12/06/2004

Episcopal Oversight

Oh, I know you think I'm going to rant about some shenanigans in the good ol' Episcopal Church, don't you?

But you'd be wrong. Yesterday was our once in a blue moon (well, too long at least) visit from our Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent W. Warner. He's been the Diocesan Bishop just slightly longer than we've lived here, so he's the only one we've known in this neck of the woods. Vincent has been through a lot of ups and downs the last few years. Let's not dwell on the details, but there's lots of injuries and illnesses (including one pretty close to fatal), a divorce and a remarriage just to name three fairly tumultuous things. After a couple of years of not being at the top of his game, I'm really pleased to see him back on form (personally, I think retirement is in sight, and it's given him a renewed sense of purpose to finish strong.)

Anyway, it being the feast day of St Nicholas the next day (today as I post), we usually have a parishioner dress as St Nicholas for effect (definitely not Santa Claus.) But with the Bishop coming we didn't do it this year. No, instead, the Bishop dressed as St Nicholas and delivered the sermon in character. Now, how cool was that? Really, he had an awesome beard and talked (among other things) about how the church was divided in his day and reconciliation. It might have been a bit on the "can't we all just get along?" side, but it was still a worthwhile message well delivered.

We had confirmation, too, of course, (why else do Bishops visit?) and one of the confirmands was an incredible 15 year old young lady, daughter of friends, for whom my wife was confirmation mentor. That whole apostolic succession thing gets you right *here* (or is it #here#?).

When the confirmation liturgy was concluded the Bishop asked if anyone wanted to come up for reaffirmation. Can you say "Anglican altar call"? About 30 or more people (astonishingly enough including myself) went up, thereby extending the service by an extra 45 minutes. It ran over two hours in total (normally shooting rampage territory for us), yet nobody complained (well, none that I heard...)

One of these days I'll write up my favorite rant against the altar call and describe why this was very different (and why I love parenthetical comments so much)...

Comments:
"When the confirmation liturgy was concluded the Bishop asked if anyone wanted to come up for reaffirmation. Can you say "Anglican altar call"? About 30 or more people (astonishingly enough including myself) went up, thereby extending the service by an extra 45 minutes. It ran over two hours in total (normally shooting rampage territory for us), yet nobody complained (well, none that I heard...)"

That's a great story, Dave.
 
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