Navajoland: bishop ordained and consecrated

The new Bishop of Navajoland, David Bailey, was ordained and consecrated in a ceremony filled with Navajo traditions according to Episcopal News Service (ENS)

The Rev. David Bailey was ordained and consecrated bishop of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland Aug. 7 in a ceremony rife with tradition, joy and hope at the Brooks/Isham Performing Arts Center in Kirtland, New Mexico.

Several hundred Diné — many wearing traditional Navajo clothing — visitors and guests attended the 11 a.m. service. Medicine Man Herbert Yazzie led the procession with prayers, followed by Catharine Plummer, widow of the late Navajo Bishop Steven Plummer.

She and Cathlena Plummer, using sacred blessing bowls and eagle feathers, smudged the gathering with smoldering sage and sweetgrass incense, a traditional ritual of blessing and cleansing.

The two-hour service wove past struggles into hopes for future vitality, said retired Bishop Rustin R. Kimsey of Eastern Oregon and former assisting bishop of Navajoland, who served as guest preacher

Other reports:

La Cruces Sun-News

Navajoland prides itself by being an Episcopal Church like no other, and it’s members are glad their new bishop approves of this philosophy, said Cornelia Eaton, the assistant administrator for the Episcopalian Church of Navajoland.

“We need to remember those dark times from your past for many reasons,” Kimsey said to Navajoland members during the ceremony. “Not just for your sake but for ours.”

The blend of Christianity and Navajo culture within the church is not simple and without controversy, said Catherine Plummer, the first bishop’s wife.

The Navajo people were taught Christianity in boarding schools and missions where they were stripped of their customs, she said.

“There has been a tradition of phasing out in our culture for many years,” she said. “But the bishop is totally in support of us. … He put his foot down and started getting our old ways of life into our church.”

The Associated Press in Lubbock Online

youtube video snapshots of the ceremony here.

Photos here.

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