Letter from the Dean
The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Lent starts on Wednesday! In the twelve months which have passed since I wrote to you at the start of Lent, so much has changed for us, and for people across the world. It has been a year of much heartache, as the terrible toll of the pandemic has affected the entire world, and although we watch with joy the roll-out of vaccines, it will clearly be a while before life feels ‘back to normal’.

But throughout a year that has changed the face of the world, God’s steadfast and inclusive love for us has endured, even if there have been times when it has been hard to feel God’s presence in our lives. And the season of Lent is God’s gift to the Church, offering us an opportunity to reappraise our relationship with God and with each other, and to refocus our priorities so that we may grow the more mature in our discipleship. I hope that you will rejoice in this opportunity, and in this letter, I want to remind you of a few specific things to help you along the way.
Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 9 a.m., 12:10 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
As you will know, Lent begins this coming Wednesday. It is a day that every Christian should take very seriously, and it is an opportunity to start as you mean to carry on. While there are some for whom it is not yet wise to attend church services in person, despite our rigorous COVID protocols, for a growing number, in-person worship has now become a possibility once again.

We are therefore offering three celebrations of the Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes, at 9 a.m., 12.10 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. Each service will be identical in terms of music and sermon, and the 9 a.m. service will be live-streamed. I hope that you will make every effort either to join us in person or online. Reservations are required.
Growing in Prayer...
From the start of Lent we are resuming our daily in-person Eucharist at 12:10 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will also be continuing with Zoom Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. each weekday. Either or both of these offer the opportunity to make a God-shaped space during the week, and I hope you might give renewed thought to how you might enhance your worship life in this way during this holy season.

We are also privileged to offer a weekly ministry of Centering Prayer each Wednesday evening. Led by Chapter member Greg Gerber, this 45 minute virtual gathering offers a wonderful chance to have some silent prayer each week, enhanced by learning about the Christian contemplative tradition, and supported by fellow members of St. James. This takes place by conference call at 6:45 p.m. each Wednesday evening. Contact the Rev. Canon Lisa Hackney-James for call-in instructions.
Growing in Faith...
Our opportunities for Christian formation, of course, are entirely online for now. Every Sunday I offer a Bible Study at 10am on Zoom - the time when we would normally have met in person for the Dean’s Forum. Perhaps you might consider adding this forty-minute opportunity into your Sunday schedule for Lent to explore with me some of the great gospel stories of our faith.
Wednesday Evening Lenten Formation Series -Becoming Beloved Community
Wednesday, Feb. 24 - March 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
We will also gather online on Wednesday evenings Feb. 24 to Mar. 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. In facilitated small group conversation, we will engage the material from Bishop Curry's Becoming the Beloved Community curriculum - a four week Lenten series focused on racial healing, reconciliation and justice, anchored by the five questions in our Baptismal Covenant. Please RSVP to Lisa and join us on Zoom.
Supporting Others...
You will, I am sure, be aware of the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and I am delighted that your Chapter have designated the Cathedral Counseling Center as this year’s Lenten charity. Many of you will know that the reason this organization is named ‘Cathedral’ is that it was created by St James in 1974, and for a number of years operated out of the cathedral as part of our own ministry. For a long time it has been an independent body based in the Loop, but continues to be faithful to its original mission to offer psychotherapy of the highest quality on a sliding fee scale basis.

In the five and a half years I have served St. James as Dean, my colleagues and I have referred a considerable number of people to Cathedral Counseling, and have done so in utter confidence of them receiving expert clinical support, irrespective of their financial/insurance situation. At a time of such increased anxiety across the face of the world, supporting Cathedral Counseling feels a deeply relevant and important outreach opportunity for us, and I hope you will use this Lent as a time to display the generosity that is so characteristic of the St. James community.

As we journey through what I hope are the final stages of the pandemic, may this Lent be a blessing and a true gift from God for you.

Your priest and friend,
Dominic Barrington
Dean of the Cathedral