OLYMPIA: Bishop-elect Gregory H. Rickel to be ordained and consecrated

September 12, 2007

Bishop-elect Gregory H. Rickel will be ordained and consecrated September 15 as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.

The liturgy will take place at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington. More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the service, including a procession of 200 local clergy and 15 bishops from across the United States, according to a diocesan news release.

Rickel, 44, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, was elected at a special convention May 12 at Olympia's cathedral, St. Mark's in Seattle. The election came on the third ballot from a slate of five nominees. He was elected with 224 lay votes and 106 clergy votes. An election on that ballot required 185 votes of 369 cast in the lay order and 104 of 207 votes cast in the clergy order.

Rickel succeeds Bishop Vincent W. Warner, who was consecrated in 1989 and served the diocese for 18 years. Warner announced his retirement at the end of 2005 and will transfer ecclesiastical authority of the diocese to Rickel at the consecration. Among others, Rickel will work closely with Bishop Suffragan Bavi Edna "Nedi" Rivera, first Hispanic woman and 12th woman bishop in the Episcopal Church, who will preach at his consecration.

Retired Bishop of Hawai'i Richard Chang will be Rickel's chief consecrator. Warner and Rivera will serve as co-consecrators, along with Texas Bishop Don Wimberly and Texas Bishop Suffragan Dena Harrison.

During the ordination and consecration, a 200-voice choir of volunteers from throughout the Episcopal Church in western Washington will perform musical selections that reflect the diversity of the diocese. The new bishop's crozier has been carved by a First Nations artist and will be blessed at the beginning of the service, and given to Rickel during the service, in traditional First Nations rituals. Both Spanish-language and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

The service will be streamed live on the internet. Those who wish to watch the webcast must pre-register here by clicking on the link that begins "Ordination and Consecration of the Rev. Gregory H. Rickel." Posted online at the same address will be an order of service so those watching the webcast can follow along with the liturgy. It will include notes helpful to those not familiar with Episcopal worship services, according to a news release from the diocese.

Because the consecration and ordination is not happening at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, a liturgy to welcome Rickel and officially seat him will take place at 3 p.m. (PDT) on September 16. The word "cathedral" is derived from the word "cathedra," or seat, and recognizes that the cathedral is the "seat" of the diocese, the symbolic center, and thus functions as the bishop's church. The seating will take place as part of an Evensong and will also provide an opportunity for the Seattle/Puget Sound ecumenical/interfaith/civic community to meet Rickel.

The Diocese of Olympia is composed of 33,000 Episcopalians in the western half of Washington state.

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