A Note from Melinda

I write this from my upstairs guest room-cum-home office, listening to Luke playing downstairs and policing my dog from barking at the myriad walkers in our neighborhood. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar scenario, working from home, maybe with kids and pets; perhaps you find yourself at home unable to visit loved ones. Indeed, this season is already coming with a legion of challenges and questions, anxieties and stresses, and it is only beginning.

"When Jesus spoke about God, he always spoke about God as being where and when we are...God is not someone who was or will be, but the one who is, and who is for me in the present moment," writes Henri Nouwen. God is where we are; this season of Lent is about remembering the One who walked the way of suffering with us. God is present in the here and now, inviting us to a new way of being and thinking and doing in this season.

During this season, the Cathedral is working to be present to you and create opportunities for human connection. We are offering several types of video conferencing opportunities and digital worship; we are exploring the use of other platforms. Below you will find information about those opportunities, but much of it is still unfolding and all of it is experimental. We invite your suggestions and ideas. We also hope you will check your email often, as we will be increasing our use of e-news--not to inundate you, but to stay in connection with you. We also hope you will subscribe to the diocesan newsletter and Facebook pages (see below), which will provide more worship resources and ongoing updates.

The God who is Relationship- Creator, Son, and Spirit- has not ceased being that in this season, and though we must invent new ways of being in human relationship, we will endeavor to do all we can to foster real human connection through this isolating and anxious time. You are in my prayers. Please reach out to one another, please reach out if you are in need, please accept the invitations below to new forms of community.

In the name of the One who is present in the now,

For Sunday, March 22, 2020: The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Collect of the Day
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Throughout this season, we are going to be offering some form of Sunday worship digitally. This Sunday, March 22, Bishop Sean, Dean Melinda, and Parish Associate Craig Dressler will be offering worship online. We will send an email directing you where to find the online service. We invite you to continue checking both the Cathedral of St. Paul and Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern PA Facebook pages for the most up-to-date information, as well as to check your email for e-news updates.

Additionally, we will be posting other kinds of worship material to Facebook and a variety of resources can be found on our website. The Cathedral also has a YouTube Channel and we will be uploading videos occasionally.

While we are not meeting in person regularly, we would urge you to continue giving to the Cathedral through our online giving program. Many of you already give this way, but if this is not your habit, we encourage you to explore this option. We want to be able to meet our bills, address any new issues arising from current circumstances, and pay our staff during this time, so we appreciate your continued generosity.
The Nunc Dimittis (from the end of Compline service),
sung by Lisa Layman, Brent Weber and Margaret Andraso

Compline is the final Office or set of prayers at the end of the day. We pray for protection and peace through the night. A few singers from the Cathedral Choir recorded a Lenten Compline service in our Chapel. The full service will be available soon, but here is the Nunc dimittis or Song of Simeon, with the following antiphon surrounding it: Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. You may find An Order for Compline at bcponline.org on page 127.

“The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end. Amen.”
During this season when so many things are digital, we are concerned to make sure all in our Cathedral community are connected. We know that we do not have emails for everyone- and that some people do not have email.  If you know of someone who is not getting information please let us know. Send an email to AJ Noyes at ajcnoyes@gmail.com or call the office and leave a message at (814) 452.3779.
During this time the office is closed. All staff are checking email and phone messages on a very regular basis, but we ask your patience as we are discovering how to live into this new reality. We are available by email:
As we figure out how to be church in a time of social distancing and difficulty, we are exploring a variety of digital options. We will continue to post to Facebook, but we will also be engaging a platform for group video conferencing called Zoom. With Zoom, folks are able to use video or phone to be part of the conversation. 

Here are two invitations:

1) In this time of disconnection from church, we want to be sure and remain in relationship. To that end, we are inviting people to join small groups that will meet via Zoom. We will have group leaders who will guide discussion on the lectionary texts for the week, and Dean Melinda will drop into each group periodically. The groups are also for connection and support, too; another way for us to get to know one another better. 
If you are interested, we invite you to fill out this doodle poll HERE so we can put people in small groups based on time availability. Please put in your name and check the dates that work best for you. We will then tally the data and email groups the details. **Please respond to the poll no later than March 25.**

2) We are going to offer two open Zoom calls each week (beginning next week) just for connecting and checking in. One will be Tuesdays at 11 am and one will be Thursdays at 6:30 pm. A coffee break and a happy hour, if you will. Drop in as you desire. Without our usual office connections and dinners out, book clubs and happy hours, we want to offer you a space to relax with others and get to know one another in new ways.

Below are invitations to the calls. We will be sending out and invitation each time. If you are using your computer or a video, just click the hyperlink. If you are using a phone, dial the number under "One tap mobile" and follow the instructions.

For Tuesday, March 24 at 11am Coffee Break:  
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 114 935 588

One tap mobile if you plan to call in on a landline or just use your cell phone as a phone, call: +19292056099,,114935588# US (New York)

For Thursday, March 26 at 6:30 pm Happy Hour: 
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 352 173 203

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,352173203# US (New York)

If these explorations do not work out, we will try new things. We also welcome your ideas.
Food Pantry
We are committed to continuing the food pantry distribution on Friday mornings as long as we are allowed by the authorities. If you would be willing to be on a back-up list to volunteer in the coming weeks please send an email to Cass at cathpaul@cathedralofstpaul.org.
The food pantry operates from 9:30 am to noon but volunteers may be needed to help set up as early at 8 am.

When emailing, please indicate the Friday(s) you may be available as well as times of availability. While we appreciate your interest in helping, please do not volunteer if your health is in any way compromised. We will contact volunteers when needed. Thank you!
A Faithful Response, Grounded in Christian Hope
Diocesan News | March 18, 2020

Earlier today in a video conversation with clergy of the partnership, Bishop Sean announced that the suspension of in-person worship will extend at least through Holy Week and Easter. His decision follows Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's March 17 request that in-person public worship, including Holy Week and Easter services, be suspended. Read the entire newsletter HERE

We strongly urge you to subscribe to the weekly Diocesan newsletter so you will have the most recent information on this ever-evolving situation. Subscribe HERE.
Links to Prayer and Spirituality
Shorter form of Daily Prayer
Lectionary readings
Choral Evensong
Luther Seminary's Bible and resource guide
The Madness continues. Lent Madness, that is...
Voting has completed for the Round of 32 and, as you can see, this is still a tight competition - especially because correct answers are now worth two points in the Saintly Sixteen. If you would like to follow the action more closely, feel free to join the Facebook group (Lent Madness from Erie's Lent Madness Chapel).
Tuesday evenings in Lent on Zoom
Discussions on the Divine Dance will resume this Tuesday, via Zoom video/phone conferencing. We have moved all the readings one week later and will now finish the first week of April. A link will be sent out via email; if you already received an email regarding Divine Dance and Zoom, you will receive the link. If you would like to be on the list, please email Melinda at deanmelindahall@gmail.com
Pastoral Concerns
During this time, our pastoral team is available for phone conversations. Please do not hesitate to reach out by calling (814) 314.9439. 

Additionally, as we have no bulletins, we are currently remembering in prayer:  

Amanda, Andrew, Ann, Aubrey, Barb, Becky, Beverly, Brandon D., Brandon, Brent, Brian, Brigit, Bruce, Carol, Chris and Mary, Chuck, Cody, Dave, Debbie, Doug, Dustin, Ed, the family of Katie and Dani, Frank, Fred, Gail, Helen, Jamie, Janet, Jay, Jayden, Jean, Jeff, Jeffrey, Jenny, Jeremy, Jerry, Jim, Joan, Joanne, Jodie J., Joe, John, Jonny, Joyce, Julie, Kandice, Kay, Larry, Laura, Linda, Lisa, Logan, Lou, Lucia and Tim, Makayla L., Margaret, Maria, Marilyn, Mark J., Meg, Mel, Merrill, Mila, Nadia, Natalie L., Niken, Paul, Paul B., Polly, Randy, Renie, Robert, Rosemary, Ryan, Sandra, Scott, Sheila, Stan, Susan, Theresa, Thom.

Only first names are included for the sake of greater privacy. Please let AJ Noyes know if you wish to have a name added to the list and also when to remove it. You are also welcome to ask the Clergy to pray about matters that you prefer remain private and confidential.
Vigil for Immigrant Children - Online
In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, we will hold the remaining Friday Lenten Immigration vigils as a virtual prayer community.
On Friday, March 20 at 12:15 pm, visit  https://www.eriebenedictines.org/bfp for an audio recording of the prayer service, prayer materials, and information on advocacy calls to your senators. 

Please join us online this Friday at 12:15pm, or at your convenience, to continue to pray through Lent for justice for immigrants. 
A Prayer
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.  

(Janey Morley)