The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma recently gathered for the installation of the new leader of a prominent downtown Oklahoma City church.
The Rev. Justin Lindstrom was installed as the dean of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral on Jan. 26 in a ceremony that highlighted the diversity of the diocese, among other things.
A traditional processional marking the service's beginning included American Indian drummers who made their way up the aisle of the church, 127 NW 7, in honor of David Pendleton Oakerhater, a revered Cheyenne Indian Episcopal clergyman who was named to the Episcopal Church's Calendar of Saints in 1985. Oakerhater (1847-1931) founded the Whirlwind Church and Mission near Watonga in 1907.
Later in the service, several Bible passages were presented in different languages, beginning with Scripture verses spoken in Choctaw by the Rev. Jim Kee-Rees, the Episcopal diocese's Native American missioner who is a Choctaw Indian. The Rev. Leonel Blanco Monterroso, rector of Iglesia Episcopal Santa Maria Virgen in south Oklahoma City, presented a Bible passage in Spanish.
Lindstrom, 40, said he wanted his installation ceremony to highlight the diversity of ministries within the state's Episcopalian community.
“It is a way to say ‘we're all in this together,'” Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom said he wanted the service to be meaningful because it has been 30 years since St. Paul's installed a dean. The former dean, the Rev. George Back, retired in 2008.
Lindstrom founded and served as vicar of St. Aiden's Episcopal Church in Cypress, Texas, before being chosen by the St. Paul's congregation and appointed dean of the church by the Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. Lindstrom and his wife, Susan, and their children, Covell and Cooper, live in Edmond.
Lindstrom said the installation also was special because his former bishop and friend, the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Diocese of Texas, delivered the homily. Lindstrom said Doyle officiated at his wedding.
“It was just a fantastic day,” Lindstrom said. “I don't think my feet have hit the ground yet.”
Meanwhile, Konieczny said Lindstrom is a good fit for St. Paul's, the Episcopal diocese and the Oklahoma City metro area at large.
“I was very impressed with Justin's passion for the mission of the church,” Konieczny said.
The bishop said St. Paul's is the home church of the Episcopal bishop in Oklahoma.
Consequently, he said, Lindstrom, as the cathedral's dean, acts as a representative of the bishop and the diocese as well as St. Paul's.
Lindstrom said he is excited to serve in his new role and particularly pleased with the atmosphere of renewal and revitalization in Oklahoma City.
“This is an awesome place, and the cathedral community wants and needs to be a part of that,” he said.