Her first priority: getting to know people
COVE — A convention of about 275 Episcopalians, including delegations from Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton,
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in La Grande and St. Stephen’s in Baker City, on May 23 affirmed The Rt. Rev. Bavi Edna “Nedi” Rivera as the first-ever Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon.
Rivera, who also is Bishop Suffragan — assistant to the bishop — in the Diocese of Olympia, will serve one-third time in Eastern Oregon, which has been without a bishop since The Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg resigned in 2007 to become assistant bishop of North Carolina.Speaking to the convention, Rivera said her first priority is getting to know the people of the diocese “because we are nothing if we are not together.”
She promised, “God will be with us.”
Rivera also ordained former Baker City residents Bob and Kay Totten to the diaconate. He will become Vicar of St. Andrew’s in Florence.
The Diocese of Eastern Oregon includes all of Oregon east of the Cascades, plus Klickitat County, Wash., an area of some 69,000 square miles. There are 22 parishes and more than 2,600 Episcopalians in the diocese, which is based in The Dalles.
Members of Diocesan Standing Committee presented the new provisional bishop with the symbols of office, including a diocesan crozier, or bishop’s crook and an Ascension cross made of Oregon juniper. Committee member G. Royes of Summerville presented her with the diocesan branding iron.
Eastern Oregon is the only diocese in the U.S. Episcopal Church to have a registered brand, which has been used in the past by ranchers who tithed by designating cattle to the diocese. Rivera, ordained to the priesthood in 1976, was elected to be the Olympia diocese’s first suffragan in 2004. The first Hispanic woman bishop in the Episcopal Church, Rivera is a third-generation priest and a second-generation bishop. Her father, the late Victor Manuel Rivera, was bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin in California from 1968 to 1989.
She now is one of four provisional bishops in The Episcopal Church.
The convention was held in the Cove High School gymnasium. Conventioneers walked there from Ascension School, the diocesan camp and conference center.