“Encourage and support all baptized people in their gifts and ministries, nourish us from the riches of God’s grace, pray for us without ceasing, and celebrate with us the sacrament of our redemption.”
~Adapted from the service for Ordination of Bishop
A bishop is called to be the shepherd of God’s flock and in Western Christianity a crosier [also spelled crozier] or a shepherd’s crook is an ancient symbol of a bishop’s office and authority.
Bishops use their crosiers when conferring sacraments and presiding at liturgies. A bishop usually holds his or her crosier with his or her left hand, leaving the right hand free to bestow blessings.
Bishop Edwin F. [Ted] Gulick Jr. has two dioceses, but until last week, only one crosier, which he left in Kentucky when he traveled to Fort Worth. This absence of a crosier was noted by local Episcopalians keenly aware of the importance of symbols in this challenging time in the life of our diocese.
Members of Fort Worth Via Media voted to remedy the situation in their February meeting. FWVM member Gloria Long offered to head up a committee for the project, and Bill Penny, a gifted craftsman in wood, agreed to handcraft a crosier for Bp. Gulick in red African mahogany.
Penny spent a solid three weeks creating it. The bulk of that time was spent creating the crook, which is made out of one piece of wood. The crosier is made in four sections, so it can be taken apart for easy transport. Penny, who also has made many items for his parish of Christ the King, put eight coats of varnish on the staff. The varnish not only protects the wood, but makes the crosier gleam like silk.
Why spend all that time making a crosier when one can easily be bought?
“My thinking was that this would mean more to everybody if it was custom made by someone in Texas especially for our bishop,” Penny said.
“I appreciate him coming down here and taking this on – he has a full time job, you know. Finding someone who is compassionate is a blessing. I wish we could keep him. [Presiding Bishop]Katharine made a wise decision. You’ve got to give it to her to picking him. She did a good job too.”
FWVM President Ed Adcock presented the crosier to a visibly moved Bp. Gulick at the April 4 Lenten Series that featured Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies. The bishop remarked at the time that he had really missed having a crosier earlier that afternoon as he was doing diocesan confirmations at Trinity.
Bp. Gulick used his new crosier the very next morning at the Palm Sunday services at Trinity.
The certificate accompanying the crosier says, “This Crosier is presented to the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick Jr., provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, by Fort Worth Via Media, April 4, 2009.”
It is followed by this prayer, adapted from the service for Ordination of Bishop: “Encourage and support all baptized people in their gifts and ministries, nourish us from the riches of God’s grace, pray for us without ceasing, and celebrate with us the sacrament of our redemption.”
Members of the FWVM Executive Board are Ed Adcock, Laura Adcock, Margaret Mieuli, Lynne Minor, John Morgan, Katie Sherrod, and George Komechak (Emeritus).