Accompanied by a merry noise of bells and bagpipes, strings, organ and choir, the Right Rev’d Jeff Fisher, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, oversaw the official installation of the Rev’d David Browder as the fifth Rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and School as part of a festive Choral Eucharist on Wednesday evening, January 29th.
Leaders from the Church and School communities took part in the service. Representing St. Thomas’ School, Headmaster Michael Cusack read the epistle appointed for the evening (Romans 12:16). The Parish’s Senior Warden, Roger Herrscher, gave Fr. David the keys of the Church, saying:
In the name and behalf of St Thomas’… I do receive and acknowledge you, the Reverend David Browder, as Priest and Rector of the same; and in token thereof, give into your hands the keys of this Church.
Fr. David replied:
I, David Browder, receive these keys of the House of God…and promise to be a faithful shepherd over you…
Then Fr. David went up to the altar, where Bishop Jeff, assisted by Canon to the Ordinary the Rev’d Kai Ryan, presented him with a Bible, a Book of Common Prayer, and Books of Canons of the General and Diocesan Convention, symbolizing his duty
to dispense the divine Word, lead the Devotions of the People, and exercise the Discipline of the Church.
The Bishop read the official Letter of Institution from the Right Rev’d Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas, then Bishop, Rector and people offered prayers and intercessions on behalf of Fr. David’s new ministry.
The Very Rev’d Dr. Justyn Terry, Dean and President of the Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) delivered the sermon (audio available here). Dr. Terry, who has a pronounced English accent, said to much laughter:
I don’t know if anybody noticed from my accent, I’m not from around these parts — I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!
As he ended his sermon, he spoke directly to Fr. David:
It’s a challenging job, but you may see that you are walking with Jesus Christ, and his Spirit is in you, and his Spirit is with you and it is also flowing out from you, into this Church, into this community so that people will know that there is joy, the joy of the Lord, in this place and that is joy that brings the hope for the future that we all so desperately need.
Bishop Jeff celebrated the communion. The Parish Choir, under the direction of Organist and Choirmaster Dr Giles Brightwell, the St. Thomas’ School Choir, directed by Nancy Crownover, and the St. Thomas’ School String Orchestra, conducted by Sheryl Calvert, sang and played anthems by Vivaldi, Parry and Bruckner; the change ringers of St. Thomas’, assisted by ringers from Palmer Episcopal and St. Paul’s Methodist, rang the tower bells to call the people to worship. After the final hymn, the St. Thomas’ School Pipes and Drums led the congregation to the Murray Center, for a reception in honor of Fr. David and his family, Kari, Hank and Edward and organized by Mary Gryska and Nancy Graves.
As one guest said, “A great diocese, a beautiful church, an outstanding school, magnificent music, a fine young Rector: I think maybe you are on to something here.”
Photographs (except of Dr. Terry) by Emma Graves