Monday, December 31, 2007

Easter Gift

Fr. Bill Easter is one of the finest and most generous priests in the Episcopal Church. Here he tells the story of his search for the perfect gift for our departing bishop, Jeffrey Steenson, who had announced earlier that he was leaving the Episcopal Church to become a Roman Catholic with the intention of teaching Patristics in that church. It would be difficult to imagine any two people who would enjoy this event more than Bill Easter and Jeffrey Steenson.

– Thomas B. Woodward

What Do You Give Your Bishop When He Leaves For Rome?
by the Rev. Bill Easter

I had selected what I thought was a very proper parting gift for Jeffrey that I planned to give him at an informal farewell party of some 30 clergy.

Alas, I managed to miss the party, so I called Jeffrey the Friday after the party and made arrangements for a visit at his office in the Diocesan Center. I found him dressed in mufti, packing books in boxes.

We sat and after some preliminary courtesies, I presented the gift along these lines: "Jeffrey, I was tasked with finding you a proper gift as befits your departure and your new undertaking. Knowing me as you do, you can appreciate what a challenge it was for me. I had no idea of proper, but had confidence that I would know it when I saw it. Lo, it came suddenly and without fanfare, fetched by two angels.

"It will, I trust, serve you well in the days ahead and create in you nostalgia for your many years in the Episcopal Church. As for serving you in the days ahead, this gift will permit you to bring peace and quiet to the eternal city of Rome. As you know, the drivers in Rome use their horns instead of brakes, with the result of a nightmarish cacophony that incessantly assaults the ear. Properly displayed, this gift will still the Roman racket, for which you will be richly blessed and your fame spread and celebrated."

I then handed him the handsomely wrapped gift. Jeffrey unwrapped it and found a bumper sticker that read:

Honk if your bishop is a woman

Jeffrey smiled, thanked me, and said, "I've heard of this." We embraced and parted.

The two angels were of the female persuasion and will remain anonymous to protect the guilty.



About the Author: The Rev. Bill Easter resides in the Diocese of the Rio Grande (where he has been licensed for fifteen years), but is canonically resident in the Diocese of Chicago. He has previously written for The Episcopal Majority and is an esteemed member of The Episcopal Church Institute.

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