[Episcopal News Service] Andrew M. L. Dietsche was ordained and consecrated bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York March 10 during a ceremony at a packed Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan.
As bishop coadjutor, Dietsche has the automatic right of succession to the current bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, who must retire before his 72nd birthday in August 2014.
Dietsche, a resident of Poughkeepsie, has served since 2001 as the diocese’s canon for pastoral care. He was elected bishop by the diocesan clergy and by lay representatives of the diocese’s 199 parishes at a special convention held at the cathedral—the largest Gothic cathedral in the world—in November 2011.
Some 2,500 people, including clergy and parishioners of the diocese, ecumenical and interfaith guests and civic leaders, among them former mayor New York David Dinkins, attended the consecration.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori led the service as chief consecrator and preached the sermon. Co-consecrating bishops included Sisk, Bishop of New Jersey George Councell, retired Bishop of New York Richard Frank Grein, Bishop of Long Island Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Michigan Wendell Nathaniel Gibbs, retired Bishop Suffragan of New York Catherine S. Roskam and Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The presiding bishop preached about Peter and the other disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee, when Peter is told to, “‘feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.’”
“Andy, you are named and blessed in this place to feed the sheep and tend the lambs, and to encourage those around you in doing the same,” the presiding bishop told Dietsche. “A good deal of your work will deal with the baptized, those already engaged in fishing or shepherding work – and your task is to remind them continually that they too are chosen, beloved, good creation, for they and we cannot love others unless we know ourselves well loved. But some of your work must attend to the sheep not of this fold, and the nations beyond this one, for the great banquet will not be complete until all are invited and gathered in to the wedding feast of the lamb.”
“Your work must tend to the creatures of this great city, and the sheepfolds of rural New York, as well as the sheep of the nations. Some of the sheep around here will insist you aren’t spending enough time with them. That’s an opportunity to remind the sheep that they are also called to be shepherds, and for you to remember that you are a sheep, in need of rest and good pasture. The current bishop of New York can teach you something about the healing qualities of good grassland.”
Together, the presiding bishop and the co-consecrating bishops gathered around and laid their hands on the new bishop’s head in a gesture symbolizing the unbroken connection of the line of bishops back to the earliest days of the church.
Dietsche then for the first time put on his episcopal vestments, and was presented with a gold cross, an episcopal ring engraved with his seal, a miter, a Bible, and a crozier that he designed himself and that was made by a local craftsman using maple from the new bishop’s own garden.
Following this, the presiding bishop presented him to the congregation, whereupon the clergy and congregation offered the traditional “acclamation and applause.”