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Feb 13, 2022: Rector’s Report to the Annual Meeting

Mar 5, 2022

At noon, we will convene the annual parish meeting of the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen, spending some time examining the past year in order to move forward faithfully. This serves as the Rector’s Annual Report. Our lessons for this sixth week after the Epiphany illustrate for us Jesus’ challenging vision of a holy life. The beatitudes in GLk echo the teaching of Jeremiah, Blessed are those who trust in the Lord/ Cursed are they who put their trust in [mortal values]. Jesus calls us to pursue a holiness different from secular values. How are we doing?

We are beginning our third year of ministry in the context of disruptive global pandemic. Despite the stress and difficulty, 2021 offered us abundant blessings. My greatest fear these last several years, beyond the possibility of falling ill, has been that we would be unable to perceive the presence of Jesus Christ among us because we have been so focused on the crisis. The faithful endurance of a holy life has been our theme. What has worked well in pursuit of holiness? What can we leave behind? What shall we do next?

What worked well in 2021?

Prayer worked. Worship worked. The regular gathering of virtual communities of prayer and worship have invoked the presence of God, have offered sustenance and comfort, have nurtured resilience in a terrible time, and have expanded our ministry in the very best ways. First and foremost, St Stephen’s is the people of God gathered in worship and prayer. We are the Church, not just a club or a social group, and when we lean into our genuine identity it goes well for us.

Although wi-fi and social media are inconsistent and mixed blessings, technology has mostly worked for us. We have learned that we can build our community and conduct our business in a hybrid (virtual + in-person) format. Yes, we know for sure that we prefer to be together for worship and social activities. We have also come to appreciate that we can hold meetings and study groups online even in the worst weather. Many staff can accomplish their work at home: likely we will need less office space in the future.

Safety protocols have worked. We have learned that we can take some calculated risks in gathering and still plan to maximize safety. Our Cathedral and school communities committed to following rigid safety protocols to keep our community healthy, and mostly we were successful.

Creative strategies have worked. Smaller groups, masking, and distancing feel safer right now. Outdoor gatherings work when weather is conducive to that. These are the options that allowed us to reconvene children’s formation, build a young adult social group, offer Holy Communion in a drive-by format, offer baptism to 6 families, provide consecrated wine at worship, and continue Sunday services.

Collaborative teamwork has worked. Remembering that we do this together and for God is working. Dwelling in silos while competing for resources is isolating and does not work for the good of the community.

A spiritual focus has worked. We are mostly exhausted and raw after two traumatic years of illness and loss. Moments of lightness –  Christmas in July, extended Christmas services, spiritual care packets, in-person gatherings and many many phone calls –  have helped our community survive the pandemic madness.

Commitment has worked. As weary as we all are of “pivoting,” and as limiting as we have found virtual formats, our community leaders have committed to figuring out how to get things done. Many members embraced online giving as the most expeditious way of supporting the mission of God at SSEC. Community Connections figured out how to provide for people in need and many of you stepped up to support that: food bank, little pantry, refugee ministry, NOEL program. Our choir and MBTR returned with masks. Altar Guild and Flower Guild have adjusted their ministry. Spiritual formation has struggled but it has continued.

What shall we leave behind as we move forward?

I suspect that as a group, we would agree unanimously to leave pandemics behind. May that be so.

I suggest that we leave behind our expectation to return to “normal”  – because our experience in 2021 has changed us and has changed the church. Some members will not return, for many reasons (age, relocation, change of heart). Some of our previous practices may not return for a long time, if ever, (common cup, weekly children’s formation, weekly adult formation) because they no longer feel safe or useful. The good news: Our future normal will be what we make of our circumstances.  

We need to leave behind our longtime way of being church: on Sundays only, in person only, for the able-bodied only. The exclusive nature of our prior reality is no longer sustainable or defensible. Do you know that 35% of Americans work on Sunday? (58% of those with more than one job work on Sunday). We are adjusting our sound system and livestreaming capacity, in order to allow our worship to be out in the world and on-demand. In what new ways can we welcome and incorporate all people into a transformative relationship with Christ? In which format can we provide spiritual formation of adults (aka Forum), young adults (YAASS) and children? Can we consider new ways to socialize and build friendships outside of Sunday morning?  (Necessary and not easy prospects for a parish that is regional and not locally-based).

I strongly recommend that we leave behind reflexive negativity and reluctance to try new things. We have never done that. This is the way we do things. These sort of anxiety-induced responses limit us and put off the newer member who has joined us because of the new things we are doing. We need to leave behind the tendency to cling to an imaginary, safe, glorious historical past. (I say this as an historian: history informs us and does not determine our future). We need to embrace our identity as a living community of faith. Unless you want to transform this parish into a museum exhibiting the way we were –  never moving anything, never changing, never doing anything new – which is a strategy guaranteed to kill off the vibrancy of any parish  –  we must live in our present with an eye on our future. Our present reality is that we are in the downtown of a fairly young and diverse small city, with a socially progressive population. We are at the cusp of the Baby Boomers handing over the reins to Millennials. Let us cultivate the courage to offer an inclusive, hopeful, and challenging vision of faith, in order to proclaim Jesus’ powerful and revolutionary Way of Love. Life with Jesus is a holy, not a “safe” journey.

What shall we do now?

When we found ourselves isolating at home during the terrifying worst of the pandemic, many turned to the church for strength and consolation. The Cathedral led the way in our diocese, offering prayer and connection to many who were far from the sanctuary. It has been clear that God’s grace is most visible when we live into the disruptions of our expectations/plans. As life has interrupted our way of being church, it also offers us the opportunity to clarify our priorities. We stand four years away from the bicentennial anniversary of this parish. Where do you want St. Stephen’s to be in four years? in another 100 years? How will 2026 mark a new beginning? What do we need to do right now, to support God’s dreams for Harrisburg?

It is time to commit to an expansive expression of being a 21st century church. Our primary identity is as a community of faith and worship for all our neighbors. Liturgy in the Episcopal tradition offers the experience of beauty and transcendence, the opportunity to encounter the Divine in real time.

We are in the beginning stages of a capital campaign to replace our failing organ and to update the sanctuary in order to reflect late 20th century theology of worship. This is probably the fifth time the worship space has been re-ordered to reflect a change in theological understanding. Twice SSEC expanded the church. Third change added a pipe organ. The biggest change likely was the addition of the large ornately carved altar with candlesticks in the late 19th century, as the Oxford movement elevated liturgical practice in a very protestant church. Another big change was the 1979 reorientation of the altar so the priest faced front, because the liturgy is something we do together as a community. Why consider more changes now? Because the way we organize our space speaks to what we believe.

Week by week, we say that God has come among us in the flesh and has invited us into eternal life. The sacraments which nourish our souls and inform our lives – especially the Holy Eucharist, which is normative on Sunday in the 1979 BCP –  need to be highlighted and accessible to everyone, as living symbols which effect what they signify. Adding the organ console to what is currently the chancel, so the choir can see the organist, will require moving choir pews. Moving the altar forward, so the eucharistic celebration can be closer to the people, will remove a symbolic barrier of distance between the sacrament and those who benefit from it. Moving communion rails to ground level will welcome all to participate in the heavenly feast without the necessity of climbing stairs. Updating our sound and video equipment will expand participation to those who cannot join us physically. Adding some new paint will enhance our space. In the next few weeks, we will have an artist’s rendering of what this may look like.

Will this be costly? Yes, and the cost of not updating is immeasurable in terms of our credibility. Will this challenge us? Probably, and yet this is not such a big deal: SSEC has survived two world wars and at least two global pandemics. As Dumbledore tells Harry Potter: it is not our abilities that show who we are; it is our choices. Let’s not be anxious about what we have lost or fear what we may change. Our experience through the past two centuries has shown us that we will know God’s blessing. 2021 has demonstrated decisively that we can do many things when we commit to the work and lean on the guidance of God. As we approach our third century, what shall we choose to do with and for God now?

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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: charbert@ststep.org

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

Deacon

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: adwelin@ststep.org

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.