My heart is full of gratitude as I reflect upon the service to ordain and consecrate me to be your bishop. I will cherish this day for the whole of my life and I am so grateful to God for leading me back home to minister with and among you.
There were so many people whose gifts helped make my consecration truly become a liturgy — a work of the people; one that was infused with the Spirit’s presence in so many beautiful and sacred ways. I want to offer my thanks to all who were present at the service to affirm my call to episcopal ministry, as well as to those who viewed the service online and their offered prayers and best wishes from wherever they were. The warmth of your diocesan welcome will travel with me through my episcopacy.
At the consecration, I invited those present (and those watching from home) to bottle up all the joy, confidence, light and comfort that was felt on that glorious day and to give it away to those we meet on our journey. This is what Jesus invites us to do, and what all the saints who have gone before us in this diocese and in the wider church have done from generation to generation.
Even in these early days of my episcopacy, I have seen time and again this selfless sharing of God’s love perhaps no more so than in response to Canon Robert Fead’s tragic death. The people of the diocese came together to offer compassion, love and hope to all who mourned his death, even as we celebrated his faithful witness and ministry. I was blessed to have known Canon Fead for many years as a colleague, and our diocese was blessed to have him serve in our midst.
Over the past decade, Bishop Michael Bird has prayerfully and courageously served our diocese as the 11th Bishop of Niagara. His grace and generosity in sharing his love of this diocese with me has been a great help as I begin my episcopacy. God is calling him to serve in a new way, and I know that all of us will continue to hold him in our prayers as he returns to parish ministry.
Episcopal motto draws on a passage from the Gospel of Mark, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” In the coming months, I look forward to reacquainting myself to the many ministries of our diocese; watching for Christ at work in our communities, listening for the Spirit’s leading, and renewing God’s mission in the world we serve. I look forward to saying more about all of this at my seating as your diocesan bishop in the fall, and to our synod in November.
May the Lord richly and deeply bless the beautiful diocese of Niagara as a fount of God’s love!
Bishop Susan Bell