Hope for Civility in an Un-Civil Time
By Kay Collier McLaughlin

Tuesday morning's news updates from around the church included what at first glance appeared to be cause for celebration in the United Kingdom, as the Church of England moved forward with granting women clergy the right to serve as bishops. Like most such decisions in church or state, what was cause for celebration for some was cause for grief or at least disappointment for others. What was disturbing, however, was the tone of the commentary that followed both National Public Radio's release, and the release from Religious News Service.

Both reports were straightforward reporting of an event. This is what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who was involved- a bit of background on the path toward decision. The commentary was, as far too much commentary is today, derogatory, personal, attacking. It was too close to home: to the often insulting diatribes on Facebook and other social media that attack anyone and anything that disagrees with the passionate point of view of the attacker.

During this past year, the Leadership Team of the Diocese of Lexington has been working with the Kentucky Council of Churches around their theme for the year of Civil Dialogue. The request came when President Greg Alexander, Disciples of Christ, wondered aloud how they, the Council, could model civil dialogue to their constituents when "too often we cannot show civility to each other across doctrinal lines."

The good news is, that here is a leader naming the hard truth and looking for ways to do something to change things.

Together, the team and Council have experienced the Culture of Courtesy Covenant, the Difference Between Dialogue and Debate, an exercise helping identify differing spiritual preferences which often separate us from others who worship our same God, an exercise identifying behaviors which lead us away from civility, and options for choosing behaviors that lead toward it. In December, it will all culminate in a Holy Conversation around the topic of civil liberties, followed by a reflection on how each individual might make use of this year-long experience in modeling civility in their own community.

Hopeful- yes?

The Kentucky Council gave three awards for work in civil dialogue at their annual assembly. One of them went to Centre College for the Courtesy Covenant which is signed by all students, faculty and staff.

"I promise to do my best
Be my best
And respect the members of our Centre community."

To the best of their knowledge said the president of the student body in accepting the award, no student or faculty had ever refused to sign the covenant. It hit the national news, however, when vice-presidential candidates refused to sign when asked to do so prior to their debate which was held on the Centre campus.

Let's think about that a moment, in light of today's most recent ugliness, and those yet to come. Let's think about Greg Alexander's question: how are we to model civil dialogue if we can't be civil with each other across_______. You fill in the blanks. It seems there is no subject where civility is possible. And few models to be found anywhere to follow. Few, if any, national news reports when there are examples of civility and respect. We seem to thrive on the venom and then wonder why there are violent acts in the world.

Is it possible there might be a connection?

Andy Greenspan, a documentary producer from Florida heard about Holy Conversations, and called to ask some questions, wondering if this effort toward civil dialogue might be a good story. It is interesting, he thought, but his closing statement said it all: "If you could get some congressmen and other elected officials to take part in such a conversation, then we'd have a story," he concluded. "Call me if that ever happens!"

This year's Kentucky Council of Churches emphasis on civil dialogue will conclude. I am reminded daily how much work remains to be done if we are to even begin to change the conversation-whoever we are, wherever we are.

If everyone who reads these words would agree to be the difference in their own homes, personal and professional lives, every day, it can matter, in big and important ways.

Will you?

Click here to see the article with more pictures of conversations.
Youth & Young Adult Mission Trip to Guatemala
Spend a week of the summer working with orphans, doing light construction, improving the lives of those who live in poverty, exploring a culture and getting to know our new companion diocese in Guatemala!

The Diocese of Lexington is sponsoring a mission trip for high school age youth and college-age young adults to Guatemala City, Guatemala. The mission trip is being provided through our Christian Formation Programing. We will be staying in a retreat center, where all our meals are provided. During the day, we will work with orphans, do some light construction and serve those in need. We will also get a tour of Guatemala City and the surrounding area. We will see poverty and experience a way of living that is so different from life in the USA. We will make a difference to children and a community that will leave them changed and change us as well.

The trip will cost under $1400 (depending on airfare) and be all inclusive (transportation costs, lodging, all meals, bottled water, construction supplies, tools, missionary guide, and expenses related to work done.) The trip is scheduled for June 6 through June 13. Please contact The Rev. Lauren Vilemuer-Drenth for questions and to express interest. There will be diocesan fundraising to help cut the costs for attendees and each young person's parish will be asked to fundraise to help cover their individual costs. Deadline to register is February. Contact Lauren at
Giving Tuesday: Support the Cathedral Domain
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Click the link below to learn more AND schedule YOUR Gift!
The Diocese of Lexington presents St. Nicholas Festival
The mall has its Santa, the stores are filled with Christmas trees, and children have already started their "I want" lists. Christmas Season commercially has arrived. How do we teach our children about Christmas when the world is focused on the "gift-getting" season?

Join the Diocese of Lexington for a Christian Formation Event on December 6th at Christ Church Cathedral for our St. Nicholas Festival. The true story of Santa Claus begins in a small village with a young boy named Nicholas who loved Jesus so much. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

In Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, is keeping alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dress as bishops and ask for money for the poor-and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands, St. Nicholas arrives on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe.

On December 6th, our families and children can celebrate St. Nicholas with stations of crafts, ornament making, story-telling, good deeds, treats, and prayers. Arrive at 4PM at Christ Church Cathedral. We are asking each family to bring a plate of cookies to share and socks to give to area homeless shelters and nursing homes. During the evening, Bishop Nicholas may have time to visit us on his busy feast day.

For questions, please send an e-mail to

What's New

Gallery Hop at the Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, November 21


Caroline Herring Soulful Space Concert

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, November 22 


Trinity Church Covington Fall Organ Festival

Trinity Episcopal Church, 326 Madison Ave., Covington, November 24


St. Nicholas Day: A Diocesan Children's Event

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 6


Rev. Brian Cole to preach on 'Day 1'

December 7


Advent Quiet Day with Bishop Hahn

Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 8 

What's Happening

 #GoodGivingChallenge online fundraiser supports St. Agnes' House November 3-December 12


Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, December 5

St. Nicholas Festival 
Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington December 6

"The Gift of Grace" Advent Quiet Day

Emmanuel Church, 2410 Lexington Road, Winchester, December 6


A New Year in the Spirit

The Cathedral Domain, 800 HWY 1746, Irvine, December 27-December 30

Last Sunday After Pentecost
The Diocesan Staff at Mission House
St. Laurence Chapel, Mission House

Advent 1
The Church of the Advent, Cynthiana
   The Rev. Paul Wanter, Supply Priest

19 Nov. Lauren Villemuer-Drenth D
27 Nov. Charles Ellestad D
30 Nov. Bonnie Q. Johns P
  1 Dec. W. Douglas Hahn P
  5 Dec. Robert Kirkpatrick


We pray for beloved clergy experiencing medical concerns: Jay Pierce.

We pray for the friends and family of those who have departed: John Madden and John Dews.


Download the 2014 Intercessory Prayer List

Download the 2015 Intercessory Prayer List

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