May 24, 2019
Among the many truly significant ministries at Grace Church is Canterbury Downtown, the Episcopal college chaplaincy for NYU and surrounding campuses here in lower Manhattan. Canterbury Downtown is technically a ministry of the Diocese of New York, and is overseen by the Rev. Mary Cat Young. But for the past six years they have found a home with us. Mary Cat’s office is on the second floor of the parish house, and every Sunday evening during the school year she and her students join in with our 6 pm service in the chantry. Mary Cat is a frequent preacher and presider at the Eucharist, and then she hosts dinner and a program for the students in the reception room. It is a lively group, and it’s definitely been a win-win for us to provide the space. I am grateful not only for the energy and vision that Mary Cat has brought to the ministry, but also that our Diocese has made it a priority to reach out to college students. I wish that every Episcopal diocese would sponsor active campus ministries at the colleges within their jurisdiction. Sadly, as the father of a college student out of state, I can tell you that it isn’t so. We have a good thing going here.
Alas, all good things don’t necessarily come to an end, but they do change. The bittersweet news is that Mary Cat as accepted a new call to become the Associate Rector for University Ministry at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, NC. She begins her ministry there on August 1st, and will preach her final sermon at our 6 pm service on June 9th. It’s a great move both professionally and personally for Mary Cat, her husband Chad, and young daughter Dorothy Sue.
We will truly miss Mary Cat, but the synergy that she helped to create between Grace Church and Canterbury Downtown is something we want to build upon and even increase. In the coming weeks the Diocese will be conducting a search for a new chaplain. While the new chaplain will be an employee of the Diocese, we will be “actively hopeful” that the person they choose will be eager to merge in with the life and ministry of Grace Church too. We want to keep these good times rolling. Stay tuned. We will keep you posted.
If you are traveling this Memorial Day weekend, please be safe. If not, see you in church.