In a time of challenge, change, and decline for much of the Church as we have known it, the cathedrals of the Church of England are experiencing an unanticipated vitality. How is this reflected in our Episcopal Church cathedrals, including those along the Great Lakes? What part might our cathedrals play in moving toward an uncertain future?
The Very Rev. Dr. John P. Downey is dean of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, a position he has held since 1987. Dean Downey is known across the church as an excellent preacher and teacher, a leader among Episcopal cathedral deans, and a champion of the Episcopal Church’s ability to reach out to the contemporary world with a generous-spirited Christianity, traditional liturgy and excellent music.
Dean Downey is also canon theologian of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and convener of the North American Cathedral Deans Conference. He is a native of Corry, PA and is a graduate of Grove City College and Seabury Western Theological Seminary. He received a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree from Bexley-Seabury in 2014. He has previously served at three other congregations in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania: St. Laurences, Osceola Mills, Holy Trinity, Houtzdale and Grace Church, Ridgway.
Dean Downey has reflected and written on what it means to be the church within the modern/post-modern context which was the topic of his DMin dissertation (“Restore the Ruins? Cathedral Preaching on the Other Side of Christendom.”). He also has a blog: Poking Around the Ruins of Christendom, looks for signs of the resurrection on the other side of Christendom. In other words, “The Church is dead, long live the Church!” Dean Downey has also written extensively concerning his vision about what it means to be an urban cathedral in the modern context (vision of an urban cathedral.) and an essay where he explores what it means being a grown-up church.