The Deacon’s Corner: February 2018

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”–Psalm 139: 23-24

Unfortunately, like my previous attempts at committing to New Year’s resolutions, I too often entered into the season of Lent with good intentions, “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP, page 265.)  I’d get a week or two into the approximate 6 week season and either get too busy at work, focus on projects around the house or more often than not come to the realization I just wasn’t committed enough.  In retrospect, I believe my intentions were genuine but I failed to have a plan of daily activities of study and prayer that could sustain me.  I ran across the above verses from Psalm 139 and am using them as a daily reminder of the commitment I’m undertaking this Lenten season.  There are certainly numerous other readings from Scripture that are just as appropriate but this is what I’ve chosen for 2018.

I mention this because I don’t think I’m unique with the struggle of maintaining a consistent habit of prayer and reflection.  I’m certainly better at it than I used to be and it’s because I’ve worked hard at incorporating the discipline of prayer and study on a daily basis through praying the Daily Office.  This year we have the opportunity to engage the process of self-examination and intentional reflection through the use of the booklet entitled Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, A Lenten journey for the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane that Bishop Rehberg graciously made available.  If you didn’t receive one of the booklets this past weekend, I’d encourage you to register at http://www.meetingjesusinjohn.org and begin receiving the daily emails which include a brief video and suggestions for how to pray the verse each day.  Another option is provided by the clergy of Washington National Cathedral who will offer daily meditations during Lent to encourage thoughtful reflection and contemplation.  The cathedral’s website is www.cathedral.org.

It just makes inherent sense that if we are to more fully appreciate the joy of Easter we need to encounter the realities of our existing relationships with God and our neighbor.  We can use this time to honestly examine our lives in light of God’s Word and, with God’s help, make a commitment to change.  Lent is an opportunity for us to separate from the world and all the noise and distractions it throws at us.  Those of us that commit to this journey through lent will no doubt enter the Easter season with an increased appreciation for who God is and the life altering reality of the cross and empty tomb.  Let’s journey together, one day at a time, through the next 6 weeks with a willingness to be open to hear what God has to say to us and how this time of journeying together changes who we are individually and as a community of faith.

Peace,
Dave

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Better Know a Parishioner: Katherine Karr-Cornejo

Your name and what you do in Spokane?

Katherine Karr-Cornejo. I’m a professor in the World Languages and Cultures department at Whitworth (the reason we moved to Spokane in the first place) and my time is divided between that work, my home life, and church stuff. My work at Whitworth involves teaching, service, and research in my academic discipline (Latin American literature); at home, I treasure my spouse, my cat, and my books; and at church, I love worship and trying to figure out what God is calling us to be together as a community.

I love reading! Generally I prefer fiction, and within that, speculative fiction, but I’m willing to try all sorts of things. I’m working on being OK with not finishing books that don’t speak to me in the moment. It’s a challenge. I also enjoy doing yoga by myself, I love cooking, and playing some video games.

What is your history at St. John’s Cathedral, and the Episcopal Church at large?

I was raised in the Episcopal church – my mother’s religious roots are Baptist and Congregationalist, and my father’s are Episcopalian. I loved singing in choir as a child, which was an important Christian formation experience. I was baptized when I was in high school, and confirmed in college – which was a wonderful opportunity to deepen my understanding of the Christian tradition and my own place within it. I love singing in church, and at St John’s I love joining my voice with others every week praising God.

I came to St John’s in 2012 when we moved to Spokane from the East Coast, after having done internet research on the different Episcopal churches in the area. Many individuals, both at St John’s and in the Diocese, have been instrumental in inviting me into ministry in ways that I would have never thought possible. I’ve been stretched in my notion of myself, as God through our community has challenged me to offer my gifts in the service of the Gospel – or at least, I am trying.

There are many things that I love about the Episcopal church. I love that we welcome questions and doubts. I love that we take liturgy seriously and do it to the best of our ability. I love that we embrace mystery. I love that we embrace intellectual inquiry – we are all, in our way, theologians! I love that we take the Bible seriously. I love that we do our best to seek and serve Christ in all persons. I love the musical traditions of Anglicanism, and its global scope. I love that doctrine is not a bat to shut down conversation. I love that we hear the Word of God all over the place. I love the language of inclusion that has become ever more naturalized as I’ve grown older. I love that I can see myself – and people different from me – in church leadership. I love that I have never had to question whether I am a beloved child of God.

What ministries at St. John’s are you most passionate about?

Christian Formation! We are all continually being shaped by our experiences of God and the world, and my experience of God in Christ stirs me to respond by wanting to know more and help others to know more. I have always loved learning things, and I’ve always loved sharing what I learned with others. A natural progression from that is teaching – which, unintentionally, has become a bit of a vocation for me. God calls us into relationship, and part of that relationship is learning more about God’s self, the Scriptures, our history and tradition, and frameworks for understanding the world in which we live today. I am very excited that our congregation as a body has expressed a desire for greater Christian formation opportunities, and I look forward to what the future holds for our growth in Christ.

I understand the desire for knowledge of God to be a natural response to our created nature, and to the multitude of gifts with which God blesses us. How can we not want to know more? One of the treasures of our tradition is that we are invited to deepen our understanding while at the same time embracing uncertainty and ambiguity. The church is the one place in my life where ambiguity and certainty can coincide. I know in my bones, and have known my entire life, of the reality of the Risen Christ. What happens in the Eucharist? For me, it’s a mystery. And I find that ambiguity deeply satisfying.

What is one thing you’d like to know more about at St. John’s?

What are we doing to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I know what my own personal commitments are, but I am sure that collectively we are doing much more!

 

Formation Everywhere!

By Katherine Karr-Cornejo

When you hear Christian Formation, what images come to you? A Sunday School classroom? A Wednesday evening lecture? A film discussion? LEGO creations?

All of this is Christian Formation, but formation is so much more than those opportunities. God is forming us through our participation in worship, through our conversations at coffee hour, through the work we do, the play we enjoy, and the relationships we build.

We are being formed as Christians constantly!

What ministry is God calling you into? How are you being formed through those ministries?

The Education and Youth Committee of the Cathedral will be reaching out to formal ministries of the Cathedral in the coming months to ask this question and to find out ways that we can come alongside and equip people in ministry at the Cathedral to deepen their knowledge of God where they are called to be: to be formed! We look forward to these conversations, and hope that together we can strengthen the flourishing of our knowledge of Christ and our service to Christ.

Children and Youth Formation during Lent

By Lucas Kulhanek-Arenas

As we immerse ourselves into Lent, our children and youth ministry programming shifts focus.

Normally during this season, we are called to give something up as a reflection of our penitence to Christ and remembering Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert.

I would like to encourage an alternative way of observing Lent, taking on a new practice to enrich your faith. Our children and youth ministries will be taking on new observances by serving Christ in others through action and live into our identity as members of the Jesus movement.

Each Sunday morning, children and youth are invited to join us for pretzel making at 9 am. I’m currently looking for volunteers to assist with the program since I will be busy at the 9 am Family Service. Making pretzels is a great fellowship activity and way for us to raise money for donation to Episcopal Migration Ministries – an organization that works with “affiliate partners to provide refugees with the information and services they require to thrive in their new communities.”

Children’s Illustrated Ministries: A Family Journey Through Lent is a resource filled with devotionals, activity sheets and coloring pages for families to use together through Lent. This packet has seven weeks of family devotions that are simple, but meaningful. The seven devotions are based on Gospel readings for the lectionary. Each devotion includes a brief reflection, discussion questions, an activity, and a prayer for each week. They will be available shortly. Please contact Lucas if you’re interested in a copy. You can also find them on the little table as you exit the Welcome Center into the hallway of Jewett House.

During Lent, St. John’s Youth Group will focus on being a follower of Jesus and serving Christ through others.

One of the ways in which we will serve will include an evening when we will go to Cup of Cool Water to learn about the organization and assist at the facility. This organization focuses on “walk[ing] alongside youth who are homeless. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, [they] build healthy relationships, provide services, and disciple street youth. [Cup] provide[s] a safe, peaceful space where youth can experience a respite from street culture.”

Volunteering at this organization is one of the many ways in which we can give back to our greater Spokane community.

Also during Lent, we will gather at West Central Episcopal Mission (which serves those in need in the West Central neighborhood) to serve. We will be guided in cleaning the facilities and serving the organization in any way they need assistance. This may occur on a Sunday instead of a Wednesday evening.

Young Eagles will also have the opportunity to serve at the Cathedral and potentially at other organizations such as West Central Episcopal Mission. Instilling service learning in our youngest members prepares them for a life of thoughtful inquiry and encountering God in hands-on ministry.

The Promise, A Lenten family service of joyful noise, will begin at 9 am in All Saint’s Chapel on Sundays beginning February 18th. This is a unique, welcoming Eucharist with energetic participation and an interactive liturgy especially suited for families with small children. This service lasts half an hour.

Our youngest members will be busy with serving our St. John’s Cathedral family and Spokane!

Matthew 25:35-36 says, “for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and youth clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We will be living into our identity as members of the Jesus Movement and as Christians. We will strive to look for Christ and serve him in others.

Formation happenings in Lent at the Cathedral

By Katherine Karr- Cornejo

Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John

Have you ever wished to deepen your relationship with God? To experience a warm friendship with God? Maybe even fall in love with God – again – or for the very first time?

From 9:15-10:15 each Sunday in Lent (February 18-March 18), you are invited to enter into the Gospel of John in conversation in our community. We will pray, learn, and listen together as we seek greater knowledge of God and our relationship with the divine and one another. While we encourage participants to attend every week and to engage in the spiritual discipline of the journal during the week, all are welcome – for one Sunday or all Sundays, for mostly group work or exclusively individual reflection.

Presiding Bishop Curry invites us into Lenten conversation.

Thanks to the generosity of the Diocese, we are all invited into this Lenten offering from the Society of St John the Evangelist. Prayer journals are available at no cost at the Cathedral; free printable versions of the journals are available here.

Questions? Contact Kristi Philip or Katherine Karr-Cornejo

Everyday Holiness

Mark your calendars for our annual Lenten Wednesday series! This year, our theme is “Everyday Holiness.” Lent is often a time in which we seek out a discipline to practice – to give something up, to take on something new. In this series, we hope to cultivate an understanding of the concept of holiness and the way it can apply to our lives in this place and in this time. Please join us!

The schedule every Wednesday is as follows:

  • 5:30pm — Eucharist
  • 6:15pm — Soup Supper – watch for soup/salad/bread sign ups!
  • 7pm-8pm — Program

Childcare provided upon request

February 21: Come hear from Dr. Joy Milos CSJ, Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University as she teaches us What is Holiness?

February 28: The Rev. Canon Kristi Philip, Interim Vicar of the Cathedral, will speak on The Practice of Hospitality

March 7: Kathy Finley, Teacher, Author, and Spiritual Director, will share from her recent work Savoring God: God in the Midst of the Ordinary

March 14: Our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gretchen Rehberg, will teach us about The Rhythm of Prayer

March 21: We welcome Rabbi Elizabeth Goldstein, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University and Rabbi to the Jewish Community of the Palouse as she educates us on The Practice of Sabbath

Questions? Contact Kristi Philip or Katherine Karr-Cornejo

Questions about the meal? Contact Dave Walker

 

TEC 12 Homily

This homily is from the 12th Annual Teens Encounter Christ retreat weekend, given by Katherine Davis of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, a partner church with the Cathedral for this event.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It almost seems ironic to use a prayer talking of never ending ventures when summarizing the END of a retreat weekend. Yet to me, the end of TEC always seems more like a page break then a definite end.

Before I continue, I should introduce myself. My name is Katherine. I am 17 years old, almost 18 if that counts for anything. I am a senior at Lewis and Clark High School. And before you ask I have no idea what I’m doing next year. My favorite literary genre is 19th Century British Literature. I like going to bed early. I am attempting to learn how to ski. And I just happen to be a Lutheran.

My religion has always been much more of a singular character trait then an overall personality. When meeting someone new, I never start the conversation with a summary of my opinions of the bible. When it comes to worship, I fall on the quieter end of the spectrum, often wondering if I am more religious or spiritual. Maybe that is why I enjoy TEC so much. When I walk into this building I am more than just a Lutheran. I am a story. I am a collection of words and pictures. A chaotic mess of things I have been and things I will be. I am empowered by the questions I ask and the stories I tell.

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The hardest part of leaving TEC is going to be saying goodbye to a tradition that has introduced me to one of the best communities in the world. To some of the most amazing stories in the world. TEC has introduced me to some amazing people. When I look at them I see, musicians, artists, fighters, athletes, actors, and dreamers. I see a collection of very proud Nintendo switch owners. I see choir nerds, band geeks, and jazz fanatics. I see the leaders of tomorrow and the change makers of today. I see people who support one another and share god’s love. The end, makes time see rather finite.

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Time, is a very funny thing. It seems to have the ability to move entirely too fast, and entirely too slow at the same time. My first TEC I remember thinking that the student leaders were practically adults who had their lives figured out. Now, my friends and I are the student leaders who are supposed to have their lives figured out. Yet, I still feel like the freshman who stumbled into St. John’s Cathedral so many years ago. In some ways I still feel like the child sitting in preschool at St. Marks Church. In this instance time is an Olympic sprinter, forcing me to move rapidly forward into the great unknown. Of course, there is a flip side to every coin. There have been times when a day felt like a lifetime. When the future is terrifying not because of the uncertainty but because it seems to be a lifetime away. In this instance, time is a slug inching down the sidewalk, forcing me to think. Perhaps time is most terrifying because it signifies an end. As Alan Watts would say, “life implies death, or rather death implies life.” We trust, that at the end of this life, there will be something. It is incredibly difficult to trust something you cannot see. Yet, and I will say this again and again, the opposite of faith is certainty. Faith is the ultimate form of trust, in yourself, in others, and in Christ. This faith can stem from the style of god in churches, or mosques, or synagogues. This faith can stem from the natural world, the infinite universe. But again and again, it comes back to us. This being said, our time on earth will run out. The alternating pattern between Olympic sprinter and sidewalk slug will stop. The sun will stop burning. And when we are reunited with the father our tangible blessings will be useless. Relationships and experiences are the only eternal currency, and TEC and Christ has made us rich.

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TEC has an incredible power. It allows you to have faith in small things. It forces one to focus on being a blessing, something all of us can work on. Most of religion is learning how to walk a fine line between faith and doubt. Life is much more enjoyable when one focuses on the small blessings God has given us. We focus on the big gifts, only to fall into despair when things fall apart. Yet there is a world of wonder behind every cheesy picture, every friend, every TEC talk, every raindrop, behind yourself. It is difficult to have faith in God, when you do not have faith in yourself.

I have always prided myself in my ability to collect my thoughts on paper, but when talking about TEC I am wordless. How do you describe something that changed your life. Something that has become a silent routine, and yet next year it will be gone. TEC has given me people and memories I will always treasure. I may not see God in a lot of the traditional places, but I do see him in people. People are walking miracles, gifts. I see God in Bee Movie parties, painting sessions, I see God huddled around the pool table in the basement of this Cathedral, and huddled together on the floor in front of the altar.

Faith makes things possible, love makes them easy.

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TEC has given me highest form of love, Agape.

Love is almost a horrible thing, isn’t it? It makes us vulnerable, and we hate being vulnerable. As soon as you open up your heart to someone you give them the chance to get inside and mess everything up. But then sometimes, love just… works. You meet someone and everything clicks and you can give them a piece of you and you grow. That is unconditional love, agape. TEC is full of people who know me, know my mistakes, and still love me. If that is not an act of God, I don’t know what is.

This is the basis of “love thy neighbor as thyself”

Even when love is great, it can have its side effects. It is going to hurt to say goodbye to TEC. The kind of hurt that spreads out from your chest and seems to rip you ribs apart. Perhaps that is why I have been talking for so long. Because when these words end, part of my TEC experience will be gone.

But, one must remember that the bedrock of this community, the people, will always exist. Our future achievements are deepened by those sitting in these pews, those who believe in us. We, together, are rays from heaven. Once created, now the creators. The Holden Farewell Prayer calls us to never ending adventures. The “end” of TEC is simply the end of a chapter, full of wisdom and tools for our future.  God is an artist, yet through him we paint our own futures and weave our own destinies. The end of TEC is the final brush stroke on a beautiful painting that has taken me four years to complete. No matter where you are on your masterpiece, the lesson remains the same, let Christ’s love spread through you onto the next blank canvas.

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Here, at TEC we have a little tradition. After talks we play a song. While the general message of the song is for everyone, I’d like to give a little shout out to my fellow seniors.

In times of trouble, I will always find my way back to you.

“Rivers and Roads” by The Head and The Heart

The Deacon’s Corner: January 2018

The Deacon’s Corner is a monthly feature written by The Rev. David Walker, Deacon at St. John’s Cathedral

“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10

The “Call of Samuel” is one of my all-time favorite portions of Scripture.  Samuel’s response, like Mary and the first disciples, were to unique calls from God in ways that speak to some deep trust of God that will thrust them into circumstances of uncertainty with little control of the outcome.  In comparison, I think I’m more like Moses, often times seeking ways to “put God off” or remind him that I don’t have the skill, energy or, you guessed it, trust, to respond “yes” to situations that appear out of my comfort zone or areas where I perceive I have strengths.

How are you being called?  How are you being stretched to experience new challenges and pushed to grow and learn?  Maybe you haven’t received a direct communication from God to try something new, but I suspect many of us have received a request from our friends, co-workers, fellow church and family members to help in areas that initially appear uncomfortable.  I remember being asked to help with Family Promise by Dean Ellis and not wanting to disappoint him, said yes.  I really didn’t want to do it but it is a long-standing ministry of the Cathedral and we’ve had such amazing and committed volunteers, I couldn’t say no.

I’m glad I said “yes.”  I’ve experienced getting to know my fellow parishioners better who volunteer, I’ve met some amazing families who are living in some level of crisis on a daily basis, I’ve learned that my ideas of homelessness and what constitutes chronic stress were understood from the lens of having a roof over my head, having choices regarding food and entertainment options and having employment that I both enjoyed and supported my family.  I’ve come to realize that I probably wasn’t a very compassionate person and by helping to provide a meal, some dinner table conversation and a quiet and clean place to sleep, my empathy and concern for the families we serve and with whom I help volunteer is changing who I am from the inside out.

So again, how are you being called?  What potential experiences are awaiting you that will transform your mind, heart and soul?  Maybe it’s with Family Promise or Windfall.  Maybe it’s challenging yourself to join with others from the congregation who are engaging opportunities for learning and spiritual formation through the Sunday Forms or Wednesday evening programs.  Maybe it’s through the Brotherhood of St. Andrew or weekly Bible study.  Maybe it’s just being more mindful of your next door neighbor.  I don’t know, but the joys of living into what God is nudging you towards can be nothing short of life altering.

From John’s Gospel for the 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany, Philip said to Nathanael, “Come and see.”  I invite you to do the same as God calls each of us to new experiences and insights that will transform our own lives and bring the Kingdom just that much closer.

Peace,

David