The Bishop's Visitation
Bp. Brookhart is a good man-- faithful, plainspoken, and with a kind heart. He met with all four vestries on Saturday, and then took the clergy and spouse (singular-- just my husband, as Randy's wife was otherwise committed) out for a lovely dinner. Then Sunday he celebrated the Eucharist at two of our altars, and folks were delighted to see and spend time with him.
I had been a bit nervous about this-- wanting things to go well for the first episcopal visit for which I was responsible as priest-in-charge. But preparations had gone pretty smoothly. The parish records are on their way to being in order (a bit of a challenge, as they have been maintained in some places better than in others in this region); the churches and grounds were clean and tidy; and the plans for coffee hour (at one church) and lunch (at the other) were in place.
Then it happened.
Sunday morning the bishop was vesting in our tiny sacristy before the first service. He had assembled his crozier (a beautiful thing, carved for him out of local hardwood by a parishioner in Missoula), and it was leaning against the door jamb while he finished putting on his vestments. I reached in to hand him a bulletin... and the sleeve of my alb must have brushed against it. It clattered to the ground and-- as I stared in amazed horror-- snapped in two. A long, jagged, angular crack, right through the middle along the grain.
Yep. I broke the crozier.
The bishop was very gracious, as I picked up the pieces and stammered stricken apologies. He turned down the Lay Eucharistic Minister's offer of duct tape (yes, she really did!), and mentioned a woodworker in Helena who would likely be able to repair it.
Then he turned to me and said, with a glint in his eye, "You realize, of course, that This Will Go On Your Permanent Record." And, after another pause, "So... where will you be seeking your next call? Alaska?"
Yes, sir, Right Reverend Father-in-God, sir.
Lord, have mercy.