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May 15, 2022, Easter 5: Coming Home, by the Rev. Canon Fred Miller

May 19, 2022

I recently had to share the story of how I came to be ordained and I started with this story of my boyhood. I am not going to share the long story of how I came to be ordained, but of how my past influences me even today. Some of you have heard parts of this story before but I share this snippet to show the importance to me of a theme I found in today’s lessons of coming home. 

Some of you know that when I was really young, I grew up outside of Newark, New Jersey. Where I lived two blocks surrounded by big factories, one block white, the other hispanic. The big buildings of Westinghouse & Sherring pharmaceutical bordered the neighborhood along with a highway and railroad tracks & the nice neighborhood with the big homes & expansive green lawns.  They were just building the Garden State Parkway blocks away to divert the traffic a block away. 

My older brother and I played with the kids on our block. I had a friend at school, Gabriel. We met up after school to play & I found he lived in the middle of the other block with his mother. I was running a little late one day so I took a shortcut to school through the block where Gabriel lived. I passed by the big apartment building on the corner. I crossed the street. He wasn’t home. No one was at home. He had already left for school. I was just leaving that block when a group of older kids I didn’t recognize stood in front of me. They asked what I was doing passing through their block on my way to school. My stuff was ripped from my hands & thrown to the ground, one took a single bite of my sandwich & my apple, smashed the apple in the street & threw my sandwich to the ground. As my coat was pulled off it was torn & thrown to the ground. I tried to get my coat. I was seven and afraid. I wanted to go home. I was pushed to the ground, kicked & beaten. I left my coat and ran away. From a distance after school I could see my coat was no longer in the street, it was gone. I told my mother I lost my coat. In my young mind, I thought I learned what the older neighborhood kids told me, that the enemy lived in the other block. 

Time passed and the older boys of my block were throwing stones back and forth across on both sides of the street at the group of other boys. Name calling persisted, as I stood and watched. Innocence soon left me. A stone of the right size hit the curb and bounced a few feet into the street. I thought, I’m fast, I’m small, they won’t hit me, I’ll retrieve it. I did and gave it to one of the older boys. It caught the attention of the older boys. So they devised a plan for me along with a dare. I accepted the dare to belong. I was to go all the way up to the fourth floor with a handful of pebbles to throw at a door and run. My daring lasted until the third floor where I carried out my shameful deed. I wanted retaliation against the violence done to me. The mother who rushed out the door yelling brought about all the reality of what I had just done. I was instantly ashamed as I bounded down the stairs to find no one on our corner waiting for news that the act had been carried out. I never told my parents. Word got around about the little blond boy who threw the stones because some weeks passed and a brick was thrown through our front window. That was enough for my father to leave his commuter job in NYC as a laboratory chemist and become a salesperson for industrial soap his company sold by the railroad tank car. We left for St. Louis in order to get us out of the neighborhood to give us a safe home. I felt responsible for destroying our home.

Where I volunteer at the women’s shelter I listen on the hotline to stories of homes being destroyed, in your neighborhood & mine by abuse & neglect under the title of domestic violence. The stories I hear are about the hopes and dreams of a home. A safe comfortable place to live, where people care for one another, provide for one another, and show love for one another.

When I was a kid growing up outside of Newark, I wanted that too. I wanted to be accepted by the people who were my neighbors. When I was threatened by the violence, I wanted to go home, to a safe, comfortable place, where love abides. I thought by contributing to the values of the neighborhood kids I would be securing that vision. My understanding of who I was to love was corrupted by me at seven. I have spent a lifetime learning the Wisdom Scripture offers, after an angry mother on the third floor of an apartment building speaking a language I didn’t understand brought me to a new awareness. 

Today we heard the story of Peter’s vision, and of Jesus’ awareness of what must come in the days ahead. For Peter a vision of animals, some thought to be clean & others unclean. That vision taught him that God created all people, and God loves all people. Peter knows that we are called to love others. But Gentiles, non-Jews were outside his community, all non-Jews were unclean like some animals, they did not belong. A vision of animals of every kind coming down from heaven made him realize that God made all of creation including Gentiles, and all of God’s creation is to be embraced. When the Gentiles joined Peter praising God, the Holy Spirit came upon them all, and even the critics realized the gift of wonder in their midst. Our author, Luke uses this beautifully written story not to give us the chronology of time or the historical events, I believe he shared this story to tell us that all are embraced in the love of God, all are welcomed. 

Jesus knows his time has come. He has challenged the social, societal, religious and political authorities to change their ways and begin to live by the values of equity, fairness, & truth held up to the community. So he prepares his followers with one basic rule known from the beginning of time, to love one another. This will be the sign. Not perfection, not achievement, not power, nor wealth, who your parents were, or from where you came, but only if you have love for one another. Then all will see.

I told you that story of my boyhood because some of you here have known violence in your lives. Some of you have felt the deep desire to get back, to retaliate for the wrongs done to you. Some of you have been deeply hurt, more than your coat was stolen, more than your food taken away, more than your body kicked. It may be that you struggle with forgiving the person who hurt you. But in the stories of Jesus we learn that unless we allow ourselves to be forgiven of the hatred we feel inside, for the pain that we endured, even the hurt we still feel, we will struggle to follow the way of love and Jesus’ last invitation to be a sign to the world. When you become a sign to the world, you invite those who are in pain, who have known violence, and yes those like me who have committed that violence. When you become a sign to the world, showing love for one another, you invite those filled with rage & hate, to come home; to come home to a safe comfortable place to live, where people care for one another, provide for one another, and show love for one another. Jesus shares with us today that if you have love for one another you will be forever, the sign to the world, to show – the way home.

May it be so.

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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.