ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia says the church needs to appeal to the Millennial Generation in order to continue its message.
The Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas was ordained and consecrated as the diocese's sixth bishop on Saturday during a ceremony at the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre, . He succeeds Bishop Neff Powell, who stepped down after serving for 17 years.
Bourlakas met with media outlets and friends of the Episcopal Church on Friday to discuss his goals as bishop. He previously served as dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville, Ky.
"I think that we are going to have to get used to moving beyond that establishment place where we decide who's included and try to ask where we might be included," Bourlakas said. "I think it's going to be millennials and the culture around us that's going to decide whether we're included or not."
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, said Saturday before the ceremony that the church is beginning to work toward "more of a network rather than a vertical structure."
"We're building it as we live it," Schori told newspaper.
More than 1,000 people attended Saturday's ceremony, said the Rev. Sandy Webb, rector at St. John's Episcopal Church in Roanoke. Webb and others planned the weekend's events.
"It has been an honor for me to plan the event. It's been a privilege for me to work so closely with the bishop- elect as he's coming in," said Webb, who is leaving Roanoke to become the priest in charge of the Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis, Tenn. "He is a wonderful man, a solid priest and I trust him completely. To be able to help create this day, which is just as much a mark for his life as it is for our diocese, has been a deep privilege."
Powell said that Bourlakas is talented and well prepared and will do a good job as bishop.
Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com