From Your Dean
“I am not doing this because the church is dying but because the church is being reborn.” “I am doing this because I believe the world needs the Good News of Jesus Christ and I believe that the Episcopal Church, and in particular St. Luke’s Cathedral can present this in a way that will reach people other churches cannot.”
These were my words to the first meeting of St. Luke’s Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday night. After reflecting on scriptures such as Habakkuk 2:2, Luke 14:28, Matthew 6:33 and Jeremiah 19:7, I shared with them my vision that St. Luke’s will be the “church of choice” in Portland and a leader in the Diocese of Maine. I reminded them that as the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, we are have a dual identity and purpose: as a cathedral for the diocese/city and state and a church for our members.

I then shared St. Luke’s mission “to restore all people in unity with God and each other in Jesus Christ” and talked about how we do this through our ministries of Worship, Spiritual Formation (education for all ages), Inreach (fellowship and pastoral care), and Outreach (evangelism and service to others). 

We talked about the reality of decline in the Mainline churches, how old ways of being church were no longer working, how Covid has cracked us open, and how these are opportunities for new life.
Members of the group then shared their hopes and dreams for St. Luke's and for the Strategic Plan. As you read them, I encourage you to think about your own. If you would like to share them, please send them Dan McDonald or me.
Hopes and Dreams

That we would become a mecca for spiritual seekers, especially with music and arts, with enormous vocabulary for God.

Jesus has a home on State Street – put a grill out front and invite people!

Let this all percolate, listen.

I hope this process uses my gifts and experience.

That we would be who we are, be authentic. Tell people.

Remember we are “people of the book” (The Prayer Book). Use this tool to empower ministry.

That we would live into a new reality, grow into it.

We have a tremendous tool box. Use it, embrace it.

That we would be the hands and feet of Jesus in Portland and our neighborhood.

That we would be a presence and force in the city.

That we would live our mission to the city and state.

That we have the faith and courage to enact and do what we plan. If not now, when?

That we would be a community meeting place, offer/model Christianity without talking about Jesus too much. Jesus movement isn’t my thing.

Preach the social gospel more. With courage. Do the right thing regardless of what people think.

We have a product to sell. Our job is to sell it

Practice radical hospitality. Throw out traditional boundaries. Try something new. Live up to the model.

God means a lot to me. So does St. Luke’s.

Open the doors. Unlock them! Give a sense of freedom and access.

Reflect the greater community of Portland, with diversity, different worship styles, activities etc.

Foster connections with others. Relationships draw me, keep me.

We are not reaching seekers and non-Jesus folks. Open ourselves to them.

Think “house church” and “home church” –church without needing a building.

Convince Portland we are relevant and useful – outreach and sacred space.

Have a process, a facilitator in place to keep us on track and avoid problems. Enjoy the process.

Ask what the church is for.

That we would be a place people can encounter God even if they don’t believe in God. (We put it backwards, expecting people to believe first.

Have a passion for open doors, passion for justice, passion for beauty. Be a place people want to come.

Remember our diocesan and state wide mission.

Have the doors open. Accessible for everyone. Practice radical hospitality.

Speak without religious vernacular.

Relationships are key, draw out gifts of others (everyone has gifts!)

Physical structure is a barrier. Overcome it. Fix it.

Keep Sunday morning worship. But how does that get in the way?

How do we invite / allow discussions?

Use more inclusive language yet keep traditional comfort language. Don’t throw baby out with bathwater. Gender needs to be updated.

Celebrate differences more. Truly welcome and include others.
Scheduling events at the Cathedral
Great news - we are busy here at St. Luke's! That said, it becomes more important than ever to schedule your meeting, rehearsal or event through the parish office to avoid scheduling conflicts, both online and in person.

 If you would like to have a meeting at the Cathedral, either in person, via ZOOM or a hybrid, please contact the parish office here. Thank you.
Sunday, September 26, 2021
National Cathedral worship on line at 11:15
Bulletins for all services are here.

7:30 Holy Eucharist (in person)

9:00: Newcomer's Group

10:00 Sunday School via Zoom
Click here to join us

10:00 Holy Eucharist (in person)
Click here for livestream. 

Lemonade Hour in the Cloister

5:15 Holy Eucharist (in person)
Christian Ed
Children and Youth
In consultation with the Cathedral and diocesan medical advisor, we have decided to begin providing childcare during the 10 am service, beginning in early October. With an expected fall COVID surge, we want to be certain we can safely open our nursery. Childcare is for babies to preschoolers.
Sunday School this week is at 10 am on Sunday 9/26. The link for Sunday school is here. Sunday School is for K-4 graders. The story this week is about “Creation.” Our craft will be about the 7 days of Creation. There will be a separate Sunday school program for 5th and 6th graders depending on interest. If you have a child in this age range who wishes to participate, please contact Sarah Dowling here.
St. Luke’s participates in a collaborative Youth Group which also includes: HopeGateway, State Street, Williston Immanuel, and Woodfords churches. This group is for 7th-12th graders. The Youth Group is currently in the process of hiring a leader, and we will update you as we get information.
A new Sacred Ground group is beginning soon. This is a facilitated ten session study group on race and racism. There will be an introductory meeting via Zoom on Thursday September 30 at 6:30 and Session One will meet on October 14. Click here to join. As there is limited enrollment, please contact Sarah Dowling prior to the introductory meeting, if you are interested in participating.

Funeral Planning: Have you thought about planning your funeral, but don’t know where to start? October 16 we will meet with information and forms to help you plan your funeral. Cathedral Clergy will be on hand to guide you; Albert Melton will be there to help you consider music; the Rev. Ted Gaiser, a priest and financial advisor, will attend to present how financial planning can be helpful in this area, and to answer questions that you have; and Priscilla Webster will provide information on the Memorial Garden and the Columbarium. This group will meet on October 16, in the Upper Parish Hall from 9 am - 12pm. To register, please email Eleanor Prior here.

A Newcomer’s group will meet this Sunday, September 26th at 9 am in the Chapter Room on the ground level. This group will be led by Cathedral clergy. If you are new to the Episcopal Church, to St. Luke’s, or just would like a refresher, you are most welcome.

The Judaism Seminar: Sessions begin on Sunday, October 3, right after the 10 am service. We have a threefold agenda: to decide when and where we’ll meet, to hear an overview of the upcoming sessions, to ask questions, and to receive seminar handouts, i.e., bibliography, chronologies, maps and key Hebrew terms. The presenter for these sessions will be the Reverend Dr. Bob Hanson. Why learn about our Lord’s influences, or what it might have been like bring raised in an occupied country constantly at war? Even more important, what must it have been like living in a covenanted community where one worshipped a single God surrounded by peoples worshipping many Gods? And why did God choose these wandering Hebrews in the first place? Who were Jesus ancestors and where did they come from? And out of all the chaos surrounding Jesus in the first century, C.E., how did these ancient peoples develop an ethical monotheism unique in world history…even until today? What mysteries did Jesus celebrate that we don’t know about, and why do God’s names account for how God acts? Did Jesus know a God different from the one we know? What are the forces the Hebrew people brought to this world that have distinguished them as a unique people, account for their longevity, and that remain guideposts for a developing free societies even today? The whole of Judaism is and revolves around the content of the Tanakh, what we call the Old Testament, can we say something similar about our holy books? What did Jesus possess as a Jew that Christians don’t possess as Christians?   Join us in these sessions as we become more familiar with our ancestors and their many gifts.

Grief and Hope Group: This new group is meeting the second Wednesday of the month at 10 am in the Upper Parish Hall. At our first meeting of this newly forming group we decided to focus on grief: experienced grief, anticipated grief, our stories around grief, and where and how we find hope. This is a time to share our stories, strengthen old connections, and make new connections. The next meeting will be a hybrid. Zoom link here if you would like to attend that way: Eleanor+ facilitates this group. Please contact her here if you have any questions or thoughts.
More Fall offerings

Contemplative Prayer -We meet via Zoom at 4:30 pm on Thursdays. Click here to join us.

Evening Compline We meet online Monday - Friday at 8:00 pm. Join our evening compline service via ZOOM
Monday & Wednesday, led by Tom and Emma Flinn, Tuesday & Thursday, led by Jon Radtke
Friday, led by Ray Davis Murdoch Curry

Taizé returns on Wednesday, October 13 (Please note new date). We meet on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, gathering at 5:30 pm with the service at 5:45 pm. World Too Beautiful is set to return this fall as well - More info to come.

Portland Rossini Club Concerts are back LIVE at St. Luke's after a long hiatus during covid. The next concert is slated for for Sunday, October 17 at 3:00 pm.

Choral Evensong returns Sunday, November 7 at 4:00 pm .

Kneeler Guild and Prayer Shawl Ministry
Come Thursday afternoons 2-4 pm in the Upper Hall. Safe working space, wear masks, everyone is vaccinated. Meet old & new friends. Supplies and instruction available. We have been meeting since Covid began, it helped us get through the hard times. Come join us, bring a project from home, if you are not sure what you want to do.
Click here to see some of our kneelers:

Stay tuned for more offerings !
Confirmands help with playground cleanup
On Sunday the confirmands and mentors had a great time connecting and improving our playground under the generous leadership of Fred Fowler. 

We are currently making plans to build a new picnic table, confirmands and young neighbors at Rosa True together, and to have a barbecue!
From the Haiti Committee
Looking ahead in October, the Haiti-Maine Partnership Committee will be hosting two Zoom events on Tuesday evenings. This is an opportunity for everyone in our community that is curious and would like to deepen their understanding of the political and economic realities of our neighbors to the south. All are welcome, we look forward to seeing you on zoom!
Guest Speaker, Canon Serena Beeks from the diocese of Los Angles and Partnership Coordinator in Haiti will talk to us about the current state of affairs in Haitian Episcopal schools and parishes and resources available in Haiti at this time. This event is on Tuesday, October 5 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Please email Karin Draper ahead of time with any particular question you might have for Canon Beeks, subject Canon Beeks
A book study begins on Tuesday evening, October 12 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. We will meet every other week for four sessions. The book is  Haiti, The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois.  This text is highly recommended by Canon Beeks and others.  Some copies of the book will be available to borrow at the Cathedral. Please email Meredith Cough to sign up and/or reserve a book, subject Book Study.
Holiday Fair
Outreach focus for September
St. Elizabeth's Pantry
Adult Winter Coat Drive for St. Elizabeth's
 Questions? Please contact Martha Parshley here.

(Donations can be left in the lower vestibule at 134 Park Street or contact us if you prefer to have your donation picked up.)
Colder temps are around the corner. Many of our neighbors come from warmer climates and are not prepared for Maine’s fall and winter temperatures. Let’s help them feel welcome.
* Do you, or someone you know, have an extra winter coat, no longer being used?
* Could you purchase a used winter coat from Goodwill, the Freeport Community Services Thrift Shop, or a consignment store? 
* Would you consider purchasing a winter coat from Walmart, Sam's Club, or another store?
* Perhaps make a donation for the purchase of a coat?
Large and extra large sizes for both men and women are most needed. 
All coats must be clean and in good condition.  
World Too Beautiful Returns to St. Luke's
Wednesday, November 3 - Save the Date!

“What is World Too Beautiful?” you ask? It’s a monthly service that uses liturgy, personal reflections, silence, photographs and the achingly beautiful Native American-style music of Kevin Reams to celebrate God as the creative energy that flows in and through the natural world. Join us in person or via Zoom beginning again November 3. Stay tuned for link.