We sat around our dining room table and I asked them what they thought we needed to be doing to build the long-term financial sustainability of Christ Church Cathedral -- both as a congregation and as a St. Louis institution.
There were some good technical ideas thrown around ... ones we need to be working on. We need to continue the great work of our three stewardship teams. We need to provide opportunities for and encourage planned giving (that Pope bequest didn't just happen!). But more than anything, everyone kept coming back to one theme:
Don't focus on the money. Focus on the mission. Focus on the ministry.
It resonated completely with our last Chapter meeting. I asked the same questions about money, but the answers they gave were about mission and ministry -- proving once again that this Cathedral community has an innate sense of the Gospel in our DNA!
Focus on the mission. Focus on the ministry.
That's what we're going to do.
Over the past year, a clear picture has come into focus about God's dream for Christ Church Cathedral. We start with the mission of the Church that is expressed in our prayer book:
As the Cathedral of the diocese, we have heard our importance as a presence in the city, as a resource for the congregations of the diocese and as a central gathering place.
As the Cathedral of the city, we have heard our importance as a catalyst for community and convener of conversations, a place where the city – particularly downtown – comes together in all our diversity and across all our divides ... as well as being a uniquely beautiful space for performances, exhibitions and community gatherings.
At our annual meeting, we came together and talked about why this mission is important to us and began to dream of how we might better live into it. This Saturday, your Chapter will gather for our annual workday and we will dive further into this.
We'll be exploring Acts 8, which is about the persecuted church not curling up and dying but adapting and thriving in new ways by being open to the movements of the Holy Spirit.
We'll be gathering into three groups -- one focusing on the congregation, one on the diocese and one on the city/downtown. Each will look at where the Spirit is moving in those areas currently, how we can get behind it, and what specific action steps we can commit to. We will then decide on next steps, set priorities, assign tasks and set timelines.
This is what following the mission looks like. But it's not just about me ... or me and Amy ... or me and Amy and Chapter. It's about all of us.
If we are to thrive. If we are to become the Cathedral God dreams us to be, we ALL need to follow the mission together. We need to do what we do in the Eucharist ... lay our whole lives on the table with Christ and one another. As we do that ... as we give ourselves fully to the mission of Christ in this Cathedral ... amazing, surprising and glorious things will begin to happen.
As we focus on the mission, as we focus on the ministry, as we give our whole selves to it, to Christ and to one another ... there is no limit to what God will do.