From your Dean
What are your sincerely held religious beliefs?

As you may be aware, members of military have a vaccine mandate. They can also apply for a religious exemption. The exemption is based on an individual's “sincerely held religious beliefs.” In other words, the request cannot be based on a person’s politics, philosophy, or even the position of the church or religious organization to which the person belongs. It has to do with that person’s beliefs. The first step in getting the exemption is talking to a chaplain. Though as a volunteer I do not have authority to help people make these applications, I have been part of conversations about this with other chaplains and active duty members of the Coast Guard. While there are some who see the religious exemption as an easy way out (and probably won't get through the application process), many are coming forward because of sincerely held religious beliefs, and are willing to put their careers (and pensions) on the line depending on whether or not their exemption is accepted.

While I don't agree with their conclusions about the vaccine, I admire the faith and the integrity of these people. Think about this for yourself. Do you have sincerely held religious beliefs – not political or philosophical positions or the position of your church but personal beliefs – for which you would be willing to pay that kind of price?

I had a small taste of this when my financial advisor – who had watched me advocate for St. Luke’s Socially Responsible Investment Policy – asked if I would be following the same goals with my personal investments. (I gulped, grieved the loss of high performing energy stocks, and said yes.) Perhaps a better example was when I officiated at gay marriages before they were officially approved by the Episcopal Church. I was very aware that with my actions I was putting my career and my family's livelihood at risk, disobeying my ordination vows (while also fulfilling them), and defining which congregations in the future would hire me and which would not.
(The same is true when I offer an “open table” for communion instead of welcoming those who were baptized – still the church's official teaching.) Blessed with supportive bishops, I never had to face real consequences for these things. I like to think I would have acted heroically but I am honestly not sure how I would have reacted if my faith and convictions had truly been put to the test.

Recently, my friends and colleagues at Hope Gate Way here in Portland showed exactly what they would do when that test became real. Just a few weeks ago – because of their choice to stand on the side on marriage equality and inclusion – their congregation was disaffiliated from the Methodist Church and their clergy's status as Methodist ministers was taken away. Those clergy friends did what some of the members of the military will do. They defined their sincerely held religious beliefs, held firm to them, and put everything else on the line. They maintained their faith and integrity regardless of the cost.

Could you, would you, do the same?
Sunday, September 19, 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 (in person)

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
Christian Education - week beginning 9/19/21
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 9/19. Click here to join. Sunday School is for K-4 graders. The story this week is the “Circle of the Church Year.” This is about the Church seasons and how they are ordered. Our craft will be making their own calendars for home. 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.
The Youth of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine will be meeting on Monday (9/20) from 7-8:30 pm. Youth grades 6-12 are welcome to join as we check-in and get to know one another and Christ. Please join using this link. FMI contact The Reverend Canon Sara D’Angio-White, Canon for Youth Ministry here.
 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 here 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. Register here.
A Newcomer’s group will begin this Sunday, September 19th at 9 am in the Resource Room on the Sunday School hallway. Join your cathedral clergy for a Newcomer’s class, using material from Welcome to the Episcopal Church, by Christopher Weber (participants are asked to order their own books). We will meet in the resource room on the lower level of the cathedral. All are welcome! The topic for September 19 will be “Telling our story”

Bob Hanson will be teaching a study group on “Our Hebrew Lord and Our Hebrew heritage: Our Lord's influences and accomplishments.” He describes the focus of this group as our Hebrew inheritance, our Jewish traditions, and the two “testaments” which are God’s recurring gifts to us each day. To accept this overwhelming gift from a loving and redeeming Father, in the face of our own admissions of unworthiness and spiritual fatigue, faces us with a favorite polemic of the Jews, ie, “yes, I am unworthy, but not so much so that I can refuse your generosity.” Judaism and Christianity are about one thing. Yes, one life-enhancing commitment: living vitally. For the Jew and the Christian the life lived within God’s grasp is a life lived- on every level- to the fullest. Jesus’ message was not one of caution, fear, withdrawal, or even piety. For two thousand years the Jews have demonstrated the vital life lived in God’s grasp. The Christian life model is the Jew, the Lord Jesus, giving his enormous insights, and his earthly strengths, to living fully, to giving fully, to forgiving fully. This study group will search the scriptures for new insights, pray iyh Jewish zeal, and experience God’s presence in the newly revived encounter with God’s ancient children. This group will begin after church at 11:30 on Sunday, October 3. Please contact Bob Hanson for more information here.

Is There Anything on your Mind? How’s that for a working title for a new group to start on Wednesday September 22 at 10 am? If you are interested, please show up in the upstairs Parish Hall to meet and decide on a focus for this group. We could discuss how everyone is doing, spirituality, grieving… come with your ideas and we will decide as a group. Eleanor+ will facilitate this group.
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

The Portland Rossini Club Concerts are back LIVE at St. Luke's after a long hiatus during covid. Please join them at 3:00 pm this Sunday, September 19 in the Cathedral Nave.

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.

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 !
Thursday, 09/16 - A day in the life ....
Happy Birthday, Albert Melton!
Thank you to Fred and Pat Fowler who brought a load of fill for the playground in the back yard. The confirmation class will gather tomorrow to repair the swingset, picnic table and clean up the play space. We appreciate all the hard work!
A visit from Tim and Jennifer Fitzpatrick of Falmouth, who were married here 25 years ago. They gifted us with this beautiful photo of the cathedral and beloved copper beech taken the day before their wedding. Many thanks - you can see this gorgeous photo in person in the upper hall entrance to the Nave.
Holiday Fair is Back!
Newcomer's Class begins September 19
in person at 9am
The Portland Rossini Club returns to St. Luke's this Sunday
Concert at 3:00 pm
Living Stones Reminder
Our Living Stones Capital Campaign is complete & we are so grateful for your generosity. We'd like to remind all donors that their names will appear on a plaque for the nave. Please check the bulletin board outside the parish office to see that your name appears correctly for the plaque. Thank you!
Outreach focus for September
St. Elizabeth's Pantry
Adult Winter Coat Drive for St. Elizabeth's begins!
 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.