This article and video is the last in a four-part series on the ministry of cathedrals, featuring interviews with their deans. The first article, “Video: Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, with Dean David Ison” is available here; the second, “Education always a part of Ashton Brooks’ vocation,” is available here; the third, “Los Angeles cathedral(s): ‘One ministry in two places,’” is available here. In 2013, ENS also published a series on cathedral deans, available here.
[Episcopal News Service] The American Cathedral in Paris, officially the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, was built in the 1880s to serve an expanding community of ex-pats and English-speakers abroad. It has since grown in its diversity and outwards in its ministry to the local community.
The Very Rev. Lucinda Laird, who has just completed her first year as dean and rector, speaks with ENS about the American Cathedral being a place of transformation and its commitment to social outreach and serving those on the fringes of Parisian society and beyond.
Located at 23 Avenue George V, the American Cathedral is a pro-cathedral, meaning it remains a parish church. It is the seat of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, presided over by Bishop Pierre Whalon.
Today, the cathedral congregation is composed of about 400 permanent parishioners and includes Americans, Britons and French as well as many other Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans.
Laird says: “If you’re an Episcopalian, the American Cathedral in Paris is your cathedral in Europe.”
Laird previously served as rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and as rector at St. Mark’s Church in Teaneck, New Jersey. Before that she was an assistant for college ministries at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and curate of the parish of Christ the Redeemer in Pelham, New York.
A native of New Orleans, Laird is a graduate of Barnard College and the General Theological Seminary. She also studied acting at Temple University.
Within the Episcopal Church she has served on the faculty of the Preaching Excellence Program (Episcopal Preaching Foundation); as a member of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations; on the Advisory Board of the Church Pension Fund; on the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary; and has been president of Associate Alumni/ae of the General Seminary.
— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.