Photo by Skyler Oberst

Spokane, Washington
                                                       August 14, 
Notes from the Interim Vicar


As I was bringing a few books and pictures to the office in mid-July, it dawned on me that almost exactly 32 years ago I was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral and beginning a 12-year stint as canon for pastoral care and education.   It really doesn't seem that long ago, but many things have transpired since then.
     Even though I have known many Cathedral parishioners for a long time, there are many of you who don't know me and it might be helpful to introduce myself.  For starters, my current position is "Interim Vicar." That means that I am on a temporary assignment to serve in many ways like a dean, but also to assist as the Cathedral moves through its transition from the wonderful and creative ministry of Dean Bill Ellis to the beginning of a new dean's tenure.
     Working in the midst of transitions is familiar territory to me.  After leaving the Cathedral staff in 1997, I joined the diocesan staff as one who worked with congregations.  Much of my time there was as Canon to the Ordinary and transition minister.  That meant I did a lot of work with congregations as they prepared to call new clergy--much as the Rev. Canon Susan Cleveley now does. Over the 15 years I served on the diocesan staff I believe I worked in some way with every congregation in the diocese.
     I also have served in two Spokane congregations during their transitions between rectors, each for 18 months.   I really enjoyed those times that called me into pastoral ministry and the familiar rhythms of the Church year as well as the kinds of teaching and consulting that go on during transitions.
     Before coming to Spokane in 1985, I was a journalist at the Tri-City Herald, where, over the years, I was a reporter, copy editor, columnist and assistant city editor.   That, too, was a vocation that I enjoyed.
     I was ordained a deacon in 1977 in Kennewick at a time when women were just beginning to be able to answer a call to priesthood.   It took me a while to 'sort out'  (literally, the meaning of the word 'discernment') whether I, too, was called to be a priest and then said,  ' Yes' and spent some time at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA.  While serving at the Cathedral I added a master's degree in Christian spirituality from Gonzaga University.
     I have two daughters: Jennifer, who with her husband and three children, lives in Seattle, and Andrea, who with her husband and three children lives in Glen Ellyn, IL, near Chicago. The six grandchildren range from sixth grade to juniors in high school.  Needless to say, they are a joy.
     In my spare time I love to travel. My most recent overseas jaunt was last summer when I spent a couple of weeks in and around London with a friend who was teaching there. This year I've been a little closer to home with trips to Olympic and Glacier National Parks. I'm also a gardener and photographer.
     Needless to say, the past few weeks as I've begun to get my feet on the ground at the Cathedral have been busy with meetings, new learnings and the day-to-day evolution of a new job.   I look forward to getting to know and work with you as we move into the more structured schedule of the school year.
     My usual work week has me in the office Tuesday-Thursday and other times as needed, plus, of course Sundays and some Saturdays.
     I'm honored to serve in among you in the coming months and being a part of this transitional journey.

Every three years, in accordance with the General Convention Resolution #1982-DO79, the E piscopal Church convenes an international youth event so "that the energy of the youth...can continue to be used in active ministry."  This year, the 13th #EYE17 welcomed nearly 1400 participants for youth in grades 9-12 to the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, July 10-14. Representing St John's youth group were Emily Asplin and Pierce Hubbard. The following is Emily's response.

"Never in all my years as an Episcopalian did I think I would witness bishops from all over the world dancing their way through a procession. With a thousand other teenagers singing, running conga lines along the aisles, I felt an entirely new connection with my faith and a comfort in my spirituality."
Emily Asplin

Her story continues:
I have always been hesitant to 'dive into' a belief in God due to questions I still had about different aspects of Christianity. EYE gave me the tools to mold my relationship with God so that it filled the cracks left open by skepticism. It reminded me to keep questioning and exploring what God and Jesus mean to me, and how they impact my everyday life. In one praxis session (a seminar type of workshop, each with a different, faith-based topic), we learned about Marshall Rosenberg's theory on nonviolent communication. It blew our minds. We redefined violence and nonviolence, and discussed how they influence our environments, ourselves, belief in heaven, image of God, and even our world economy. We came out of the session awed by a completely new view on the idea of a 'loving God' and how we can live lovingly and nonviolently in our own lives.
     On the flight home,  as my body was still recovering from the Oklahoma humidity, I began to digest the massive amount of information and experiences that made up the past week.  Exhausted, yes, but I felt a warm sense of wholeness: my faith felt renewed, my intentions and plans felt energized, and I felt in communion with those from my diocese and from the entire church. From Hawaii to Maine, Alaska to Florida, France to Guam, I had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people who were all united by a curiosity to discover more about our faith. So many of the other youth I talked to agreed that the love and power in this experience made them unafraid to be Christians, Episcopalians, and people ready to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, spreading love to everyone and everything we encountered.
     It introduced me to exciting philosophies on God and faith and showed me the immense power that the youth can bring to our church--contributing new ideas to our congregations, connecting with other youth during meaningful times in their lives, and helping energize our faith. EYE was an incredibly formative experience for me, and I hope that every single teenager in our diocese has the opportunity to be as impacted and inspired at the next EYE as I was this year.


The Dean's Call Committee--specifically, the Profile Sub-committee, has not taken the summer off.  We have spent weeks and multiple meetings working through two documents that make up much of our official Cathedral Profile.  The Profile itself is a comprehensive description of us.  Based on two Cathedral surveys and the Symposium dialog from June, it is our best effort at articulating who we are, what our needs and desires for the future are, and what living in Spokane, WA offers.  Once approved by Chapter and leadership, this Profile becomes the primary source of information for the formal announcement of the vacancy for Dean of the Cathedral.  It will also be added to our website Dean's Call section ( for all to read.
     We have also edited the Symposium material into a three-page Executive Summary, which is likewise available on our Dean's Call section of our website.  Questions may be addressed to Peggy Johnson or any member of the Profile Sub-committee: Chaplain Barbara Novak, Andrea Olson, Nina Beegle, John Wallingford, Jenny Brown.
     Our next task?  Reviewing the website for accuracy, adding photos and shaping the consistency of text that will be necessary to support our Profile.
     Pray for us?  Yes.  This is all part of creating the essential background for that call and response process that will result in a new Dean.  Wisdom, patience, humor and relying on the presence of the Holy Spirit in all our deliberations.

Karen Martin

After monitoring our wonderful "Cushion Project" in 2016, we found that the cushions we purchased for the congregational pew seating were too few. So...with Dean Ellis's help, the Cathedral purchased additional cushions for the pews that were put in place in early June. To enhance seating in All Saints Chapel, we also purchased some cushions for those chairs. They are smaller than the Cathedral pew cushions, so truly belong in All Saints Chapel. Thank you in advance for leaving them in place. Enjoy!

Pint Jars
It is almost time for Champagne Mustard! Altar Guild is collecting pint jars (and bands) for this year's supply. Please drop off your jars in the Jewett House. We have a collection basket near the Great Hall. Thanks so much! 

THIS FRIDAY, August 18 at 8:00pm, on the lawn of Centennial Park (13th and Cowley).
Bring your own chairs and be ready to call out your favorite lines!  Princess Bride is a classic and will always be with us!

CORRECT RESPONSE:  "As you wish!"


What a great way to end the summer!  
On Sunday, August 27, join us for Yoga at 3:00pm in the Nave, Picnic supper outside at 5:00pm, and a Concert at 6:30pm in the Nave!  
     Come together, mark the end of summer, enjoy a great Yoga flow, delicious ( provided and free) food, and a fantastic concert
     Everyone is invited! The concert will feature Jeffrey Martin and Anna Tivel, fresh off a national tour (more information can be found here:
     Cost: FREE!!
     We will take RSVPs via Facebook starting in August at:

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment,
and  light rises up in darkness for the godly:
Grant us, in all
our doubts and uncertainties,
the grace to ask what you
would have us to do,
that the Spirit of wisdom may save
us from all false choices,
and that in your light we may see  light,
and in your straight path may not stumble;
through  Jesus Christ our Lord. 

  •  August 18    Cathedral Family Movie Night: The Princess Bride. 8:00pm.  Centennial  Park. Free.
  •  August 27    Yoga, Picnic, Concert.  Yoga at 3:00pm in the Nave.  Free picnic supper outside at 5:00pm.  Concert in the Nave at 6:30pm.  Jeffrey Martin and Anna Tivel.
  •  August 28    Junior Choir begins rehearsals. 4:45pm-6:00pm.
  •  August 30    Youth Group launches fall season, 6:00-8:00pm.
  •  August 31     Cathedral Choir beings rehearsals. 7:00-9:00pm.
  •  September 10     Welcome Back Sunday.  10:30 Eucharist.

The September issue will be published on September 11, the second Monday of the month.  Articles or announcements are invited.  Please send copy by the previous Thursday.