The Praxis of Polity

Up to Aberdeen today for the consecration of Bishop Robert of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney. As he is almost universally known as Bob, “Bishop Robert” does not roll off the tongue terribly easily.

I was met outside the Cathedral by the Dean of the Diocese who gave me strict instructions that once the procession went into the church Visiting Provosts and Deans (of whom I was one) were to turn sharp right in front of the chair and go to our seats at the wall.

Having robed, we got our instructions from someone else. He was very precise and very clear. Visiting Provosts and Deans (of whom I was one) were to turn sharp left in front of the chair and go to our seats at the wall.

On entering the church at last, after a rather spectucular processional manouvre in the street which I’ve never seen before, we had our instructions hissed at us. Visiting Provosts and Deans (of whom I was one) were to turn sharp right in front of the chair and go to our seats at the wall.

Of such instructions are entertaining liturgical moments made.

In the event, all passed off well. The seat (right hand turn, go to the wall) afforded me an excellent view of the consecration. Seeing +Bob being bemitred, beringed, bepectoralcrossed and becrooked was an intimate rather than a glamourous sight. There has been a bishop inside him all along and his taking on of the regalia was strangely calm and quiet in the event.

One little liturgical point worth noting – the slight, but very definate bow that someone made as the new Bishop of the Diocese went to celebrate the Eucharist in his Cathedral for the first time. That bow was made by the Primus, who, once the episcopal ordination was completed was merely a welcome visitor on someone else’s territory. We have no archbishops in the Episcopal Church any more. That slight nod of the head and bowing of the shoulders contained within it a great deal worth meditating upon as Anglicans worry and wonder about whom they are becoming. In that little moment, a glimpse of the praxis of our polity. A tiny moment of truth in the middle of a joyous afternoon of celebration.

Comments

  1. Yes – I noted it too with equal pleasure – distinctiveness in action

  2. We have no archbishops in the Episcopal Church any more.
    I thought you were in charge.

Trackbacks

  1. […] a little help from the Spirit, we sent Bob on his way as the new Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.  Provost Kelvin said that it looks as if there has been a bishop inside him all along – it looked right and it felt […]

  2. […] can read about+Bob’s consecration from Ali, Kelvin, or +David.  It all seemed ‘very meet and right so to […]

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