So by now many of you have heard that my pectoral cross was stolen in a “smash and grab” on my car while parked in downtown Seattle on June 8th. As in most cases, I like to tell you the whole story if I can, especially when the Press, who I have to thank profusely for even picking up on such a story, and for their work on it, has to make the decision to edit and share.
I had decided not to make a deal out of this at all. I had not told many people about the burglary and pretty much moved on. As I told my wife, the reporters in every interview done, and the Standing Committee, there are MUCH MORE important things, and far worse could have happened, and does happen to so many. After my initial shock, (I am most definitely a human being) I said a prayer for the one that needed these things and so many more like them, and moved on. While sharing my past month with the Standing Committee, I shared this event. Several there suggested a press release, just to see if this one thing could be found. I was clear we would do that only with the request for no questions asked and no need for prosecution or retribution. I actually never dreamed the Press would pay any attention to this and again, we moved on.
Our Communications department put together a fabulous press release and sent it out. We were astounded by the reply. I was in Federal Way at the College for Congregational Development when I got the request for two interviews with two different Networks. So, I traveled to Seattle, and when I came in they had already “set up”, :one in my office and one in the Great Hall of our Diocesan Office. I didn’t really have the time or the desire to “fabricate” the setting.
This is what I want to tell, the other side. Many, so many of you, have sent wonderful emails hoping for the cross’ return, etc. But there is always another side, another opinion. Today, I received such, here it is:
I won’t post publicly but thought I’d say that I saw this floating in the intersphere on several channels. I’m sorry someone stole something from you. I had a gut response to this image. A bishop sitting in the midst of a grand room on Victorian furniture pleading for the return of a custom piece of jewelry just sits wrong. Maybe it is because I knew you in a different context. I keep thinking of the scene in Les Mis when Valjean steals the Bishops silver candle sticks. Maybe the person who stole it needs it more than you. Surely a replacement can be made as all it is is metal. The sentimental connection resides in you as a person and the memories and relations cant be stolen by anyone. Enough said.
True, and well said, and pretty much is where I was in the beginning of all of this.
I also had a Facebook friend share this story,
it happens My cousin in South Africa had his cross yanked from his neck in his car he had it for 34 years.I hope Bishop Rickel gets it back……………Bloemfontein – Retired Anglican Bishop Thomas Stanage, who was robbed of his Pectoral Cross in Bloemfontein yesterday, says he will pray for the perpetrator of the crime. Stanage was robbed of the cross – valued well over R10 000 – while he’s car came to a standstill in the CBD. He was punched in the face and the chain containing the cross yanked off his neck by what he described as a young criminal. The police in Bloemfontein meanwhile say they have launched a manhunt.”
This certainly is one of the many, many things, that fall under the “there are MUCH MORE important things.”
I think the appearance of our “DHouse” is something we have to wonder about, discern, and in fact, a small task force is already working on that, has been for about a year, looking at what it might take to liquidate this asset so that something else might be our home, something that might “appear” more positive. Who knows where that will end or what conclusion or proposal will come but I have to say I am neutral on it. I just believe some things are more important, not so much where we do the work, as it is the work we do.
There have been a few that suggested we raise money for another cross but I would ask that this not be done, and any money received for it will either be returned or we will give it to the homeless work of DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) a wonderful service my family and I support on a monthly basis. But the bottom line, DON”T send any. Give it to something more important.
Maybe we should just stop wearing crosses. The most important one is the one indelibly marked on us in our baptism and no one can steal that. I rest well in that. I felt the need to tell you, even though those that truly know me, know it.
I ask your prayers for those whose need is so great they must risk themselves in all sorts of ways to survive, for those who need our energies focused on what is really being stolen, for the strength and courage to look less at appearances, and more at experiences, of our Church, and of each other.
Let’s move on,