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August 21, 2022, The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Shabbat Shalom, by the Rev. Michael Nailor, Deacon

Aug 21, 2022

Grace, peace, and forgiveness to us all from Jesus Christ, our Lord! Amen!

The year is 2004.  The Summer Olympics is being held in Athens – the last one they hosted was in 1896.  The US election in November results in George W. Bush being reelected as President over John Kerry.  The European Union and NATO are both expanding to include Eastern European nations like Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.  SpongeBob Square Pants: The Movie earns over $9.5 million on its opening day.  Around Christmas Day an Indian Ocean tsunami crushes southeast Asia killing more than 200,000 souls.  And Mark Zuckerberg launches The Facebook, later renamed Facebook, a little social networking website for Harvard University students.

It seems so long ago.  We were all different then – 18 years younger – perhaps a little more innocent, a little less world-weary.  Consider all the water that has spilled over the dam of life since then.  Yet this nameless woman in our Gospel today “had been disabled by a spirit for 18 years.”  Imagine spending those 18 years since 2004 “bent over and not being able to stand up straight.”  To see the sky, the stars, even to look into another person’s face must have been hard work.  She had, in a real sense, been chained by this crushing disability for 18 years and it isolated her from easily participating in community.  Its burden must have been intolerable.  Yet here she is – at the synagogue – fulfilling her responsibility as a Jew on the Sabbath.

As I read this story, she is one of three observant Jews that we need to consider.  Let’s start with the supposed villain of the story – the leader of the Synagogue.  His job was to make sure that the Torah was followed – and under his interpretation this healing met the definition of “work” and was, therefore, forbidden behavior. Before we judge him too harshly for this interpretation, let’s remember that Sabbath was a gift from God as recorded in Exodus while the people languished in slavery.  Keeping the Sabbath is a distinctive mark of the Jewish identity.  No other culture in their area of the world could imagine limiting work to just six days of the week.  Our Synagogue leader in today’s Gospel is by far not the strictest in his interpretation of what behavior is forbidden. One group of rabbis said that if a man fell down a deep ditch it would be forbidden as “work” to bring him out and he’d just have to wait until sundown. Yes, our leader’s interpretation of Sabbath blinds him to the miracle that has just taken place in front of him… but it is his job to make these interpretations as he understands them.

The third observant Jew in the story – and we often forget this – is Jesus. It’s the Sabbath – and where is Jesus?  Teaching in the Synagogue.  In addition, Jesus does his ethical duty towards the woman.  Kindness isn’t optional in Judaism: reaching out to others is a key part of working to make the world a better place. Being kind is integral to what it means to be a Jew. Simeon the Just, a high priest from around the time of Jesus, was accustomed to say: The world is based on three things – on the Torah, on the service of God, and upon acts of loving-kindness. Finally, Jesus proves that he is observant by entering into a debate with the leader of the Synagogue over the concept of Sabbath.  He offers his own – broader interpretation of its obligations.  “On the Sabbath you set animals free to meet their needs.  I set people free to meet their needs – to live life fully and abundantly.  Though we often set Jesus up in our minds in opposition to the Jews – like the bumper sticker reads – “Our boss is a Jewish carpenter.”

Finally let’s actually enter into this debate ourselves – a debate on the interpretation of Shabbat, the idea of Sabbath.  First, a question for you: What weighs you down? What’s your burden today?

Perhaps it is a physical ailment, like the woman in our lesson. Perhaps it is anxiety or depression. Perhaps it is guilt over what you have done, or anger over what someone else has done to you. Perhaps it is grief, the loss of a dearly loved one. Perhaps it is keenly felt disappointment. Perhaps it is just plain weariness.

Whatever it is, whatever burden you carry, whatever is weighing you down, hear this good news: God wills abundant life for us. In and through Jesus, God sets us free from whatever binds us. God forgives our sin. God heals our diseases—of mind, body, and spirit. God loves us and lifts that terrible burden from our shoulders so that we can stand upright, so that we can take a deep breath at last and clearly see the faces of the people around us, fellow siblings in Christ.

This healing, this release, this cleansing of sin—it is not an easy or a quick process. Sometimes those burdens we carry are hard to let go of. Old resentments, long-held guilt, heavy grief—we cling to those burdens because they have been a part of us for so long and we are not sure who we would be without them.

But the Gospel speaks a new word into those old patterns. And that new word is liberation!  God in Christ frees us from whatever binds us. God heals us. God gives us rest.

Let’s engage deeper in this modern interpretation – our own interpretation – of Shabbat.  How refreshed would we feel if we took off one day every week? What if for 24 hours, we didn’t work, didn’t fret over cleaning or running errands, and didn’t feel the pressure to check items off our “to-do list” at the first sign of free time? What if for just one day a week, we refused to feel guilty for resting? Now I can hear you thinking: “If only I didn’t have so much to do”

I ultimately found I was worse at everything when I wasn’t taking an occasional rest.  It didn’t have to be an entire day – sometimes it was only a few dedicated quiet hours. There was a time when I was constantly running on fumes as I pushed myself to the max seven days a week. I was exhausted to the point of making myself sick. I was easily irritated with the people I loved most. I felt enormous guilt any time I gave myself a few minutes off, thinking about all the productive things I should be accomplishing.

God helped His people accomplish Shabbat in the Bible. While He was sending the Israelites their daily manna in the desert, He would always send a double portion of manna on the sixth day, to allow the Israelites to rest from work on the seventh day, their sabbath.  God will assist us, I believe, when we set out to honor him in our new interpretation of the Sabbath.

Howard Thurman, American civil rights icon and theologian, looked at tired old ways and new interpretations in his poem I Will Sing a New Song

The old song of my spirit has wearied itself out.

It has long ago been learned by my heart;

It repeats itself over and over,

bringing no added joy to my days or lift to my spirit.

I will sing a new song.

I must learn the new song for the new needs.

I must fashion new words born of all the new growth

of my life – of my mind – of my spirit.

I must prepare for new melodies

that have never been mine before,

that all that is within me may lift my voice unto God.

Therefore, I shall rejoice with each new day

and delight my spirit in each fresh unfolding.

I will sing, this day, a new song unto the Lord.

May our unique interpretation of sabbath bring us abundant life as Jesus teaches us.  Shabbat shalom!  Sabbath peace to us all!

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Clergy & StaffStuart Scarborough

Property Manager

Rev. Stuart Scarborough, Deacon, joined St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral part-time as a Property Manager after migrating northward from the Diocese of Maryland when his wife, Rev. Anjel Scarborough, was called to be Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Hershey. Prior to relocating, Stuart spent 13 years managing facilities, including three years as Facilities Operations Director for St. John’s Episcopal Church and Parish Day School in Ellicott City, MD and, before that, ten years as Director of Operations at the Claggett Center, Maryland’s Diocesan conference, retreat and camp center in Adamstown, MD. Prior to this, Stuart, who has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech, worked for 20+ years in manufacturing. Stuart and Anjel have two adult children; Martin, who lives in Cockeysville, MD and Erin, who lives in Newark, DE.

As Property Manager, Stuart will oversee the care and maintenance of all the Cathedral buildings and property. In addition to this part-time role, Stuart is also serving part-time as Property Manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. In this role, Stuart will look after all buildings and properties that are owned by the Diocese, but are not parishes. Further, Stuart has been assigned as Deacon to Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church in Camp Hill.

Clergy & StaffMichael Frascella

Facilities Manager

Michael Frascella has served as our part-time Facilities Manager for several years.  He works diligently to see that our campus stays beautiful, our buildings are problem-free, and that there are inviting and welcoming spaces for all who enter our doors.  Michael is a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral and is the father of two adult children and the grandfather of 4. 

Clergy & StaffMicalagh Moritz

Director of Formation for Young Adults and Youth

In 2021, Micalagh transitioned into the role of Director of Youth & Young Adult Formation. She previously served as the Sycamore House Program Director, starting in 2017. She has over 15 years of experience in various community nonprofits in Harrisburg, Belize, and Washington, DC.

She majored in Human Development & Family Science in college, and continued on to receive her Masters in Social Work. She has a counseling and therapy background, which is applicable to many areas of life-both on the job and off. She has worked with youth and young adults in many different settings, including through Harrisburg-based after-school programs, through the Sycamore House, as Director of a study abroad program in Belize, and through teaching college courses locally.

She is passionate about helping to create healing spaces for people to grow and learn, exploring the intersections of faith and justice, and building bridges between people of various backgrounds. She is also passionate about spiritual formation as an integral part of building community.

Micalagh lives in Harrisburg and can often be found riding her bike up Riverfront Park, in a local café, or walking to Broad Street Market. She is married to Joshua Moritz, a middle school Case Manager and farmer at heart, and they have 2 children who attend St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. 

Clergy & StaffFred Miller

Canon Pastor

The Rev. Canon Fred Miller began on staff as Canon Pastor for spiritual care July 2020.

Fred is a MDIV graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School with graduate studies in Congregational Development at Seabury Western Seminary, and marriage and family counseling at Trinity Counseling Center, Princeton. He served 4 parishes in New Jersey before coming to Central PA at All Saints’, Hershey. After receiving certification with the Interim Ministry Network he served in NJ, & Kansas, before returning to this diocese, working in Altoona, State College & Williamsport. Serving with the YWCA as a volunteer, retired Red Cross volunteer and as a previous College Chaplain in two states has opened the possibilities of living into the Episcopal Church becoming a bridge to interfaith relations.

Married to Kris with whom we proudly share three children, now grown. Fred enjoys outdoor activities, simple meals, and quiet conversation.

Service OpportunitiesSt. Barnabas Children's Ministry

Uptown Harrisburg

St. Barnabas was founded by our own Bishop Charlie McNutt and Bishop Guy Edmiston from the Lower Susquehanna Synod. Located in Uptown Harrisburg, St. Barnabas offers children ages 7 – 12 an 8-week summer day camp. A variety of experiences allow spiritual, emotional, physical, educational & social growth. St. Stephen’s provides food for the children, along with volunteers to prepare, serve and clean up.

Service OpportunitiesDowntown Daily Bread

Downtown Harrisburg

Downtown Daily Bread is a soup kitchen located at the Pine Street Presbyterian Church. Their mission is to provide services for the homeless & feed the hungry (40,000 meals/year) 7 days a week including weekends & holidays. On the first Sunday of every other month from approximately noon until 2 p.m., St. Stephen’s serves the food trays and then helps clean up afterward.

Service OpportunitiesSusquehanna Harbor Safe Haven

Uptown Harrisburg

Operated by the ecumenical group Christian Churches United, Susquehanna Harbor is a residence for homeless men. St. Stephen’s, along with other churches and service groups, is responsible for staffing the 25-unit overnight shelter several weeks each year.

Service OpportunitiesArtsFest

Downtown Harrisburg

Artsfest is always held the weekend of Memorial Day, Saturday through Monday, with St. Stephen’s members serving hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones and beverages, while tours of the Cathedral are offered along with free organ concerts every hour. The profits from our ArtsFest work are all dedicated to a selection of service groups in the city.

Service OpportunitiesCommon Ground Cafe

Allison Hill - Harrisburg

When is a breakfast more than just a meal? When it is a community center, a kids’ craft session, a book nook for adults, a reading program and book giveaway for children, an opportunity for family members and neighbors to visit in a warm, welcoming place.

Please join the volunteers and community members who make all of this happen on the last Saturday of every month at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg at 1508 Market St. We serve about 250 people at each breakfast, so we need cooks, waiters, greeters, coffee servers, readers, a set up crew, dishwashers, piano players, and anyone who just wants the best breakfast in town!

Service OpportunitiesLittle Free Food Pantry

Jessica McClard launched the grassroots mini pantry movement on May 2016 in Fayetteville, AR, when she planted the Little Free Pantry Pilot, a wooden box on a post containing food, personal care, and paper items accessible to everyone all the time no questions asked.

Service OpportunitiesRMMS

We participate in an organized program to support and encourage refugees hoping to make the U.S. their home.

Serve in WorshipLay Worship Leader

Do you have an interest in leading prayer and worship services that do not require ordained clergy? By receiving a license as a Lay Worship Leader from the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, you will be able to lead the congregation in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and other prayer services. This ministry requires significant study and preparation, and is open to all baptized and confirmed members of the church. 

Serve in WorshipLay Eucharistic Minister

Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) assist the clergy at the altar by distributing Holy Communion to members of the congregation. LEMs are scheduled based on their availability to serve one or more Sundays each month. This ministry is open to all baptized and confirmed members of the church, after attending two hours of training and receiving a license from the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania.

Serve in WorshipTechnical Guild

Are you looking for a behind-the-scenes way to get involved? Consider joining our technical crew and learning to operate our sound and light systems. Sound and Light Technicians facilitate worship services by ensuring that sound levels and amplification are appropriate, and that lighting is used to highlight the liturgical action. Some training is required.

Serve in WorshipGreeter

Greeters are the public face of the Cathedral on Sunday mornings. Our greeting team welcomes guests and members alike, and helps guests find a seat and matches them up with a member to assist them in the service.

Serve in WorshipUsher

One of the primary functions of an usher is to guide guests and members to various parts of the Cathedral (restrooms, parlors, nursery, etc.) and to assist with any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access). Ushers are also trained to summon help in the case of any emergencies.

Serve in WorshipPrayer Leader

Prayer Leaders lead the Prayers of the People during worship services. Prayers are led from among the congregation, with prayer leaders adding a prayer of their own choosing to reflect the needs of the moment. All persons are eligible for this ministry — a brief orientation session is available to help prepare you for leading prayers.

Serve in WorshipLector

Lectors proclaim the Word of God by reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament during worship services. Lectors are scheduled based on their availability. All interested persons are eligible to become lectors by attending a 30-minute orientation session.

Serve in WorshipAcolyte

Acolytes carry the cross and torches at processions and help the priest prepare for Holy Communion. This ministry is ideal for youth (grades 7 and up), and is also open to adults. A brief training session is offered to help you learn the job. Acolytes are scheduled on a rotating basis.

Clergy & StaffGene Schofield

Parish Nurse

Gene was born and grew up on family farm in MN. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in nursing, she worked at a Navy hospital where she met and married her husband, Mike. The mother of 4 (Kirsten died of CP complications at age 40) she keeps busy with her children, her 9 grandchildren and her great-granddaughter. Gene returned to work in nursing after her children were in middle school with her last position being a Hospice nurse until her retirement in 2008. Gene is available to assist the newly diagnosed, helps with securing durable medical equipment and checks in with those on our prayer list on a weekly basis.

Clergy & StaffJordan Markham

Director of Music

Jordan R. Markham studied at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He is a classically-trained lyric-baritone, pianist, organist, and conductor, having previously studied under the Grammy-winning baritone, William Sharp and soprano Susan Solomon Beckley of Bucknell University. For two years he was a professional chorister at The Washington National Cathedral, and was a paid chorister and soloist in The Handel Choir of Baltimore. While with the Handel Choir, he sang the tenor solo role of Apollo in Handel’s Semele, the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (both with full orchestra), and the tenor solo in Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in The Lamb. Prior to this, he sang the baritone solo in Rossini’s  Petite Messe Solennelle with the Peabody Singers and most recently has been heard singing the baritone solo in The Seven Last Words Of Christ by Theodore Dubois, accompanied by a full orchestra.

Throughout the past decade, Mr. Markham has performed at The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Nobuo Uematsu, composer of the soundtracks for the Final Fantasy Games. He has also sung at Carnegie Hall, The Boston Symphony Hall, and the Jackie Gleason Theatre. He has been active in the musical theatre scene for over a decade directing, accompanying, and acting in theaters throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. Mr. Markham has most recently been seen in South Pacific with The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, as “Jimmy” in Reefer Madness, “Peter” in Bare: A Pop Opera, and as “Chip” in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, for which he was also the music director and whose cast received a nomination by Broadway World for Best Ensemble. He has also performed onstage with the Peabody Opera in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and  Cosi fan tutte, Verdi’s La Traviata, and Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Mr. Markham is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of The Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus, and a co-founding member of Allegro con Fuoco, a keyboard duo with Tyler A. Canonico, and proudly serves as the Director of Music and Organist at St Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

Clergy & StaffCindy Harbert

Administrator | Email:

Cindy Coombs Harbert joined the staff at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in 2017.  Most of Cindy’s professional career has been centered around non-profit administration.  Cindy holds a BA in social work and education from West Virginia Wesleyan College and has completed graduate coursework in counseling at Messiah University. The mother of two adult children, she enjoys traveling, volunteering in the community, watching field hockey, and exploring new places that she hasn’t visited before.

Clergy & StaffMichael Nailor


Michael was born and raised in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of First Evangelical United Brethren (United Methodist) where he was active throughout childhood and as a young adult.  He came to the Episcopal Church while he was in college at the University of Pennsylvania.  The pioneering women of the “Philadelphia Eleven” had just been irregularly ordained and the church was struggling with the role of women in leadership. Michael was drawn to a church that was willing to deal with – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – the important social justice issues of the day. 

Agreeing to disagree but still staying in communion around the Holy Table appealed to this English teacher and debate coach throughout his 41-year career in education.  Michael serves the Diocese of Central PA as a deacon at St. Stephen’s Cathedral as he has since his ordination in 2018. He also works at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.

Clergy & StaffAmy Welin

Dean | Email:

The Very Rev. Dr. Amy D. Welin has been serving as the Dean of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral since August 2017.

Prior to her priestly ordination, Amy worked as an instructor of medieval and world history, an insurance claims processor, and a pastoral associate in a large mid-western church. Before accepting the call  of the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen in Harrisburg, she served a variety of parishes in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, as a member of the Standing Committee and the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral.

One of the founding members of the Episcopal Clergy Association in Connecticut (ConnECA), and a prior board member of the Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations (NECA), Amy devotes her energy to issues of clergy and parish wellness.

Married to Greg Welin, who is also an Episcopal priest, and mother of four young adults, Amy likes to garden and practice yoga in her free time.