Countdown to Ordination: The Bishop's Ring
Bishops are easily recognized by their regalia: mitre, pectoral cross, ring, crozier and other emblems and garments that are distinctive to the Order of Bishop. Many of these symbols date back to the Middle Ages and continue to be used as a sign of office.
When the Rev. Deon Johnson becomes Bishop Deon Johnson, he will receive many gifts that carry on this tradition. But along with the tradition and symbolism, Bishop-elect Deon is selecting items that reflect his own style, personality and history.
We’ll take a look at some of those items in this special series of articles.
The Episcopal Ring:
Each new bishop receives a Bishop’s Ring. Like a wedding ring, this is a symbol of the bishop’s faithfulness to God and the Church. The ring is used as an official seal on documents that call for the bishop to affix a seal in wax. Each visiting bishop impresses a wax seal on the bishop’s ordination certificate before the liturgy begins.
Bishop-elect Deon designed his own ring, and it is both beautiful and unique. He used the original seal of the Diocese of Missouri as the focal point. It features a bishop’s mitre, keys and a crozier, along with the diocesan founding date of 1841.
“I loved the original seal,” said Bishop-elect Deon. The diocese officially changed that seal in 1952 to feature a fish and crozier (see picture below). But the bishop-elect felt the original design is more symbolic of our past and our future. “As a history person, I was very much drawn to that. We’re being drawn back into being a missionary diocese.”
One side of the ring honors our Bishop-elect’s homeland of Barbados. It pictures the St. Andrew’s cross (which is the coat of arms of Barbados) and a piece of sugar cane, both being held by a slave’s hand.
The other side of the ring is a likeness of the rose window at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton, MI, which is the parish Bishop-elect Deon came from. The rose window is a symbol of the unity of the church.
The new bishop will receive two rings as gifts at his ordination. The white gold ring was commissioned by Trevor Floyd and created in a studio in England. It will be given to him by his family at the June 13 ordination. A smaller silver version of the ring, which will likely be his “everyday ring,” is a gift from the clergy of the diocese.
* Watch for more articles coming soon about the Bishop’s pectoral cross and crozier and vestments.
Original Diocesan Seal
Official Diocesan Seal
1952 - present
Bishop's Diocesan Seal