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United Thank Offering Ingathering: Nov. 29, 2015

On Sunday, Nov. 29 Trinity will once again participate in The Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering (UTO) campaign. There will be an information table in the promenade. Bring your blue box or envelope with you to church on Nov. 29 and place it in the offering plate. Since 1889, when The Episcopal Church Women first collected $87 at General Convention, UTO has been a way for Episcopalians to offer gratitude for the blessings in our lives. Every dollar gathered has been spent on the church’s mission and ministry, both here and abroad, and Trinity’s outreach ministry has received grants from UTO in the past. For more information, talk with Yvonne Harrold or Ginger Bitikofer (gbitikofer@dohio.org or 216-774-0407). [Read more…]

Dean Lind’s Sermon: The Sunday After… A Dream Still to be Realized

 Isaiah 65:17-25

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind

Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio

November 15, 2015


At 5 p.m. on Friday, as I was preparing to leave for the Diocesan Convention Eucharist, I learned of the first incident of terror in Paris.  I immediately called Lucinda Laird, my dear friend and Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris.  It was 11 p.m. Paris time.  She answered and I said, “Are you o.k?”  She said, yes, but she was already asleep so could she call me in the morning.  I asked her if she had heard what had just happened in Paris.  She hadn’t.  Explaining that there were some bombings and shootings in Paris, I realized that I was her wake-up call to a long night of terror.


Throughout the night, the news kept breaking and it was getting worse.  When we next spoke, Lucinda was up and watching television with colleagues behind the cathedral’s locked gates on Avenue George Cinq.  Returning home from our cathedral, I watched CNN as more and more people died, feeling the helplessness and concern that one feels when friends or family are in harm’s way.  When I spoke with Lucinda yesterday morning, she said the city had an eerie quiet as everything was on lock-down, including the cathedral.  They had canceled their Junior Guild Christmas Fair.  In the afternoon, Lucinda posted this letter on Facebook, which many of us promised to read in church this morning:

So many friends and colleagues have written in the last 18 hours expressing support, promising their prayers, and asking what they could do.  I cannot tell you how incredibly important this has been to all of us at the American Cathedral.  It is a very fearful time, and we are still bewildered and unsure.  Knowing we have prayers coming from around the world, that we have a cloud of witnesses, and that we are so inextricably connected in the Body of Christ makes all the difference.

What can you do?  First of all, I ask your prayers:

  • For the victims, those who died and those wounded;
  • For their families;
  • For all those who have helped and are helping;
  • For all who protect us;
  • For the city of Paris, and especially our Cathedral community;
  • For all those whose anger, fear and hatred lead them to commit such acts;
  • For hope, for light in the darkness, and for peace.

Secondly, I urge you to give some serious thought to next steps.  Your expressions of support are strong and genuine – but where do they go?  We have all held each other up before – after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, for instance, and after 9/11 – and shared a strong sense of unity.  I’m not sure where I am going with this; I only mean that our prayers must lead us to action.  Here in France I suspect there will be very, very strong anti-Muslim sentiment, and one thing we must do is stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and foster conversation and understanding.  I think we also need to work harder to care for the flood of refugees fleeing terror in their own countries – work for immediate care and for political solutions.  You will need to find your own mission in the US, but I know that it must involve continued dedication and commitment to making justice and making peace, and being a light in the darkness.

Thank you again my brothers and sisters.

Lucinda Laird, Dean, The American Cathedral in Paris

After reading Lucinda’s posting, I texted my friend and colleague, Julia Shearson, Executive Director of the Cleveland Chapter, of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and assured her of our prayers and support for the Muslim community in Greater Cleveland.

“Be a light in the darkness,” wrote Lucinda.  These words have echoed down through the ages, especially in times of trial and distress.  The prophet Isaiah spoke them some 2500 years ago to a society who found themselves in a city and its environs crippled by years of warfare, terror, and neglect.  He was a light in the darkness, a voice of hope to the returning Jewish community in post-exilic Palestine.  Isaiah was anointed by God to announce the good news of God’s justice and peace to the oppressed and the broken-hearted. The Spirit of God called him to announce to God’s beloved people that God would provide, that God would deliver, that God would take charge, and that something new and wonderful would happen.

Can you imagine hearing these words if you were an exile returning to Jerusalem?  Can you imagine hearing these words if you were an evacuee or Holocaust survivor returning home to a war-torn city after World War II?  Can you imagine hearing these words returning to New Orleans after Katrina?  Can you imagine hearing these words if you were a refugee from Palestine, Liberia, Afghanistan, or even Syria returning home after a long exile?  Can you imagine hearing these words if you’re living in Beirut and Bagdad after a week of bombing?  Can you imagine hearing those words if you’re living in Paris after a night of terror?  Today, we’re hearing those words right here in Cleveland.

If there was ever a passage of scripture that I want to “read, mark and inwardly digest” as the collect for this morning suggests, it is this prophecy of hope from Isaiah.  This beautiful, poetic vision is a feast for the eye, the ear and the heart.  They speak far beyond any historical context.  And they are a great comfort to me, and I hope to you, this morning.

Isaiah heralded the creation of new heavens, the birthing of a new earth, and the building of a new city – the New Jerusalem.  He declared it as a city in which there will be new life.  In the New Jerusalem, there will be no more weeping or crying over infants dying of malnutrition and disease, over young men dying of violence on the streets, or over young women bearing children for the calamity of infant mortality, childhood obesity, or random shootings.

According to Isaiah, in God’s new city, there will be no more hunger, homelessness, and poverty.  In the New Jerusalem, people will own their own homes and won’t be exploited by landlords or predatory lenders.  They will have decent jobs with living wages and health insurance as well.

Isaiah said that, in God’s new creation, there will be no hurt or destruction: no more wars, no more terrorism, no more torture, no more bombings, no more executions, no more mass shootings, no more gun violence, and no more missing in action, in peacekeeping or in journalistic reporting.  Instead, there will be peace.  In God’s new city, there will be no more gang violence, neighborhood violence, school violence or home violence.  According to Isaiah, in God’s new city, there will be justice and harmony.  Like the wolf and the lamb, former enemies will lie down and eat together; citizens and their police officers will trust and respect each other and share in promoting and protecting the common good.  In God’s new creation, Jews, Christians and Muslims, believers and atheists – all of us human creatures – will live together in harmony.

According to Isaiah’s prophecy, the cosmos will be transformed, not destroyed and blasted.  God will shape what God has made into something even more wonderful and magnificent.  New skies and a new earth will not be so new as to be unrecognizable.  Jerusalem will still be here, but it will be a joy rather than a ruin.  In God’s new commonwealth, people will be a delight rather than a pain in God’s side. There will be no more sounds of weeping over oppression or cries of violence, because there will be no violence or oppression.  According to Isaiah, the new cosmos will be like and unlike the one we know. It will be transformed – from top to bottom: animals and people, mountains and valleys.

Isaiah was called by God to announce the dawning of a new day.  On behalf of the God of creation, the God of the exodus, the God of the covenant and the God of Jesus, amidst destruction, ruin, hopelessness and despair, Isaiah lifted his voice without reservation and proclaimed God’s dream, a voice and a dream that echoes down through the ages.

It gave hope and inspiration to a once exiled people returning to Jerusalem in the 6th century BCE.  It gave hope to the Jewish people facing a relentless Roman Empire in the 1st century.  It gave hope and inspiration to Jesus and his disciples.  It gave hope to early Christ followers living in the catacombs.  It gave hope to Jews and Christians alike during persecution through the centuries.  It gave hope to our English ancestors when they traveled across the sea to this new land of promise.  It gave hope to our African ancestors as they waited and worked for freedom from slavery and oppression.  It gives me hope today.  It’s not a naïve dream; it’s a hope-filled vision, and without vision, the people perish.

As Geoff Curtis reminded us last week, some say that Isaiah is the 5th Gospel.  It is filled with the proclamation of God’s justice, love, and mercy for all creation.  It is a precursor to the great affirmation: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”


The great biblical scholar Walter Bruggemann once said that Isaiah 65 is both “a glorious artistic achievement,” and an act of daring courage and hopeful faith that refuses to be curbed by present circumstances.  The prophet believed that God’s promises are not contained within our present notions of the possible.  However, according to Isaiah, “the creation will be a venue where God’s will will be done on earth as in heaven,” [1] complete with good health care, safe neighborhoods, a healed planet, and peace on earth.


God’s promise of this peaceable kingdom is something that doesn’t compare with the situation, as we know it.  However, when we dwell in the abyss of the present violence, pain, terror and injustice, newness doesn’t always seem possible.  Yet, we can’t give up.  We have to believe that there’s a new world coming and it’s just around the bend.  You see, our restoration rests on our faithfulness.  As we anticipate God’s divine justice, we must bend the arc of justice towards our neighbor.  As we wait for God’s shalom, we must repair the brokenness of the world.  As we watch for Christ’s second coming, we must bring Christ into the world in our own lives.  In other words, we must become the change we want to see.


What’s happening in this world, in Paris, in Beirut, in Baghdad, and in Cleveland, as well as cities and a towns and villages around the globe, is complicated and scary.  Nobody seems to have a simple answer or solution.    But we can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away.  It won’t go away by reactive mandates and shortsighted actions.  It simply won’t.  Pierre Whalon, Bishop-in-Charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, who lives in Paris and who earlier on Friday afternoon celebrated his daughter, Marie-Noelle’s, graduation from the Cordon Bleu Paris, has encouraged his flock and us to follow the way of Jesus who instructed that we must love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, forgive those who harm us, and chart a way to make a just peace. What do Bishop Whalon and Dean Laird have in common?  They believe in Isaiah’s vision of the New Jerusalem and they know in their hearts that revenge and retaliation isn’t the solution; rather, that in the words of Bishop Whalon posted on his Facebook page: “Love is the only power in this world that can literally and figuratively save us.”


So today, in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad, in solitary with all our brothers and sisters around the world, and right here in Cleveland, who face terror, violence and oppression in their daily lives, let’s start with prayer: prayer for wisdom and courage to face the days ahead, prayer for imagination to find new solutions to old problems; prayer for forgiveness, grace and reconciliation; and prayer that God’s kingdom come; God’s will be done on earth as in heaven.  Amen.


[1] Walter Bruggemann, Disruptive Grace: Reflections on God, Scripture, and the Church, p. 152

UPCaM Service Project

Cleveland State University students involved with UPCaM—United Protestant Campus Ministry—are working with Trinity’s Chris Decatur on a service project. Students will collect new, or slightly used blankets that will be donated to local organizations serving the homeless. Trinity and UPCaM have challenged all CSU student groups to participate and the organization collecting the most donations will win a $25 gift certificate. Interested in helping or donating? Please talk to Chris.

Why Seven Weeks of Advent Matters

adventThis year, Trinity Cathedral will observe Advent for seven weeks instead of four. The season will begin Sunday, Nov. 8 and last until Christmas.

Advent is a time of preparation, reflection and anticipation yet a four-week Advent typically begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving and coincides with our society’s busiest shopping season. Christmas has become commercialized and the month of December has become the “Christmas shopping season.” Our collective focus is on preparing for Christmas by searching for the perfect gifts. Culturally, the season is characterized by a sense of urgency — a mad rush to acquire the material trimmings for the season. There is no longer any sense of waiting, reflection or anticipation.  [Read more…]

All Saints’ Sunday on Nov. 1, 2015

The Cathedral community is invited to submit names of those who have gone before us, to remember in our All Saints’ Sunday prayers on Nov. 1. Space is limited. Please send names to Doreen Hughes, dhughes@dohio.org, or call 216-774-0415. Deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Baptism on All Saints’ Sunday
The sacrament of Holy Baptism will be administered on All Saints’ Sunday. Please talk with Ginger Bitikofer to learn more, gbitikofer@dohio.org or 216-774-0407.


Staff Update: Corinne Wallner

CorinneWallnerCorinne Wallner will assume the newly configured full time staff position of Facility and Events Manager starting Oct. 1.

Corinne has been working as a part-time special event management consultant since May and assumed interim facility management functions since the departure of Kishon McDonald in July. This reconfigured position will lead the steward and hospitality support team, oversee day-to-day facility management, vendor oversight, upkeep and repairs, building management systems (HVAC, parking, security), as well as space set up, event management, and customer service. [Read more…]

Community Choir Sundays

Are you are interested in singing /playing with Jennifer Cochran and The Gateway Band this year in the 9 a.m. service? We have a few Sundays planned for a Community Choir to raise their voices in song! All are welcome. Auditions are required and attendance at rehearsals prior to the performance dates is mandatory to be eligible to perform. Questions? Contact Christopher Decatur. [Read more…]

Prayer Requests at Trinity Cathedral

Intercessory prayer is an important ministry of the church, and a way in which Trinity community members can support each other. We welcome prayer requests and have several ways that you may request prayer for yourself or a loved one. The Dean’s assistant, Doreen Hughes, handles all prayer requests, and you may contact her directly at dhughes@dohio.org or 216-774-0415. However, if you prefer, you may contact a clergy person. [Read more…]

Dean Lind Away for August

Dean Lind will be away for the month of August. While vacationing on Cape Cod, she will serve as Priest-in-Charge of The Chapel of St. James the Fisherman on Rt. 6 in Wellfleet, Mass. If you’re on the Cape next month, join her for Sunday worship. Services are at 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. [Read more…]

Volunteer Opportunity: Sunday School and Youth Group Leaders

Orientation sessions: Sunday, Aug. 23 at 9 a.m. (Sunday School teachers) or Sunday, Aug. 30 at 9 a.m. (Youth Group leaders)

Stop by a session to chat with Chris and learn more about volunteering with the programs.


Volunteers are needed to serve as Sunday School & Youth Group leaders for the fall 2015 semester. No prior experience working with children or youth is required. Time commitment is one Sunday per month from 10:10-11:10 a.m.

The following positions are needed: [Read more…]


Register for the Advent Retreat - A Season of Expectation: A Day of Reflection on what God has in Store for this Holy Season. Click here.