As I mentioned in an earlier post Bishop Jerry Lamb has announced that he will retire after the diocese finds a new provisional bishop later this year.
Today, Bishop Lamb visited our parish for the last time. It was a fitting occasion. We celebrated All Saints Day and with that had one baptism and one reception into the Episcopal Church. I had the great privilege of serving as Bishop Lamb's chaplain for this last visitation. As I stood next to Bishop Lamb during the baptism and the reception there was not a doubt in my mind that the Spirit was moving in the actions of this great bishop.
Bishop Lamb came to us in the Spring of 2008 as we were reconstituting the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Many may think he is a gentle soul but I think not. Oh to be sure, he loves the people in our diocese and is both gracious and caring. He has worked very diligently and with great patience and care at bringing us all together once again. But gentle, I think not. He has had to stare down some of the most intransigent groups of "Anglicans" this world may ever know. He has done that with grace and dignity but not particularly with gentleness.
Bishop Lamb came to us as he was retiring from his original diocese in Northern California and at the request of the Presiding Bishop he came to us. What a spirit guided decision that was! To coin an old saw "he kicked down the doors and flung open the windows" on 20 plus years of secrecy and subterfuge and we (The Episcopal Church) are all better for him having done that.
Today he was gifted a wonderful fishing rod. If he is as good at trout fishing as he is at people fishing his creel will always be full! We will miss you deeply Bishop Lamb. I will miss you Bishop Lamb. We love you and I will not say "good-bye", but rather, "Until we meet again."
The face of the young man standing at the top of this post is the face of the reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Today, at the peace he came into the church and the very first thing he did/said was he pointed right at Bishop Lamb and said, "There is the bishop!" Truerer words were never spoken.