Dear Cathedral friends in Christ,
Thank you for the gracious welcome last Sunday. I loved the big banners made by the young people! I am delighted to begin ministry with you as the Interim Dean and Rector. I spent my adult life prior to seminary in a parish that was at the heart of a city. Indianapolis is larger than Dayton, Ohio and this Christ Church is larger than Christ Church, Dayton, Ohio. Yet, this cathedral feels very familiar to me in important ways.
I’m grateful for the ministry of the cathedral clergy and lay staff and the lay leadership as I look forward to working along side them. Please join me in thanking them for their faithfulness during these recent months since Dean Stephen Carlsen, Music Director Michael Boney, and Canon Missioner Lee Curtis left. I am trusting that all of their decisions to leave the cathedral were matters of true discernment of the will of the Holy Spirit. Each of them takes the gifts of this cathedral community into their next ministry. Still, the loss is real. I look forward to hearing what of their ministry has been taken to heart and you hope to be continued. That discernment is an important part of the work of this time by both me and the search committee. The same Holy Spirit is, at this very moment, preparing faithful ordained leadership to be called to serve here, and to continue widening God’s embrace with heart and voice on Monument Circle. Much of my ministry is internal to the parish; and, so, I especially look to Deacon Fatima Yakubu-Madus and the leaders of outreach and justice ministries to remind us of the needs of those outside our doors. Our work in response continues.
I must say right at the beginning that I will NOT be a candidate for the settled position. I commit to you, as I have committed to Bishop Jennifer and the vestry, to be with you until my transition work is done. Usually that is until shortly before the new Dean arrives. I am charged with leading intentional work during this transitional time, in addition to the customary responsibilities of worship, preaching, pastoral care, teaching and administration that fall to a senior pastor of an active and faithful congregation like this one.
Interims can be lively times. With the search committee, we will be exploring three questions: Who are we? Who are our neighbors? To what is God calling us? We may affirm our current answers. We might have new language for the same answers. We might discern something new. The more authentic the answers, the better the search committee will be able to do their work to discern the next Dean and Rector. There is peace and joy to be revealed in this work we will undertake together.
What you can do? I suggest these four things:
- Worship regularly
- Pray unceasingly
- Contribute constructively
- Give generously
For what has been, for what is now, and for what will be, thanks be to God!
The Very Rev. Mary Slenski
Dean and Rector (a.i.)