Yesterday, I witnessed for the second time in my life the consecration of a bishop in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Gregory O. Brewer was installed as the Fourth Bishop of Central Florida. In addition to greeting Bishop Brewer, I also had the pleasure of hugging retiring Bishop John W. Howell and his predecessor, Bishop William H. Folwell. Three out of four ain't bad! Bishop Gray died a number of years agos so no hugs there!
One of the most remarkable traditions and moments in the ceremony is captured in my photo – the consecration. In the center of the photo on stage and what looks like a cake frosted with red, white, and gold are bishops from across the US encirling, laying on hands, and praying over then Rev. Brewer.
This is the moment! Here is Apostolic Succession in action or commonly referred to as the laying on of hands and prayer.
Many people wonder what is consecration of a bishop? A minimum of three Bishops are required to ordain an Episcopal Bishop. Apostolic Succession may be compared to a family tree where the laying on of hands and prayer are traced "genealogically" through the generations to Jesus laying hands on Peter. In the Episcopal Church their is an unbroken chain thanks to Bishop Seabury of Scotland.
I'm personally excited about Bishop Brewer's ministry returning to my home diocese. Bishop Howe offered a strong orthodoxy and voice in the midst of turbulent times in the Episcopal Church. Few men are such stalwarts of the faith and so gifted as a preacher and teacher. Bishop Brewer brings a pastor's heart, a keen intellect, and welcoming arms to an orthodoxy in risk of being lost. Something is brewing in Central Florida with Brewer.
Below are comments he made on Jan. 21, 2012 at the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Central Florida. Listen to his vision casting message about Compassionate Charimatic Character. Here is a rich example of a leader setting a course for a vision to be developed in anticipation of being on-purpose [my term].
Bishop Brewer, may your ministry be blessed. I look forward to your spiritual authority and leadership.