This Sunday Bishop George Wayne Smith, the Tenth Bishop of Missouri, will make his way to Hannibal.
As our name attests, Episcopal, we like our Bishops. You see, the word Episcopal comes from the Greek episkopos, meaning overseer or Bishop. Bishops are important to our governance and our common life.
Bishops are required by the Canons to make visits to each church or ministry under their oversight. This allows the people to get to know their Bishop and enjoy a time of fellowship with him or her.
The Bishop is also allowed to meet the people of the diocese and to assess the health or needs facing individual congregations.
As part of his visit to Trinity/Hannibal, Bishop Smith will confirm 7 individuals.
Confirmation is a strange rite for many. I have heard it often called a ritual (or sacrament) in want of a theology.
Liturgical traditions have a unique understanding of Confirmation. Only Bishops can Confirm. A cleric can Baptize. But we need a Bishop to Confirm.
This is important as, once upon a time, many of us were Baptized as infants. We could not speak for ourselves. Others, namely parents and Godparents/sponsors, made the promises on our behalf. So the Church needed a means for the Baptized to speak for themselves.
Long story short, Confirmation is claiming the Baptismal Covenant and the vows of Baptism for one's self. In essence, one is saying, "Yes! I want to be a follower of Jesus and to try to live my life after His example."
I am excited to welcome Bishop Smith back to Hannibal. I am even more excited for those who are taking this next step in their faith journeys.