Saturday’s Ordination and Consecration was wonderful. I am grateful for all those who worshipped and celebrated with us, friends old and new, members of our diocesan family and representatives from across The Episcopal Church and the state of New Jersey. I am especially grateful for all those whose time, talents, and efforts made the occasion possible. There are far too many people for me to name here—the work was extensive, and I give thanks to God for each and every one of you.
Trinity Cathedral looked wonderful. We have a beautiful cathedral any day; thanks to the efforts of the Dean, Wardens, Vestry and volunteers, it was a lovely place to welcome our guests and to gather to make a new bishop. The flowers were exquisite and the space shone. A team of professionals and volunteers provided security and first aid behind the scenes at the Cathedral, ensuring that every concern was addressed. Trenton and state police helped to close the street so we could gather a procession of more than 150 people. I am grateful for all those who worked to make our space hospitable and welcoming.
The transition committee worked tirelessly to organize and execute the events of the consecration weekend, beginning over a year ago. They, together with the Bishop Search and Nominating Committee, carried out the lengthy process that led to last Saturday’s consecration. For the events of the consecration weekend, they organized hospitality, invitations, hotels, meals, clergy gatherings, transportation, and so much more. Their work behind the scenes made our celebration possible.
The Commission on Liturgy and Music, our vergers, acolytes, readers, choir members, musicians, and other service participants did an outstanding job. The ordination and consecration of a bishop is perhaps the most complex liturgy that we do in the Episcopal Church and we did it well. Thank you to all who had roles and responsibilities in Saturday’s service.
There are many others I should be thanking for their work and ministries last Saturday. Our preacher, the visiting bishops, members of our diocesan staff, and so many others—we couldn’t have done this without their efforts and support, and I am so very grateful. The generous contributions of the people and friends of this diocese provided the vestments and symbols of the bishop’s office that will help me to serve as your bishop, and I am grateful for this as well. Thank you, with all my heart. Thank you.
For me, one of the most moving moments in the service was the moment when Bishop Chip Stokes presented me with the crozier of the Diocese of New Jersey. This symbol of the bishop’s office is in the shape of a shepherd’s crook and represents the bishop’s role as chief pastor and shepherd of the diocese. The crozier of the Diocese of New Jersey is beautiful, with a silver hook depicting various Christian symbols. On receiving it, I was struck by the significance of the occasion, and the gift and weight of this calling. It was easy to receive it from Bishop Stokes because he has carried it so well. As I learn to carry this crozier and the other symbols of my role as your bishop, I begin with both joy and gratitude. Thank you for your part in last Saturday’s celebrations, and for the connections and ministry that we share, now and in the years to come. God bless you.
The Right Reverend Sally J. French
Bishop of New Jersey