From the Dean's Desk
Friday, 04.30.21

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, Dean
Friday, April 30, 2021

RE: Dean’s Sabbatical, A Letter from the Senior Warden

Parishioners of Saint Mark’s,

I hope this message finds you all well, and looking forward (as I am) to gathering together again this fall in thanks and praise for God’s loving provision during this year of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty. As we speed toward the final stages of this pandemic, I also hope you have received or scheduled your vaccinations. To me, it was a great stress-reducer and helped me begin looking forward again. And, for all of us, it is a practical expression of our commitment to walk in The Way of Love as disciples of Jesus. 

The pandemic has forced many delayed decisions and events including weddings, holiday gatherings, and just plain extended family time. It has also impacted our Dean, Paul Lebens-Englund, in delaying his much-deserved sabbatical. Our contract with him, and in fact the Episcopal Church itself, encourages clergy to step away between years five and seven of a parochial cure to rest, to refresh, and to reflect on their ordained vocation, past, present, and future. It also affords the congregation itself a period of invaluable time to reflect on its own mission, past, present, and future. The intent is that at the end of this sabbatical time apart, both clergy and congregation come together with a renewed sense of clarity regarding the shape and trajectory of their next steps in shared ministry.

Dean Paul is coming to the end of his seventh year serving among us at Saint Mark’s and has requested the opportunity to step away from the Cathedral for four months beginning July 1, 2021. He will return to us on November 1, 2021. Our Canon Pastor, the Rev. Tim Kingsley, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Cathedral during that time. Canon Mary Lusk will continue to coordinate the program life of the Cathedral, the Rev. Siri Hauge Hustad and Canon Raymond Johnston will continue to coordinate the liturgical life of the Cathedral, and Dr. Helen Hansen will continue to coordinate the pastoral life of the Cathedral. During the Dean’s time away, the Council will spend considerable time discerning the current and future mission of Saint Mark’s, and will be reaching out to you for your thoughts, as well.

It is the hope of your Council that this time of discernment will breathe a renewed perspective into the life we share together. Our larger community has endured tremendous trauma and disruption over the past year related to the COVID pandemic and the murder of Mr. George Floyd. We have lost friends and loved ones, we have foregone the celebration of vital life transitions, we have set aside life-giving rhythms and routines, and we have persevered through a conflicted and violent election season. We are tired and we miss one another. So we intend to be reunited and renewed in the fall, when all of us can gather together again safely, we can welcome our Dean back among us, and we can praise God for guiding us through the turbulence of the last year and for convicting us and equipping us to act boldly in the years ahead.

Please feel comfortable reaching out to me at with any thoughts and questions on this unique moment in Saint Mark’s mission and ministry.

In the meantime, may Peace be with you,

Paul E. Lakeman, Senior Warden