An article for The Cathedral Times
by Liz Aull, Program Coordinator for Membership and Stewardship
I tell people all the time how I ended up as a member of the Cathedral. In my late twenties, I went to a service, knowing that it was big enough that I could sit in the back, hear a decent sermon, take communion, and sneak out without ever talking to anyone. Almost twenty-four years later, I generally sit in the first third of the pews with my husband that I met at the Cathedral, and our son who has only ever known the Cathedral as his church home. I have been a volunteer in some capacity during most of those years, and I am now on my second paid position as a staff member. The Cathedral hooked me in, and I dearly love my job as the program coordinator for membership and stewardship.
One of the things I love most about the Cathedral is how accessible it is to people who might not be familiar with the nuances of the Episcopal Church, or even know how to find the sanctuary from the parking lot. Our accessibility – our desire to draw the circle wider – is one of the reasons I choose to give to the Cathedral.
In the Atrium and Gould Room, now that we are getting past covid, you can find a cup of coffee, tea, or ice water. Volunteers in Cathedral-branded green aprons greet everyone as they walk in. Our highly skilled and friendly security guard Dereck maintains his post at the information desk to ensure that everyone is safe and they can figure out where they want to go on the Cathedral’s 13-acre campus. All of those details are important – and come out of the operating budget. And that’s just in the Atrium. We haven’t even made it to the nave yet.
This next part really has come to be one of the things about the Cathedral that means the most to me. The bulletins. If you have spent any time in an Episcopal church, you have undoubtedly navigated the 1982 Hymnal, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Bible. Is that hymn #127 or hymn #S127? (There’s a big difference!) We start on page 355 of the BCP on regular Sundays, but page 299 on a Baptism Sunday. Are we using Eucharistic Prayer A or B or the Star Wars version? (Hint – that’s Eucharistic Prayer C found on page 369. Look it up. It’s fun and holy and beautiful.) The Cathedral puts the time, effort, staff, and resources into making services accessible and easy to follow for anyone who shows up. Anyone and everyone. The bulletins give the congregation everything they need to participate fully in the service, without the stress of possibly loudly dropping a book while trying to lower a kneeler.
While I, of course, sometimes forget to give thanks for these blessings, I do remember them in both my prayers and my pledge. There are lines in our operating budget for all these details, which allow us to create a warm, welcoming environment for all who set foot here. I give because I want everyone to experience the love, joy, acceptance, and peace I find here.