EL CAMINO REAL: Mary Gray-Reeves ordained as diocesan bishop in festive celebration[Diocese of El Camino Real] The morning of November 10 dawned with excitement and festivity in Saratoga, California, as members of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real and beyond traveled to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church to witness and celebrate the ordination and consecration of Mary Gray-Reeves as the first woman bishop for the diocese.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided and served as chief consecrator and more than 20 bishops participated in the service.
A handbell choir composed of ringers from four congregations started the festivities and a 13-member Sudanese choir from Trinity Cathedral in San Jose sang several hymns in the Dinka language. An organ recital, in which four organists from three El Camino Real parishes entertained the hundreds of people awaiting the processions, signaled the beginning of the ordination. The processions displayed banners from churches all over the diocese and included clergy and lay leaders as well as visiting bishops from all over the world.
The service started with a traditional Native American blessing. The Rev. Hank LeBeau chanted in Lakota while his wife, Sherrie, lit the sage used for the blessing from the Paschal candle as the procession began. The smudging and prayer of the four winds asked God's blessing on the gathering and the beginning of Gray-Reeves' episcopal ministry.
The service booklet, written in both Spanish and English, included responses alternating between the two languages.
Gray-Reeves becomes the first female Episcopal diocesan bishop in the state of California and is among the five youngest bishops in the House of Bishops. The 15th woman elected as a bishop of the Episcopal Church, Gray-Reeves is the first female diocesan bishop to be ordained since Jefferts Schori was ordained as Bishop of Nevada in 2001, where she served prior to being elected Presiding Bishop in June 2006. Gray-Reeves' ordination is also the first time a woman has been ordained as a diocesan bishop by a female Primate of the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Leo Frade of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, where Gray-Reeves was serving as archdeacon for deployment at the time of her election, delivered a sermon of encouragement for her episcopal ministry.
"I don't want you to doubt for a second that it is God's will for you to be a bishop. The Church, the bishops and the standing committees, have spoken, but most important, the people of El Camino Real have confirmed you in this task," said Frade. "I ask you to guard the rich beauty of our Anglican heritage, but also to be willing to beckon to the challenges that tomorrow may bring."
Frade asked Gray-Reeves to guide the diocese "with a sense of balance and depth of curiosity, being firm at the center, but open to a full freedom of inquiry.
"I can assure you that God will give you all that you will ever need to fulfill your calling," he added. "Don't you ever doubt it, or be scared that God won't grant you a double share of his grace."
A reception following the service gave friends from all over the diocese the opportunity to meet with each other and to speak with the newly ordained bishop.
She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in history, and earned the Master of Divinity degree from the College of St. John the Evangelist in New Zealand. The bishop and her husband, Michael, have two children, Katie and Dorian.
The Diocese of El Camino Real covers approximately the middle third of the California coast, an area no more than 50 miles wide but 250 miles long, extending from Palo Alto to Arroyo Grande. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by the San Francisco Bay area and the Diocese of California, on the east by the central Valley and the Sierra mountain range and the Diocese of San Joaquin, and on the south by Santa Barbara and the Diocese of Los Angeles.
The diocese was formed in 1980 out of the Diocese of California. Trinity Cathedral in San Jose serves as the diocesan see while the diocesan offices are located in Seaside on the Monterey Peninsula. Congregations worship in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Laotian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Sudanese dialects and Lakota. About 14,330 Episcopalians worship in the diocese's 50 congregations.» Respond to this article