TRINITĂ‰ The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris
of joy and compassion
home for the arts
church : in the beginning
Save the date! Trinity Sunday, May 18, 2008 A festive weekend is being planned for Friends
Autumn 2007 The American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V 75008 Paris, France Tel: +33 (0)1 53 23 84 00 www.americancathedral.org
and parishioners alike. Possible events to include: Special cultural activities on religious themes A spiritual retreat Receptions in parishioner’s homes Celebration of The Trinity Society and induction of new members Contact email@example.com for complete program and reservation details
Dean The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood Canon Pastor The Reverend Jonathan Huyck Canon Precentor, Organist and Choirmaster Edward Tipton Assistant Musician Christopher Houlihan
Trinité The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris Editors Nancy Janin Charles Trueheart Graphic Design Dianne Henning Advertising Matthew Leum Cover Kim Powell-Jaulin
The long-awaited recording of the Cathedral Choir singing a selection of glorious music from our popular carol services will soon be released. CDs at €15 or $20. Please visit www.americancathedral.org for more details.
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Please send comments and requests for free subscriptions to: Trinité: The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V 75008 Paris, France Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Faith is an anchor – and a sail’ Third-culture kids, seeking community
o wait. You live in France, but you are not French. You have a U.S. passport, but you haven’t lived in the States in 15 years. So, like, what are you?” To this I merely shrug, having no real idea myself. The process of explaining your life story in 20 seconds is something I and many others like me consider second nature. But the question doesn’t have an answer. There is a term for us: Third-Culture Kids, or TCKs for short. The term was invented in the 1960s by Ruth Hill Useem, a professor at Michigan State University. By her definition, a TCK is someone “who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’
culture. The third-culture kid builds relationships with all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third-culture kid’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background.” Many people ask if you have to have lived in three or more places to be a TCK. The answer is no. The “third” culture does not signify quantity but rather “other,” the ambiguous, ever-changing, never-thesame-in-two-cases x factor that is a TCK’s lifestyle. Having lived abroad most of my life, researching TCKs has been a way for me to discover my classification. More than just a nationality, it is a culture, a clothing style,
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a favorite type of music that regroups all that did not fit in elsewhere. Statistics have shown that 90 percent of TCKs feel out of sync with their peers in their passport country. But TCKs are more welcoming of outsiders into their circle, and 80 percent feel that they can get along with anybody. In my experience, TCKs have gotten along best with each other, harboring their common experiences wherever they can meet. In some cases, such as my own, that place is a church. I met Peter King, Jr. one evening at the American Cathedral after a Sundays at Six service. I could tell right away that he was “one of us.” His conspicuous maturity in taking the initiative of coming to church alone at such a young age and his cool
Youth Across Europe participants dancing with guests at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in St. Paul’s-Within-the-Walls Church in Rome hair told me he would be a perfect case to study. Peter has lived in France for practically his entire life. He has a French mother and American father. His favorite thing about the Sundays at Six service is that it allows him to attend church on Sundays but not have to get up in what seems like the wee hours of the morning. He said that few French children and teenagers regularly attend church because of the sheer inconvenience of the hour. They live in a big city and have more freedom because of it, therefore drop out of church early. “You discover the real world and begin doing things that take up time that could
be spent at church,” he told me. “For example, no teenager wants to get up early on a Sunday morning to go to church because ever since they were 14 they have been going out until very late on Saturday nights.” Nevertheless, Peter stated that ever since he left Sunday school he has always been drawn back to church. In the midst of a busy social life and a heavy educational load, religion can be a sure force in a TCK’s life. Peter described it as a cane on which he could stabilize himself. “Sometimes I feel lost between my two cultures, and the church is a place where I don’t feel so alone. Whether religion is taking the place of my American nature
that has dissipated due to my many years in France, or whether it is just a comfort to know I can be an Episcopalian wherever I travel, religion plays a big part in my life as a TCK.” Audrey Mercat also has used the American Cathedral to bring out the TCK in her. Her mother is American, but she has lived in France for most of her life. “I believe being a TCK is the most wonderful experience you can have growing up. It teaches you to be open, tolerant and more than just accept differences, but actually value them. In that respect, it can help you be a better Christian.” Here Audrey nails the beauty of being a TCK. The innate attributes of being a TCK are similar and necessary to those required in Christianity – among others. In fact, Audrey finds that her open-mindedness has helped her relate best to non-Christians. “Those with whom I could discuss my religious beliefs were my Muslim and Jewish friends because they could relate to faith. It made us realize how close we were and how much we shared,” Audrey told me. Regardless of your nationality or living environment, being a teen and dealing with religion at the same time is a hard enough task. Many of the TCKs I interviewed for Trinité no longer consider themselves religious. They feel abandoned by the church because of services that lack appeal to youth both in inconvenient hour and repetitive liturgies. On the other hand, others love the support that church provides in the difficult time of puberty. For example, youth activities that occur at night give young teens a social activity in the evenings that is both a transition into and a protection from the more mature “party scene.” Church-sponsored youth events serve to introduce and gather TCKs. Caroline Janin, now a senior at Wesleyan University, who was raised in France, states that, if nothing else, church “helped me meet other TCKs.” When asked if he thought church helped him deal with his internationality, Kempton Baldridge Jr. of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Waterloo, Belgium – where his father is the rector – said that Left: After Sundays at Six at the American Cathedral
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“I don’t think it was church so much as it was youth activities done through the church that helped me deal. Being in an environment where everyone is in the same boat always helps when you feel like you’re alone in the world, and I’ve found that youth events have done a good job of reinforcing that idea.” One of the most valuable experiences of my life was a weekend I spent in Rome participating in the Youth Across Europe program of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. Young people from our sister churches around Europe and I sang, ate, prayed, explored Rome, and helped out at the St. Paul’s Within-theWalls Refugee Center. For many of us that weekend marked the beginning of a sort of spiritual growth spurt. Classification of lifestyle has been a pretty intense need in my life as it is for other TCKs. Seeing kids your age who are just as confused as you can be very comforting. Within the TCK community around the world, according to research by Useem and others, there are subcategories worth noting. Children of U.S. armed forces personnel, sometimes known as military brats, move from country to country most
The continuing goodbye
For me, being a TCK is about saying goodbye. I have left so many times. Whether it is a school, an apartment, a country or a friend, it is always I who have left. My favorite departure has and always will be the first day I left Paris to go to boarding school in the States. My flight was at 8:15 am and as I walked through the airport with my whole family my mom pointed over to the duty free. There were six of my closest friends with signs that said my name. They had come to say one last goodbye! We cried in each others’ arms, weeping for the months until Christmas time when I would return. It is so important to make each goodbye special. There are so many in our lives and they are all heartwrenchingly sad, but if we make each one count, the next hello will be a great one. Goodbyes are as important as hellos and I love yous.
‘God, R U online?,’ a youth gathering at the Church of the Ascension in Munich included an exercise in which the Lord’s Prayer was translated into SMS language. frequently and are said to be least in touch with the local cultures. Government and diplomatic TCKs spend longer periods in foreign countries than military brats, and 44 percent have lived in at least four countries. Nearly half will live at least 10 years outside of their passport country. Missionary kids spend the most time overseas with the most contact with locals. Business families, like missionary families, spend a lot of time abroad but are more likely to live in more than one country. Hayden Dodge, a onetime TCK and military brat, has chosen to raise her daughter in France. Hayden found that her extensive travels as a child made for an open mind, and she wishes to give the same gifts to her children. She taught confirmation classes in both Vermont and Paris and the Rite 13 program at the Cathedral. “Kids here are more committed; they ask thought-provoking questions and all regularly attend the class,” she told me. Hayden notices that the main difference in teaching TCKs is that she has to be more sensitive when discussing the social justice and outreach aspects of the course. “The kids in my class have lived all over the world, and therefore it is difficult to adapt the material to their life experience.” The course is difficult to fulfill because of the multi-year commitment. It begins with Rite 13 that lasts for two years, followed by a separate program entitled Journey to Adulthood. Not all of the Cathedral’s pa-
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rishioners stay parishioners long enough to complete a course as extensive as this one. Still, Dodge says, “It was amazing to see how engaged they were compared to my work with other youth. … In this day and age, religious conflict makes headlines, and youth are eager to know the differences between the religions, though this may be unique to our Cathedral.” According to Hayden, children here idolize the United States because all they know about it is what they see in TV shows and the life they experience in the summer. “They do not understand that the conveniences of the U.S. are only accessible if your parents allow you to drive a car, leave the house at night and spend as much money as you want.” For Audrey Mercat, more specifically, religion is an additional culture to add to her mixture. Like Peter King, the American Cathedral fills the place where her Americanism is. “For me, religion was yet another ‘culture,’ another set of traditions and values, another home,” said Audrey. If you discover how to channel your frustrations into religion, being a TCK is not so difficult. Audrey said it best: “Now, faith, more than an anchor, is a sail.” Louise Trueheart
nn Louise Trueheart was confirmed in the Cathedral and was a member of the Children’s choir and youth group and is a senior at Taft School in Connecticut.
Love in a Box Paris An outreach project with a life of its own
o pronounce the words “Love in a Box” is to evoke warm, fuzzy feelings summoned by myriad images of elated children, holidays and happiness, colorful gift wrapping and a sense of delight at bringing joy to children in need.
in Maisons-Laffitte, received a plea from a Scottish rescue agency to help displaced and destitute children throughout Eastern Europe. Some of these children were victims of war, while others with AIDS had been abandoned by their parents.
One recent recipient of a Lovebox from the Elsau neighborhood of Strasbourg wondered aloud why total strangers would care enough to give him a holiday gift. Why, indeed, has the American Cathedral community wrapped and filled from 750 to 1,400 shoeboxes every autumn for more than 10 years, and then sent them to disadvantaged children from France to Kosovo and Afghanistan?
Hearing of this appeal, Judith and the Mission and Outreach Committee inspired the Cathedral community to organize its largest-ever drive for clothing, medicine, non-perishable food and other essentials, such as diapers, destined for the former Yugoslavia.
Parishioner Judith Lanier has many of the answers, and recently shared with me how Love in a Box Paris evolved. Back in the late 1990s, in the aftermath of the war in Bosnia and as conflict escalated in Kosovo, a local church, Trinity Church
In 1999 came another request from Children in Distress, the organization in Glasgow that had made the first plea for help: Could the Cathedral contribute to its shoebox project? While clothing, food and medicine provided for some of the children’s basic needs, the shoebox project embodied something else – pure kindness, giving just for the sake of giving. Inessential when it came to survival, these gifts of-
fered a sense of hope for the future, creating bonds of friendship across ethnic, religious and national divides. Joyfully, we joined others from America and around Europe to package love in the form of toys, candy, pens and paper, hats and scarves in a hand-wrapped shoebox and send it to children in Romania, Bosnia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Serbia. For some of these children, the Lovebox was the only gift they had ever received. Until the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001, the international Love in a Box project ran relatively smoothly. But that year, after a decade of sponsoring the program, Children in Distress was forced to withdraw. For disease control and security reasons, the trucks carrying the packages weren’t permitted to leave the U.K. For the last time, Paris-based Mères pour la Paix assured the transport of our Cathedral’s boxes to Kosovo.
Loading boxes bound for Strasbourg
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Although it looked at first as if the Cathedral’s Mission and Outreach Committee would have to find another project, it became clear very quickly that Love in a Box had a life of its own. Its goodwill was contagious and its perpetuation inevitable. Cathedral parishioners protested the termination of the project, suggesting instead that we find children from local charities to receive our presents. We obtained permission to borrow the Love in a Box name, and Love in a Box Paris was born. Before long, Love in a Box Paris evolved into a two-pronged project: the first, initially run out of the Laniers’ apartment, made several hundred uniform, age-specific gift boxes destined for needy children in the poorest neighborhoods of Strasbourg and Mulhouse, as well as two local charities named Avec Elles and Flora Tristan.
the French-speaking children. Then, once the shoeboxes are carefully wrapped, top and bottom separately, volunteers of all ages circle around a large table covered with goodies, filling boxes as they go. Each box is topped off with an age-appropriate book.
Once completed, these gaily wrapped gifts are brought to the Cathedral around the second Sunday in Advent. Once blessed, they adorn the St Paul’s chapel where another team of devoted volunteers carefully checks them to assure that all the children will receive similar presents.
Even as these 500 near-identical packages are under way, many others are also in the works. Cathedral families, school groups, members of other churches and others are carefully selecting the perfect presents to fill their own individual boxes.
Thanks to all who participate, between 700 and 900 more Loveboxes put smiles on the faces and hope in the hearts of children in France, Afghanistan and Bulgaria each year.
Dean Fleetwood shepherds the Lovebox line in front of the Cathedral.
The sister project gathered, checked and distributed hundreds of other beautifully wrapped gifts affectionately fashioned by Cathedral parishioners and their children, members of other churches, school groups and others from the community at large. Love in a Box continues to carry out these two phases of the project. To make the uniform Strasbourg-bound Loveboxes, a devoted team of volunteers takes on the essential preparations: We obtain oodles of free wrapping paper from the Carrefour hypermarket and generous toothpaste donations from Colgate. We fill our cars with hundreds of bouncy balls and markers from Ikea or empty boxes from the local shoe store. We find the best buys on multiple bags of marbles and stickers and bring them back in suitcases from summers in the U.S., or cruise the wholesale accessory district in the Marais district of Paris for inexpensive yet warm gloves and hats, fancy scarves or belts and beaded wallets. (Jill Cameron and I now have this down: she draws upon her tough bargaining skills, honed in Hong Kong, and I play her sidekick, the mild-mannered translator.) The American Library in Paris and two area schools, L’Ermitage and the Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel, run a book drive, gathering enough books for all of
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Regrettably, parishioners have yet to witness the distribution of our gifts firsthand, but I did at least glimpse the joy they inspire at the sendoff for the Mulhouse and Strasbourg boxes last year. When Didier Chastagnier from the Salvation Army in Mulhouse came to collect the gifts he brought a couple of helpers with him. In their youth, this husband and wife team received Loveboxes, as their own children do now. Once the presents were safely loaded on the truck, we took a moment to share a cup of coffee. With awe in their eyes, the couple told me they had mostly come to Paris to meet some of the people capable of such extraordinary kindness. Many deserve recognition and thanks for their roles in our Love in a Box project: Judith Lanier for initiating and selflessly contributing to the program, Jill Cameron for meticulously leading the project now – with a tad of help from me – and Elizabeth Osborne for taking over the implementation of the second phase of the project.
the American School of Paris, L’Ermitage, EAB Jeannine Manuel, Ecole Internationale Malherbe and all of the local Girl Scout troops who very generously contribute to our program.
nn Frances Plough Seder is director of the
We are also grateful to Didier Chastagnier who each year drives 12-plus hours in a single day to gather our gifts and distribute them; and to area schools and scout troops, namely the British School,
But, the greatest thanks goes to all among us who each year package a little love in a box and send it to a complete stranger. You know who you are! Frances Plough Seder
usher and president of AAWE.
The team for Love in a Box
Trinity College semester-abroad program here and teaches English and art history at the Institut Superieur des Carrières Artistique.
nn Photos by Kim Powell-Jaulin, a Cathedral
The little engine that could change lives
n addition to hands-on activities such as Love in a Box, the Cathedral offers support to several other projects around the world working toward the United Nations Millennium Development goals. Recently the mission and outreach fund contributed €5,000 to purchase a “multifunctional platform” for a village in Burkina Faso. This versatile diesel engine and its attachments can be alternatively used for grinding grain, charging batteries, pumping water, pressing oil from vegetables and nuts, welding, carpentry, and lighting of limited areas. While helpful to everyone in the village this project is primarily aimed at the goal of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women. With a platform in the village women and girls are freed from the
time-consuming tasks of fetching water and grinding, thus allowing the girls to attend school and the women to have some rest, thereby improving maternal health. Further, the women are trained in management of the machine – supervising the schedule, assessing usage fees to cover maintenance costs, procuring fuel and assuring proper maintenance. Control of such an important asset translates into greater leverage in both community and household decision-making. A pilot program has successfully run the platform on locally available biomass, the oil of the jatropha curcas shrub, eliminating the need for purchased diesel fuel. This improvement contributes toward environmental goals and decreases operating costs.
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A multi-purpose diesel engine in a village in Burkina Faso This project in Burkina Faso is one of several that the Cathedral has supported through its 10 percent tithe of its plate and pledge income. Others include schools in Ramallah (West Bank), Afghanistan and Bulgaria. Watch for more details in future issues of Trinité.
The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris “The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings, and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” ~Maria Montessori
In Memoriam The Reverend Rosalie Heffelfinger Hall, known to most everyone as Rody, died suddenly on June 25, 2007 at the age of 79. Rody served as Canon at the Cathedral from 1994 to 1996. Among her many contributions to parish life here were her leadership on the Mission and Outreach committee, where with parishioner Craig Phillips she founded a support group for HIV/AIDS sufferers and their families. In her native Minnesota, Rody was a major fundraiser for many causes, especially The Episcopal Group Homes, which she founded in Wayzata, just outside Minneapolis, where she spent much of her childhood. Rody was an adventurous spirit. Traveling with her husband Ted Hall in a small boat she made a hazardous journey down the entire length of the Mississippi River. It was during this voyage in 1984 that Rody decided to enter seminary – she graduated from General Theological Seminary in New York – and become a priest. She was ordained three hours before her 60th birthday. She chronicled her journey in her 2005 autobiography “A River Echoes In My Ministry.” She also tried skydiving with her son and granddaughter when she was 75. Rody was a regular visitor to the Cathedral, often passing through Paris on her way to her home in the south of France. Many had had the pleasure of seeing her here just a few weeks before she died at public readings from her book and at a large parish wedding. Rody is survived by three sons, Wendell Willkie II, Philip H. Willkie, and Frank Peavey Willkie, from her first marriage to Philip Willkie, son of the former Republican presidential candidate.
n this centenary year of the founding of Maria Montessori’s first “Casa dei Bambini,” and the 40th anniversary of school director Barbara Baylor Porter’s dedication to the child, we thank you, The American Cathedral in Paris, for sharing this beautiful home with the children, the teachers, and the families of The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris In September 1972, Dean Sturgis L. Riddle opened the Library of the American Cathedral to our children, and in 1992 Dean Ernest E. Hunt III welcomed them to the Cathedral Nursery and the Leo Room. Today, 2- to 6-year-olds from 10 different cultures experience joy in learning, cooperation, rather than competition, harmony, peace, and friendship with others from different cultures.
AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS
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A place for grounding An ambassador and his wife in the Cathedral pews
ou might spot them at the 11 o’clock service, sitting in the middle of the congregation. Or perhaps at the Sundays at Six service, joining a small group of congregants. Whatever Cathedral service they attend, Craig and Debbie Stapleton like to feel as though they are just regular parishioners. In their diplomatic lives in Paris, of course, they are properly addressed as “Mr. Ambassador” and “Mrs. Stapleton.” But they enjoy the break from their formal function when participating in the life of the Cathedral.
saying the peace and having eye contact and connection with their fellow parishioners. Attendance in the larger community of the Cathedral is a change from the Anglican mission church they attended in the Czech Republic, where Craig was Ambassador from 2001 to 2004. Their promi-
Her mother was a Christian Scientist, and thus Debbie was raised in that church for a number of years. While attending boarding school in Farmington, Connecticut, Debbie chose to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church and began attending the local church there.
“We like to invest in not just the spiritual life but the institutional life of the church as well...”
Despite their high-profile status as dignitaries in France, the Stapletons don’t think of themselves as celebrities when they’re in church. “What we like about this congregation is that we’re not there as the Ambassador and his wife,” says Craig. “We’re informal. When we’re in church people can certainly address us by our first names.”
Soon after moving to Paris in June 2005, when Craig presented his credentials as United States Ambassador to France, the Stapletons made the Cathedral their spiritual home. They were drawn to the Cathedral on their first visit by the warm personal welcome they received. At the first service they attended, remembers Craig with a laugh, “There we were sitting in the fourth row, trying to be obscure. After the service Jonathan Huyck came over and said ‘Hello, Ambassador Stapleton.’ His parents are friends of ours (from St. Barnabas Church in Greenwich, Connecticut). We had a friend from day one.” That first Sunday at the Cathedral the Stapletons were impressed immediately when they first heard Dean Fleetwood preach and were touched by the warmth of his greeting to all. They particularly enjoy the human contact during the services, of
nence as officials was more pronounced because of its tiny size. “In Prague, it was a small congregation, maybe 60 parishioners. They didn’t own their church building, but rented it from a Czech church. There, we sat in the first or second row – but those were the only pews that were heated!” Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Craig was brought up in the Episcopal Church. “I was an acolyte when I was a kid,” he recalls. “Then I went to Exeter. In those days, if you were slightly religious when you arrived at prep school, you were pretty antireligious when you left. We had mandatory church on Sunday and chapel every morning. In my experience that didn’t increase my connection with the church.” He attended church occasionally in college, but it was mostly after he and Debbie were married that they became regular churchgoers together. Debbie was born in New York City and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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The Stapletons were married in 1971 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hartford, Connecticut, by Bishop Walter Henry Gray, and raised their children in the Episcopal faith. Their son, Walker, lives in Denver and daughter Wendy is married and lives in Los Angeles, and both visit often in Paris. They have a one-year old grandchild. Throughout their marriage, Debbie has been an active and steadfast participant in church life, and has been a member of the vestry of virtually every church they have belonged to.
They acknowledge that with their busy schedules, it is not easy for them to participate in the life of the Cathedral as much as they would like. Finding time to attend coffee hour is a rare treat. However, they try to find ways of supporting the Cathedral as much as they can. “We like to invest in not just the spiritual life but the institutional life of the church as well,” explains Craig. To that end, they have generously opened the doors of the Ambassador’s residence for a number of Cathedral gatherings. They have hosted teas for St. Anne’s Guild and the Junior Guild and a large reception for the Convocation of American Churches in Europe convention in October 2006. They have hosted a stewardship dinner, a key effort in institutional support. “Whenever we can make our home a place of hospitality for the Cathedral, we like to do that. And we have talked with Zack about continuing to do so,” says Debbie. She has participated in
the Bible Study completed in March, and has helped with Love in a Box, and enjoys being a lector when time permits. Supporting the existing American institutions such as the Cathedral is a vitally important responsibility for Americans in Paris, and one which the Stapletons feel is central in their capacity as ambassadors. “There are incredible American institutions already in place in Paris, including the Cathedral, the American Hospital, the American Church, the American Library, the American School and the American University,” says Craig. “These are all institutions that, if you were try to get them started today, it would be too big a challenge. From the U.S. point of view, we need to not only support these institutions, but we also need to get younger people, French and American, to invest in them as well.” He continues, “There are wonderful dignitaries who have done so much – one of my favorites in that category is David McGovern, who has spent years making these American institutions continue to prosper. Who are the next generation of David McGoverns who will make these institutions thrive?” McGovern, chancellor of the Cathedral and a former senior warden, has been a pillar of the American community in Paris for four decades. Debbie agrees, noting that institutions reach many people beyond the American community; they are international in their outreach. “There’s no French person who comes to one of our church services or attends one of our schools who isn’t likely to have a pretty positive view of America,” adds Craig. But beyond their institutional dedication to the Cathedral, the Stapletons find that being members of the congregation is a fulfilling personal and spiritual experience. Despite their demanding official schedules, they attend services whenever they are in Paris on Sunday. “We don’t say, ‘Are we going to church?’ We plan that and organize the rest of the day around it.”
“It’s a quiet time for us,” adds Debbie. “It makes Sunday special to us, and it’s a very important focus in our lives. It gives us grounding, and I think it’s the grounding that allows us to do all that we do.” Polly Freeman Lyman
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nn A parishioner since 2006, Polly is a fund-raising and public relations consultant; and, as a free-lance writer and editor, she pens “Polly Vous Français,” a blog about expat life in Paris.
Channeling the creative impulse A brief history of Les Arts George V
hat, you might ask yourself, is the common thread linking free lunchtime concerts, an annual art show, an evening musical revue and Gospel Dream? These are just a few of the activities organized by Les Arts George V. Les Arts George V – almost everyone calls it LAGV – was created in 1993 within the Cathedral to coordinate and champion cultural activity beyond the bounds of liturgical worship. The association is particularly appropriate for the American Cathedral in Paris, given its role as a focal point for the community of Americans and other Anglophone expatriates in Paris and its primary role as a spiritual home for this community. “I have long believed that the creative impulse is sacred,” says Dean Zachary Fleetwood. “Whether in the form of music, dance, art, poetry, or other creative arts, human creative expression and God’s holy creating spirit are wonderfully and mysteri-
ously intertwined. There is such a wealth of creative talent within the Cathedral community, so nothing makes better sense than nourishing and promoting the programs of Les Arts George V.” The debut production in 1993 was “The Play of Daniel,” the 12th century “opera” probably first performed in Beauvais. This production included costumes by an Oscar-winning costume designer, the participation of musicians from New York, and professional lighting design. It is remembered as one of the most ambitious and remarkable events seen at the Cathedral. The challenges faced by LAGV, however, soon became clear. The Cathedral space has constraints, both physical and in terms of the necessary multiplicity of activities going on within its walls; and the time required to rehearse and stage such an ambitious and complex project becomes a hard burden upon an unpaid group of musicians and craftspeople.
Thus, the decision was taken to re-focus the mission and scope of activities of LAGV on a few domains of activity: Thursday concerts are given free most weeks. Word has spread in the performing community to the extent that LAGV now receives far more requests than there are time slots in the year. Potential performers, including many young ones who appreciate the showcase these events provide, are invited to audition. Even without advertising, the organization scheduled 40 noon concerts in 2007. The most recent season saw sopranos and baritones, and players of the violin, cello, flute, clarinet and piano, who gave us music by the likes of Beethoven, Debussy, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Faure and Shostakovich. The Thursday concerts are listed in local cultural magazines, and have helped to make the Cathedral one of the destination points for people in Paris seeking live music performances.
Don Johnson, as president of LAGV, with his wife Mary Adair as his lieutenant, has been the driving force behind the organization since taking the chair at the end of 2002, having already spent five years on the board. After several international postings in the course of Don’s career, including one in Paris, the Johnsons decided to retire here, and have been active members of the Cathedral since their return ten years ago. From his early days as a boy soprano to his current involvement with the Paris Choral Society, Don knows and loves music, and it is his enthusiasm that provides the energy behind this operation. He ensures the administrative functioning of LAGV, including its financial and legal management, fulfilling reporting requirements and handling contractual and other negotiation matters. He handles publicity and program-writing for LAGV events. This kind of attention to detail ensures that an audience member coming even to a single lunchtime concert will have a thoroughly professional experience. The other members of this working board, including Canon Precentor Edward Tipton, likewise play essential roles in the
Photo: Harriet Rivière
Mary Adair and Don Johnson atop the Cathedral during the ravalement in December 2000 smooth running and quality programming of LAGV activities. They represent a broad cross-section of professional and volunteer experience, musical and artistic knowledge, and involvement in Cathedral parish life. Don says he has never seen a board work so well together.
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Photos: Neil Janin
LAGV’s sold-out Johnny Mercer cabaret in October 2007: Left, the performers; center, Dean Fleetwood and special guest Olivia de Havilland; right, chanteuse Jennifer Gosmand The concerts usually happen in the Parish Hall, but depending on availability of the nave and the requirements of a specific group of performers, the concert may take place there. A case in point where the group defined the choice of space was a memorable concert given by an ensemble of twelve harpists whose delicate and ethereal melodies transported the audience in the Parish Hall; the impact of this concert would have been muted by the need to fill the cavernous space of the nave. Another LAGV priority is generating space use contributions by renting Cathedral space to outside organizations. This draws a wide range of people who are attending specific concerts – local French and expatriate spectators as well as visitors to Paris. The variety of activities casts a wider net, so more people have the opportunity to come into contact with the Cathedral as a physical space. The Paris Choral Society, another Cathedral adjunct, and Gospel Dream, an independent business, are part of the regular LAGV lineup. So are touring groups, such as ensembles and choirs from schools and colleges. The visiting talent does not always understand how things are done here. A choir from Nottingham arrived at the Cathedral not long ago and assumed the barriers in front of the building were being used to save a parking space for their bus; as they cheerfully moved the barriers so they could park, teams of police and army officers descended en masse to explain that these barriers are not to be moved by members of the general public.
While these two pillars of activity comprise much of LAGV’s work, the association is also involved in sponsoring activities in the visual, written and musical arts. Once a year, LAGV hosts a weekendlong art show and likewise a photo exhibit. These well-attended events provide a platform for the work of parishioners and of other artists active in Paris. LAGV kicked off the 2007 membership drive in September with a Johnny Mercer Cabaret, a Saturday night musical revue celebrating the great songwriter and composer. Performed by members of the Cathedral Choir and other artists, this event is the latest in an occasional series of revues sponsored by LAGV. Membership fees and additional sponsorship gifts are the two means by which people can directly support the projects championed by LAGV. LAGV has also organized literary events. The Rev. George Hobson, the Cathedral’s Canon Theologian, gave a reading upon the occasion of the publication of his most recent volume of poetry. Emily Lodge, a former LAGV Board member who is a writer, put together a panel discussion with novelists Nancy Huston and Diane Johnson and poet C. K. Williams. In accordance with French law, LAGV is a “1901 association,” a legal designation that grants non-profit citizen-driven groups a defined status under which to operate for the good of community life. Within the Cathedral, the Junior Guild and the Paris Choral Society also operate as 1901 associations. The financial autonomy of 1901 association status gives the LAGV Board
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independent and direct control of revenues generated by donations from members and sponsors, as well as by the renting of performance space to outside organizations, and deposited in a dedicated bank account. LAGV has in fact become an important contributor to cultural projects at the Cathedral, including assistance in funding the restoration of the magnificent 1887 organ. LAGV bought a Yamaha medium grand piano for the Parish Hall, freeing up the old piano for use in the nave in concerts and worship. This is the famous “Cole Porter piano” (see next page for more on its elusive provenance). LAGV also paid for the display panels that are now used for the annual art and photography shows, and which have helped to upgrade the capability of these salons. A project in the works is the Christmas CD of the Cathedral Choir, which is in the final production stage as we go to press, and whose costs were covered by LAGV (see inside cover). There is hardly a musical or cultural event at the Cathedral with which LAGV is not involved, and it is the extraordinary volunteer effort of Don and Mary Adair Johnson and the other dedicated Board members that makes possible this dimension of the life of the American Cathedral in Paris. Philip Cacouris
nn Philip Cacouris, who joined the Cathedral in 2003, is responsible for Anglophone company-specific management programs at HEC School of Management.
Canon Precentor Edward Tipton at the “Cole Porter Piano.”
“C’est Magnifique”... but did Cole Porter play it?
ather like the old song about dancing with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales, the connection between the celebrated American composer Cole Porter and the magnificent Steinway piano in the church is a tenuous and thus mysterious one. The piano was owned for many years by an American socialite named Howard Sturges, who lived on rue Monsieur in the 7th arrondissement. Cole Porter lived on the same street, and he and Sturges were friends – indeed possibly lovers, the circumstantial evidence of this resting on the fact that Porter had an active gay life throughout his marriage and that the never-married Sturges was often present in the Porters’ social life, even accompanying them on several vacations. Sturges did not play the piano, and it is a delightful if undocumented possibility that Porter would entertain people after dinner chez Sturges by playing some of his songs, perhaps “Easy to Love” or “Every Time We Say Goodbye.”
Steinway sales records at the factory in Germany where it was produced do not indicate that Sturges was the original owner of the piano, and it is not clear whether it came to the Cathedral shortly after World War II or as a bequest at the time of his death. Circumstantial evidence indicates that either scenario is possible, but the truth is elusive. The piano itself was constructed at the start of the 20th century in “normal” style and was subsequently decorated by the E. Moulle Company in Paris with elaborate paintings and a magnificent leg structure (five additional legs were added at this time). These decorations were done in imitation of the Johannes Ruckers harpsichord (built in 1628) that can be found in the chateau de Versailles. The musical imagery on the piano includes animals playing instruments, people dancing, as well as jubilant cherubs and decorative vines. The appearance of vines is echoed in the elaborate and delicate trellis that links the base of the eight piano legs
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and provides a visual echo or shadow to the shape of the piano’s body. The color palette selected was a deliberately muted one, to evoke the fading that would happen with the passage of time, such that even when it was new it had the appearance of an antique. One of only a handful of pianos decorated in this style, this instrument’s value has appreciated considerably thanks to the restoration that was completed in 2004. Edward Tipton, the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, Organist and Choirmaster, gave a series of five premiere concerts to showcase the restored piano, at one of which the fives artisans primarily responsible for the restoration gazed lovingly at the instrument they had worked on and basked in the beautiful sounds soaring from it. Whether or not, and how often, Cole Porter actually played this piano will probably never be known. But he would undoubtedly have enjoyed its glorious sound and fabulous appearance. Philip Cacouris
A congregation in motion Founding the first American Episcopal church in Paris
he American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was at its origins the first American Episcopal church founded outside the United States. A determined group of Episcopalians in Paris managed to overcome the stubborn opposition of Calvinists, the divisive spillover from the American Civil War, the Siege of Paris and the devastation of the Commune uprising, to found their own church. Naturally enough for the Episcopal Church, it all began with a committee. Americans began arriving in Paris in significant numbers after the 1815 expulsion of Napoleon, and found the options for church attendance in English to be few. In the beginning, American churchgoers mostly attended English Anglican services, held in various unsuitable locations around Paris, from a small room adjoining a cow stable off the Champs-Elysées to the dining room of the British embassy. Another locale for Episcopal services became available in 1835 when Colonel Herman Thorn and his family moved into the Hôtel de Matignon, sometimes referred to as the Hôtel de Monaco and currently home of the French Prime Minister. For the next four years Colonel Thorn opened his sumptuous mansion for Sunday services. “The Colonel lives so en prince that he has his private chapel and chaplain; and all the world are at liberty to enjoy them. The room is not larger than a good-sized salon; it is furnished very neatly, with a handsome carpet and chairs, and a pretty desk and pulpit. The American Episcopal service was used; the prayer ran for the ‘President of the United States, the King of the French and the Queen of England,’ in that order,” a young Charles Sumner noted in his journal on March 11, 1838. Sumner went on to become U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and a leading abolitionist.
Colonel Thorn and some of his family returned to New York City in 1846, casting American churchgoers into the wilderness again. One home they found was the Chapelle Taitbout, at 9, rue Taitbout, where a British Congregationalist officiated. The American evangelical strain had sounded strongly in Paris since 1834, when the “French Association” of New York sponsored one pastor and then a second one to conduct American services in Paris. The Reverend Robert Baird, who toured eastern U.S. cities to raise money for the project, established a regular gathering at his Paris home from 1835 to 1842, roughly the same time period as Thorn’s chapel. The fault-line of American Protestant worship in Paris was laid there, with the Thorn chapel offering Episcopal services and the Chapelle Taitbout offering evangelical services in the late 1830s. For the
next 20 years, the two tendencies would try again and again to reconcile their differences and unify their efforts, but it was not a marriage that wanted to work. Holy Trinity came into being because of that divergence. In 1857, a church aimed at broadly representing various Protestant tendencies was founded as the American Chapel. A Presbyterian minister named Field, who regularly attended services there, provides a contemporary account: “The service was partly Episcopal in its form. To this some of our sturdy Presbyterian and Congregational brethren in America might object. But such should remember that the majority of the congregation are Episcopalians; that the greater part of the money to build the chapel was given by them; and that the officers of the church are all of the same communion...”
Hôtel de Matignon, now the Prime Minister’s official residence on the rue de Varenne, in the era when its occupant, Colonel Herman Thorn, hosted the earliest services of the American Episcopal church in Paris
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Field went on to say that he found the Episcopalians particularly accommodating to allow a Congregationalist pastor and Calvinist services half the time. Others didn’t quite see it that way. The church’s pastor, the Reverend Edward Norris Kirk, apparently encountered opposition from some parishioners, noted in one letter as “illiberal animadversions of certain persons.” Kirk urged them to aim for honorable compromise in a “union church” and set about looking for a better location. He found an empty lot on the rue de Berri, which was purchased and funds raised for a building. The site opened on May 2, 1858 as the American Chapel. Kirk returned to New York to report on his efforts, and at a meeting there of the American and Foreign Christian Union, which sponsored Kirk’s sojourn in Paris, a resolution was adopted unanimously that Reformed services would be exercised at the American Chapel. No one was happy. The Episcopalians didn’t like the lack of liturgy and the evangelicals didn’t like the presence of liturgy. In 1858, the Episcopal bishops sent their man, the Reverend William Orne Lamson, a native New Yorker who previously had served as rector of the Church of the Ascension in Brooklyn and at St. John the Evangelist in Stockbridge. When Lamson arrived in Paris, the American Chapel was alternating morning and afternoon services in the Reformed and Episcopal styles. An article in the New York Evening Post referred to Lamson as a “missionary of disturbance” sent to break up the “union church.” A rebuttal written to the newspaper by an unidentified American in Paris said that Episcopalians were simply looking “to worship God in the way to which the Episcopalians have been accustomed at home,” and accused the evangelicals of having blocked Lamson from proceeding with the litany or communion service. Nonetheless, Lamson managed to hold the first Episcopal service in an American church in Paris on August 15, 1858, back at the Chapelle Taitbout. In attendance were Hamilton Fish, former governor and senator of New York; Theodore S. Evans,
formed Oratoire, which had inconveniently given the Church of Scotland the preferred afternoon slot and left the Episcopalians only an early morning hour.
Colonel Herman Thorn, a founding father of the Paris church. Hamilton Fish, the New York senator and governor, who attended the first Episcopal service in Paris.
an American dentist working in Paris; Thomas Egleston and Frank Vinton, both American students at the Ecole des Mines. These four men would become key to the founding of Holy Trinity. But for the moment, a storm of dissent raged through the summer of 1858 and into 1859, mostly in the New York press, as accusations flew and letter rebutted letter. Lamson was asked to leave the American Chapel and tried to set up in other locations, including the Re-
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Despite the peripatetic nature of services, an 1859 article noted that 40 Americans regularly attended the Episcopal church, and more than 100 had attended while staying temporarily in Paris. A permanent site was lacking, but the church was functioning: its first recorded baptism and confirmation were of Susan Bradley Thayer, on October 17, 1858; its first marriage was celebrated between Paul de Reau and Clara Cecilia Bonnefoux on November 9, 1858, and its first burials, of Jeremiah M. Rhodes and Benjamin F. Butler, occurred the same day. A group of Episcopal parishioners met with Lamson in 1859 and agreed to form a committee to find a home for the church. Besides Fish and Evans, the founding committee included George Frederick Jones, subsequently father of novelist Edith Wharton; H. Seymour Lansing, a banker; Daniel Leroy, a merchant’s representative in Paris and Fish’s brother-in-law, and Edward Beylard, an American physician working in Paris. By March they had found a room to rent at 14 rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, and having found a room, established two sub-committees to deal with the finances and the organization of the church. As there had never been an Episcopal church outside of the United States, there was no precedent to follow. In April 1859, the organization sub-committee offered up a name: the American Protestant Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris. It expressed the desire to place itself under the control and supervision of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. The group also agreed that having a Home Committee in the United States would be extremely helpful; several prominent New Yorkers were nominated. The first vestry (of six) was elected, with Fish and Evans serving as wardens. As was the practice of the day – and until well into the 1970s – only male members of the congregation would be considered for the vestry.
With permission from the Préfet de Police of Paris, the church opened in May 1859, with services at 11 a.m. and evening prayer at 4 p.m. The room at 14 rue du Faubourg St. Honoré was used as a gymnasium during the week, opened onto a noisy courtyard and was quickly far too small. But it was theirs. Lamson issued an appeal to American supporters in the States: “This place is small and surrounded with inconveniences; yet it is sought gladly, and often by larger numbers than can crowd into it.” Hamilton Fish resigned from the vestry in June 1859 as he was returning to the United States, but he continued to work in favor of Holy Trinity. Looking for support from the Episcopal General Convention in October 1859, Fish wrote: “In view of the bitter opposition which the Church there has encountered, would it be asking too much of the Convention to make some specific expression of approval on its behalf?” The Convention then set up an administrative structure for congregations abroad, with certain requirements to obtain a certificate of membership in the Convention’s jurisdiction. The Holy Trinity vestry edited its bylaws to conform to the Convention’s statutes, and the presiding bishop offered his “hearty congratulations to the members of our Church” in March 1860. Administratively, Holy Trinity was in good hands. However, the room on rue du Faubourg St. Honoré was soon overrun and people were being turned away from services. Lamson wrote to Fish in New York to try to find a solution, and they decided to knock at the door of the American Chapel on rue de Berri once again. The Chapel agreed to share the premises and scheduled a joint service for Christmas Day 1859. It is unclear what happened, but the Chapel committee recorded regrets over the “undignified and unchristian manner” of the Christmas Day service, and the two agreed to hold separate services henceforth. Negotiations began for leasing the Chapel’s premises and seemed to be proceeding, but in the end the Chapel committee demanded an elevated rent and an unreasonable stipulation concerning pews, and Lamson considered that they had escaped “a hor-
net’s nest.” Thus the last effort to share the premises ended, and the committee decided to look for help from its friends in the United States. The Right Reverend Horatio Potter, provisional bishop of the diocese of New York, headed a local committee for fundraising, with the aim of buying a tract of
As there had never been an Episcopal church outside of the United States, there was no precedent to follow. land and building a church. One possibility was on rue Matignon, but negotiations fell through in late 1860, when Abraham Lincoln’s election as president signaled the prelude to civil war. Holy Trinity parishioners came from both sides of the MasonDixon line, but the northerners seems to have dominated and southerners soon switched to British chapel services. Many Americans resident in Paris also returned home to fight the war. By the summer of 1863, the vestry had collected enough funds to purchase a lot at 17 rue Bayard, a 273 square-meter tract, at a cost of 80,000 French francs. The cornerstone on the church was laid on September 12, 1863. Yet Calvinist dissent continued. Rev. John McClintock of the American Chapel, upon his retirement in 1863, lamented the birth of the new Episcopal church. “There is no more need of a second American Church here than of a separate ‘confederacy’ on American soil. I trust that neither enterprise will succeed.” Lamson went on an extended fundraising trip to the States from October 1863 to May 1864. He found that interest was great and promises were many, but money was not readily forthcoming, and the poor exchange rate between the dollar and the
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franc nearly doubled the cost of construction. But the church, designed by a French architect, was built, of Paris freestone, with columns, triple lancet windows above a molded doorway and a rose window. It seated 500 on benches. It was considered a modest church appropriate to the times of trouble in which it was built, and a fine home for Episcopalians in Paris. But as soon as the church began to find its footing in the community, the Prussians invaded and laid a hard and hungry siege on Paris for nearly a year. When negotiations brought an end to the Prussian occupation, the destruction and assassinations of the Commune uprising began. Vestry minutes are missing from April 28, 1870 to July 18, 1871, and it seems the church was forced to close temporarily during the violence and hardship. Lamson resigned in April 1872, and the Reverend John Brainerd Morgan, who had served in the interim, was named rector in June 1873. The church continued to grow, and vestry records show numerous projects for improvement and the expansion of seating. By 1875, the vestry had determined that the little church on rue Bayard was no longer large enough for the congregation, though little more than a decade had passed since it was built. The American Episcopal Church wanted a larger tract of land, with room for a spacious cathedral – as they hoped it would be, and became in 1922 – a transition that also reflected the growth of the parish. The first efforts in that direction began, naturally enough, with a committee. Ellen Hampton
nn Ellen Hampton is completing her dissertation in history at the EHESS and is resident director of the City University of New York exchange program and a Cathedral usher. This article is adapted, with thanks to the author, Cameron Allen, from the first volume of The History of the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (from its origins until 1980). Thanks also to Frances Bommart of the Cathedral Archives Committee for her research assistance.
Just as I am... A reminder that the only real perfection in this life is the perfect love of God in Christ
Photo: Associated Press
recent issue of Time magazine teases and tantalizes with the following cover line: “The Secret Life of Mother Teresa.” To increase newsstand sales, I assume, the words suggest that Mother Teresa might have been involved in something sordid and revolting – until you notice the subtitle: “Newly published letters reveal a beloved icon’s 50-year crisis of faith.” The article, which actually was fairly balanced, dramatically reveals an interior agony expressed in some of Teresa’s private letters, including her electrifying reference to Jesus as “the Absent One.” I, for one, was greatly relieved and reassured to read of Mother Teresa’s “secret life.” Who among us has not at some point in life experienced the absence of God? I have, and I’m quite certain that some of you have had similar sinking feelings at times. A recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times resonated with me. It proclaimed: “Mother Teresa’s agonies of doubt place her in the mainstream of Judeo-Christian belief.” People who worship God have always found moments, hours, sometimes decades, of feeling deserted by God. I am grateful for the reassurance of Mother Teresa’s inner struggles, just as I am reassured by the psalmist of old: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – powerful words, real words, words echoed on the lips of Jesus as he was dying on the cross. Doubt is a good and useful thing in this life. The great writer Rollo May was a psychologist deeply influenced by humanism. He was also a close friend of the theologian Paul Tillich. In his classic work, “Love and Will,” Rollo May writes: “The most creative people neither ignore doubt nor are paralyzed by it. They explore it, admit it, and act despite it. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but in spite of doubt.”
If freedom from doubt were a requirement for commitment or church membership, there just wouldn’t be a lot of committed people in this world, and our churches would be empty. We remain committed and keep on coming to church for complex reasons: to forgive and be forgiven, to be known and accepted. We come to fuel our commitment and our passions so that we might participate somehow in the healing and reconciling of the sorrows, sufferings, and brokenness of the world. We come often with more questions than answers. We come hoping and trusting that since most of us fall far short of moral or theological perfection, at least we can come to be reminded that the only real perfection in this life is the perfect love of God in Christ. I’ve grown to love that sappy old hymn, “Just As I Am.” It was my grandmother’s favorite and I hated it – until about 15 minutes after I turned 55. Now I love it. I’m especially drawn to the stanza that goes:
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Just as I am, though tossed about, with many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings and fears, within and without – O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Faith and commitment are about the capacity to “keep on coming” even, and perhaps most especially, when we’re wallowing in uncertainty. I believe that Teresa’s posthumous revelations serve as a bold witness to the notion that a maturing faith is sometimes about trusting God in spite of our doubts. When I hear religious leaders of any faith who seem to have all the answers, with absolute certainty, and who insist upon inflicting that certainty upon the rest of us, I just want to run the other way. I suppose that some part of me would find it comforting to embrace a religion that provides all the answers in neat, tidy, rational categories. Yet mostly I welcome the resistant impulse within; the impulse that nurtures a healthy skepticism when the
Church begins to sound the rat-a-tat-tat of easy answers to the hardest and most complex questions of life. The problem is that life just isn’t always easy or neat. Life is fraught with the irrational. Irrational things happen to us – things like...inexpressible beauty, or crushing sorrow. Irrational things like love and death. A religion that fails to acknowledge the reality of the messiness of life is not a very helpful religion. A religion that offers a ready solution to the complex dilemmas of life in a post-modern world is either in denial or disingenuous or dead. A religion that offers answers that shut out the possibility of doubt with an increasingly aggressive certainty is a religion that
turns in on itself. Such a religion expends increasing energy in determining who’s in or who’s out, who’s up or who’s down. Such a religion expends less and less energy on building bridges and opening doors. Such a religion focuses increasingly on excluding those who don’t agree with it, or those who don’t measure up somehow against narrowly and rigidly defined moral categories. Such a religion ultimately renders itself irrelevant. As I careen into advanced middle age, I grow increasingly aware of just how little I know. The older I get, the more I realize the irony that maturity in faith is not always about greater understanding. A maturing faith is often about accepting and
embracing a prayerful posture of awe and wonder at the ineffable mystery of life. At this time of year we find ourselves in close proximity to the Feast of All Saints. I am grateful for Saint Teresa and “beloved icons” like her through the ages. I still marvel at the depth of commitment and service manifested in their lives. However, saints also remind us that God can use the depths of our hurt to empower us as vessels of healing and hope for the hurts of the world. Zachary Fleetwood
nn The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood has been Dean of the Cathedral since 2003.
The Trinity Society, a loving legacy
state planning is always something we think we can do later: when we can find a moment, when we are older, when we retire, when our lives are all sorted out. There are a million excuses to put off this important part of being a responsible steward of our treasure, and of making sure that what we value in our lives is reflected after our death. But in reality nothing on earth should be allowed to hold us back from leaving a loving legacy for those people and institutions we care about.
Jennifer and Didier Gosmand, a young couple with two school-aged children, were inducted into the Trinity Society in June 2007. As French residents and citizens (Jennifer holds dual nationality) they found a way to give that takes advantage of French taxation and inheritance regulations, making the Cathedral the beneficiary of a contrat d’assurance vie (life insurance contract.) Through this type of policy up to €152,000 can be donated to any beneficiary, with no French estate tax due. Further, it is an easy instrument to put in place, as it is offered by most French banks, with great
But as Jennifer points out, “the Cathedral’s annual budget of roughly €1 million is only partially met by pledging….much of our financial support comes from drawing on our endowment.” Legacy gifts, which go directly into the endowment, help assure that it will be there to support the Cathedral in the years to come. “We chose to make a planned gift so that future generations will experience the same spiritual and musical inspiration, source of fellowship and sense of belonging that we have always found at the American Cathedral.”
Jennifer and Didier Gosmand latitude in the underlying investments and in payment terms. Jennifer and Didier also give greatly of their time – Jennifer in the choir, the Development Committee and the Vestry; Didier, a professional contractor, to the Buildings and Grounds group. And they have been pledging every year since they were married at the Cathedral in 1994.
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If your loving legacy includes plans for the Cathedral please let us know so we can thank you and invite you to join us on May 18, 2008 for the next induction into the Trinity Society. In addition to the special ceremony during the Sunday service, a formal dinner for Trinity Society members will be held that evening. If you are considering such a donation – we hope you will – and would like more information please contact Nancy Janin, Chair of the Development Committee, at email@example.com
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Published on Jun 30, 2015