This year I began work as the Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, where together we’re exploring what it means to be an urban cathedral at this particular moment in time. Before that, I served as the rector of a church in North Carolina that, over 125 years or so, has seen the tide come in and go out again. In both places we’ve been trying to build something new in a time when a whole lot is changing.
Change is tough, but there’s also room here for excitement and hope. I see lot of new tools and perspectives bubbling up that can ground us in something a bit more timeless, and make our work as the church feel more authentic and meaningful.
The guidebook I held onto as I started in ministry hasn’t always aged well, but as older pages and older assumptions have gone to the recycling bin some new insights have worked their way in. Over fifteen or so years I’ve seen a new manual take shape, one made up of things I’ve learned or things I’ve seen friends and colleagues figure out. Many of these new things are actually pretty simple, but it’s helpful to write them down and share them.
So here’s why I’m writing: though a few bits from the old guidebooks that continue to come in handy, I can also see some wonderful things emerging, insights and practices that are hopeful and authentic but also, I’m learning, a bit more layered than the church that I thought I knew.