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The State of the Cathedral: Holiness, Witness & Transformation


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The Very Rev. Bernard J. Owens reflects on his first year as dean at Trinity Cathedral. Then he takes a look to the future as a new congregational vision begins to take shape.

Published in: Spiritual
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The State of the Cathedral: Holiness, Witness & Transformation

  1. 1. A Year with the Dean: Looking to Trinity’s Next Chapter THE VERY REV. BERNARD J. OWENS THE DEAN’S FORUM, JANUARY 12, 2019 TRINITY CATHEDRAL, CLEVELAND
  2. 2. Vessels Ancient & New  God shows Jeremiah picking up pots, smashing them to the floor and then remaking them  New shapes are emerging, new ways of being the church, yet ancient vessels still have value too  Neither hiding cracks nor smashing valuable pots, yet seeing new life in all this
  3. 3. Some Observations from a Year Here…  Trinity is not one thing – liturgically, culturally, theologically  A deep commitment to justice & peace  A place for seekers and a place to live out our Baptismal life  A desire to live the authentic Christian life – through service, worship, and the work of reconciliation
  4. 4. Some Observations from a Year Here…  Profoundly visible in the community  A rich history in Cleveland  A Trinity Diaspora! Throughout Ohio and beyond, folk for whom this is a sacred place
  5. 5. Why the Episcopal Church?  Unscientific Polling:  “What brought you to the Episcopal Church?”  I loved the liturgy, that it’s rooted in a tradition  The commitment to inclusivity and justice is visible Liturgy & Tradition Inclusivity & Welcome
  6. 6. Why this Episcopal church?  This is a church where I am known and loved  A place to belong and to grow  A holy place to mark life’s passages Liturgy & Tradition Inclusivity & Welcome Pastoral Community
  7. 7. Some strengths and assets  Art and Architecture – Trinity is a holy space.  History  Resources for liturgy  Commitment to justice and hands-on service  Diaspora of Trinity supporters  Desire for authenticity and personal growth
  8. 8. Even More strengths and assets…  Cleveland culture of civic leadership…means great lay leaders here!  We feed other Episcopal churches…transition is healthy  Folks are drawn from other traditions…bringing unexpected gifts
  9. 9. Challenges (and Opportunities)  Heavy draw on endowment to maintain operations  We are not as diverse a congregation as we desire  ”Cultural Christianity” is a thing of the past  Lack the convenience factor of neighborhood church  (but lots of strengths here too….mission field of ~2 million))  Most ministries and services would be enriched by larger numbers.
  10. 10. A Working Vision for Trinity Trinity Cathedral is a place of Holiness, Witness and Transformation, formed by the best and breadth of the Episcopal tradition and with and eye towards to larger Christian story. We are a congregation, a community, a sacred space, a crossroads, and a physical witness to the presence of God in this city and region.
  11. 11. A Working Vision for Trinity Trinity Cathedral is a place of Holiness, Witness and Transformation, formed by the best and breadth of the Episcopal tradition and with and eye towards to larger Christian story.
  12. 12. Holiness and Transformation  Music, arts, liturgy, architecture.  Freedom and capacity to integrate the depth of our tradition with creativity and emerging forms.  Worship at Trinity at its best is beautiful and transcendent, the space is a canvas for art in many forms.
  13. 13. Congregational Life  Be the church, the body of Christ  Careful attention to pastoral care, Christian formation, and hands-on ministry  The daily work of planning, watering, pruning.  Planting seeds for the church that we hope will bear fruit in 10, 25 and 50 years
  14. 14. Christian Formation & Public Teaching  A house of broad invitation, but also a place for teaching and nurturing the baptized  Catechesis – teaching the faith. If we value our tradition we must teach it.  Cathedrals have a particular responsibility to teach and embody the best of our faith and tradition
  15. 15. Christian Formation & Public Teaching  A ”cultural node” in Cleveland – like the art museum or the City Club, Trinity has visibility and opportunity  A House of Big Ideas, for where the church meets the city and for the church in a changing world
  16. 16. Mission and Outreach  Ministries that are joyful, promote healing and transformation, and which make us vulnerable  For me, ministries that I think are vital to Cleveland and to Trinity are  Racial Reconciliation  Creation Care  Urban Justice and Community Development
  17. 17. Campus and Student Ministries  Deepening relationships with Cleveland State  See the Commons grow as a campus crossroads, a kind of spiritual care student union
  18. 18. Strengthening the Foundations  Let’s think about 10 years of getting the church in shape, from finances to facilities  Stewardship and giving: bringing our passion and commitment alongside the gifts of the past  Strengthen our resilience in the face of major changes or cultural shifts  Let’s use the whole facility!...Cathedral Hall, Cathedral gardens
  19. 19. A Working Vision for Trinity Trinity Cathedral is a place of Holiness, Witness and Transformation, formed by the breadth of the Episcopal tradition with an eye towards the larger Christian story.