Episode 3 - The Very Rev. Lina Howell

The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell is Dean of the Cathedral for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, located in downtown Hartford. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic where she was an active lay leader in the Episcopal Diocese of the D.R., planting two congregations, before being ordained. She has worked in youth and young adult ministry for her diocese, province, and for the Presiding Bishop. As a priest, she served at a camp and conference center in the D.R. before taking a call to a parish in New Jersey, and was soon recruited to come to Hartford in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. She’s held many church-wide leadership positions and is currently a chaplain for the House of Bishops. 

In today’s episode, she recounts her early years and her recruitment by Connecticut. She had a comfortable position at a parish in New Jersey, but ECCT persisted. She and her husband Daniel prayed over it and decided the Holy Spirit was indeed calling, and accepted as vicar. That was in 2013 and by 2015 she was elected by the Cathedral Chapter, and appointed by the Bishop, to serve as Cathedral Dean. She was installed in February 2016. In the meantime, the Bishop had given the Cathedral a charge to reimagine its identity and role for the 21st century. The Rev. Harlon Dalton, who was serving as priest in charge of the Cathedral, oversaw the task force while Lina worked with the congregations. Here are the eight purposes of a cathedral, which were then approved by ECCT at its annual convention:

  1. Embody and enhance our common identity as Anglicans within a particular geographic region
  1. Maintain and preserve it as a house of prayer and devotion open to all
  1. Maintain excellence in the quality of worship
  1. Assist the bishops in their role as the public face and voice of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut
  1. Provide sanctuary and a serve as a public meeting ground
  1. Engage with other faiths, religions, and wisdom traditions
  1. Embody and extend the bishops’ apostolic call to make Christ Jesus known and manifest in the world
  1. Collaborate as a center for theological learning and spiritual growth
  1. (Click here to read the specific recommendations,  based on the purposes.)

While the progress may be slow, the recommendations are holding solid. 

Toward the end we talk briefly about what it’s been like as a Latina cathedral deans. It turns out that being a woman dean is still challenging to some people.  We end  up talking about her new role as a mom: She and Daniel are in the process of adopting two young boys, and she is also expecting a biological child. It’s all bringing great joy as well as changes. 

When asked what she’d like ECCT to pray for the Cathedral, she suggests the Prayer of Jabez, from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, praying that God would bless them, and “enlarge [their] territory.”

Today's guest is the Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Dean of the Cathedral for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, located in downtown Hartford. 

She is a native of the Dominican Republic and grew up across the street from an Episcopal church and school in Santo Domingo, and was actively engaged in both of those. Originally she thought she might want to be a nun, but her parish priest dissuaded her. We are most grateful to him! She has degrees in psychometrics and clinical psychology, as well as a degree from seminary.

Miguelina, who sometimes goes by "Lina," served as the diocesan young adult ministry coordinator in the DR and later as coordinator for youth ministry for all of Province IX, while she was still a lay person. After she was ordained a priest, in 2002, she served at a camp and conference center in the Dominican Republic. She took her first position outside her country at a church in New Jersey. She was actively recruited to come to the Cathedral in Hartford first as its vicar in 2013, and was later elected its 10th Dean. She was installed in early 2016 as the first Latina dean of an Episcopal cathedral in The Episcopal Church. 

She's been very active in The Episcopal Church, serving on its staff, on the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church, on a council of advice for the President of the House of Deputies, as a faculty member for a clergy wellness program, CREDO, as Chaplain for the House of Bishops. She was a collaborator in the church's "Strategic Vision for Reaching Latinos/Hispanics" in 2009 and remains active in the church's Latino Ministries. And there's probably a lot more I didn't even mention.