On Saturday, June 12, I attended my friend Daniel Gross’s ordination as a deacon in the Episcopal Church at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. (The day before, the cathedral had been the site of Ronald Reagan’s state funeral. When we arrived at the cathedral, crews were still cleaning up the chain link fence that had closed off the property for most of the previous week. But that’s a topic for another post.) This was another step along a spiritual journey that began several years ago for Dan. He recently graduated from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.
This was an impressive service, with not one, not two, but three bishops, and various other hot and cold running clergy. George was one of Dan’s presenters for ordination, so he was in the procession. I sat with Dan’s brother Joseph Gross, and his friends Bea and Allan. (In the “small world” category, it turns out that Allan is a friend of one of our most notorious faculty members at CWRU.) The preacher for the service was Bishop Jane Dixon, the retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Washington. It was under her guidance that Dan entered into the process. In her charge to the ordination, there were the usual “read the Bible” sorts of things, but the last charge was “Do not ever bore the people of God.” Advice which most pastors could take to heart.
The highlight of the service was when the three bishops laid hands on each of the ordinands to be made deacons of the church. The ordination service was followed by Eucharist, and when it came time for communion, it happened that I received the chalice from Dan, who was assisting Bishop Chayne, the current Bishop of Washington. So there was a personal connection at this liturgical moment as well.
Following the service, there was a punch-and-cookies reception on the lawn of the bishop’s garden outside the cathedral. George then served lunch at his house for about fifty guests. Later in the evening he served dinner to eight of Dan’s out of town guests. It was a very special and memorable day, and I’m glad I was able to attend.