As you have all heard me announcing endlessly (and are still hearing, in reading this!), Bishop Dietsche will be with us this Sunday to preach, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and confirm two of our congregants. I have wanted to publicize the Bishop’s time at Holy Apostles, of course. And I have been repeating this announcement more than is usual because—just for one Sunday—we are changing the time of our worship to 4:00 pm. There will be no morning services on September 25, as we are hoping that everyone who feels comfortable worshipping in person will gather in community to greet Bishop Dietsche later in the afternoon.
So, at this point you are probably sick of hearing about the details of the day. But you may be wondering something about why the day is happening in the first place. Canon law in the Episcopal Church stipulates that every worshipping community should have an in-person visit from a diocesan bishop once every three years. In the Episcopal Diocese of New York we have a visit from a bishop once every two years.
Why is this important? Bishops are the chief pastors in their dioceses. They are called to oversee the individual congregations entrusted to their care. Clergy report to them. And, while priests and deacons can perform most sacramental rites, only bishops can confirm individuals who wish to renew their baptismal vows and make an adult profession of faith.
Perhaps most importantly, the presence of a bishop for an official visitation reminds us of our connection to a wider diocese and a larger church. In these days of separation and division, that’s important. So I hope you will join together in prayer for our confirmands Matthew and Ben, and join together in worship to celebrate everything that makes CHA unique and everything that connects us to our friends in Christ across the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
A festive reception will follow the service. I look forward to seeing you there (this Sunday! 4:00 pm!).