Fifth Bishop of The Diocese of Northwest Texas Number 1035 in American Succession
At the Special Electing Convention held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lubbock on November 22nd, 2008, the Rev. James Scott Mayer, Rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, Texas, was elected the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Northwest Texas. Fr. Mayer was elected on the second ballot.
Bishop Mayer was consecrated on Saturday, March 21st, at First United Methodist Church in Lubbock. Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, was the chief consecrator and was joined by Bishops from around the Church.
The shape chosen for Bishop J. Scott Mayer's pectoral cross was inspired by designs found in a number of the Ethiopian Orthodox crosses from the 14th and 15th centuries. The shape is "patée" from the Latin word "patere" meaning "to open, to extend oneself."
The dove at the center of the cross is a universal symbol of peace, and in Christian tradition, symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Moving "over the face of the waters", the dove hovers over a crozier, the shepherd's staff that is carried by the bishop. Tongues of fire descend on the wine and bread. These symbols point to the power of the Holy Spirit in creation, the ordination of Bishop Mayer, and the Eucharist.
The moon, stars, and sun on the arms of the cross reference the vast open sky, a defining geographical feature of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas. The discs which emanate from the arms of the cross are found in many of the early Ethiopian crosses; these serve to remind us of the mesas, mountains, and other outcroppings that emerge from the expansive Northwest Texas horizion.
The cross was designed for Bishop Mayer by sculptor Nolan Kelley and was fabricated by jeweler Steve Hall, both of Abilene, Texas.
In order to set the bishop apart, one who holds this office will wear special garments and bear objects, depending on the event, service or occasion.
Vestments are important liturgical garments worn by bishops.
The mitre is perhaps the most distinctive symbol of the bishop. Although there is some dispute about how longstanding the tradition is (some claim it is from the time of the apostles) there is no question that mitres have been worn by bishops for at least 1,000 years. Mitres are usually white, gold or red, sometimes quite beautifully embroidered, and have two tails, called “lappets”, that fall from the back. The shape of the mitre represents the tongues of fire that rested on the heads of the disciples gathered in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, when God sent the Holy Spirit to the Church. A bishop receives a mitre during his or her ordination as a bishop, when the Holy Spirit comes to the new bishop in the same way that the Holy Spirit came to the first disciples. You will notice that, during church services, bishops take their mitres on and off, depending on what is happening in the liturgy. For instance, the bishop always removes the mitre when offering prayer to God.
The cope, shaped like an outdoor overcoat worn during ancient Roman times, is a cape or cloak that is semicircular, richly ornamented, with a clasp in front and a hood in back. It is worn over the alb and stole. The bishop usually wears a cope at non-Eucharistic liturgies in place of the chasuble. He or she may wear a cope at the Eucharist during the entrance procession and even during the liturgy of the word. Bishops sometimes wear it when performing Episcopal functions such as ordinations and confirmations.
The alb is a long, white robe, probably dating from 4th century Greco-Roman times.
Have you heard a sermon given by Bishop Mayer and would like to have the ability to read it? Or perhaps you missed an event in which the Bishop spoke. Just click on the links below to have access to Bishop Mayer's inspiring sermons.