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December 5, 2023

Investiture of the Rt. Rev. Dr. David G. Read Ties Together Tradition and Transitions

On Friday, December 1, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio was full of joy, glorious music and The Holy Spirit during a service of Choral Evensong and the Investiture of the Rt. Rev. Dr. David G. Read. The location held tradition as each of the previous ten Bishops have preached from the St. Mark’s pulpit, and at one time it was the Cathedral of the Diocese.

The service commenced with a grand procession led by the St. Mark’s choir and clergy, the Rev. Beth Knowlton, Rector, the Rev. Ann Fraser, Associate Rector and the Rev. Matt Wise, Associate Rector, who were followed by Diocesan Clergy. Esteemed former Diocesan bishops, the Rt. Rev. James E. Folts, Eighth Bishop of West Texas, retired; and the Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, Ninth Bishop of West Texas, retired joined the procession, while the Tenth current Bishop, the Rt. Rev. David M. Reed, positioned at the front of the church, welcomed participants and awaited the arrival of Bishop Coadjutor Read.

Following the procession, a moment of silence was broken with a resounding knock as Bishop Read rapped three times upon the large, solid entry door pronouncing, “Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and give thanks to the Lord. Rev. Knowlton responded, “The Lord prosper you; We wish you well in the Name of the Lord.”

Throughout Evensong, the St. Mark’s choir, led by Jon Johnson, Director of Music & Organist, regaled the congregation with beautiful, awe-inspiring renditions of prayers and hymns.

Leading into the sermon, Bishop Read expressed his appreciation to the St. Mark’s clergy, choir, staff and volunteers and thanked the ten preceding Diocesan bishops, stating “he is keenly aware on whose shoulders he stands, built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ”. A special acknowledgment was given to Bishop Reed and wife Patti, with Read sharing “David is a friend and brother who led us in this Diocese always with great love and sharp wit.”

Bishop Read’s sermon was infused with humor, comparing the similarity in names of Bishops Reed and Read to Elijah and Elisha, and poignant and uplifting messages, recalling the various transitional phases of the church. With attendance declining in churches across the nation (all denominations), Bishop Read noted that The Diocese of West Texas and Christian institutions in the United States are in a historical transition, facing new challenges in the next ten years that have not been encountered in the past century. Bishop Read shared the story of St. Francis of Assisi and called upon Diocesan churches and congregants to emulate the beloved saint by embracing new methods of engaging current and prospective parishioners - going out into the community to spread God’s word and love, opening our hearts and church doors to all and assisting the marginalized and needy. He recommended St. Francis’ approach to rebuilding St. Damiano be modeled, stating “We must hold on to our Christian Anglican heritage while also building anew.” Bishop Read concluded with a reminder that as always, Christ will guide us through this new phase discerning wisdom and imparting hope and optimism.

Click here to listen to the sermon.

During the Investiture portion of the service, Bishop Read received the diocesan crozier from Bishop Reed, as a sign of the transfer of authority. He then reaffirmed the promises made when ordained and consecrated and his commitment to God as Diocesan Bishop.

Following the service, a festive reception was hosted by St. Mark’s. Attendees were treated to delicious fare while celebrating the Investiture of incoming Bishop Read, who assumes the Diocesan Bishop role on January 1, 2024.

Click here to view the recording of the service.

Click here to view the service bulletin.

Click here to view more photos from the service.

Photographs by Lauren Vereen, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Kerrville.

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