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Dean's Corner
Sabbatical Message from the Dean
 
 
June 21, 2019
 
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
 
This June is a momentous time for me: I begin my sixteenth year of ordained ministry today and my tenth year as the Dean of our Cathedral at the end of this month. As you know well, these years have been full for all of us. We have celebrated together as babies have been born and wept together as some of our dear ones have died. We have watched the expansion of our congregation and ministries while realizing the goals of a development project that many thought could never happen. Most profoundly, we have deepened our bonds of affection as a community and lived more fully into the shared faith which we profess. We love God in Christ. We love our neighbor. We love one another. We have been here to serve.
 
This is the right moment for me to pause. During the months of July, August, and September, I will take a sabbatical from my usual responsibilities as your Dean. The term sabbatical is derived from the Biblical concept of Sabbath, meaning seven, and refers to God’s holy rest on the seventh day of the creation story. Historically, it is a break from labor for recovery and revitalization. We often associate the idea of sabbaticals with academe, but the practice actually began when universities were still part of the Church. Doctors of the Church needed to take one year away every seventh year to become a student again and to refresh their spiritual calling.
 
So it is with me. During my time away, I plan to nourish my soul by spending time with my family, traveling, reading, praying, photographing, writing, lingering over The New York Times, and simply feeling the sun shine on my face. My heart, mind, body, and spirit are open to however God is calling me to rest and to renewal. 
 
While I am away, you and the Cathedral will be in the best of hands. The Rev. Al Holland will serve as Priest-in-Charge, ministering with Canon Sarah Hedgis, Canon Phillip Bennett, and Deacon Pam Nesbit in pastoral matters and in liturgy. Canon Lynn Buggage will manage the operations of the Cathedral and its subsidiaries with support from the Cathedral Chapter. I am so grateful for the gifts of this talented group and for the love, care, and dedication which they bring to their respective ministries.
 
Theologian Karl Barth points out that in the Biblical pattern of work followed by rest, God took pleasure on the Sabbath in all that had been created, declared it good, and blessed it. In keeping the commandment to observe the Sabbath, Barth maintains that we also enter into this same generative circle of productivity, rest, and appreciative gratitude for all that God has provided to us. In resting and reflecting, we find perspective. We see the goodness of our lives and we give thanks to God. We live this gratitude each Sunday as we gather to celebrate the Eucharist. As you gather each Sunday for the thanksgiving of the Holy Eucharist, I would be grateful for your prayers. Please know that I will continue to give thanks to God for each one of you and for all that we share. May the blessing of God rest upon you until my return. 
 
Yours, in the love of Christ,
 
 
 
 
The Very Reverend Judith A. Sullivan
Dean
 
Dean's Message of Welcome

Sullivan PicThe Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral is a place of unconditional hospitality and we want to help you find a spiritual home among us. Many come through our doors seeking something more: A way to serve, or to be challenged in their developing faith, or to find solace and relief. Many come seeking caring community or a way that is different from the harsh materialism of the world. Whatever your reason, know that you, your questions, and your journey will be honored and respected. 

We find that the deep diversity among the members of our congregation is a strength and joy. The members of our community are of varying ages, socio-economic backgrounds, races, sexual orientation, and education levels. We come from many different religious traditions or none at all. Some of us live in the city and some live in the surrounding suburbs. Some of us come alone or with spouses or partners or young families. As different as we are, we share so much in our desire to love and serve God and one another. Our welcome is wide and sincere.  

When you visit for the first time, someone in the community will greet you warmly at the door and then provide as much support and guidance as you would like. You should expect to move throughout the liturgy. We often form a circle at the font and at the altar table for Holy Communion. We sing as we move throughout the Cathedral space.

Following worship, please join us for a time of fellowship and conversation. You are also invited to attend one of the many opportunities to gather in small groups to talk about ideas and experiences relating to God and the world. We frequently offer small group discussions for those who are interested in becoming members of the Cathedral.