New congregation and new priest welcomed to Diocese of California

On Saturday, December 6, the New Skellig Community was formally welcomed as a congregation of The Episcopal Church after nearly three years of discernment by the diocese and community, as well as undergoing canonical processes for receiving a new community. In the context of this welcoming service, the Rev. Dr. Vincent Pizzuto was received as an Episcopal priest. Pizzuto and the Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams, rector, St. John’s, Ross, both preached at the service, and the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus presided and received Pizzuto and New Skellig. Two members of New Skellig were confirmed, as well.

In their joint homily, Rankin-Williams and Pizzuto shared with the gathered assembly New Skellig’s discernment to associate with a bishop more local to them, and be in greater communion with congregations around them. Rankin-Williams coordinated parts of the process (alongside Bishop Andrus) because St. John’s, Ross, is the congregation closest to Fairfax, where New Skellig gathers. The canonical process for receiving Pizzuto as a priest involved Rankin-Williams, Bishop Andrus, and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, among many others.

During the announcements Bishop Marc, who shepherded the process as bishop — from working with Rankin-Williams to coordinating with the Presiding Bishop’s Office — spoke about the ways that both the diocese and New Skillg will be strengthened with their new relationship, with New Skellig bringing a Celtic contemporary spirituality to the diocese and the diocese — through its agencies and congregations and connections — offering a breadth and richness of relationships and resources.

Just before the confirmations and reception, New Skellig and the Diocese of California exchanged gifts as a sign of their new communion and mutuality. The diocese presented Pizzuto with a bowl to be used for baptism. New Skellig gave the diocese an icon of the Trinity that has been a part of New Skellig’s worship for almost 10 years. As a sign of welcome the congregation was also presented with a letter welcoming them to the Diocese of California and admonishing them to attend to their baptismal promises as they continue to discern their relationship with the diocese.

New Skellig takes its name from the ancient monastic settlement, “Skellig Rock,” located twelve kilometers off the South West Coast of County Kerry, Ireland. The island, more formally known as “Skellig Michael,” served as a monastic outpost for Celtic Christian monks who built their monastery there in 588 AD and remained until they were forced to abandon it at the turn of the twelfth century. New Skellig gathers as a domestic church that meets monthly for day-long contemplation in small intimate settings in the homes of its members.

Photos: the Rev. Sam Dessordi