Bishops Klusmeyer (W.Va.) and Curry (N.C.) arrive

Presiding Bishop
Katherine Jefferts-Schori listens to the preludes

Yesterday, in the nave of Washington Cathedral, Shannon S. Johnston was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Virginia.

The liturgical service was one of joy, solemnity, and beauty with a variety of musical contributions and including a traditional Anglican chant sung by those in attendance. Bishop Johnston will ultimately succeed Bishop Peter James Lee who will retire in 2010 and now leads 195 congregations of the Diocese of Virginia through a particularly stormy time of dealing with breakaway parish issues that have arisen as a result of the consecration of a gay bishop within The Episcopal Communion.

Johnston long time friend Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta, delivered a bell-ringing sermon and reassured us all that the ordination of a new bishop is an act of faith and a sign of hope and it sends a message to the naysayers that “Our faith is strong and vigorous….we will not give up,” He urged Shannon Johnston to follow the example of the first Bishop of Canterbury, whose feast we were celebrating, to witness to the Resurrection, and to “call us from things passing away…so that a new creation is a present reality for those who are in Christ,” continuing Jesus’ mission of justice and mercy.

Alexander challenged him to faithfully serve the common good with words of encouragement and to boldly and relentlessly speak truth to power in the public square and in the church for those who are unable to speak in their own behalf, those whose voices are not heard: the hungry and the homeless, the sick and infirm and also “those who suffer from unrighteous discrimination because they are differently blessed.”

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori led the service while thirty Bishops from around the Communion encircled and laid hands on Johnston as he kneeled and then was presented to the congregation as he affirmed his consecration saying, “My spirit rejoices in God our savior!…My heart today is indeed very full.”

To watch a webcast of the Consecration, available through the National Cathedral, click the blog title and scroll to 50 minutes to begin the service after the preludes. To go to the sermon scroll to 1 hour 50 minutes. This photo courtesy of AP

Magdalen friends, Eleanor from Vienna, Va. and Christopher from Philadelphia chat with Lewis (WA) before the service.

An informal reception was held in the Bishop’s Garden