Susan Bell Installed As Diocesan Bishop
Posted October 22, 2018
Stirring cello melodies, the gleeful banter of children, inspired words reflection and invitation, moving intercessions mingled with familiar hymnody, and the loving words shared by Jesus millennia ago were just some of the sounds that poignantly filled Christ’s Church Cathedral as Bishop Susan Bell was seated as the twelfth diocesan bishop of Niagara.
“These are the things to which we have all been called: renewed leadership; the rejuvenation of faith; to be a humble church anointed and set apart for God’s mission of love to our world,” said Bishop Bell.
The service, which took place on Sunday, October 21, drew hundreds of people from across the diocese, including many dignitaries.
Before the seated could take place, however, Bishop Bell was required to knock upon the cathedral doors to seek admittance; a symbolic action underscoring the rights and privileges of the Cathedral church. With a declaration by the chancellor that the Bishop had been duly elected and consecrated, Bishop Bell, accompanied by representatives of the diocese, was admitted by the Cathedral churchwardens.
In her homily, delivered from the nave of the Cathedral and adjacent to the baptismal font, Bishop Bell emphasized that her ministry would model the incarnational leadership of Jesus, and stand alongside the people who have called her to serve. “We are all in this together – past and present – lay and ordained – a great cloud of witnesses across all space and time.”
The Bishop also acknowledged that rapid societal shifts have presented challenges for the Church, at the same time asserting that “new skills and strengths in our leadership” are being called forth, creating new possibilities for ministry. Bishop Bell also declared that “God honours the trying” as we seek to adapt and explore new ways of being the Church, and urged the diocese to “be brave” in its witness.
The ancient rite by which a diocesan bishop formally takes office focuses on the seating of the bishop in a special chair within a Cathedral. “This bishop is very conscious that she takes this chair, this cathedra, as a pledge of presence among you,” said Bishop Bell to the congregation. The Bishop’s seat signifies the bishop’s central place amidst the faith community.
A reception at Liuna Station followed the service, with uplifting and celebratory music provided by the NYC Band, a mainstay of diocesan youth ministry worship services and events.
The clergy and people of the diocese elected Bishop Bell on March 3, 2018. She subsequently ordained a bishop on May 5 and succeeded Bishop Michael Bird as diocesan bishop on June 1, becoming first woman to serve in this role.