The Bishop is coming!
We rectors get a schedule every now and then of episcopal visitations. We usually see that on some far distant date, Bishop so-and-so will be stopping by for his or her "official" visit. This gets duly noted, but largely forgotten in the hustle and bustle of parish life--that is, until a few weeks out from the event.
A checklist is then sent to the rector detailing the do's and don'ts of the care and feeding of bishops. The list is very detailed, and contains things like: use the proper of the day, track 2. Use Eucharistic Prayer A., etc. I believe that this is due to a wide variance in liturgical expression in the diocese, and meant to spare anyone any embarrassment. However, the list is pretty much point-for-point the way things run at St. Mary's. In fact, our draft bulletins were just approved this afternoon. With all of this guidance and reassurance, one would think that after a decade of hosting these visitations, my anxiety level would drop. No such luck.
There are so many moving parts, and of course we all want to make the best possible impression on our visitor. I take a great deal of pride in my parish, and I know you do, too. However, a visitation is as much about receiving hospitality as it is giving it. We also ought to look forward to our time with Bishop Glasspool as a visible and incarnate sign of our unity through Jesus Christ with our diocese and the Church universal. There will be time for parishioners to speak with her, as well as the Vestry as a body. As one of her priests, I will also have some precious one-on-one time.
As we prepare to welcome an honored guest, remember to pray for our parish and our bishops, and the mission that binds us all together: restoring all things to unity with God through Jesus Christ.