To Jan Cope, Wayne Fowler, and the entire Cathedral Congregation:

Thank you so much for the wonderful and totally unexpected gift given to me on Sunday, July 9.  For those of you present that day, you could probably tell from my face that I was truly surprised!  The stole is beautiful, and as Jan said, no matter where I go in the years to come, the love of my Cathedral family will always be with me when I put it on.

Some of you were totally surprised by the announcement of my Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate on June 10, and also wondered if this meant I was leaving the Cathedral in the imminent future; so it seems that this might be a good moment to provide a bit of background and context to answer all these questions.

When I first came to the Cathedral in 2012, I had actually just graduated from Yale with a Master of Divinity, which I did jointly with my Master of Music. (I also have an Anglican Studies certificate from Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal seminary attached to Yale Divinity School.) What had started out as an academic pursuit (or so I told myself) ended up in the formation of a discernment committee in the final year of my coursework, as I contemplated a call to the priesthood.  Canon Michael McCarthy was very intrigued by my “bi-vocationality,” and before I had even been offered the job, wanted to know how he and the Cathedral could help in my continued discernment.  It is that willingness to think “outside the box,” as well as his kind support over the past several years for which I am immensely thankful.

I entered the Diocese of Connecticut’s formation process formally in 2014, and after being admitted to Postulancy and then Candidacy, was approved for ordination to the Transitional Diaconate this past April.  During the three years of formation, I was in Connecticut regularly for meetings and retreats with the Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, and my formation group; and in the fall of 2016, I began a 7 month chaplaincy internship at Georgetown Medstar Hospital, which required roughly 13 hours a week in addition to overnight on calls.

As to the other question, “Am I leaving?” – yes, one day – but not yet!  I will be with you all at the Cathedral for another year or so before returning to Connecticut for placement in a parish, after which time I will be ordained to the Priesthood.

Again, I thank you for the beautiful stole, and for your kind words and support, and look forward to our continued time together in worship and fellowship.

Yours, faithfully,

Benjamin