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The Living ChurchApril 4, 1999William Persell Consecrated Bishop of Chicago by Judi Amey218(14) p. 7

Celebrating an event designated by the Presiding Bishop as a local feast, some 3,000 people gathered March 13 at Elmhurst College in suburban Chicago to celebrate the consecration of the Rev. William Dailey Persell as the 11th Bishop of Chicago.

The Eucharist featured the diversity of the diocese, with music provided by children's, African-American and Hispanic choirs, as well as traditional Anglican music. The children of the diocese played a prominent part in the liturgy, serving as ushers, greeters and acolytes. The litany was prayed in Spanish, Korean and English, representing the prominent languages of the diocese. The walls of the gymnasium-converted-to-worship-space were adorned with banners provided by each parish of the diocese - some of them made for the occasion.

As the celebration was being planned, Bishop Persell had said, "I want people to walk away from that and say, 'I've never seen so many children involved and present at a diocesan consecration'."

The Rt. Rev. J. Clark Grew II, Bishop of Ohio, where Bishop Persell had been dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, preached the homily. He spoke of a church with the potential to be a "community of divine possibility in a culture that increasingly experiences fragmentation." He spoke to the people of the diocese of the growth he has seen since he first visited Chicago 19 years ago. He talked of the ministries of social justice and of compassion he's seen in the diocese and of the inwardness of the Episcopal Church as a whole.

"Perhaps you are feeling that we have lost the fire for matters of peace and justice that for so long characterized the Anglican way," he said. "Instead we seem to have picked up sides and exiled ourselves one from another. We have forgotten how to treat one another in the light of God's hope and God's future. Well, today, with your new bishop, it is time to go home."

The central cross for the occasion, hung on the wall behind the altar, was a recreation of his late father's pectoral cross - the Rt. Rev. Charles Persell, is the retired Bishop Suffragan of Albany - the same cross presented to Bishop William Persell as a symbol of his ministry as the ceremony progressed. Bishop Persell also wears his father's ring of office.

The Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold, Presiding Bishop and former Bishop of Chicago, was chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. James Montgomery and the Rt. Rev. Williams Wiedrich, retired bishop and retired bishop suffragan of Chicago, respectively, were co-consecrators, with five other bishops. The Eucharist was concelebrated by Bishop Persell with the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, Bishop of Maine.