Boston University’s Agganis Arena will be transformed from sporting to sacred space on Saturday, Sept. 13 as the Episcopal Church ordains and consecrates a new bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
Some 4,000 participants and guests—including 28 bishops—from around the country and across the globe are expected to attend the consecration of the Rev. Alan M. Gates as the 16th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The event opens with the colorful pageantry of processions beginning at 10:30 a.m., with the liturgy itself beginning at 11 a.m.
The diversity of the Episcopal Church in eastern Massachusetts will be fully evident through the many voices, languages and musicians that will be part of the service. A massed choir of 550-plus singers from nearly 75 parish choirs will perform, along with a gospel choir, a brass ensemble, a steel drum band and a handbell choir.
The diocese will welcome the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio, and formerly a priest of the Diocese of Massachusetts, as the preacher. Following Hollingsworth’s sermon comes a sacred and solemn highlight of the service, when the participating bishops place their hands on the bishop-elect's head during the prayer of consecration—a passing on of episcopal authority in what is believed to be an unbroken line from Christ’s apostles.
Gates, 56, the former rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio, was elected bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts by the clergy and lay delegates of the diocese at a special electing convention on April 5 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.
Bishop-elect Gates is a Massachusetts native and graduate of Middlebury College. Prior to seminary he was a Russian language translator, researcher and intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, including a tour of duty at the State Department. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and was ordained to the priesthood in 1988. He served congregations in the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts and Chicago prior to his call to Ohio. He and his spouse, Patricia J. Harvey, have two adult sons.
Gates succeeds the current bishop, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, who has served the Diocese of Massachusetts since 1995 and who will resign his office at the time of the consecration on Sept. 13.
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, established in 1784, is among the Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest in terms of baptized membership, and comprises 180 parishes, missions, chapels and campus chaplaincies in eastern Massachusetts.
Ticketing: The service and reception are open to all, but everyone who plans to attend (including participants and volunteers) must have a ticket. A limited number of general admission tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at a will-call table at the arena the morning of the consecration.
Webcast: There will be a live webcast for those who cannot be at the celebration in person. A link will be provided on the consecration event page, where additional information about the day is available.
For complete details, please visit the consecration page.