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A Song of Love: A Message from Dean Thompson

03.18.20 | Office of the Dean | by The Very Reverend Barkley S. Thompson

    A Song of Love: A Message from Dean Thompson from Christ Church Cathedral, Houston on Vimeo.


    Dear Cathedral Family and Friends,

    On Saturday, The New York Times reported the remarkable story of Roman Italians, who are under virtual house lockdown as Italy struggles with the coronavirus, spontaneously opening their apartment windows and offering music into the open air until the entire city was a cacophony of song. The Romans’ voices were a testament to joy and the vibrancy of the human spirit that the coronavirus cannot silence. The story reminded me of both Genesis 1 and the prologue to John’s Gospel. In both places, we are told that God speaks, and a new creation comes to be, replacing what had been darkness and chaos with light and joy.

    The movement of the coronavirus across the globe has been chaotic, to be sure, but like our Italians brothers and sisters, we can respond as agents of new creation. At a time when we are not able to be physically close to one another, we can nevertheless extend our voices in encouragement, aid, and joy. Sometimes a single good word can make the difference between darkness and light, despair and hope. At the Cathedral, we are especially committed in these days to singing the song of God’s love. We are committed to extending a good word in every way that we can. Here are our plans for the coming days:

    We continue to follow Bishop Doyle’s pastoral instruction to suspend in-person corporate worship and group gatherings.

    Pastoral Care: You are part of the Cathedral family. We are all sisters and brothers in Christ, and if you have need in this time of social distancing, your Cathedral is here for you. If you need to contact our minister for pastoral care or a priest for tangible assistance, an ear to bend, or a word of encouragement, here is our contact information:

    Jody Gillit, Minister for Pastoral Care, jgillit@christchurchcathedral.org, 832-623-5355

    The Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, bthompson@christchurchcathedral.org, 832-740-3595

    The Rev. Canon Art Callaham, acallaham@christchurchcathedral.org, 713-597-1375

    The Rev. Canon Simón Bautista, sbautista@christchurchcathedral.org, 301-204-0130

    The Rev. Canon Becky Zartman, bzartman@christchurchcathedral.org, 570-259-0671

    The Rev. Greg Seme, gseme@christchurchcathedral.org, 305-788-0754

    The Rev. Jim Morgan,  , 936-355-9051

    After Hours Pastoral Care Line, English, 713-826-5332 (nights and weekends) 

    After Hours Pastoral Care Line, en español, 301-204-0130 

    This week, our team of Cathedral lay chaplains is calling all our parishioners who are seventy-three years old and older, simply to check in and see if anyone has need.

    Regardless of age, if you are isolated and need someone to pick up groceries or other necessities for you, please contact Jody Gillit, and we will arrange for someone to help you.

    If you would like to volunteer to assist other parishioners in this way, please contact Jody Gillit as well.

    Sunday Worship: Again this Sunday, March 22, Cathedral worship will be available online via the Cathedral website at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (en español) and 5 p.m. (The Well). After last week’s trial run, we believe we have worked out the technical kinks, and worship should post to the website at the regular service times. I pray that you will join your Cathedral family for worship this Sunday. The links to the worship services are found on the main scrolling photos of the website’s homepage, as well as here for 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m.

    Sunday School: Last Sunday, we had 40 children and youth participate in virtual Sunday School! Virtual Sunday school is offered again this week at 10 a.m. Minister for Children & Families KariAnn Lessner and Minister for Youth Marcia Quintanilla will email our Cathedral families directly with log-on information for Sunday school.

    The Robert C. Stuart Lenten Series: I’m pleased to share that the Lenten series will resume virtually this week. On Friday, we will send a parish-wide email directing you to the video presentation by the Rev. Scott Moore as he discusses our theme, “Heaven Cannot Wait: How to Live NOW in the kingdom of God.” On Sunday evening at 6 p.m., I will host a Zoom online conversation about the Rev. Moore’s presentation. You can join in the conversation 
    here. Be sure to download the Zoom app onto your computer, laptop, phone, or other mobile device in order to connect.

    Weekday Noon Worship: Each day Cathedral clergy will offer Noonday Prayer on Facebook Live. You are invited to join here on the 
    Cathedral Facebook page

    Other Virtual Cathedral Programming: Beginning on Tuesday, March 24, you can go to this page on our website to discover all the programs, podcasts, bible studies, and other opportunities for online engagement with your Cathedral family.

    I’ll end this epistle with a poem written by United Methodist pastor the Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes, which speaks the words of my heart:

    Our social distancing is an illusion.
    We are one. There is no distance. No gap.
    Isolated in your apartment, you belong.

    You breathe and it fills my lungs.
    You weep and my heart is broken.
    We are one body in many places.

    In this time of separation we open our hearts,
    we allow ourselves to flow out from our bodies
    in Spirit to one another, to the strangers

    who are part of us. Like the Italians
    singing from their balconies with neighbors,
    we are all notes of the same song.

    Love flows where germs cannot. Meditate
    on our amazing unity. Extend your spirit
    to include all it includes: the whole world.

    Breathe in this breath (so threatened!), a gift.
    Breathe out this breath (so released!), a gift.
    Let compassion for all beings flow with it,

    in and out, refreshing your whole body,
    the Body of Christ, the whole human family,
    the whole Creation. Let love be our body.

    Let your love take flesh. Make calls.
    Write letters. And when you come back out
    don't stop being one another's body. It's your life.


    Grace and peace,

    The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson