The Ministry of a Bishop: Part III – General Guidelines for Bishop Wright’s Visitation

The below guidelines are specific to the people and parish of St. Julian’s. For more of a general overview of a bishop’s visitation in The Episcopal Church, please consider reading my earlier blog posts here and here.

  • We will have only one service on September 22nd. It starts at 10:30 AM. All persons who are involved in the liturgy need to arrive by 10:00 AM and check in with your verger, Earnell Morris.
  • All persons involved in the baptisms need to arrive at 9:15 AM to rehearse your part of the liturgy. This gives us a chance to rehearse, and to meet with the bishop before other parishioners arrive. You will have a chance to take pictures with the bishop after the service.
  • All undesignated offering will go to the bishop’s discretionary fund for support of emergencies and non-budgeted ministries that arise in the course of the year. Please give generously.
  • Please do not say to the bishop, “Welcome to our church.” Why? Because, theologically, it is his church too. A bishop has an interesting role in being both host and guest with his visitations. Bishop Wright will be gracious if this is uttered, but please know that Saint Julian’s is part of the greater Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta where the bishop serves as chief pastor.
  • At the reception in the parish hall, the bishop will do a Q & A with the parish. This is your time to tell him about your own ministries here at Saint Julian’s as well as for him to clue us in on what is happening in the diocese.
  • What is the bishop going to wear?

According to Paul V. Marshall in his book, “The Bishop is Coming,” “The insignia of a bishop are the mitre, staff, cross, and ring.” The mitre is the bishop’s hat, his staff “is not a shepherd’s crook or even a walking stick. It signifies the office of the bishop. In the liturgy “the cross is normally worn over the alb and under the chasuble. When worn with street clothing, it is tucked into the left breast pocket of [his] shirt.” The bishop’s ring is worn at all times (Marshall, 14-15).

  • Finally, be joyful. Remember, each Sunday is a Feast Day of the Lord, and it is not everyday that the chief pastor of the diocese gets to lead us in worship. I am excited because of good preparation, and I am personally going to enjoy the moment as we all celebrate Holy Eucharist together.

See you Sunday,

~Fr. Brandon

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