From the Rector
This weekend we will welcome back to Transfiguration Bishop Wayne Smith (assisting bishop in the Diocese of Dallas, who is appointed to provide our episcopal pastoral oversight.) Those who are new to Transfiguration, or who may not have paid much attention back in January when Bishop Smith made his first visit to us, are invited to read my earlier writings describing how and why we came to this arrangement. In brief, our desire to celebrate the marriages of our same-sex couples put us in conflict with the policy of our bishop and diocese, but at General Convention last summer, the wider Episcopal Church, which has overwhelming consensus in support of same-sex marriage, ensured that churches like ours receive the authorization we need.
Back in January, Bishop Smith made his first visit to Transfiguration, and it was a wonderfully joyful day. The church was filled with eager parishioners ready to learn more about him and hear his story. I can still remember the sense of joy and relief when it became clear that Bishop Smith understands who we are, shares our beliefs and convictions, and was happy to be our bishop. You can listen to his sermon from that day here.
This Sunday he will return, and this time he will perform that most essential of episcopal actions: Confirmation. 19 members of our church who participated in our intensive catechetical program called The Way will publicly confirm their Christian faith in his presence, and he will lay his hands upon them and bless them. Confirmation is no longer required to become a member of the Episcopal Church (membership is fully conferred in baptism), but the act of maturely and personally confirming our faith in the presence of a bishop, who lays hands upon us and individually prays for us, connects us back to the days of the apostles. That is, we share this sacrament not because we have to, but because it helps draw us closer to God.
I am deeply proud of these women and men who will make these public declarations. Their faith and commitment renews my own, and seeing Bishop Smith lay hands upon them will remind me of my own connection back to the early church. Bishops may sometimes not do what we wish they might, but it is in rites like the one we’ll witness and share in on Sunday that we remember why they are so important, and why our church takes its name from them (episcopal is Greek for bishop).
Oh, in case you were thinking of skipping out of church on Sunday to head early to the Pride Festival and Parade, you should know that Bishop Smith, Mother Rebecca, and I will all be heading to Fair Park together after the 11:15 service. Yes, there is plenty of time to praise thank God in the morning, and have some fun together in the afternoon!
See you this weekend.