Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jenny's Induction

Sunday was a beautiful day. Besides the weather, which was gorgeous (at least, relatively), Church was really great. We had some visitors and I took the sermon to introduce my "Messiah Media" proposal. We went into Special Vestry right during the sermon to have a discussion and vote on it--people were enthusiastic and it passed unanimously.

I biked home (Betsy usually takes the car on Sundays) and had some lunch and relaxed for a few minutes, then I took a cab to St. Clement's for the Induction Service of Jenny Andison as the new Rector (chief Pastor). Induction services like this one are a really nice event in the life of a parish, and I should really make the effort to attend every one that I possibly can. In this case, I was extra eager to attend because Jenny is a friend of mine with whom I have often collaborated on projects and committees. Plus her husband, Tim, sometimes sails on the Dragonfly Syndicate.

Tony Bassett, the Associate Priest at St. Clement's, was the designated MC (Master of Ceremonies) for this service, and had asked me to the Bishop's Chaplain. Big Anglican Services like this typically have a designated MC to plan and execute the liturgy. It would be pretty hard for Jenny to have coordinated any of this just as she manages moving into the new parish. Being the "Bishop's Chaplain" is a nice honour, basically it just means that you follow the Bishop around and give him his shepherd's staff (called a Crosier) and his pointy hat (called a Mitre). That's the bare minimum, but it's nice when you are also able to assist the bishop prepare to preside by making sure the right books are in the right places, that he has a glass of water around, a copy of the leaflet, etc. Bishop Yu had a few specific requests for me, such as assembling his crozier (the one he brought breaks down into three pieces that fit into a custom-made bag for easy transport).

The really nice part about the Bishop's Chaplain is that it gives you a chance to hang out with the Bishop and be right in the middle of the action. During parts of the service I was sitting right between Jenny and Bishop Yu--I had the best seat in the house. You also get some moments alone with the Bishop to chat and catch up a bit. Bishops are very busy people, and time to talk with them is precious. I'm not sure exactly how many priests Bishop Yu supervises, but it's probably around 60 or more. I was able to take advantage of the time to talk a bit about some of the things happening at Messiah (including the "Messiah Media" project).

We ran through the service in a rehearsal, and then spent the rest of the time before the service getting all the fussy little details of liturgical worship in place. For example, the bishop wanted to sing the Eucharistic Preface. There wasn't time to photocopy it and put it in his special binder prepared for the service, so instead I suggested just putting the book that contains it (called a Missal) on the "Desk" that sits on the altar and place his special binder on top of that. During the service Jenny, who was on his immediate left, right in front of the book, simply handed me the binder when it was time for him to sing the prayer. Then I handed it back to her when it was done. Simple solutions are usually the best.

Overall the service was executed quite nicely--beautiful and not anxious or fussy. The choir was magnificent, and they were mere feet from my good ear. But what what stands out the most to me about worship at St. Clement's the beauty of the building itself. They did a renovation a few years ago. They did not go as far as I would have pushed in terms of incorporating flexibility, technology, or new liturgical thinking, but they did come up with a very elegant expression of traditional Anglican architecture. The eastward-facing high altar is still there (though I think they usually use the portable altar at the top of the chancel steps) and so are the pews, but they have a lovely lighting design. Actually, I think they have the best lighting design in the entire Diocese. The hanging lamps in the Nave are gorgeous. The only thing that could possibly beat them is the hanging oil lamps at St. Gregory of Nyssa. The effect is photogenic, and I was glad to see a member of St. Clement's with photography skills and good camera taking shots from the side aisles. After the service there was a reception for Jenny, which was quite nice.

And that's how it's done!

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