Sunday, November 2nd dawned unseasonably warm and sunny for Minnesota. The morning would forecast the warmth and joy that infused Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral as the Installation of the seventh Dean was underway. With The Right Reverend Brian N Prior presiding, the service welcomed the Very Reverend Paul James Lebens-Englund and his family with gratitude and happy anticipation.
From the exquisite musical notes of the Cathedral Choir and the Aurora Brass Quintet, to the humble acknowledgment of the work of so many, there was a strong sense of The Spirit of God at work empowering, reconciling and bringing together community.
Special guests included Transitional Spiritual Leaders, Clergy and Lay Leaders of ECMN, the Cathedral and Wells Foundations and members of the Downtown Clergy Association. The congregants were moved by the spoken word, the musical word and praises offered throughout the service, including tender moments in Hebrew and Latin.
The four Search Chairs presented Paul Lebens-Englund to the Bishop.
Gift presenters presented special gifts to symbolize our new relationship together. Water to baptize children of God and welcome others to the Body of Christ, a Stole to serve among us as one who believes and proclaims the saving love of God, Bread and Wine to serve among us as one who gathers and feeds from the abundance of God's generosity, Oil to serve among us as one who blesses and heals, The Constitution and Canons to serve among us in the Councils of the Church, Constitution and Statutes to serve among us as a partner in guiding and governing our common life and the keys to the Cathedral to serve among us as one who ensures these doors are open to all people.
Paul is installed as Dean and presented to the enthusiastic Congregation.
The Bishop recognized leaders who helped build the foundation, Doug Fontaine and Bishop Bruce Caldwell.
Bishop Brian Prior gave the sermon and emphasized his faith in Paul to serve our Dean.
As the celestial sounds of the choir, brass, organ and bells signified the end of the service, participants left the nave filled with a sense of gratitude and expectancy for what our Almighty and Loving God has promised and will do. A lively reception strengthened the sense of community and welcome. In the words of our newly elected Dean, “So, now, on with the celebration! Rejoice—be glad—the Holy One is among us!”
The new Installation Banner is a representation of The Tree of Life, first glimpsed in Genesis, and referred to throughout the Old Testament in Proverbs, Esdras, Maccabees, Song of Solomon, and in Isaiah it becomes the prophesy of the shoot from the stump of Jesse. It is often a poetic reference for good.
The front of the banner is an interpretation of the tree, much as it is described in The Revelation of John. The river of life flows from the Throne through the City. On either side is the Tree of life...and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The back shows the Cross that also has the life of the leaves, inspired by a child's drawing.
Thanks to those who worked diligently on this invention, Kim Bowden, Linda Schelin, Phebe Nelson, Lois Schorle, Jay Christopherson, Inez Bergquist, Janet Balej, Jane Eschweiler, Joanne Christ, and Sarah Tesch. Special thanks to Mary Lusk for the donation of a precious piece of fabric. Mary Sicilia also stopped by to do a few stitches.
Part 1 of the Installation Service (below)
How could a service about one man,
be about all, instead of the one?
Where can celebration and hope coexist with hardship?
and past, present and future belong to the same point in time?
How can our brokenness, pain and fears
be held so gently?
Or the love and light
directed at a priest and his precious family be so palpable?
Where sharing "The peace" is not just words?
What magic blends the achingly beautiful Hebrew of the rabbi with the sweet, sweet latin in repeated verse?
Where the notes from the choir confirm a better place?
And the humble prayers and gratitude of a new dean ring piercingly true?
It is Jehovah God, Adonai, El-Elohim, Abba Father,
God of Comfort and Peace
it is Gods love
for the church—
in all its messy, leaky and imperfect state,
yet quickened by the Spirit,
to be life-giving,
and an amen.