Installation of our new Provisional Bishop - Bishop Skip Adams

posted Oct 26, 2015, 8:07 AM by CalvaryEpiscopal Church   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 4:09 PM ]

Welcome!



The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has reorganized and is carrying forward the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as generations of Episcopalians in South Carolina have done since 1789, confident that by moving forward together in unity and faith, with God's help, we will flourish.

Your participation in the life of our diocese and its parishes, missions and worshiping communities is encouraged. The Episcopal Church always welcomes you!

The powerful words of a beloved bishop of South Carolina speak poignantly to us as we continue to rebuild:

 
“We should strive for unity, not uniformity. Uniformity is mechanical, barren, unfruitful, and unprofitable. Unity is organic, living, and capable of endless growth. If we are to be truly catholic, as Christ himself is catholic, then we must have a church broad enough to embrace within its communion every living human soul.”

The Right Reverend William Alexander Guerry
(1861-1928)





Bishop Skip Adams

The Right Reverend Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III was elected by acclamation and invested as the Provisional Bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina on September 10, 2016 at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston. 

 
Bishop Adams, 64, continues until October as the 10th Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, where he has served for the last 15 years. Several months before South Carolina's call, he had announced plans to retire from Central New York. Based in Liverpool, NY, that diocese has 81 congregations and some 13,000 members, and has elected the Very Reverend DeDe Duncan-Probe to become its 11th bishop on December 3, 2016. 

The South Carolina diocese, which covers the eastern half of the state, consists of 31 parishes, missions and worshiping communities and has an estimated 7,000 members. 

Bishop Adams is a native of Baltimore, MD, and graduated from Towson University in 1976. In 1980 he earned his Master of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1980. He went on to serve in churches in New York, Virginia, New Hampshire and Maryland.

He enjoys fly-fishing and fly-tying, reading, music of all kinds, camping and canoeing. He is interested in the Church and people in El Salvador (the companion Diocese of Central New York), environmental and social issues. Bishop Adams’ wife, Bonnie Adams, is a registered nurse, and they have three adult children: Peter, Stephen, and Emily.





About our leadership transition
Leaders of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina in June nominated the Right Reverend Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III as the next Provisional Bishop for the diocese, calling him to South Carolina as he prepared to retire as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.
 
The Standing Committee called a Special Convention for September 10 at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston, so delegates could vote on installing Bishop Adams as the successor to Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg.

Bishop Adams was the unanimous choice of the Standing Committee, said the committee’s President, the Reverend Jean McGraw. The nomination follows a four-month search process. Read more here.

On January 14, 2016, Bishop vonRosenberg announced his plan to retire after concluding his 2015-2016 calendar of episcopal visitations. Read his letter here.

Find out more about this transition on our Leadership Transition Page.




 
PictureBishop Adams and Bishop Wolfe
The Right Reverend Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III was elected by acclamation and invested as the Provisional Bishop for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina on Saturday, September 10.
 
“We are going to continue to look out, and to look beyond, and to trust whatever the future holds, because we know that future is held by God,” Bishop Adams told Episcopalians from across eastern South Carolina who gathered at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston.

Bishop Adams is the successor to Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who led the diocese for 3-1/2 years as Provisional Bishop, guiding it through a period of reorganization after a group of churches and individuals announced they were breaking away from the Church in 2012. 
 
Bishop Adams officially retires in October after serving 15 years as the 10th Bishop of Central New York. Meanwhile, he has taken up residence in Charleston and begun his new duties as Provisional Bishop. He and his wife, Bonnie, were welcomed by more than 200 people at a reception Friday evening at Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston. (View photos of the reception)

Following the usual procedure for provisional bishops, Bishop Adams was the only nominee put forward at the Special Convention of the diocese on Saturday, which was called to order by Bishop vonRosenberg.  (View a photo album of the Special Convention and liturgy)

The Reverend Jean McGraw, President of the Standing Committee, said Bishop Adams was the unanimous choice of the committee, who she said “saw Bishop Adams as a spiritual leader, a man of prayer, and open to the Holy Spirit. He exuded a peaceful, calm demeanor, and much inner strength.”
 
The election was followed by a festive celebration of Holy Eucharist and an investiture liturgy. (Video of the service is here.)
 
Preaching and presiding at the service was the Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. As Vice President of the House of Bishops, he led the investiture on behalf of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. He also brought words of encouragement for the reorganized diocese, which now includes 31 congregations and some 7,000 members.
 
“You know, you all are my heroes. You’re the people who get up early and stay up late to be The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,” Bishop Wolfe said in his sermon (text and video here).
 
“This is a place where your deep faith has been challenged and your strongest loyalties have been questioned,” Bishop Wolfe said.  “...You picked up your cross and followed Christ.”

Later in the service, Bishop Adams was formally seated in the cathedral by Dean Michael Wright. He then offered a tribute to Bishop vonRosenberg and his wife Annie.
 
“I am very clear that I could not be here celebrating with all of you without huge amounts of work being done… we wouldn’t be here without them,” Bishop Adams said.
 
 He also thanked the people of the diocese for the welcome that he and Bonnie have received.  “There is nothing greater than experiencing the love of God through God’s people,” he said.
 
“Anywhere that I have ever served in my 36 years of ordained ministry, Bonnie and I have fallen in love and we have been loved. And we look forward to falling in love with you.”
 
As a concluding reflection, Bishop Adams offered an image from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “Never skate to where the puck is. Always skate to where the puck is going.”
 
“I know that’s not a perfect science – it’s not always clear where the puck is going,” Bishop Adams said. “But I trust the Holy Spirit to lead us to where that puck is going… and that’s where we will go.”

 
​Sermon at the Welcome, Investiture and Seating of the Right Reverend Gladstone B. “Skip” Adams III as Provisional Bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, at Grace Church Cathedral, Charleston, September 10, 2016
 
The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, D.D., 
Vice President, House of Bishops, The Episcopal Church
Ninth Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas

Come Holy Spirit and kindle the fire that is in us.
Take our lips and speak through them.
Take our hearts and see through them.
Take our souls and set them on fire. Amen.
 
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.”
 
Not long after I was elected Bishop of Kansas, I was in a small coffee shop not far from Coffeyville, Kansas. There I sat, resplendent in my sincere suit, brand new purple shirt, and the shiny new pectoral cross generously given to me by my former parishioners at Saint Michael and All Angels in Dallas, Texas. The cross, modest by Texas standards, was probably the largest golden object in Southeast Kansas at that time. When the waitress came up to take my order and she looked me up and down and said, “My, that is SOME kind of cross!” 
 
And I replied, “Well, thank you ma’am,” and then, trying to offer some kind of explanation I said, “You see, I’m the Episcopal Bishop of Kansas.” And she stopped, and looked over her glasses at me, and said, “Well, la DEE da!” 
 
And to complete my lesson in humility, she yelled over the counter to the cook, “Hey Frank, his holiness wants his hamburger medium rare!”
 
I’ve had a number of “la-DEE-da” moments as the Bishop of Kansas and as Vice President of the House of Bishops, but none of them any more meaningful than being invited to represent our beloved Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, at the Welcome, Investiture and Seating of Bishop Skip Adams. 
 
You know, you all are my heroes. You’re the people who get up early and stay up late to be The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. And I don’t know if you know this, but the whole Episcopal Church has been watching you all and cheering for you. And, I don’t know if you know it, but this can be a tough neighborhood in which to be The Episcopal Church!
 
Why, this is the kind of neighborhood where if, say, you decided to operate a Starbuck’s store, and then you decided you didn’t want to be part of Starbucks anymore, you could leave and STILL call yourselves “Starbucks!” You could take the signs and the coffee makers and everything! Wow. I’m just saying…
 
This is a place where your deep faith has been challenged and your strongest loyalties have been questioned.
 
And every time you spoke truth in the face of lies? You picked up your cross, and followed Christ.
 
And every time you reached out in reconciliation instead of anger? You picked up your cross and followed Christ.
 
And every time you cared more about the people than the buildings, and every time you cared more about the mission than the money, and every time you cared more about proclaiming the Gospel than winning the fight… you picked up your cross and followed Christ.
 
Show me another diocese tested as you have been tested. Show me a more faith-full, a more grace-filled, a more Christ-like response to dysfunction than you have offered in the contemporary history of this Church. I can think of none.
 
But even heroes need leaders, and in The Episcopal Church, we look to the Office of the Bishop to offer servant leadership to the faithful people of God. Your good and faithful bishop, Charles Von Rosenberg, and his wife, Annie, have stood in the lake of fire. And now we call upon another bishop, Skip, and his wife, Bonnie, to stand in the lake of fire once more with all of you.
 
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.”
 
At the very core of my being I believe there is no greater joy than the joy of Christian believing, no greater happiness than the happiness found in the Christian life, and, therefore, no greater privilege that that of leading others in this way of life, following the very example of Christ himself.
 
As most of you know, the word “episcopal” originates in the Greek word, episcopos, which means, literally, “overseer.” In our polity, the bishop is the chief pastor of a diocese. In the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, we say we are one church in 44 different locations. There are 44 different parishes and missions in our diocese, some 12,000 persons, and yet we remain one church. Your diocese, even fractured, is larger and more resourced.
 
All those communities of faith are connected. All of your communities of faith are connected! You share the same history. You all worship from the same Book of Common Prayer. You follow the same canons and sing from the same hymnal, and you all seek to know Christ and to make Christ known.
 
In our ecclesiology, the Office of the Bishop seeks to embody this unity. A bishop symbolically serves to connect every parishioner to the diocese and to connect every individual diocese to the roughly 2 million Episcopalians in the other 109 dioceses in the 16 different nations that make up The Episcopal Church.
 
Sixteen countries: the United States, Taiwan and Micronesia, Honduras, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Haiti (our largest diocese), the Dominican Republic, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, as well as the Episcopal Churches in six countries in Europe – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. I often remind people that we are so international and diverse that all our work in the House of Bishops must be translated into both Spanish and French in order for every bishop to fully participate.
 
Furthermore, every bishop is an outward and visible sign of a connection to the more than 70 million members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third largest movement in all of Christianity behind Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox tradition. Every Episcopal bishop has been consecrated in a line of apostles that, we believe, traces back to the earliest leaders of the Christian movement and to Christ himself. So, when Bishop Adams lays his hands upon the head of a confirmand, or shakes the hand of someone being received into our fellowship, there are a whole lot of other hands connected to that moment! We are part of a faith tradition that finds its origins in the earliest Christian Church.
 
Now it’s likely many of you have come to The Episcopal Church by a variety of different paths and for many different reasons. But I thought I would take just a moment to review why you have come to this tradition and why you have gone through all of this. I thought I might take just a moment to explain why your sacrifice has been worth it.
 
Now, I know there are many other wonderful traditions within Christianity, and I am well aware of the many imperfections that exist within our own branch of the Christian Church. I also know that not everyone here this morning may be a confirmed member of The Episcopal Church. But a lot has been said and written in recent years about our denomination, particularly in this neighborhood, and I thought it might be helpful if I tried to set the record straight.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you are drawn to the complexity of God as revealed in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as opposed to simplistic expressions of God that cannot help but distort God’s true multidimensional nature.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe men and women are fundamentally equal in the sight of God, and women as well as men should be able to serve in every office in the Church. In The Episcopal Church, women serve as acolytes, vestry members, senior and junior wardens, deacons, priests, bishops and even as Presiding Bishop! Believe it? Heck, I’ve seen it.
 
I am a man who believes this is not only a very good thing but, I believe it’s a genuine glimpse into the very Kingdom of God, where men and women both have equal access to the glory and the love of God. In the Episcopal Church, we have a place for women AND men in every position of responsibility in the Church.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe age, race, disability or sexual orientation shouldn’t keep anyone from having an equal place in the House of God. This is a stance that has created significant tensions in our fellowship, and those tensions won’t evaporate overnight. But I believe the positions we have taken in these matters will, with the benefit of history, make us look as though we have been guided by the Triune God in our deliberations. And, in true Anglican form, we remind everyone our unity is not uniform. You don’t have to agree with us to pray with us, to receive the Sacrament with us or to join us in bearing the cross of Christ.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe in the power of both the Word of God preached and in the presence of God as revealed through the sacraments. If you find solace and strength through hearing God’s word preached with power, and in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ on a regular basis, you have come to the right place.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe the glory of God can be revealed through beautiful architecture, beautiful music, beautiful liturgy, beautiful art and beautiful literature. Episcopalians believe God is fully revealed in the midst of such beauty, and we seek to support and value the aesthetic in all of life. And you should be an Episcopalian if you believe the glory of God is also found in worship offered in funeral homes and coffee shops or wherever God’s people can gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you’re serious about hearing and learning about the Word of God. If you attend Episcopal worship regularly, you will hear the largest part of the Bible read over a three-year cycle. Episcopalians hear lessons from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles as well as from the Gospels, while many so-called “Bible churches” hear comparatively little of the Bible read in worship. (Not too long ago I attended worship with some of my extended family at the Bible Church they attend, and we only heard one small verse from 2nd Corinthians in the entire service! Now, granted, there was a 45-minute sermon on that single verse, but I would have preferred to have heard a good deal more from the original source.) Episcopalians bring a scholarly mind to the study of the Bible, and most Episcopalians take the Bible far too seriously to take it literally.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you think churches should be built around the worship of God and not around the charisma of any one clergyperson. Robert Schuller was an incredibly gifted orator, but his great Crystal Cathedral is now home to a Roman Catholic diocese that found a bargain basement deal on some Southern California real estate! Our ecclesiology makes it difficult, though as we know all-too- well, not impossible, for charismatic clergy to lead parishes and dioceses into unhealthy relationships with them. But in The Episcopal Church it will always be God, and not the clergy, who remain the center of our focus.
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe frightening imperfect Christians with the fiery flames of hell or with crushing, unrelenting guilt is not only unbiblical, but it is foundationally unChristian.
 
This is a church where the grace of God trumps the wrath of God, and this is a church where God’s love has the power to redeem any and every one. A God who can forgive your deepest and most haunting sins just may be a God who is loving and powerful enough to forgive mine. This is a hospital for sinners, not a haven for saints! If you are divorced, this is the church for you. If you are a single mother or father, this is the church for you. If you struggle with addiction issues, this is the church for you. Jesus Christ died on a cross to save us, not to mock us or to belittle us.
 
The Episcopal Church seeks to find a place mid-way between “an acrid orthodoxy and an arid liberalism,” and we try, although we don’t always succeed, to maintain the “via media,” the “middle road.”   
 
You should be an Episcopalian if you believe in working closely in mission and ministry with other Christian denominations, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Old Catholics, the Moravian Church, the United Methodist Church and a host of other denominations with whom we are pursuing deeper ecumenical relationships.

Episcopalians believe we should fully live out the Gospel imperative to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the least among us. These are imperatives for every Christian, and they are at the core of who we are as Episcopalians.
 
Well, perhaps you didn’t need any encouragement from a visiting bishop on becoming or remaining an Episcopalian and, as an old sales manager of mine once told me, “If they’ve decided to buy, you should stop selling.” 
 
But we’re living in a turbulent and polarized time, and assaults made upon our tradition from sources both foreign and domestic inspires me to remind us what being an Episcopalian truly means. The cultural and political wars have not left our beloved tradition unscathed, and what some have judged to be a liberal institution falling away from the faith once delivered, I see as a holy institution discovering its deepest Christian moorings and coming most faithfully into its own.
 
Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”
 
We are Episcopalians. We stand with the poor, the oppressed and those who have no advocate, and this always puts us in harm’s way. We bring our heads and our hearts to every theological discussion, and if you want to know what it is that we believe, watch how we pray.
 
If we have little to say in the face of some of the most outrageous accusations made against us, it will be because we are exercising classic Anglican reserve rather than because we have nothing to say in our own defense.
 
Jesus was angry when he cleared the moneychangers out of the temple because he knew they were desecrating the holy things of God for their own purposes.  
 
As former Presiding Bishop John Hines once said, “They did not crucify Jesus for saying, ‘Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow.’ They crucified Jesus for saying, “Behold the thieves in the temple, and how they steal.” Picking up one’s cross requires strength and resilience.
 
We are Episcopalians, and we are unafraid to speak truth to power.
We are Episcopalians, and we are imperfect in so very many ways.
We are Episcopalians, and we live illumined by the light of the Trinity: God the creating Father, God the redeeming Son and God the sustaining Holy Spirit.
 
Now Skip, if I may presume to offer a more personal word to you.
 
The Franciscans have a saying, “Be gentle, and you can be bold. Be frugal, and you can be generous. Be humble, and you can lead.”
 
As persons under Holy Orders, we need to know how to remain connected to the Source of All Things, the Creating, Redeeming, Sustaining God who provides our every breath, empowers our every effort, and makes possible that which would be completely impossible otherwise. Now you know this, and I know this, and we all know this, but I am saying it to remind all of us of the fundamental necessity of maintaining a vibrant prayer life, and I really can’t think of a more important thing to share with you on this occasion.
 
Remember in the Book of Acts where it says, “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.”
 
Is there a person in this cathedral who doubts the power of such prayer? Is this not the power that changes the whole world?
 
As Christians, we pray, finally, to be raised up with Christ. Raised up out of our anxieties. Raised up out of our self-centeredness. Raised up out of our darkness into the brilliant light. Raised up out of our disillusionment into that sacred hope. Raised up out of our despair into unspeakable glory. Raised up! Raised up!
 
Skip, what the good people of this diocese already know about you is how gifted you are and how faithful you are to Christ and the Church. What they may not know is how respected you are among your colleagues in the House of Bishops, and that you are known for your spiritual depth and for your wisdom and for your good humor. (And, as you know, a good sense of humor will save you in this work!)
 
Willa Cather, in her classic novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, wrote, “The miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what there is about us always.”
 
Today, this very day, may your perceptions be made finer. May your eyes see and your ears hear, “what is there about us always.”
 
Now, it’s customary for the preacher to give a charge at an ordination. Skip, you’ve been ordained for a very long time now, but may I ask the bishop to please stand?
 
My Dear Brother in Christ, surprise the people you serve with the intensity of your prayers and the clarity of your purpose. Be courageous in the knowledge that Christ is your sure and certain companion. Remember with a fierce tenacity the many, many gifts of the people you serve, and forget with an easy grace their many, many faults.
 
Seek out for the poor, the weak and the sick, and become their sure voice. Seek out the rich, the strong and the healthy, and be their guide. Seek out the young, the naïve and the uneducated, and be their teacher. Seek out the wise, the faithful and the brave, and be their student.
 
And never, ever, ever forget who you are and to whom you finally belong.
 
My dear brother in Christ, may the Lord guard, guide and richly bless your ministry in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina today and forever. Amen.
 
See the full photo album here
More than 200 people came out to greet Bishop Skip Adams and his wife, Bonnie, on Friday, September 9 at Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston. The reception was a prelude to Saturday's Special Convention, which begins at 10 a.m. 
 
Bishop Skip Adams enjoys a cup of coffee in the Diocesan Office (above) as he prepares to greet visitors Tuesday morning. He is spending this week meeting with staff and leaders from around the diocese as he prepares to serve as our new Provisional Bishop.

The Special Convention begins at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday at Grace Church Cathedral, with a special Choral Eucharist. Everyone is invited to attend and join in the celebration as we welcome Bishop Adams.

Please keep our Special Diocesan Convention in your prayers.
 
Almighty and everliving God,
source of all wisdom and understanding,
be present with those who take counsel in Diocesan Convention
for the renewal and mission of your Church.
Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory.
Guide us to perceive what is right,
and grant us both the courage to pursue it
and the grace to accomplish it;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, page 818)

This FridayMeet Bishop & Mrs. Adams at Church of the Holy Communion
5:30-7:30 p.m.


Come and meet Bishop Skip and Bonnie Adams at a meet-and-greet reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the entire diocese (not just convention-goers). Registration is not required. All are welcome!
 
This SaturdaySpecial Convention and Choral Eucharist
starting at 10:00 a.m.

Official registration closes Wednesday, September 7 for delegates and visitors. All are welcome to come and attend the Choral Eucharist and investiture service, even if you missed the registration deadline. 

The liturgy will begin immediately following the business meeting.
 
Read a news article about Bishop Adams in the Sunday edition of the (Charleston) Post and Courier.

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