By Anthony Estes
On Saturday, June 9 at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, God willed and the People consented, and The Right Reverend Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. by Divine Providence, Tenth Bishop of Michigan, ordained Kristin Elaine Bowen to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Priest Bowen was sponsored by Christ Church Cranbrook and our new priest emeritus, The Reverend Joyce Matthews. Over the past few years, the congregation has raised up several individuals for ordained ministry, including myself. If you ask any one of us about the difference between lay ministry and ordained ministry, you’ll probably find varying, nuanced answers. And if you take all of those answers and boil them down, you are left with this: Every baptized person has the duty to represent Christ in his Church in ways unique to the individual. Bakers and bishops, doormen and deacons, playwrights and priests all have this as their common mode of being in the world. Each and every one of them is an ambassador.
Ordained ministers arise from the midst of the assembly of the baptized. Christ calls. The Church recognizes and affirms that call. Whether you know it or not, you have helped in some way Kristin and everyone else this congregation is raising up by recognizing and affirming Christ’s own call. You are fulfilling part of your own ministry by helping others identify their unique calling.
What this means is that all of us have a part to play in continuing the ministry of Christ as his representatives. All of us has a stake in the ministry of the Church, a participating in the visible structure of the mystical Body of Christ that is you and me, that is Christ Church Cranbrook, that is The Episcopal Church, and so forth and so on. We have raised up Kristin. And now, Christ is calling us to raise up the person who will be the next Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.
As some of you may know, Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., who has served our diocese as our 10th bishop, is retiring. Our diocese is now beginning the search and nomination process for candidates. And though this may seem far removed from daily life here at Christ Church Cranbrook, there is work that each of us is being called to do. Primarily, we are being asked to cover our diocese, our current bishop, and this search process in our prayers.
The Standing Committee, a group of individuals who advise the bishop, has written a prayer for all of us to use to help us remember that the search for a new bishop is work that all of us must contribute to. I commend it to you in your daily prayer life. I’ve put it in our worship bulletins. Remember that your ministry includes working to identify and recognize the calling and ministry of others.
God’s peace to Priest Kristin, her husband Robert and their children. Godspeed on her journey in ministry. God be with us all as we discern together who God is calling to be the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.