Important Message from the Dean and Sr. Warden
Dear Cathedral Family and Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I write to share that in February I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. With the receipt of that news, I joined the ranks of the 191,000 men in the United States who will receive a similar diagnosis this year.
It appears that my cancer is localized. It is definitely treatable and most likely curable. That is all good news.
After walking with so many families through their own cancer diagnoses over the years, to receive such news myself was sobering. It has taken several weeks to process. I am grateful to the Wardens, the Bishop, parishioner Eric Strom, and most of all to Jill for encouragement and support. I am reminded that together we are, indeed, the very Body of Christ, and I have encountered the grace of our shared identity in these past few weeks.
I will have surgery at MD Anderson on April 26. After surgery, I will be away from the Cathedral for several weeks of recovery. The Wardens, Vestry, Canon Vicar Kathy Pfister, and our faithful and capable Cathedral staff will ensure that our ministry doesn’t skip a beat while I am away.
I am quite young to have received a prostate cancer diagnosis. (As I move through middle age, it is admittedly nice to be able to consider myself still young, even under such circumstances!) My cancer was discovered early because I asked my primary care physician to include a PSA count in my annual blood work. I encourage all middle-aged men to have an annual physical, including a PSA check. It is painless and easy, and it can save your life.
Please know that I am o.k., and I will be o.k. In the words of Julian of Norwich, “All manner of things shall be well.” Many of you know that I love the First Song of Isaiah. Jack Noble White’s musical arrangement floats through my mind often, and I pray the words, “Surely it is God who saves me. I will trust in God and not be afraid.” I am grateful for your prayers.
Grace and peace,
The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson,
Dear Cathedral Family,
I am writing to follow on Barkley’s letter regarding his recent diagnosis and upcoming surgery. I know we all share feelings of concern and perhaps worry at this news, and obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to Barkley, Jill, and all the Thompson Family. Barkley’s letter communicates his situation and positive attitude eloquently. I would like to share some additional thoughts with you about how we can support Barkley, Jill and each other during the next few weeks.
While our mutual concern and feelings of uncertainty are normal, we can and should all be confident that Barkley’s prognosis is excellent and that he will be receiving the best possible care at the best possible place.
We can also take comfort in knowing the Cathedral is blessed with an amazingly capable and talented staff. The business of the Cathedral and our communal life and worship will continue as normal. Please keep Kathy, Simon, Becky, and all the staff in your prayers as they continue their mission and ministry on our behalf.
As Barkley mentioned, his surgery is scheduled for April 26. He will be present for Sunday morning worship on April 25, and then will be away from the Cathedral for four weeks after surgery. At this point Barkley plans to return to the Cathedral by Pentecost Sunday on May 23, but understandably that date is subject to change.
While it is natural to want to express our concern and well-wishes, please respect Barkley's and Jill’s need for privacy and personal space as they prepare for and recover from Barkley's treatment. Barkley hopes to carry on with ministry-as-usual for the two and a half weeks until his surgery. Of course your prayers are welcomed and encouraged! Barkley has asked that well-wishes be expressed by written note rather than emails or phone calls. The Thompson's address is 1987 Indiana Street, Houston TX 77019.
I will send you all a follow up note after Barkley's surgery to update you on his well-being. At that time, I will also let you know how you can support the Thompsons with food, etc, if you wish to do so. In order to prevent a complete blockage of Indiana Street with chicken casseroles and flowers please wait for my follow up note so we can all assist the Thompsons in a coordinated and effective manner. If you have questions for me in the meantime, I can be reached at [email protected].
Let us all work together to care for the Thompsons, each other, and the mission of the Cathedral in the coming weeks.