Skip to comments.New head of Episcopal diocese sees need for change
Posted on 01/14/2007 4:12:49 PM PST by sionnsar
FLINT - It was raining steadily Sunday afternoon as Bishop S. Todd Ousley stood outside the door of St. Paul's Episcopal Church to follow an ancient custom for his investiture.
Following a prepared text, the new bishop knocked loudly three times. As the door was opened, Ousley said: "Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and give thanks to the Lord."
The gesture signaled the beginning of a 45-minute ritual in which Ousley, 45, formally became head of the 10,000-member Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, which stretches roughly from Holly to the Mackinac Bridge. The same investiture service was held Jan. 6 at St. Francis' Episcopal Church in Grayling.
Retiring Bishop Edwin Leidel, who had headed the diocese since it was formed 12 years ago, attended the Flint service to hand Ousley his pastoral staff, a symbol of the office of bishop. Leidel, 68, retired Dec. 31, opening the way for Ousley to take over leadership of a diocese that has seen controversy over the ordination of openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the ordination of women.
In a homily before about 150 people, Ousley said - like a traveler avoiding congested traffic, construction bottlenecks or roadblocks of any sort - he must be imaginative and find another way.
"This diocese was born as a dream of being a church in a radically different way - a way that breaks down the barriers between clergy and laity, between bishops and congregations, between north and south and east and west," he said in prepared remarks. "The dream continues, but this new way of being, this new order threatens the old ways and the old order."
Rectors of Episcopalian churches in Owosso, Flushing, Davison Township and Lapeer quit their posts after the Robinson ordination last September. Another from Clayton Township was ousted from the diocese.
Soon after he was ordained Sept. 9, Ousley said he would welcome back priests and people who left the Episcopal Church over Robinson's ordination, which he supported.
Before becoming bishop, Ousley, a Texan, was missioner for congregational development and clergy deployment for the diocese.
"As we embark upon this new stage in our diocesan journey, may we be emboldened by the gift of the magi, the gift of continued imagination, openness and vulnerability, and a willingness to risk," said Ousley referring to the biblical story of the magi following a star to pay homage to the new-born Christ child.
Two of Ousley's three sons participated in the service presided over by the Rev. Martin Field, rector of St. Paul's and dean of the Flint River Convocation of the Saginaw Diocese; the Rev. Elsa Pressentin, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Otter Lake, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Bad Axe, and dean of the Saginaw Valley Convocation; and the Rev. Glenn Stone, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in St. Clair, and dean of the Blue Water Convocation.
The Rev. Vause Carlsen, a deacon at Trinity Episcopal Church in Flushing, was lector.
I used to live in that diocese (a long time ago). From what I've seen recently, he's close to being in one already.
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