A Message on the Continued Resumption of In-Person Services
On Tuesday, July 6, the Cathedral held our first in-person liturgy since last March. (There have been a few Diocesan services, but this was the first Cathedral-specific service.) Twenty-eight people showed up to celebrate the Eucharist together. Many of them were visibly moved. The faith-sharing at the time of the sermon and the spontaneous Prayers of the People were touching and inspiring.
We now turn our attention to putting in place all that is needed for the resumption of in-person Sunday worship on September 12.
For months, the Dean, clergy, and members of the Music, Productions, and Liturgy Departments have been meeting every Tuesday to plan. Because our plans have been contingent upon the directives of the Diocese, the CDC, the State, and the City, they have often shifted and may shift again. Here is what we imagine now.
• Beginning September 12, we will celebrate one Sunday liturgy: 10:30 Eucharist. None of the pre-pandemic liturgies will survive. The new single service will incorporate elements of all of them as well as patterns that are entirely new.
• A non-Eucharistic evening service will be added on All Saints Day. While the service will be easily recognizable as Anglican Evensong (and so be familiar and comfortable), it will be crafted intentionally to welcome seekers and newcomers (and so have a tone that is new and unexpected).
• At both services, we will work to achieve a balance of reverence and hospitality.
The number of people who attended Tuesday’s Eucharist shows that many who worshipped at the Cathedral pre-COVID are anxious to return. We trust that people we have yet to meet will join us, and that the Cathedral will be a place of welcome to them as we all continue figuring out how to navigate our post-2020 reality.
The past year has been a time of terrible suffering. The most striking and unexpected thing many people said at Tuesday’s Eucharist was that it has also been a year of rebirth for them. I hope all of us can find things to be grateful for even as we mourn what we have lost.
(The Reverend) Patrick Malloy, PhD
Sub-Dean, Canon for Liturgy and the Arts