Where We Pray: Christ Church is 'the living room of Cincinnati,' where everyone sits at the table

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is rich in the number and variety of houses of worship. In our weekly feature, WCPO shines the spotlight on where we pray.

Christ Church Cathedral

  • Address: 318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati
  • Denomination: Episcopal
  • Clergy: The Very Rev. Gail E. Greenwell, Dean; The Rev. Canon Manoj M. Zacharia; Sub-Dean; The Rev. Canon Robert R. Rhodes, Canon Missioner; The Rev. Canon Sherilyn Pearce, Canon Pastor
  • Size of Congregation: 700 members
  • Affiliation: The Episcopal Church, USA 

Core Beliefs:
"Although members of the Episcopal Church are many and diverse, they come together in Christ through their worship, as outlined in The Book of Common Prayer, the primary symbol of their unity." MORE

When asked what many find attractive about worshiping at Christ Church Cathedral (CCC), The Very Rev. Gail Greenwell points to words and music.

“Our liturgies are steeped in tradition and rich in pageantry," she said. "They speak to the deepest parts of one’s soul. Our preaching is relevant to real world circumstances, and the inspiration found in our music feeds the spirit.”

Each Sunday, member families gather at the downtown cathedral known for its music programs. These include Music Live at Lunch, concerts, organ recitals. In 2013, the church partnered with the Cincinnati Opera to present "All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914." This year will mark the 75th annual production of the cathedral's renowned Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.

The cathedral’s Taft Lecture Series has brought national and international theologians, thinkers and creative people to the city for years, including such notables as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Peter Gomes and Dr. Cornell West. The series’ most recent speaker, author and founder of Momastery.com, Glennon Doyle Melton, filled the house with a new generation of visitors this spring.

As the cathedral enters its third century as an Episcopal congregation in downtown Cincinnati--it will celebrate its bicentennial in 2017--it looks to undertake several major new initiatives as part of what the congregation is calling its Third Century Vision. 

  1. The installation of a world class tracker organ
  2. A major renovation of the chapel initially built for the church’s centennial celebration
  3. Investment in a housing project for single parent families

The cathedral has long been actively involved in equal rights and opportunities, including the LGBTQ community. If the cathedral had a motto, it would be “everyone gets to sit at the table.”

Judi Stoker, CCC member

"Christ Church Cathedral's diverse and Christ-centered, come-as-you-are culture gives us and our teenagers a welcoming place to grow in faith with a like-minded community,” said cathedral member Judi Stoker.

When asked to condense "what the community at CCC has done for our family into 25-30 words," she said:

"You might as well ask me to establish world peace while you're at it.”

Member Elizabeth Brown appreciates the cathedral's setting.

Elizabeth Brown, CCC member

“The cathedral is downtown and attracts a diverse community from the metro area. It offers a broad range of opportunities to work together in learning and service,” said Brown, who is executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal.

“In a consecrated space where people have opened their hearts to God for nearly two centuries," said member Michael Henrickson. "I come to pray in a garden’s peace, in its Gothic chapel’s grace and intimacy, in a quietly contemplative corner, or in the cathedral’s nave surrounded by richly inspiring music that rises as beautifully offered prayer.” 

“Truly great urban cathedrals of our times are places where the whole city – regardless of faith or conviction – can gather for prayer, for community advocacy, for the arts, in times of national crisis and in times of great celebration,” said Dean Gail Greenwell. “We are the ‘living room’ of the city where connections are made and friendships developed.”

Christ Church in the community

Throughout its history, the congregation has been committed to serving those in need in the community and beyond. The outreach programs that the cathedral currently operates include:

  • 5000 Club food ministry
  • Plumb Line rental assistance ministry
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network for families who are homeless

In addition, each year the cathedral gives hundreds of thousands of dollars away to various organizations benefiting a wide range of people in need. MORE

Services:

  • Sundays: 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Infant and toddler care is available from 8:00 a.m. to noon. A social time with coffee follows the ten o'clock Sunday morning service.
  • Centering Prayer: Every other Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
  • Evensong: First Sunday of the month: October and February through May at 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:10 p.m.
  • Evening Prayer Mondays at 6:00 p.m., alternating with Centering Prayer Tuesdays at 4:40 p.m.

More about Christ Church Cathedral

(Photos provided by CCC)

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