[Diocese of Oregon] The Rt. Rev. Diana D. Akiyama was ordained and consecrated as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland. Akiyama was the first Japanese-American woman ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, and she is the first Asian-American woman consecrated bishop in The Episcopal Church. She is the first bishop to be consecrated at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in over a century.
“I am very excited to begin the work of building up the beloved community – the body of Christ,” Akiyama said. “Our call, in this time, is to heal, reconcile, and love each other as Christ loves us.”
The Rt. Rev. Gretchen Rehberg, bishop of Spokane and the vice president of Province VIII, served as the chief consecrator. Joining Rehberg as co-consecrators were the Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley, the former bishop of the Diocese of Oregon, the Rt. Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick, bishop of the Diocese of Hawai’i, and the Rt. Rev. Laurie Larson Caesar, bishop of the Oregon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
“The good news though today is the church sees you,” the Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, former bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota and a personal friend of Akiyama, preached during the sermon. “The church sees you in ways that they should have seen you long ago, and now through the work of the Holy Spirit, because of you, and through you, and from you, others will be seen. This is a good day for the church.”
The sermon was followed by a prayer written by Akiyama: it was sung by Mila Polevia, the music director of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapa’au, Hawai’i, where Akiyama previously served as vicar before being elected bishop on Aug. 29, 2020.
Other bishops in attendance were the Rt. Rev. Patrick Bell, bishop of Eastern Oregon, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, bishop of Olympia, and the Rt. Rev. Megan Traquair, bishop of Northern California. The Very Rev. Nathan LeRud, dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, greeted the guests present in the cathedral and online, and local interfaith leaders offered a message of welcome to the new bishop through a video message.
Due to the health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance was limited to service participants, and close family and friends of the bishop, and was livestreamed online for the whole diocese and the greater church, which can be found on the diocese’s website.
The bilingual service bulletin is available here. Included in the bulletin is a full description of Akiyama’s vestments, designed and constructed by Karen Illman Miller, a Corvallis-based artist and a master of Katazome, a traditional Japanese stencil dyeing technique. The vestments incorporate themes and elements special to Oregon and Hawai’i, particularly the element of water.
“Thank you, the people of Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, for calling me to walk with you in this next season of our life together working to build up the beloved community,” Akiyama said, addressing the small gathering in the nave and hundreds of viewers online. “I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and being in community, particularly after this pandemic.”