Just a few days after Bishop Chip Edgar’s consecration as Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, I sat down with him for a chat about the experience. What follows is a condensed version of our conversation – Joy Hunter, Director of Communications
What was the day like for you?
It was a glorious, joyful day. I kept being overwhelmed with emotion, with joy. And I was so impressed – this Diocese can throw a party! I don’t just mean the party afterwards, but really putting together a service, all the people involved, all the musicians, the planners, the acolytes, everything about it felt amazingly worshipful. The kind of worship, that is gladness in the presence of God, kept wafting over me through the whole service, the whole day.
Did the day differ from what you expected? How or how not?
The only difference was it exceeded my expectations. Whatever hope I had for what the day might be like, it was bigger than that.
Was there one moment that was a highlight for you?
There were several. Walking in the procession, into that level of congregational singing was fabulous. The beauty of the music was amazing to me and it just kept coming.
Then everybody’s like, “Oh, okay. So now we’ve got to hear a sermon,” and Jamie Graham stepped up into the pulpit and said, “I’ll see your amazing music, and I’ll raise you by two!” I know, he’s a good preacher. I love the guy. And as big as the moment felt, he was there just as big. He matched the day with an amazing word of celebration, and also a word of challenge. I felt he really called us to be who God wants us to be as people who are firmly rooted to produce for the Kingdom, to bear fruit for the Kingdom.
Then the third moment, for me, was when the Bishops’ wives gathered around Beth to pray for her. It came in the midst of all that movement and activity, of words and sound and then everything just seemed to stop. The power of the spirit seemed to be pulsating through the place. And then there was this moment that was a still, quiet potency. I loved that moment. I loved being able to stand there and watch them pray for my wife.
Did anything surprise you about the day?
The number of faces, of folks who showed up I had no idea were coming. They came from all different parts of my life. It felt like every time I turned around, there was somebody else from some part of my life I didn’t expect to see. And it added a level of delight and celebration.
Did anything funny happen that folks may not know about?
Well, after I was vested, they hand me this miter, which is very foreign to me. I stick it on my head and stand there and say all kinds of things I’m supposed to say. Then there were probably about four or five bishops who are like, “Hey, your miter is on wrong. It looks goofy.” So, in addition to feeling goofy, apparently, I took a goofy-looking thing and made it look even goofier. That’s my spiritual gift.
How can we, as your Diocese, best support you at this time?
Like I mentioned during the consecration, John Barr and I had gone away to pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and I got so many messages on Friday, Friday night, early Saturday morning from people who said, “I just want you to know I’m praying for you.” The first thing that impressed me about this Diocese is that it’s a praying Diocese. I so appreciate and covet the prayers of the Diocese while I’m learning and growing into this new season of ministry to which the Lord has called me. So prayers, prayers.
Do you have some thoughts for the Diocese, going forward?
I feel like Jamie Graham offered us a hook with “Planted to Produce.” Here we are. We’ve got to bear fruit. We’ve got to plant churches. We need to be seeking the lost through evangelism and sharing our faith and praying for our community and serving our community to grow the Diocese numerically. You always want more people to be with you than were before, but also in terms of growing in impact in the community, growing in service to the community, reaching out to and serving and caring for the weakest, the outcast and the suffering – growing in all those ways. So producing those kinds of fruit, as well as bringing people to saving faith in such a way that they become integrated into and belong to the body of Christ that is our Diocese.