Dear Ones, Our friends in Nice need our prayers as they minister the love of God to their stricken city. And let us pray for the dead and dying, the wounded and all who care for them, the police who had to kill the terrorist and face the horror he had created, and him too. And finally, pray and work for justice, that we might have peace.
We are here at Emmanuel church to welcome the interim rector, the Rev. Joel Miller and his wife Christina. Here, we are gathered to empower this priest to serve as your rector in the interim. Let me just say, what is a rector? We can’t tell what an interim rector is if we don’t know what a rector is. And the word simply means leader. It is something that the Episcopal Church has used since before the American Revolution to designate the priest in charge of a congregation. But in fact, the priest stands in the place of the bishop, which is why I read a letter of institution that authorized the Rev. Joel P. Miller to serve as interim rector. How did all of this come about? Well, if you read the New Testament, and I know you do, you’ll recognize that there are three orders mentioned in it. There are deacons, and there are Bishops -– the word means overseer in Greek – it got sort of squashed from 'epískopos' to Bishop in English – English does that. Then, there are also presbyters – elders, and to paraphrase John Milton, presbyter is but priest writ large. So, Bishops, priest and deacons, have been with us since the beginning of the church.