What is a Cathedral?

A Cathedral gets its name from the chair (a cathedra) in which a bishop is installed. In former times we would talk about the Bishop’s throne, but that suggests the bishop as a ruler rather than a servant of God. These days a bishop is the chief pastor of a diocese. In Canada, there are 30 dioceses and St. Michael and all Angels is the cathedral for the diocese of Kootenay, which covers a triangular area in the south eastern part of BC.

As a cathedral, St. Michael’s enjoys three arenas of ministry.

  • The first arena is that it is a fairly large parish church. Those who enjoy the splendor and majesty of the Cathedral style of worship, come to St. Michael’s. We try to offer a wide variety of worship experience for those who call the Cathedral their parish home. A lot of our parish resources are devoted to maintaining a standard of excellence in traditional and contemporary liturgy and music. There is a high expectation on the quality of preaching and on breadth of expression in music.
  • The second major arena of ministry is as the mother church of our diocese. Often, major events happen at St. Michael’s as people gather from around the diocese. Synods, ordinations and major celebrations often take place at the Cathedral so that a primary ministry is one of hospitality. The chief pastor or incumbent at the Cathedral is also the Dean of Kootenay and as such is the second ecclesiastical officer, next to the Bishop. The Dean participates significantly in the offices of the diocese.
  • The third arena in which the Cathedral exercises ministry is to all of the people in the city in which it is located. In England, before a town can become a city they must have a cathedral and thus a bishop and a dean. In Canada, cities often have a number of cathedrals. For example Winnipeg has 23 cathedrals of various denominations. St. Michael’s enjoys the distinction of being Kelowna’s only cathedral. Thus, we very much want to live up to being Kelowna’s Cathedral. As such, we try to provide people with a window to God whatever their religious tradition and experience. We have no desire to entice people away from the loyalties they may have to their own congregation. What we try to do is mark special events and lift up various contributions of people and occupations in our community. We strive to be a patron to the performing arts in the community and to go out of our way to support any initiatives that address human need.

Juggling these three arenas of ministry is indeed challenging and enriching and we find ourselves blessed in our adventure of being a cathedral. We attempt to undertake that adventure with a commitment to excellence in ministry.