The Dean’s Corner: Exploring and Discovering

The Dean’s Corner: Exploring and Discovering

The Very Rev. BJ OwensBlessings and peace to you in these final days of the Christmas season!

Now that we’ve lived here for year, we’re starting to get our home to a place where how it’s arranged – from artwork to furniture location – feels “right.”  We don’t often figure out one piece’s location until we’ve moved another and then lived with it for a little while. Then a new idea surprises us, one that we couldn’t think of until we’d moved a reading chair next to a particular lamp and realized that we had the wrong carpet all along. Tinkering is a wonderful way to grow into a space, and indeed to innovate as well.

I find that the creation of liturgy is often a similar process, and that includes major elements of the space itself.  The next time you return to Trinity, you will likely notice that the platform that has stood for many years at the crossing is no longer there. Having taken it down for a special event, we’re going to take this opportunity to experience our worship services in an arrangement that more closely resembles how the space was originally laid out.

When the platform was removed for repairs in August and September, many of us were pleasantly surprised by how worship in the cathedral felt without it.  There are, of course, some clear advantages to using the platform: it allows Trinity to function a bit better as a performance space for other events and it allows us to celebrate the Eucharist at the crossing (and amid the people). It’s an elevated place where all can see, and it allows us to have altar rails and kneelers when celebrating communion at the center of the space.

Yet we discovered in September, quite by accident, that when the platform was gone we experienced worship a bit differently, and that difference was mostly positive.  The 9 a.m. service could be more intimate and accessible without losing the grandeur of the crossing.  At the 11:15 a.m. service we had greater freedom to move throughout much of the space as the architect, Charles F. Schweinfurth, originally intended.

While the platform remains down we will explore different ways of choreographing our liturgies, so bear with us for the next few liturgical seasons while we tinker.  We’ll have more choices on seating and placement of musicians at 9 a.m., and we’ll try celebrating Eucharist a few different ways from the crossing at the 11:15 a.m. service to find the best way to do that. We may find that the platform is indispensable to our worship, or we may discover that we gain something special by leaving it down.  We may even find that this process brings to the surface even more ideas, so please continue to let us know how these explorations impact how you experience worship at Trinity.

The Very Rev. Bernard J. Owens