There are events at which people expect to cry: weddings, christenings, funerals.
I cry at ordinations, (having watched several), and, last night, wept with pleasure and pride watching my first installation of a new rector, our first new rector in 35 years, Lenore Katherine Smith — aka Norah. She’s a brunette my age, also a woman with no kids, a former senior executive for — all of things — Kate Spade shoes.
I joked with her later that I was crying about as hard as she was as she knelt at the front of our red-carpeted aisle and took a vow, that began: “O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, yet you have called your servant to stand in your house and serve at your altar.” It’s hard to put into useful words how moving it is for me, as a feminist, to have women in the Episcopal and Anglican church as our ministers. A woman in a clerical collar is a deeply inspiring sight for me.
I’ve been a member of our church, St. Barnabas, for 10 years; my sweetie, as he has now done many times, photographed the 90-minute ceremony. For a Buddhist, he takes great pictures of Episcopal rites. Bishop Mark Sisk, bishop for the diocese of New York, conducted the service, resplendent in cream silk vestments and a bishop’s mitre that — cunningly, like a bit of origami — folded completely flat when he took it off and laid it on the altar.
The air was fragrant with the scent of lilies, we applauded her long and loud, and the evening was triumphant. This year also marks the 150th year of our church, and I’m honored to play a part its history.