As I draw closer to the completion of my ministry among you at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, I’m mindful of so many things I need to do and say. Was this how Jesus was feeling during the time leading up to the Ascension? He sure took the time to give some instructions, provide some reminders, and make some promises before saying goodbye. I think I will too.
My last Sunday will be June 16. I’ll preside over the Vestry one more time on June 17. My first event at St. Andrew’s was the Dean’s List and so it will be the last on June 18. Then, on June 19, we will head for our house in Arlington, Texas. I’ll be on vacation for the rest of the month. Anne Maxwell will become your Dean on July 1 and you will soon begin to experience an entirely new transition. You’ve had time to “practice” on David Elliott and me for almost three years. I hope you’ve experienced some things that will help you step into a new era of mission with a new spiritual leader.
Here are a few things that are on my mind as I prepare to leave you:
• We’ve emphasized involvement, created or revitalized groups to pursue God’s mission, and developed charters to guide their work. There's a healthy process in place to help a lot of people do a lot of good. If you are involved, thank you. If you are not, take some time to discern how God may be calling you to get involved. HERE is a pretty complete description of how things are organized at this time. Where might you connect and express the gifts God has given to you?
• There’s a new online pictorial directory. Have you logged in and provided a photo? Your new Dean will want to get to know you, know how to find you, and recognize your face. If you have not already signed up, please take a few minutes to do that. HERE is the information you will need.
• Another way you can help your new Dean (and fellow communicants as well) is to wear a nametag. We’ve placed blank ones and Sharpies at entrances and gathering places. If you have a permanent name tag that you bring to the Cathedral with you, that’s great. But if you forget it, these are always here.
• Invite / Welcome / Connect. Don’t be shy about inviting others to St. Andrew’s. It doesn’t have to be to a worship service. Almost any event can be an entry point for newcomers. And, don’t be shy about speaking to people. Introduce yourself, show newcomers the way to Coffee Hour, help them navigate our beautifully complex liturgy, and be the “Face” of St. Andrew’s. Also, don’t be shy about connecting people to others in our loving Cathedral community. They very well may be looking for a community like ours.
• Set the example as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Mississippi. The diocese is looking to St. Andrew's for leadership, encouragement, resources, and hospitality, all of which are here in abundance. Join the Cathedral Guild. Serve in a diocesan role. Look for opportunities to be a representative of the Cathedral in the City of Jackson and beyond. St. Andrew's is not just another big church; you are the Cathedral Church, serving the diocese and the Bishop.
• Pray for your Bishop, Dean, Canons, Staff and the leadership of the Cathedral. Prayer has made a difference during the past three years. It will continue to be the one thing we all have in common. (Get it? Common Prayer?)
• Show up. Your presence matters. It matters to you, when you didn’t feel like coming and something happens that changes your life. It matters to others, when the room is full of singing, praying, loving people and when the smile on your face or the sound of your voice is exactly what someone else needs to get through another week. It matters to God, who calls you to worship and service and dwells among God’s own people.
• I have invited you to view Christian stewardship as a spiritual practice, which, like prayer, strengthens your faith, hope, and love. You have responded in amazing ways and I pray that you have found the practice to be everything I told you it would be and more. “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God” (2 Cor. 9:12-13)
• Remember that Gay and I love you and will think of you often wherever we may be. Our time with you has enriched and changed our lives. We are grateful for your lavish hospitality and generous friendship.
The best days, the golden years, of St. Andrew’s Cathedral lie just ahead. God’s promise to Israel is yours as well: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
I’ll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ronald D. Pogue
St. Andrew’s Cathedral