As a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, I have three bosses (well, besides Jesus): Our bishop diocesan, Jon Bruno, and our two new bishops suffragan, Diane Jardine Bruce (below left, with other colleagues) and Mary Douglas Glasspool. At our annual convention last December, +Diane became the first woman elected bishop in our diocese, +Mary, a few hours later, the second. +Diane's responsibilities include the churches in the bottom third of our five-county diocese (lucky St. John's), +Mary's all the diocese's schools (double lucky, since St. John's has one of the nation's largest Episcopal day schools). Bishop Bruno visited St. John's last spring and checked in with Headmaster Jim Lusby. Bishop Bruce paid a gracious private visit a couple of weeks ago.
And this week, on Monday (All Saints Day in the liturgical calendar), Bishop Glasspool celebrated Holy Eucharist and preached at a rousing service attended by 750 students, teachers, and administrators as well as a parent or two. Using the opportunity to teach the congregation about the origin of Halloween, she marched in wearing pretty much the scariest monster mask ever worn by a bishop (which fit neatly under her miter). Before the service, she tried it out on her chaplain for the day, 8th grader Christopher Lanham.
Doffing mask and miter, she was soon teaching us a handy mnemonic chant -- Spooks! Saints! Souls! When we dress up on Halloween, it's like the ancient Celts putting on costumes and masks to ward off demons. The next day, All Saints, the Christian church remembers its heroes. Nov. 2, All Souls Day, is reserved for all the precious souls God has made.
That's Bishop Mary below, with the precious young souls who helped with Monday's worship. Headmaster Lusby and Chaplain Patti Peebles are at right.