Along with helping to play host for the weekend, two of my responsibilities for the consecration service dealt with youth in the service. Not only did Bishop Kendrick want to have events just for the youth of the diocese, like those at Wilmer Hall and Beckwith, he wanted an active and visible showing of the youth in his consecration service. There were four youth, ranging from eighth to twelfth graders, from churches in Dothan, Fairhope, Mobile, and Panama City who lead the litany. The litany is the “prayers of the people” part of the service, where our prayers range from praying for the new bishop’s family to the needs of our communities and the world. Typically, this is sung or chanted, but for our service the diocesan youth led by reading the prayers.
For the acolytes, we used twenty youth, ranging from eighth to twelfth graders. We had two flag bearers, six crucifers, and twelve torch bearers. The acolytes were from St. Luke’s, Mobile; St. Paul’s, Foley; St. Thomas, Greenville; Good Shepherd, Mobile; Nativity, Dothan; Holy Nativity, Panama City; Holy Cross, Pensacola; St. Mary’s, Andalusia; Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile; St. Christopher’s, Pensacola; and All Saints, Mobile. It was great to see all of the acolytes dressed in their churches’ vestments, using their crosses and torches, as it helped to show how similar, and yet how diverse, we are as a diocese. I give thanks that I had a co-chair for the acolytes. Mr. Mike Harding is the acolyte master at Holy Nativity, Panama City. Mike and I got along great, and I really appreciated his perspective and his patience with the youth!
On Friday, there were five rehearsals in Expo Hall, including one for the litanists and one for the acolytes. The youth were really excited to be a part of the service, but I do not think it really registered with them just how big an event this service would be until the great procession into Expo Hall on Saturday. There were really four separate processions, which made one large entrance. The twenty acolytes were placed throughout the processions. During the service, there was a gospel procession. For the procession out, our Cathedral acolytes (Janie Chow, Ellie Grehan, and Charlie Weeks) led the bishops out of Expo Hall and along with the Excelsior Band, which led the congregation to the Cathedral for the reception.
There were many parts that had to come together for this service, and I give thanks to God that things did flow nicely. There is no doubt in my mind that the youth who were a part of this service will long remember July 25, 2015.
As we begin another program year here at the Cathedral, I hope that our youth will continue to participate in Christian formation and EYC. Later this month, our youth will attend the Jonathan Myrick Daniels Pilgrimage (Hayneville, AL) on August 15. There will be a welcome back event at Beckwith later in the month.
Have a great August everyone, and I hope to see you at church!