The Bishop is coming on October 16th!
You’ll want to be sure to be in church on Sunday, October 16th when Bishop Rickel will be with us for his final visitation at St Barnabas! If you’re new to the Episcopal Church, you may not realize how special it is to have the bishop with us. In the Episcopal Church, the bishop is not only the the leader and supervisor of our diocese (the diocese of Olympia, western Washington), s/he is also the chief pastor and sign of unity in our diocese. One of the things that makes bishops so special is that they stand in the apostolic succession. Don’t know what that is? Apostolic succession maintains continuity of ministry from Jesus right down to Bishop Rickel. From the time Jesus commissioned Peter to be the head of the church, we can name pretty much everyone who was commissioned for that work, right down to our bishops today. That is the apostolic succession – The belief that bishops are the successors to the apostles and that episcopal authority (“episcopal” means “bishop”) is derived from the apostles by an unbroken succession in the ministry. This authority is specifically derived through the laying on of hands for the ordination of bishops in lineal sequence from the apostles, through their performing the ministry of the apostles, and through their succession in episcopal sees traced back to the apostles. The apostolic succession is continued in the bishops of the Episcopal Church, who seek to “carry on the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the Church” (BCP, p. 510). When I was ordained, Bishop Rickel lay hands on my head, called down the Holy Spirit and asked Christ to make me a priest in his church. And when he did that I felt grafted in to the succession that goes all the way back to Peter and Jesus. It isn’t only ordained people who get to have that experience! The same thing happens for you in your confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church! In both those rites, a bishop lays hands on your head and you are somehow grafted in to that succession too.
When Bishop Rickel is with us on the 16th, you have the opportunity to be baptized, confirmed, received into the Episcopal Church or to reaffirm your faith and your baptismal vows and I encourage you to consider it. If you have been baptized but not confirmed, this is your opportunity for confirmation! And if you were confirmed in church that maintains apostolic succession (I can help you figure that out!), you are welcome to be received into the Episcopal Church. All of these experiences are sacramental – they are both an expression of your commitment to your baptismal vows and a deepening of your commitment to those vows. And they are all deeply meaningful.
Please contact me right away if you would like to be baptized, confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, or if you would like to reaffirm your baptismal vows. The bishop’s office needs time to prepare certificates and we need to let him know who you are!
We have another special day coming up for our St B community… on Sunday, October 2nd, a professional photographer hired by the diocese as a gift to St B, will be here taking pictures that will be given to us to use on our website. We so want the whole St Barnabas community to be present to show the wider world who we are! Please be sure to join us on October 2nd and 16th!
Abundant blessings, Karen†