Friends Newsletter, Fall 2018

The Dean's Letter
It’s La Rentrée! And it’s a beautiful September in Paris.  I hope all of you are well, especially those of you in the Carolinas who have been dealing with Florence.  You’ve been in our prayers.
Our wonderful new President, Betsy Blackwell has put together a terrific Rentrée newsletter for the Friends. Enjoy!

The Very Reverend Lucinda Laird



Greetings from Chapel Hill, NC! Just to remind everyone, I'm Betsy Blackwell, the new President of the Friends of the American Cathedral. My husband, John Watson is the new head of the Foundation. We took our new positions earlier this year. Although John and I have moved back to the United States, we still think of September as the beginning of the year after our time in France. I loved feeling the pulse of Paris quicken as the city revived after a summer spent with friends and family and embraced the season of rentrée. Catching up with everyone as they returned and shared their memories and experiences was an annual delight -- something we've tried to cherish and keep as part of our lives stateside. So, one of our "New Year" resolutions is to try and give our friends a quarterly update about life in the Cathedral, beginning with this one for those of us who don't get to be a part of the rentrée.
Speaking of rentrée, be sure to check out the Cathedral newsletter. The most recent issue reveals the ongoing diversity and vibrancy of the place that we all love. If you are not a subscriber and want to be, contact Sarah Norodom at

We do want to draw your attention to two important events this fall, the election of the bishop for the convocation (read about the candidates here and a rededication of the Cathedral's Memorial Cloister on November 10, the eve of the centennial of the end of WWI.  We are in the early planning stage for a Friends gathering in the Washington, DC area during January. We will keep you posted as the plans clarify. If you are interested, please let us know. 

In Faith and Friendship,
Betsy Blackwell and John Watson

Contact Us

  Watson/Blackwell Family[]
(704) 816-9446 (Betsy mobile)
(919) 257-3852 (John mobile)

Bishop Candidates Walkabout, Thursday, September 27

Find out about the four nominees for our next bishop and come meet them at Cathedral if you are in Paris as part of the Convocation-wide “walkabout” on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 6pm. There will be a town hall where the candidates will answer questions that have been sent them in advance and speak to what is important or central to their own ministry. Registration is required if you wish to attend the Town Hall Meeting.


Rededication of the Cathedral's Memorial Cloister, Saturday, November 10

On Saturday, November 10, the eve of the centennial, we plan to rededicate the Cathedral’s World War I Memorial Cloister in a late morning event, at least partially outdoors, weather permitting. The following day, as Paris observes a moment of silence and then bells ring across Paris, the Cathedral will offer a special service of commemoration with an emphasis on peace.

 This service is particularly moving to me. My grandfather served in World War I and my uncle in World War II. Their division, the 29th, is one of the division emblems represented on the Cloister wall. I'd often detour to see the wall and remember their stories about serving in Europe, leaving behind a farm boy existence in Caswell County, NC. Pausing before the wall was a great reminder of home as I adjusted to my life in Paris and later served as a point of reflection about how we all adjust, change and grow through our experiences "away."  

My grandfather had dropped out of college to serve in the war. He worked with the cavalry horses and, because of his war experiences, was made county veterinarian through the NC state legislature, a job he did for the rest of his life. I'm sure many of you have stories about relatives who served in both wars. We'd love to hear them, please send them to me and I'll pass them on. If you want to have a family member included in the prayers on this Memorial Day or would like to make a special gift in their honor, please contact Tony Holmes, the Parish Coordinator. 

Wishing you a rentrée full of new adventures, great times with dear friends, fond memories of people you love and a chance to embrace new challenges. We hope to see you in the near future. 

 Follow us on
Facebook & Instagram @amcathparis