Ordaining and Consecrating a Bishop … and a Church

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The Cathedral, Jean Béraud, 1890

Last weekend, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe celebrated the Ordination and Consecration of our new bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Edington, at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris. It was a gift to be able to celebrate in community, greet friends and colleagues, meet new members of my church family, and join in beautiful worship. Parishioners IMG_3217from across Europe spent a fun and slightly frantic Friday afternoon together preparing regional food specialties for the evening reception (I was slicing Italian porchetta, a kind of odd purgatory for a vegetarian).

Berkeley Divinity School Dean Andrew McGowan – my advisor, professor and mentor – gave the ordination sermon. The dean used Jesus’ sending command to the seventy in Luke 10:3 (“Go on your way…” or “Go away!” per the actual Greek) to align the Convocation’s pilgrim spirit with being evangelists in this most secular yet sacred of places. I was in heaven. And then there was Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Sunday sermon call to follow the Christian Way of Love.

It was a weekend filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is central to much of our sacramental life. In the ordination rites of many Christian traditions, hands are laid upon the minister and words like this are spoken:

Therefore, Father, make [Mark] a bishop in your Church. Pour out upon [him] the power of your princely Spirit, whom you bestowed upon your beloved Son Jesus Christ, with whom he endowed the apostles, and by whom your Church is built up in every place, to the glory and unceasing praise of your Name. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 521)

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It is a powerful moment to be sure. Yet, for me, the Spirit was most evident a few minutes later, when Bishop Curry, standing next to now Bishop Edington, said to us “Greet your new bishop!” And we broke out in extended, joyful applause.

Yes, a new bishop was consecrated. And, what I heard in that applause, what I felt across the entire weekend, was the Holy Spirit consecrating and renewing a church. All of us, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, pilgrim ministers in this place, going out together to lift up the unfathomable love of God in Christ for all God’s children.

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