An article for the Cathedral Times
by Dean Sam Candler
I love Sunday visitors to the Cathedral! It is fun to linger with visitors after services, even when so much is occurring around us. Children and adults, both, are rushing to classes. Then, it is gratifying to have visitors return to our community worship.
But visitors who have been to other churches sometimes ask a curious question about the Cathedral of St. Philip. “Where is your coffee hour?” They ask. It’s true. The Cathedral only occasionally stops our Sunday activity to enjoy a large coffee hour. Instead, after the 8:45 service, we are walking to classes (where good coffee is served!). And, after the 11:15 service, towards 1:00, people are off to appointments and lunch.
Where, then, is the Cathedral Coffee Hour? The answer is easy. We take our coffee hour on Saturdays. And we take much more than an hour for it. Saturdays at the Cathedral are given over to the Cathedral Farmers Market, when the entire parking lot is packed, local farmers and vendors are providing good and nourishing food, music is playing, children are playing, dogs are pulling away from their owners. People are dressed, oh so casually, and the Cathedral community is alive with conversation.
Yes, the Cathedral Farmers Market is also the grand Cathedral Coffee Hour. One does not have to drink coffee to enjoy the fellowship, the conversation, the community. It is a time for us to relax and enjoy each other. Furthermore, that community consists of far more than our official membership. Saturdays represent our ministry and hospitality to the wider community. That wider community is, indeed, part of the Cathedral community. That’s why we call it the “Peachtree Road Farmers Market” (though its official business name remains the “Cathedral Farmers Market”).
I loved our Holy Week walking. With you, we walked on Palm Sunday around the church and then into the Nave. We walked twice on Maundy Thursday, once up for the foot washing and then again to the altar rail for the observance of the first Last Supper. On Good Friday, we watched the Cross of Christ being walked up the altar. On Easter, of course, we walked back to the street, to Peachtree Road so early in the morning to watch the glorious New Fire of Easter.
But our walking continues. It continues into Saturdays, and into the warm community of the Cathedral Farmers Market. Hey! The walking now continues even into Wednesday evenings. Again, while other churches might try to have parish hall Wednesday night dinners, our Wednesday night dinners again make graceful use of the Cathedral Farmers Market. Many of the same Saturday vendors are back on Wednesdays, providing our family meals – and, again, giving us as a Cathedral the opportunity to gather in community.
Walk with us throughout the year! Yes, the Sunday walks are critical. And so are the Saturday morning walks, and the Wednesday evening walks. In Christ, we are walking together, serving God and the world.
The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip