August 21 was my first day back at Christ Church Cathedral following a sabbatical that began on May 22. This was my first experience of an extended time away from parish life, and I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for this opportunity to rest, travel, reflect, and spend time with my family and old friends. This time away gave me new perspective on the life and growth we have experienced together over the past twelve years, and it helped renew my spirit for the next stage of our journey.
The good work of the Vestry and Senior Warden Robby McClure, along with the outstanding efforts of the Cathedral staff and Provost Carolyn Jeffers, kept life at the Cathedral humming along smoothly through the summer. I am grateful for the prayers and support of so many members of the Cathedral Family, both for my family and me and for the parish as a whole. As I learn more about your summer here-the strong Sunday attendance, the wonderful visiting clergy, the stepped-up lay leadership, the faithfulness in giving, the successful VBS, the work done in planning for the year ahead-I give thanks for God's blessings shared among us.
Our focus now is fixed on the new program year, which we are calling "A New Beginning." The work of the Ministry Architects Renovation Team-chair Lucy Brady, Carl Cunningham, Jr., Alison Mitchell, Robby McClure, and Hayley Van Antwerp-has produced an exciting new plan for Christian formation for all ages, beginning this fall. Detailed information about these opportunities is coming to you via email blasts and Sunday bulletin inserts, and you will find more within this Messenger.
We are excited to welcome The Rev. Marshall Craver and his wife Jan to the Cathedral Family, beginning in September. Marshall is known to many of you from his long history in this diocese and in Mobile, beginning with his ordination and first cure here at Christ Church many years ago. His ministry among us will focus on Adult Christian formation and pastoral care, to which he brings strong gifts. His part-time presence here as he transitions into retirement is a great blessing as we transition into new programs and ministries.
I am also pleased to announce that our own Alison Mitchell has agreed to join our staff part-time as Children's Formation Coordinator. Alison has been a long-time teacher in Sunday School, and she is the Fun Club founder and former leader, as well as the faithful director of our VBS. Beginning in September, she will bring her skills as a professional educator to overseeing the staffing and curriculum of our Children's Chapel, Sunday School, nursery, and other programs for our youngest members and their parents.
All of these "new beginnings" will carry us into the next stage of our journey as a parish family and as the cathedral of our diocese. As we move into our season of stewardship in October, we will consider together how we are called to grow in our mission and ministries, both spiritually and fiscally. Please know how thankful I am to be here with you and to work with such gifted people in sharing God's love with our world.