Christ Cathedral To Welcome First Female Dean

The Vestry and members of Christ Episcopal Cathedral invite the public to attend the Installation of the Very Reverend Shay Craig, incoming Dean of the Cathedral, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, at 138 S. Eight Street in downtown Salina.

According to the church, Rev. Craig is the first woman in the cathedral’s 117-year history to be appointed as Dean (head clergy) of the second-largest congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas, which stretches from I-135 west to the Colorado border.

Rev. Craig returns to Salina to continue her leadership at Christ Cathedral, where she served from 2018-2020 before her appointment as vicar of St. Michael’s and St. Andrew’s Episcopal churches in Hays.

Rev. Craig will be the 19th Dean of historic Christ Cathedral, founded in 1906. A great-granddaughter of the Kansas prairie, Rev. Craig’s family established The Young Brothers Cattle Company and has owned Bluff Creek Ranch in Clark County, KS for more than 100 years. She was born in Omaha and grew up in California, studying at a Quaker boarding school, the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Seabury/Bexley Seminary.

Rev. Craig worked in development and marketing, then as a full-time mom, before changing careers. Rev. Craig’s sister, Minka Sprague served as an Episcopal priest and her aunt, Judy Craig was a bishop in the United Methodist Church.

Following seminary and before coming to Kansas, Rev. Craig served as the Development Officer for the Diocese of
Chicago, working with congregations across northern Illinois to increase their vitality and engagement.

A mother of four grown children, one of whom lives in Salina, Rev. Craig is married to John Houston, an Assistant General Counsel for the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration. They plan to live in rural Saline County with
their three dogs and numerous cats.

Rev. Craig leads a staff of seven at Christ Cathedral, which encompasses a Montessori School, a strong music
ministry and other outreach activities. In conjunction with Salina Grace Community Resource Center, Christ Cathedral helps prepare and serve several thousand lunches each year, through the Welcome Table ministry. The cathedral’s work with nearby Ashby House reaches back more than 30 years, when it was started in 1992 by members of the church, originally as an emergency shelter for families. Ashby House is named after the Cathedral’s late Bishop John Ashby.

Joining Rev. Craig on staff at Christ Cathedral are the Rev. Catherine Cox as curate, the Rev. Basil Price as
assisting priest, music staff Rebecca Copley and Nancy Bauer, parish administrator Crissy Cook and facilities manager Don Grunden.

Christ Cathedral is noted for its Gothic-style architecture, 34 hand-crafted stained-glass windows, a 23-bell, 2.5-octave carillon and a 30-rank, 22-stop pipe organ.

The Saturday, April 1 Installation service is a combination of two special liturgies.

Firstly, the Installation of Rev. Craig as the Cathedral’s new Dean, as charged by The Rt. Rev. Mark Cowell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. Gifts symbolizing Rev. Craig’s duties of office will be presented.

The service then shifts to the Chrism Mass, an annual time of reaffirmation for all clergy in the diocese, many of whom will be present.

Among the VIPs taking part are diocese dignitaries and visiting clergy from more than five states, wearing regalia. Representatives of numerous Salina churches are also expected to attend.

Reservations are recommended for the April 1 open-seating event, with guests encouraged to arrive by 10:45 a.m.
For those wearing vestments or for event attendees wishing to dress in celebration of the occasion, the festival color is red.

A reception will immediately follow in the church’s parish hall.

For additional information, contact the Cathedral office at 785-827-4440 or visit or the
church’s Facebook page at: .