Discerning Core Values

The Dean’s Corner

Discerning Core Values

In our Community Conversations that concluded in October, we considered, in small group sessions, what mattered most to us in our worship services. Yet we didn’t approach it from the perspective of tastes and preferences – whether we liked Anglican chant or jazz eucharists, for example. Rather, we asked about core values. What are the values that serve as the foundation for all our liturgies, regardless of style or timeslot? If a consistent pattern emerged – and it did – then it’s likely those same values are what sustain and drive Trinity Cathedral in all that we do together, from liturgy to youth ministry to ministries of service and witness.

Core values aren’t something that we can just make up. They aren’t simply what we put on a website (though that’s a good place to name them). Core values are in the very walls: they are consistent threads of story and soul that weave through today and the recent past and connect us to the earliest days of Trinity, and will continue to shape our story in the years ahead.  Those values may find different expressions in different seasons, and sometimes even new vocabulary words, but the deeper story is a consistent one.

In the new year I look forward to sharing with you a strategic vision that reflects the values that the Rev. Adrienne and I have discerned in our time at Trinity. The Community Conversations gave much shape to this, and I thank those who participated. Over the past year we’ve been doing a lot of asking and listening, including through the “question of the week” exercise we did last spring. In a recent joint Vestry and Cathedral council meeting we asked everyone to throw out the words and values that say “Trinity Cathedral” to them to confirm what we’d been hearing in broader conversations…there is a remarkable consistency in the stories we tell, largely because they are indeed rooted in the shared values that make us who we are.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be sharing glimpses of what I’ve heard in these conversations about values and offering five core values that express our distinct identity as a cathedral.  Stay tuned to this weekly Dean’s Corner as I share what I’ve learned.

The Very Rev. Bernard J Owens