Bishop Alan M. Gates and Dean Jep Streit wrote to the diocesan community on Oct. 23 to say "Welcome home!" as the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 138 Tremont Street in Boston reopens after being closed for more than a year for renovations.
"Throughout a decade of planning our primary goal has been to make our cathedral church as welcoming as possible: for the 600 people in the congregations that pray here each week, for Episcopalians across the diocese and for anyone who might come to a service or program or simply stop in and pray.
"So when you come, expect many changes, all designed to help us become as welcoming a witness as Christ would have us be," they say in their letter. [Full text of the letter appears below.]
All are welcome at an open house on Saturday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., a chance for members of the wider diocesan community to come see the changes for themselves and bless the renewed cathedral church with their presence.
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul will be rededicated on the eve of the annual Diocesan Convention, Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., at a special public service of Holy Eucharist. Bishop Gates will be officially seated during the rededication service. Find more information about the service here.
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Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome home! With joy we announce that the renovations to our Cathedral Church of St. Paul, made possible by the prayers and generosity of so many of you, are now nearly and beautifully complete, and we are ready to welcome one another home.
Throughout a decade of planning our primary goal has been to make our cathedral church as welcoming as possible: for the 600 people in the congregations that pray here each week, for Episcopalians across the diocese and for anyone who might come to a service or program or simply stop in and pray. So when you come, expect many changes, all designed to help us become as welcoming a witness as Christ would have us be.
With new skylights and glass doors, we have a much lighter and brighter sanctuary. We’ve created a new chapel, just inside the entrance, where people can easily come in to pray or sit in quiet meditation with beautiful sacred objects, including the Black Madonna statue from the former Church of St. John the Evangelist and an icon written in Bishop Shaw’s honor when he retired. A new exterior cross is being designed for the church’s façade. People on the street can now see what’s happening in the church, and people in the church can see out into the world where God beckons.
A new large, glass-walled elevator provides everyone access to all levels of our cathedral, and a new ramp makes the chancel accessible. A crucifix from the former Church of St. John the Evangelist graces the high altar, and we have moved the suspended cross to our lower-level Sproat Hall to bring a prominent Christian symbol into all that we do there. Chairs have replaced fixed pews throughout the worship space, allowing for creativity and flexibility to meet the needs of diocesan and community events, and the varied configurations of our multiple worshiping communities: the Sunday morning congregation; the Chinese congregation; The Crossing emergent church; services of our MANNA ministry with the homeless; and Friday prayers offered by our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Downstairs in Sproat Hall, dividable space allows for improved hosting of meetings, events and our Monday meal program. We’ve installed new, accessible restrooms, and our Muslim brothers and sisters, who have been praying here for 15 years, are now provided a gracious footwashing station to welcome them as they prepare to pray upstairs on Fridays.
These improvements have been accomplished prayerfully, with mindfulness of the needs of all the faithful who come to our cathedral church, and flexibility to accommodate those yet to come! We are grateful that our Cathedral Church of St. Paul will now better serve and support all the ministries to which God calls us, and that all who come here–to pray, to seek, to serve, to be strengthened and renewed–will feel Christ’s welcome.
Come experience the changes for yourself and bless our renewed cathedral church with your presence. There will be an open house on Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Come find and photograph or make a rubbing of your parish’s engraved floor tile, walk the new labyrinth and celebrate with one another. And, wherever you may be, join your prayers with those of the whole diocesan community on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. when we officially rededicate the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on the eve of our Diocesan Convention.
Above all, we ask for your prayers and for your participation in the life we share through our Cathedral Church of St. Paul, that it may continue to become, more and more, a House of Prayer for All People. Welcome home!
Faithfully and fondly,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop
The Very Rev. Jep Streit, Dean