Last weekend, I flew up to Chicago (my arms weren’t tired, thanks to the ten million relatively cheap shuttles that go from Atl to Chi on a regular basis). It was a crazy knee-jerk trip, which I never do, but when Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was elected a few months ago and BONUS one of my BFFs lives in Chicago, it was clear that I was ON. A. PLANE.
On Saturday, we got into Full Chickpastor Collar.
We waited outside for the doors to open with lots of other Lutherans. There was a really awesome buzz of excitement in the air, and the only thing I can compare it to (which I keep comparing it to) was the fun feeling before someone you know is about to get married!
I ran into new and old friends from everywhere, and there were tons of women clergy, collared and not. There were also tons of younger people, seminarians, college students, plenty of people in that sought-after millennial generation to see this historic event.
Worship itself was kind of a blur of wonderful. My favorite moments included:
The beauty of the first few hymns’ and a cantor with a gorgeous voice who led the singing when the Bishop walked in, shaking water over all of us so we could remember our baptisms.
The blessings from the international bishops, who included a really awesome number of women, over Bishop Eaton’s ministry. They spoke and prayed privately with her, one at a time, as she knelt at the rail. To see two women in this role….all of us were teary. It made me remember how important it is for all of us who collar and are women to just SHOW UP, and that makes a statement of God’s radical inclusion.
When the actual installation began, a wind began to blow in from the side doors. I am not making this up.
The former Bishop took off his cross, and put it around Bishop Eaton’s neck, carefully, pronouncing a blessing on her.
She gave the closing blessing in fluent Spanish, which just underscores her commitment to the fact that our world is changing quickly, and the gospel of grace needs to be preached in as many ways as we are gifted!
I was so, so, very happy to be a part of this celebration, because that’s what it was…a total party, a total “Amen” to the crazy, amazing things that God is doing among the Lutherans.
(The blog below is written by one of the first woman pastors in the Lutheran Church, who also attended the installation.)