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New Bishop of Waiapu ordained

For immediate release June 8, 2008

New Bishop of Waiapu ordained

Cathedral bells pealed over Napier on Saturday, heralding the ordination and installation of David Rice as the new Bishop of Waiapu – the fifteenth bishop in the diocese’s 150-year history.

More than 800 people flowed into the Waiapu Cathedral for the ordination service, including the three Archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, 16 other bishops, and about 80 clergy.

There was a 40-strong contingent from Dunedin, too, including Peter Chin, the Mayor, and Dr Tony Fitchett, a GP who is a leading Anglican layman and who preached the ordination sermon. David Rice was the Dean of Dunedin’s St Paul’s Cathedral for the last seven years, and that Dunedin contingent came to escort Bishop Rice and his family to Waiapu.

The service was rich and colourful – with karanga, waiata, and an affirmation of faith in te reo Maori; hymns, prayers, readings, vows and the sermon in English, as well as small contributions in Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Hindustani, and Latin. And for good measure Bishop Rice, who was born and raised in the United States, and who has Irish and Native American ancestry, also offered a traditional Cherokee prayer.

But according to Bishop Api Qilio, from the Diocese of Polynesia, one of the most significant aspects of David Rice’s ordination wasn’t referred to at any point in the service.

That’s his age. At 47, David Rice is a young bishop – and he has said himself that his election reveals a growing desire within the church for the next generation of leaders to begin to emerge.

“For me,” said Bishop Qilio, “David represents the future. I looked out over the congregation and I saw many grey heads. But he is an embodiment of the church renewing itself.”

The Rice family is leaving for the United States this week, and Bishop Rice will fly from there for England, where he will attend the Lambeth Conference of Bishops. He will be back in Waiapu with his family in September.


Footnote: An extended version of this story, with photos, has been posted at:

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