Red at Morning


Although it's all still three months away, slowly, my timetable is filling with episcopal type things; little traces in the lightening sky, harbingers of what is ahead. I meet weekly with Bronwyn, our Diocesan Manager, and with Debbie who will be my PA. At the moment both have forgotten more about being a bishop than I know and both are extremely useful sources of data. There are some huge issues to find my way into the centre of, and I am starting from the outside and working my way in. I have begun to consider the peripheral bits of the office. Such as apparel, for example. I will have to wear some fairly strange clothes. Today my friend Carl popped over for a while to explain them all to me and to show me websites where you can buy Rochets and Chimeres and little red things that tie around your wrists. I'll need a mitre and a cope, which are available off the peg or I could ask someone to make them. Off the peg is expensive. Making is slow, and soon New Zealand will lose itself in the spending carnival we have replaced Christmas with, and then take a month off to recover; so time is slipping away, but I can't yet work up the required enthusiasm to act urgently on the matter. More interestingly, I have people already booking my time for next year, and I am pleased about that, as the folk with that sort of initiative have generally got something innovative in mind. And of course, there's also a parish to run.

I escape from all this by thinking about another peripheral detail. What will I drive? A big Australian six? A grunty little 4X4? A Korean wannabe? I'll need to be able to sit in it for very long periods. It'll need to be able to get past a milk tanker with the smallest of opportunities. It'll need to be able to tow a caravan. These are trappings, but they all have a bearing on the question which lies just over the horizon in the gathering dawn: what sort of bishop do I want to be? And that question is the really tiring one because I've starting lying awake in the wee small hours trying to answer it. Not worrying, but imagining. I'm thinking of what can be done and how. I'm thinking of what I have to offer the Anglicans of Southland and Otago and how it could all be most useful. I'm thinking of people we have and people I know and the talents they have to share. And I'm starting to feel a little stomach churning, heart fluttering, knee weakening excitement, like a kid before Christmas. This might be really, really fun.

Comments

Alden Smith said…
A Porsche Cayenne obviously - and you forgot some of the other attributes required in a car - being able to show boy racers at the change of lights that the bishop identifies closely with todays youth and having a car that is big enough to transport Rochets, Chimeres and little red things - I have heard some of these are simply HUGE - - And I have heard through the grapevine that the vicars in your diocese expect at least a dozen bottles of Speights to be delivered to each of them by their Bishop at least once a month (medicinal purposes only of course) - no need to thank me for this idea, in fact I will post you a CD of the soundtrack of Mamma Mia to keep you company as you drive around.
VenDr said…
Thanks for the Porsche Cayenne idea, though I was thinking more in the 911 Boxter line myself. I have heard also that Jaguar XK8s are also pretty good on masrginal roads, especially the supercharged ones. Thanks for the speights idea. Our diocese grows a lot of pinot noir, and our clergy are more used to that, but speights makes a very good de icer for winbdscreens and it clears drains beautifully.
Alden Smith said…
The fact that you would cast aside my suggestion in such a flippant manner for an outrageous and impractical, shiney, salivating, stunning, 911 Boxter indicates that you are not in the least bit interested in any sort of practicality. Rather, it indicates a penchant for indulging your ego, your hedonistic whimsy and your late adolescent instincts - This is of course is an attitude that I thoroughly approve and endorse. Bishops should be seen as well as heard (modified mufflers perhaps?).
Katherine said…
Kelvin! Have just heard the exciting Bishoppy news! Congratulations!

Alden, You KNOW he didn't like Mamma Mia! *I* suggest the soundtrack to Chocolat. Or, The English Patient.
VenDr said…
I'm sure Alden is only thinking of my comfort and peace of mind, so I make the following absolute promise: Tough as it is to make this great sacrifice, I willabsolutely refrain from listening to the Mama Mia soundtrack,or even any tiny part of it, ever again, for the rest of my life,or until Hell freezes over, unless I can do it on the stereo of my very own Porsche 911.
Peter Carrell said…
I understand the word 'need' appearing in a sentence in which 'get past a milk tanker' also appears, but I do not understand the word 'need' in a sentence in which the words 'mitre' and 'cope' appear.

However, if you insist on fulfilling both needs, will you not need a version of whichever grunty car you settle on which has no roof ... in order to accommodate the mitre? Don't worry about how cold you will be - wrap the cope around you more snugly:)
VenDr said…
Why do you think mitres are the shape they are? Aerodynamics, of course - what else? They are made to stop the apostolic hair blowing about when making t important episcopal dashes about the place in a convertible Aston Martin - perhaps to an emergency confirmation - and to retain a suitable drag coefficient for those of us not quite bald. I will have my episcopal transport fitted with a large audio system so I can call out messages of blessing, hope and goodwill as I chop down to 4th and slow to 140kph to negotiate the main streets of towns I pass through
VenDr said…
...but also there is the small matter of fidelity. Fidelity to my diocese where opinions vary widely on all kinds of things, but where we have always had certain expectations about how a bishop is vested; and perhaps more importantly, fidelity to a tradition that is some centuries old. There is another paradox here. On the one hand, I am expected to innovate and change, on the other, I only have the authority to innovate and change because I will stand as a representative of the ancient tradition.

Also, this stuff is peripheral. There may be some huge and very important battles ahead, so I will carefully choose which ones are worth investing the energy of fighting. Changing the way a bishop is dressed is certainly not one of them.
daharja said…
I sort of like the idea of a bishop on a bike, to be honest! Hey, why not upset the apple crate a little? But it probably isn't practical. Turning up to your engagements all soggy and mud-flecked from rainstorms and road dirt probably isn't the best way to develop gravitas.

If you think of it as just another step on the path you are taking in becoming the person you were meant to be, you'll find the answers. Do what feels right, and make the choices that feel right. Remember the person within. That's always seemed like the best way to go, to me.
Peter Carrell said…
Speaking of facing 'battles' ahead - I appreciate your wisdom in your comment on that - at least one of your fellow bishops has the app "Light Sabre" loaded on his iPhone ... :)
VenDr said…
Your bishop has an IPHONE? How cool is that? I can feel a revelation coming on.... supported, of course, by impeccable exegesis. I can now reveal that the scriptural and traditional evidence all points to the authentic episcopal badges of office being a ring, a crozier, a mitre and an iphone.
tagskie said…
hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/
Peter Carrell said…
I can reveal - exclusively, of course - that at least two bishops have iPhones, but my lips are sealed as to which have them ... and I have my suspicions that a third might have one, because that one's ministry educator also has one ... :)
Robert Zacher said…
Best wishes for a joyous inauguration of your episcopate, Kelvin.

For vestments of quality, reputation and imaginative design you might want to check out The Holy Rood Guild, run by the cistercian (trappist) monks of St. Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA.

Link below:

http://www.holyroodguild.com/xcart2/home.php

Even though there is time and distance to consider, I'm sure the guild is quite used to dealing with such issues.
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