Video: The American Cathedral in Paris: A place of transformation

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.

Comments

  1. Fr Stuart Kenworthy says:

    A moving witness to the ever-reaching and loving heart of Jesus Christ in a very special place in Christendom and the Anglican Communion. Dean Lucinda Laird is clearly the right person at the right time for the Cathedral Church in Paris. Keep up the great and good work, Dean Lucinda !

  2. The Rev. Fred Fenton says:

    I celebrate the outreach programs at the Cathedral. The new Dean is an impressive leader. We can be very proud of this American presence in Paris. The video is wonderful!

  3. What a magnificent ministry! Our American Cathedral in Paris radiates the heart and mind of Christ throughout Europe and across the ocean. Experiencing this beautiful video and hearing Dean Laird speak so authentically about Cathedral Life, I feel my heart growing wider, and also a deep sense of Place on Earth, a true home for all people~ a luminous embodiment of Bienvenue!

  4. Margaret Bond says:

    What a wonderful piece. So happy to have been among Lucinda’s flock at St. Matthew’s. A woman of great faith and intelligence.

    • Lucinda Laird says:

      Thanks, Margaret. St. Matthew’s, Louisville, formed and strengthened me for 15 years, and I will always be grateful for the ministry we shared.

  5. Marian Sabety says:

    What a wonderful piece, which so clearly and warmly expresses the mission and value of the community. When I went to school in Paris in the 70’s, I attended, but beyond weekly services and some kaffee klatches, there was limited outreach beyond the parishioners. The programs you described have brought the church to a whole new level of involvement and caring; which I applaud. Congratulations, Lucinda on being able to lead this lovely outpost to become so crucially enriching to those around them.

  6. What a magnificent video. I am so blessed to be a volunteer at the Friday Mission Lunch. I feel so warm and welcome every time I go to the Cathedral.

  7. What a lovely video, Matthew. Thank you for it, and thank God for Lucinda, for the openness of the Episcopal Church, and for the incarnational response of this parish to Matthew 25.

  8. The Revd Robert A. Moore says:

    Thank you Dean Lucinda for this insight into the ministry of the American Cathedral. As an Episcopal priest (Minnesota) who has served in the Church of England for the past 34 years, it was heartwarming to hear what the Episcopal Church is doing in Paris. God bless you. Continue in His good work and ministry.

  9. William Russiello says:

    As a former parishioner in St. Mark’s when Lucinda was our priest, I know that the American Cathedral has very good leadership.

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