From Seeking to Sending
May God stir up in you the flame of holy charity, and the power of faith that overcomes the world.
Over the past year I’ve shared much about the unique ministry of the Bishop: her role is to be a pastor, a spiritual leader, and a symbol of unity, and to continue the witness of Jesus’ apostles in our world today. While churches of this diocese are partners with her and expressions of her witness and ministry, it is the particular vocation of a Cathedral to be “the symbol and center of her pastoral, liturgical, and teaching ministry in this Diocese,” according to the service for the welcoming and seating of the bishop.
I often get asked “what exactly does a Dean do, and how is it different from what a priest or church rector might do? Of course, I am a priest so that part is the same, and while much of congregational leadership is similar, the particular civic and diocesan ministries of the cathedral means I have some other exciting things I get to do. But in our tradition, a Dean has very particular role, one that is exercised only when a new Bishop comes along. It is my role, on behalf of the vestry and the congregation to show the bishop to her chair (the Cathedral) and complete our diocese’s long yet spirit-filled process of seeking, electing, consecrating, and finally ‘installing’ the bishop at the heart of their new flock.
Bishop Anne has, with characteristic humility, spoken playfully of the fact that the whole diocese will cheer at her “remarkable ability to sit down.” Yet none of us are deceived into thinking this is about power or even reclining in the best seat in the house. To be installed in the cathedral is a commissioning, for Bishop Anne and for all of us. This is the conclusion of one chapter in the life of our diocese – the calling of a bishop – and the beginning of the next: the sending of the bishop, and through her the sending of all of us.
The words of the seating have little to do with finding one’s place in a comfortable seat. Rather, they are about stirring up, pouring out, and being sent out into the world:
In the name of the Vestry of this Cathedral Church, and on behalf of the people of this diocese, I install you, Anne B. Jolly, in the chair which is a symbol of your office. May the Lord stir up in you the flame of holy charity, and the power of faith that overcomes the world.
May God stir up in all of us this holy flame, and make us vessels of faith that can transform the world!
Use the links below for a livestream of the seating of the bishop on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023 at 11:00 a.m.