Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Bishop's Consecration

A Bishop's Consecration.

I had the privilege of attending the consecration of Bishop Bavi Edna
Rivera here in the Diocese of Olympia. Our whole family went, my
husband, my daughter who is 8, my 6 year old son, and me.

Some quick facts: 12th female bishop ECUSA, 16th in the Anglican
Communion, 1001st in the apostolic succession, and her father is a
bishop as well. She is also the first Hispanic female bishop.

We had multiple reasons for attending and we were very excited when they
moved the consecration to a venue large enough for all to attend. We
wanted to show our support for our new bishop, we wanted to see the
consecration of a bishop, and I wanted to show my children a woman
following God's will for her. This was the first consecration any of us
have ever seen.

It was a very complicated but well done beautiful liturgy. There were
representatives from all races, traditions, and congregations. There was
at least 1 other female bishop in attendance. Children were actively
participating in many important parts of the service. Prayers and
readings were done in many different languages. They used a variety of
visual unifiers of banners and streamers. My children loved the
streamers that some of the acolytes waved at the fronts of the
processions. We were all thrilled to see our own Priest, Esther, to be
involved at several key points as well.

During the exchange of the peace we looked around and suddenly my
daughter was not with us. We spent a couple of worried minutes looking
for her when she came back just glowing! She had managed to make it all
the way up to the new bishop to exchange the Peace with her. She proudly
told us that she got a kiss right here (on her neck). She was just
thrilled to see a woman being the center of such an important event.

Now it wasn't perfect and it was wonderful to see such a wide variety of
people participating and involved in the service. People were real and
human. When the testimonies were being read it stated that she was above
the age of 30 and everyone laughed. The man reading did restate that it
was what it said, and everyone laughed again. I would say that one thing
that made it most difficult for my family was its length. It was 3 hours
long. I am a firm believer in shorter homilies and the one for the
consecration while very good was overly long.

Several of the symbols that I appreciated specifically in the service
included: Being vested by several children. One was a younger girl who
helped with her miter. She had trouble helping her put it on, so Nedi
put the miter on and then bent down to have the little girl adjust it
and tell her how it looked. We have a large Native American presence in
the area and they were very well represented. They offered her a talking
stick 3 times using words that made it obvious she should turn it
down(for her own selfish interests) and then offered it to her to serve
the people she was called to serve. She then accepted it. Also in the
tradition of the 1st nations people she gave everyone who came a
present. She had some lovely wooden crosses for every person who
attended. She also gave the baptismal font used for her consecration to
our cathedral. The other gift to our entire diocese was a beautiful song
that was composed just for this event and for her to give. It is about
opening your heart.

After the consecration there was a reception as well. We attended that
too so we could actually meet her. I met a variety of people from her
previous diocese at the reception. I found out that over 55 people flew
up to be a part of that. When we did meet her, I was very impressed and
pleased that she crouched down to look my son in the eyes when she shook
his hand. He was almost embarrassed by her thanking him sincerely for
being part of her consecration.

I am very glad that our family went. It was a unique experience and one
I will treasure.


Stephanie Ganger


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