Speaking of Incense

Whether you think it's a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire," or simply "more hot air", suffice it to say that our clergy and lay leaders have heard a range of views in recent weeks about the use of incense in our liturgical practice, particularly at the 10:30 AM service. 

We appreciate all those who have taken the time to share their perspectives on this topic. It is clear from the diversity of sincerely-held opinions expressed that we should discuss this as a Cathedral community.

On Sunday, April 2, 2023, we will hold a 40-minute forum discussion. The purpose of this meeting is not to "debate" the issue, to win anyone over, or try to come to some sort of a resolution there and then, but rather, to allow anyone who has a perspective they would like to share to express it and to give everyone an opportunity to hear the views of other members of the Cathedral community.

Recognizing that not everyone may be able to attend that session or feel comfortable participating in that way, we will then distribute a short, anonymous survey through the e-Chronicle newsletter seeking people's feedback on this issue. 

Following the above, Dean Chris and the other Trustees will discuss the feedback received and share our learnings from your feedback. 
Many of the comments received suggested that some may not be aware of the communications and notifications provided around this issue to date. By way of reminder, here is a list of current as well as future (1) notification practices on incense use and (2) mechanisms for reducing the potentially irritating effect of incense for some.

Current Notifications:

A list of all of the dates when incense is traditionally used at the Cathedral was distributed via eChronicle on February 3, 2023, and is found here. Actual use may be less depending on the Deacon and Presider present on those dates.
Notification, where incense will be used at the next 10:30 Worship for the upcoming Sunday, is printed in the weekly Friday eChronicle.
A sign announcing the use of incense in the current worship service is present in the Narthex near next to the door entering into the Nave.
The Duty Trustee mentions in announcements that incense will be used in the current worship service.

Future Additional Notifications Planned:

Notification to be printed in the Sunday bulletin at the points in the worship where incense will be used.

Previous Modifications:

The type of incense used was changed to a brand that is considered less irritating.
Incense is not used during the “Entrance Rite” procession in order to limit the area affected by incense to the altar area.
Incense at the Proclamation of the Gospel only occurs if the Deacon assigned to that Sunday chooses to use it.

For those who do not receive the eChronicle, the message above will be reiterated at the beginning of worship & Vestry this Sunday, February 26th. 

We look forward to continuing to hear the perspectives of the community on this issue as Dean Chris, clergy, and lay leaders discern how best to balance Anglican traditions and historical approaches at the Cathedral regarding worship, underlying theological principles, and a desire to offer a range of liturgical practices, with the various consequential impacts on our fellow parishioners’ experience of in-person worship.

Kevin Smith, ODNW - Rector’s Warden