The pastor becomes a bishop

Big hats, raised flags, lighted candles, multi-colored vestments. The Rev. Claude Alexander of Charlotte's University Park Baptist Church was consecrated this week as a bishop in the Kingdom Association of Covenant Pastors. The splendor of images was a feast for the eyes.

And for the soul, says Bishop Oscar Brown, a Baltimore-based pastor who was the episcopal consultant for the Wednesday night ceremony at the former Merchandise Mart in Charlotte.

Though the association is a mostly Baptist group, Alexander's bishop garb and other symbols on display recalled the more ancient traditions of the Roman Catholic church. Brown says some Protestant faiths are embracing some of those old ways.

“The pageantry needs to return to the church, with understanding,” says Brown. “In the past, we as Baptists threw out everything without understanding that it had biblical reference.”

-- Tim Funk