|Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel with a talking stick crosier made by Coast Salish artist Curtis Johnson of
Our neighbouring American diocese in the Anglican Communion, the Diocese of Olympia, has consecrated a new bishop. During the ceremony he was presented with a unique talking stick crosier crafted by a British Columbia Coast Salish artist.
Reaching out by the Anglican Church to the Aboriginal Community, and to other communities, took centre-stage at the consecration of the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Olympia, the Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel. The ceremony took place in
The talking stick crosier was carved by Curtis Johnson of
Four symbols carved on the talking stick crosier incorporated both First Nations and Christian traditions. They symbolized both animals in the wild, and the four Gospels: the raven (Gospel of Matthew), beaver (Gospel of Mark), bear (Gospel of Luke), and the eagle (Gospel of John).
A crosier symbolizes the governing office of a bishop. Typically in the western Christian Church it takes the shape of a shepherds staff which the bishop carries as the shepherd of the flock of God. Rickels talking stick crosier is uniquely
Portions of the ceremony were spoken in Aboriginal Tlingit, Cantonese, Spanish, and English.
|A closeup of the talking stick crosier (Photo by Mark Swanson)|
Other Aboriginal elements were incorporated into the ceremony that was attended by several hundred Seattle-area Anglicans. One example came when Rickel was given the talking stick crosier. The presentation took the form of an aboriginal gifting ritual during which the new bishop rejected the crosier three times, in part as an expression of humility.
The fourth time, the assembly togther said to Rickel, If you refuse to accept this gift for gain and pride, then accept this gift in order to guide and support those who look to you as leader by helping us all to bring healing and peace to the community. The bishop then accepted the talking stick crosier.
Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster took part in the ceremony. During the examination that is part of the ordination of a bishop, Bishop Ingham asked, Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church?
I will, for the love of God came the response.
Last May Rickel was chosen on the third ballot from five candidates to succeed the Rt. Rev. Vincent W. Warner, who had been diocesan bishop since 1990. Bishop Warner was official visitor at New Westminsters 2005 Diocesan Synod.
Bishop Rickel was born in
The Diocese of Olympia incorporates