Very Rev. Douglas McCaleb
Title: Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Miami.
Other community posts: Member, Partnership for Homeless, Episcopal Charities, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Education: Bachelor's of arts degree, University of California, Berkeley; graduate work at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; master's degree in divinity, General Theological Seminary, New York.
Personal: 62. Born in Los Angeles.
Family: Single, no children.
Q: Are there any differences between pastoring a cathedral and a parish church?
A: We try to capture the sense of a medieval cathedral -- not simply as a center of sanctuary and prayer, but also for intellectual dialogue, culture and music. A place that everybody in the city felt welcome in.
Q: How do you do that?
A: We did a service for the 10th anniversary of 9-11. We had about 700 people. There were 104 singers from all over South Florida singing the "Faure' Requiem." That's what was used in 2001 all over Britain. It brought together people from all over South Florida, not all of them Episcopalians. That's one way to capture the feeling of being the cathedral of a city.
Q: How did you get into your vocation?
A: I was a foreign affairs officer till about the age of 33. I did commercial treaties, based in Washington, D.C. But I'd always been in church work of one sort or another. I reached a point where I decided this is what I was meant to be doing.
Q: how did you perceive that?
A: I think for many people, there's a sense of call, of "How can I serve in a way that's appropriate for me and my gifts?" I served parishes in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, till I came here five and a half years ago.
Q: Why here in South Florida?
A: I thought it was a very exciting time to do ministry. Miami is growing and changing day by day. When I came, there were 27 cranes in downtown Miami. Those buildings are now offices.
Q: What's the one most mistaken impression of Episcopalians?
A: That we don't stand for anything. Episcopalians are very proud of the fact that we are the "via media," the middle way. There is space for people who are pro-life and pro-choice. We are a very roomy tent.
Q: How do you like to relax?
A: I'm an outdoor person and beach person. And like most clergy, I like reading murder mysteries.
Q: Favorite pastime?
A: Gosh, I wish I had some time to pass. Someone in the office said, "I can always tell your day off, because you come to work in jeans."
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?
A: Anyplace on the West Coast, especially the beaches of Southern California.
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows?
A: "CSI Miami." You can see my condo in the opening shots. I also like "CSI L.A." Why? Maybe it's that good conquers evil, and it's all done in 40 minutes.
Q: What person in history would you like most to meet?
A: St. Columba (who evangelized the Picts in what is now Scotland). He was one of the fathers of Celtic Christianity. I did a retreat on Iona (Columba's home base). It's one of those magical places where you're caught up in the spirit.
Q: What's the best sermon you ever preached?
A: "Breath of Life," a Pentecost sermon. I talk about Celtic Christianity. It won the Award of Excellence for devotional/inspirational writing at the annual Polly Bond Awards given by Episcopal Communicators.
Q: Something most people don't know about you?
A: When I was in the Coast Guard, in Officer Candidate School, I crashed a boat into a dock. They commissioned me anyway.
Q: What do you wish people understood about you?
A: Sometimes people don't get my jokes. I don't know if it's my jokes or me.
Q: Have you ever doubted your faith?
A: Oh, not more than once or twice a day. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. The opposite of faith is despair. Doubt, questioning, looking at alternatives, is an important part of being honest in our faith. It's not about having all the answers. It's about being willing to live with the questions.