Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
A Bishop's visitation is an exciting day in the life of any Episcopal Parish. This Sunday, our Bishop, The Right Reverend G. Porter Taylor will be with us to lead worship, preach, baptize, confirm, receive and reaffirm many of our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ at All Saints.
A Bishop's visitation is an obligation that is spelled out in the Constitutions & Canons of the Episcopal Church. Every bishop is required to visit, in person, each of their parishes at least once every three years. Here in Western North Carolina we are blessed that we get a visit once every two years and sometimes more.
In An Episcopal Dictionary for the Church, "Bishop" is defined as "One of the three orders of ordained ministers in the church, bishops are charged with the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the church. Bishops represent Christ and his church, and they are called to provide Christian vision and leadership for their dioceses.
The BCP (p. 855) notes that the bishop is "to act in Christ's name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the church; and to ordain others to continue Christ's ministry." Bishops stand in the apostolic succession, maintaining continuity in the present with the ministry of the Apostles. Bishops serve as chief pastors of the church, exercising a ministry of oversight and supervision.
Diocesan bishops hold jurisdiction in their dioceses, with particular responsibility for the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the church. Bishops serve as the focus for diocesan unity and for the unity of their dioceses with the wider church. Since the bishop's ministry is a ministry of oversight, the term "episcopal" (derived from the Greek episcopos, "overseer") is applied to matters pertaining to bishops. An "episcopal" church is a church governed by bishops, and "episcopal" services are led by bishops.
Thus Bishops are important to Episcopalians because the local rector serves in place of the Bishop so that is why the Bishop will baptize, sit where the Rector usually sits and preach and celebrate. The Bishop's presence is a symbol and a reminder that we are part of something larger than ourselves.
This Sunday you also have the opportunity to see three of the seven sacraments in one service. To be honest this does not happen all that often and it is also a first for me, so Come & See.
See ya Sunday!
Blessings & Peace
All Saints Messenger >