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Amid the pageantry and rousing hymns of a centuries-old liturgy to consecrate a new bishop, hundreds of Utah Episcopalians learned something Saturday about their new, slightly built shepherd:
Bishop Scott Hayashi's avatar the figure he chooses to represent him is a sumo wrestler.
"That tells you all kinds of things about your new bishop," mused the Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the bishop of Chicago whom Hayashi served as a canon the past five years.
Lee preached the sermon to the 700 Episcopalians, 25 visiting bishops and leaders of other Salt Lake City faiths who gathered at The Grand America Hotel. But he also primed those in Hayashi's flock for what to expect of the church's 11th bishop.
"You've elected a bishop whose sense of humor will delight you. You will discover that this playfulness enfolds a heart of very serious purpose," Lee said.
"His sheer competence will amaze you and an apparently endless supply of energy will dazzle you," said Lee. "He will pray with you at the drop of the hat.
"He will stand with you before the vast mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and in his presence, he [Hayashi] will not hesitate to step aside so that God may be glorified not the bishop, not the church, not you and me, but God."
During the two-hour service, Hayashi, 56, promised the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, that he would nourish the faith of the baptized, guard the unity of the church and show compassion to the poor and strangers.
Bishops from throughout the country, as well as from Mexico and Myanmar, laid their hands on Hayashi's head as he kneeled before Schori to be consecrated.
Immediately afterward, Hayashi, who wore a simple white alb, was given bishop's vestments as gifts from people of the Utah Episcopal Diocese. He was soon clothed in a cream-and-gold chasuble, or robe, and a mitre, which is the bishop's crown.
Retiring Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish placed a pectoral cross around Hayashi's neck and Lee presented Hayashi with a bishop's ring and a Book of Common Prayer. Irish gave Hayashi the crozier, which is a staff symbolizing a bishop's role as shepherd.
Among the representatives of other Utah churches attending were apostle M. Russell Ballard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Monsignor Joseph Mayo and Monsignor Terrence Fitzgerald of the Catholic Church.
Hayashi's family his wife, Amy Perlman O'Donnell, and daughters Elisabeth, Miyuki and Katherine sat in the front row and joined him in front of those gathered after his consecration.
While the Episcopalians gathered were predominantly white and reflective of Utah's population, the diversity of the church was also represented.
Clifford Duncan, a Ute elder and spiritual leader who is a member of St. Elizabeth's in Whiterocks, began the service by chanting and saying prayers to the four directions in Ute.
A choir of Sudanese refugees, members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, sang and danced to a drum as they brought the offertory gifts to the altar.
"It was so inclusive!" said Heather Hales, of Ogden, after the service.
She and other members of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ogden, where Hayashi was rector from 1989 to 1998, were elated by their former pastor's return as bishop.
"We are just so excited, we're in tears," Hales said.
Marie and Ray Kattler, members of Grace Episcopal Church in St. George, had met Hayashi last spring, before he was elected bishop at a May 22 church convention.
"He was very down-to-earth and gracious," said Marie Kattler.
The retired couple had witnessed only one previous consecration, several decades ago in Ohio.
"To be a part of this today has just been special to us," she said. "I wouldn't miss this for the world."
Chandler Pargeets, 14, of Whiterocks, said it felt good to be among so many Episcopalians. "It was fun," he said.
Wearing traditional Ute regalia including a "feather head," a feather bustle down his back and beaded leather made by his grandmother, Pargeets said he was born the year the last Utah Episcopal bishop was consecrated, in 1996.
Lee, the Chicago bishop, said his former colleague knows something about having fun.
Hayashi, a native of Tacoma, Wash., collects action figures, including miniature sumos, and Lee once brought Hayashi a stuffed Christmas ornament representing the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church.
It became a part of the collection of figures Hayashi would bring to staff meetings, arranging them in a tableau on the conference room table.
Once, Hayashi placed the archbishop figure on its back, surrounded by sumos.
"I'm not going to tell you the message he was trying to send," said Lee. "Except to say: Scott, you are about to feel how the little stuffed bishop felt."
O Utah's 11th Episcopal bishop will be seated Sunday morning at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, 231 E. 100 South, in Salt Lake City. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. To watch a repeat of the webcast of the consecration, go to http://www.episcopal-ut.org.