church acknowledge with gratitude the deep mystery that our lives unfold in the company of “a great cloud of witnesses” – those exemplars of faith across the ages who have lived lives of enduring faithfulness and extraordinary love. 
We find ourselves at a moment in the life of St. James Cathedral that calls for nothing short of the saints’ monumental faithfulness, and at a moment in our wider culture that calls for nothing short of their extraordinary sort of love.
This past Sunday at St. James, we marked the conclusion of a significant chapter in our common life as we bade farewell to the Barrington family, sending them onward with our gratitude and our love. In our celebrations, we recalled all that God has done in this place over the past seven years. We reflected on the remarkable growth we have undergone, and gave thanks for the surprising ways that God’s Spirit has shown up here at the corner of Huron and Wabash. 
And now, together we turn into a new chapter, moving forward in the confidence that God remains with us, drawing us ever onward in love and service.
With so many moving parts in our recent leadership transitions, I want to reinforce in plain terms what our Senior Warden, Nicole Spencer, wrote about at length in her letter to the congregation last week. Cathedral Chapter has elected me to serve St. James as Provost for a term of three years, beginning today. Provost is a position equivalent to Dean, conveying all of the same authority and responsibilities of the position. The only difference is that as provost I will serve for a defined term rather than an open-ended tenure.
In the usual course of events, the departure of a Dean would lead into a liminal time in which an interim dean and search committee would be appointed. However, our current circumstances do not afford us that possibility. I step into this leadership role at a time of particular risk and uncertainty for the cathedral as our St James leadership team continues to work at achieving a mutually beneficial resolution to the questions surrounding the Bishop & Trustees’ intention to sell the building which houses our outreach ministries, parish hall, and administrative offices.
Anyone who has listened to me for any length of time will know that I am a leader who values good process – specifically in church governance. Quite simply, I believe that good process and good order matter in the life of the church. Best practices, whether financial or ecclesiastical, are called that for a reason, and it is best, when possible, to adhere to them. I am also deeply convinced that the ultimate authority within God’s church wells up from the wellsprings of the waters of baptism. In the Episcopal Church, the laity are the ones who authorize their leaders – lay and ordained, and so I look forward to the day when the people of St. James will embark on the project of calling their next Dean through a robust search process.
In the meantime, the role of Provost allows me to operate on our community’s behalf from a position of strength, fully empowered to lead. I am honored by the trust placed in me, and I look forward to all we will accomplish together over these next three years. I come into this role not only with a depth knowledge of our St James parish community, but also with a rich network of relationships within our diocesan community and beyond. And, drawing on my years experience in community organizing, I look forward to strengthening the cathedral’s relational life with local civic and interfaith religious leaders.
Together we will continue to build on the momentum of our growth over the past several years. St James is currently defying broader trends in the church. We are growing and thriving in the number of people joining our community, in our financial health, and in growing engagement in parish and outreach ministries. Simply put, we are going to take this next season of our common life to solidify and reinforce these gains, and indeed to be open to God’s calling forth in us even more growth in mission and service. 
With our devoted lay leaders, our magnificent cathedral staff, both seasoned and newly arrived, with the prayers and manifold gifts already found within our community, I am confident that we will meet the moment, and rise to the high calling of showing forth God’s love and light in a world desperately in need of hope and transformation. 
I hope that you will join me in giving thanks for all the saints who have gone before us –the lights of their generations, guiding us, and inspiring us always to live lives of enduring faithfulness and extraordinary love.
Faithfully yours, 

Cathedral Prayer List for the Week of August 14

August 11, 2022

Submit a prayer request.

Please keep the following people in your prayers:

FOR THOSE COMMENDED TO THE PRAYER OF THE CATHEDRAL COMMUNITY: Lynda, Cathy, Lois, Ruth, Rosie, Ellen, Alice, Gloria, Ivy, Emily, Dayna, Kevin, Rich, Christy, Richard, Jodi, Janet, Derek, Shirley, Connie, Jennifer, Susan, Warzell, Francisco, Judy, Frank, Laura, Dave


FOR ALL THOSE WHO DIED BY GUN VIOLENCE IN CHICAGO IN THE PAST WEEK INCLUDING: James, Rashawn, Bryan, Christian, Anthony, Irving, Kenyatta, Fransisco, Paris, Frederick, Qumari, James, Claudio, Omar, Johnny, Deontae, and Diunte

DIOCESAN CYCLE OF PRAYER: Congregations in the Waukegan Deanery: Trinity in Highland Park; Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest; Holy Family/Sagrada Familia in Lake Villa; St. Lawrence in Libertyville; St. Paul in McHenry; Companion Dioceses in SE Mexico and Renk