Raised in Indiana, the Rev. Dr. Shane Scott-Hamblen is a former schoolteacher, monk, and seminary professor in church history, music, and liturgy. His liturgical gifts especially shone Saturday morning in his beautiful, innovative installation and induction service as the fourth rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Parish Church Corona del Mar, CA.

I was along to preach and celebrate and mediate the Holy Spirit’s mysterious work of installing and inducting. Among our fellow ministers was Pickle, who read from First John about God’s invitation that we love one another. A native Angelina and graduate of Hamilton High School Academy of Music and Sarah Lawrence College, Pickle is the drag queen laureate of the City of West Hollywood. Two weeks ago in San Fernando, she made news when angry demonstrators, notwithstanding this being the United States of America, barred her from entering the public library, where a member of LA county’s Board of Supervisors had invited her to read a story to children.

Her being invited to read to us at St. Michael’s says a lot about this most welcoming of parishes as well as Fr. Shane’s ability to twin the ancient forms of ritual Episcopalians love with our slowly developing conception of the richness of the image of God.

Scott’s formation story is also a rich one. Pope Benedict ordained him as a Roman Catholic priest, which, as you might imagine, makes for an attention-getting anecdote. He speaks kindly of the late pontiff’s wisdom and mentorship. Finding his way to the Church of England and finally to us, he served parishes in London, New York, his native Indiana, and northern California. A contingent from St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in in Foster City was along Saturday to join his mother, Linda, and one of his sons, Simon, in presenting him. A stint supporting the monks at Mt. Calvary in Santa Barbara, a now-closed monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, helped him fall in love with southern California.

The St. Michael’s choir was exquisite as usual. Longtime member Stacie Tibbetts, parish treasurer and a retired university administrator, graciously doubled as a subdeacon and my chaplain. In the service and the festive reception afterward, which included a DJ, Shane’s neighbor, it was a blessing to be with colleagues the Very Rev. Peter Browning, Shane’s dean; the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles chancellor, Canon Richard Zevnik, and Susan Zevnik, also longtime members; the Rev. Dr. Barbara Stewart, long a friend of St. Michael’s, including as its former interim priest, who sang in the choir; the Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie, snapping photos from the pews; and the delightful Rev. Canon Dr. Tony Jewiss, Bishop Borsch’s former chaplain, who talked about getting work done in the car during the bishop’s tennis games with the Rev. Canon Peter Haynes, St. Mike’s third rector. Peter’s best buddy Andy Guilford and I went to visit Peter in the hospital after the service, welcomed by Peter’s spouse, Frances, and told him all about it.