ALASKA: Mark Lattime consecrated eighth bishop in multi-cultural celebration[Episcopal News Service] The Very Rev. Mark Lattime of Geneseo, New York, was consecrated Sept. 4 as eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska during a multi-cultural celebration at the First United Methodist Church in Anchorage.
About 300 guests attended the two-and-a-half-hour service that marked the culmination of the diocese's three-year journey of searching for a bishop.
Lattime succeeds Bishop Mark MacDonald, who left in 2007 to become the first indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada. Retired Diocese of Eastern Oregon Bishop Rustin Kimsey has served as interim bishop of Alaska for three years.
The richness of Alaska's diversity was evident throughout the consecration ceremony, said Stacy Thorpe, communications officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska. Each of the lessons was read in the local native dialects of the diocese's separate regions, including the Athabascan language of the Interior, Gwich'in of Northern Alaska, Inupiaq of the North West Inupiats, and Tlingit of the South East.
Retired Bishop of Rochester Jack McKelvey, Lattime's former bishop, preached about Isaiah's vision of hope, expectations and "new things."
"The people of Alaska are being called to a new thing. The one, who took Israel by the hand to lead them, offers that same hand to you," McKelvey said. "Remember, Mark, that you were called, you were selected, you were chosen for a purpose. That purpose, that call will be discovered, lived out, as together you search for the fields, the opportunities, the places the people where God is to be made known. So join hands and let's get going."
McKelvey suggested five practical traits of a good bishop. "Be a doubter ... Cultivate a sense of patience ... Learn to compromise ... Journey out in faith ... Be a risk taker."
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator; co-consecrating bishops included McKelvey and Prince G. Singh, the current bishop of Rochester.
Kimsey was also among the other bishops involved in the ceremony, including Barry Beisner of Northern California; Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawaii; Paul Lambert of Dallas, Texas; James Mathes of San Diego; Gregory Rickel of Olympia; Edna Bavi "Nedi" Rivera, provisional bishop of Eastern Oregon; Michael Smith of North Dakota and Michael Keys, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's bishop of Alaska.
Ecumenical guests included Ronald Martinson, retired ELCA bishop of Alaska; David Beckett, Methodist Conference superintendent of Alaska; and a representative of Roman Catholic Diocese of Alaska.
Music during the ceremony included gathering songs performed by "Dancing With The Spirit," the diocesan guitar and fiddle group composed of children as young as four, teenagers, and adults. A diocesan-wide choir of more than 40 singers led the procession, which included a blessing dance of welcome by four native Tlingits and a South Central deacon carrying the "Our Lady of Alaska" icon.
During the vesting of the new bishop, Lattime's wife Lisa placed the stole around his neck; his eldest daughter Allison and youngest son Jack fitted him with his chasuble; and his eldest son David placed the mitre upon his head.
The Venerable Norman H. V. Elliott, a 91 year-old South Central archdeacon, presented Lattime with the bishop's ring and long-time friend Tom Bushnell presented the pectoral cross. The final touch was the hand-carved bishop's crosier, made by a Tlingit craftsman from the South East. The crosier elements represented the balance of life in Tlingit culture as demonstrated between the Raven and the Eagle.
Lattime is a three-time deputy to General Convention (2003, 2006 and 2009) from Rochester, where he also served in numerous diocesan capacities including: Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, as a dean of the southwest district and a stewardship consultant.
His community involvements include serving as a board member for the Wadsworth Public Library and as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Geneseo Fire Department.
According to his election profile, Lattime said serving as bishop of Alaska will require being "willing to engage the journey of faith as well as the journey of vast distances to be with Alaska's people of faith to support and nurture their evangelistic witness.
"I believe there to be nothing more attractive, more magnetic, than a church of individuals, alive and energized by their faith, who are willing to reach out and speak out to share that faith with others."
The Diocese of Alaska includes 53 congregations, from tiny subsistence villages to major metropolitan centers. The diocese encompasses the entire state.