The new year moves quickly into an early Lent in 2016, with Easter coming almost as early as possible. Mardi Gras thus follows quickly on the heels of Christmas, and we might well feel as though we’ve taken a running jump into the future. We have.
Lent 2016 will be for the Cathedral Family a time of reflection and discernment. The stage for this was set at our annual parish meeting on Sunday, January 31. There we reviewed the events and finances of 2015 and looked forward to plans and budget for 2016. Reports presented by Canon Dan Wagner, Organist/Choirmaster Christopher Powell, and me are reprinted in this Messenger, along with the overview of 2015 year-end finances and the 2016 budget.
Also at that meeting, the parish was presented with the exciting and challenging news of a generous capital gift that has been made to Christ Church Cathedral over the span of the next ten years. Two requests accompanied that gift: that we should restore the steeple destroyed in the hurricane of 1906, and that we should enhance the exterior lighting of the campus. This would illuminate our stained glass windows more vividly on the interior at night and highlight our campus as an architectural treasure in the urban landscape. The effect of these improvements will be to make Christ Church more visible as a presence in downtown Mobile—and to lead us outward to embrace our mission in the growth of our city.
At their meeting on January 24, your Vestry approved plans for the steeple restoration. Drawings and further information about this project appear in this Messenger. Following approval of the requisite city authorities, work on this project will proceed in the spring of this year.
Meanwhile, your Vestry will begin work in February studying the completion of our master plan. This process will involve not only taking up the opportunity presented by the capital gift; it will mean asking vital questions about our ministry within the wider Mobile community and our diocese. Progress underway on Mardi Gras Park directly in front of Christ Church presents us with an unprecedented “front yard” connecting us to downtown developments. This space invites us to look outward and forward, and to ask where and how God is calling us to take the Good News of his love and care into our part of His Kingdom.
These exciting restoration and enhancement projects remind us of the unfolding of Christ Church’s mission in downtown Mobile over the last 200 years. We have a long, deep history as the Church in Mobile and as a leader in two dioceses. We have a present fairly bursting with opportunities. We have a future that God is calling us to imagine with Him. Please reflect on these things and pray about them during this Lent. Come worship in our beautiful sacred space, listen to glorious music, and look at the art in our stained glass and architecture. Give thanks for these things, and ask God how best to use them for His glory.