• Dean Ryan

Dean's Descant

July 17, 2019

Why the "Dean’s Descant," besides the alliteration of the “Ds”?

When most of us think of a descant our minds take us to a musical descant—a beautiful melody or counterpoint sung along/over a harmony. So, yes, when I write this column ever-so-often, I hope my words serve as a melody to the already great harmonies of our Cathedral life. Yet, a descant, also can be a discourse or comment on a theme. There lies the majority of my reason for the title of this column, “Dean’s Descant.” However, I do love alliterations!

Today’s theme: Looking toward the “program year.”

As we begin to approach the end of summer, our attention returns to the start of the school year, the return of football, cooler temperatures, and preparing for the upcoming holidays. In the life of the Cathedral, we also look toward the kick-off of the church’s “program year”—typically the program year is from about Labor Day to Memorial Day.

In the program portion of the church year, attendance increases, Sunday School, Youth Group, and other educational programs are in full-swing, ministries of the Cathedral are thriving, and there is a renewed sense of the Cathedral’s mission and vision. The program year is the catalyst that draws the life of the church out of the summer slow-down.

I want to take a moment to highlight a few (not all) important things for us to keep on the radar.

Church Database/Directory: I am often asked about an updated directory. One is coming . . . but what we need to do is create a true church database. We don’t have a database and the congregational data is very, very poor. The process to build a database is underway. In August and September, we will conduct a campaign to get individuals and families to fill out “member profiles.” We hope most people will fill them out online (saving time and money)—hard copies will also be available. This information is so vital, especially for our Cathedral Clergy and staff. I cannot be more direct: We need and want 100% participation. I personally will sit down with anyone to help fill out their profile—day or night—and I will even make house calls. Once we have the profiles, we will be able to produce a directory. There will be a real-time, secure, digital option for the directory—and we will print “static” hard copies for those requesting it.

Nametags: Once we have a database, we will plan to do our first run of high-quality name tags. Gone will be those flimsy, paper nametags in plastic holders. We are going to give each member an elegant, embossed hard-plastic name tag that will be “pin-less”—they will be held on by a magnet. Why magnetic nametags: (1) So it does not damage clothing; and, (2) Before leaving the Cathedral on Sunday or an event, a member will simply place their name tag on the magnetic board. We will create four sections of the alphabet on the board making it easy to find your name tag every Sunday and at events.

Acolyte, Eucharistic Minister, Lector (Readers), and Usher Training: These ministries are vital to our worship experiences. We know there are others interested in being trained for these ministries. Throughout the Fall, we will host a variety of training sessions to enhance these ministries.

Sunday School: We hope to launch a Sunday School in the Fall—if we have the children (PK-5th Grade) and volunteers to support the ministry. We believe most of the children at the Cathedral are under the age of 5 or beyond 5th grade, which is an obstacle we must navigate. Again, this is another reason why we need member profiles and a database—we need to know our congregation. We might start slow and offer Sunday School once or twice a month. A group will be meeting soon to work out details of the Sunday School program.

Ministry Fair: We are exploring the idea of a Ministry Fair Sunday to allow our congregation to learn more about the ministries of the Cathedral and to boast volunteerism and participation. If I can be honest again, we need more people to participate in many of our ministries.

Social Activities: We are hoping to create more informal social gatherings within the congregation, both with small and large groups. The more we know one another, especially across the 8AM and 10AM services, the stronger our congregation will be. Also, we hope to utilize some of these gatherings to invite potential new members to get to know us.

Growing the Cathedral Family: One of my personal projects is to launch a Newcomer and Evangelism Committee. We need people laboring every day to invite, welcome, and connect new individuals and families to the Cathedral. The work is for all of us to do, but we need a group to shepherd us, inspire us, and push us.

Cathedral Family Retreat: We are looking to host a congregational retreat in 2020. More details to come.

I will stop there for now on my descant. My prayer is that we use this upcoming “program year” to grow and connect as a Cathedral congregation.

Our resurrection has just begun!




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