Easter 2023: A Message from Bishop Skelton

“…look for the resurrected Christ here in this place. Look for him now in this time. Look for him in the mud, the cold, the clouds, and the rain.” Bishop Skelton shares her reflections as we celebrate the resurrected Christ this Easter.

Bishop Skelton’s Easter message

Greetings people of the Diocese of Olympia. I speak to you today from the traditional and hereditary lands of the Duwamish people.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it or not, but the visuals that Greg Hester here on the staff has been coming up with for the different moments of the liturgical year are different than they’ve been in the past. This has been at my request, and I thank Greg for accommodating me on this, for you see, I want visuals that reflect our particular Pacific Northwest context. And so for Easter, Greg and I had to say no to a visual of an empty cross rising up against what was clearly not for me, a Pacific Northwest sky. Likewise, we had to reject a visual of a large bunch of white hothouse lilies that did not reflect vegetation in this part of the world.

What we finally settled on was a tulip field, the kind you would see in the Skagit Valley in April, purple tulips, royal tulips, bursting out of dark mounds of earth next to the rain-filled troughs. All of this, of course, not under pink candy-colored heavens, but under a cloudy, probably cold Pacific Northwest sky. And so Easter and the new life it brings come to us not looking like hothouse lilies. No, instead, it comes to us in a preposterous burst of life from something seemingly inert under the real cloudy cold sky that we all know so well.

In Matthew’s Gospel of the Resurrection, after the women are told that Jesus has risen, Jesus appears to them himself and tells them to go tell the disciples that he will go ahead of them to Galilee. I take this to mean that he will go ahead of them and meet them in the real joys and challenges, and places of their lives.

And so people of the Diocese of Olympia, look for the resurrected Christ here in this place. Look for him now in this time. Look for him in the mud, the cold, the clouds, and the rain. Look for him in the astonishing beauty of sun and in the ice cold ocean lake and river waters. Look for him in majestic mountains, which are in fact volcanoes. Look for him in this place where many areas and towns have First Nations names. Look for him in Pacific Northwest reticence, and in Pacific Northwest ambivalence about church itself, and look for him in the reality of your lives. All the beauty, and joy, and boredom, and terror of it.

For the resurrected Christ goes before us, the resurrected Christ goes before us and meets us in the real world and in the real times we live in.

My very best wishes to you for a blessed and glorious Easter.

—The Most Rev. Mellissa Skelton

The Most Reverend Mellissa Skelton

The Most Reverend Melissa Skelton

The Most Reverend Melissa Skelton is the Bishop Provisional in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. The diocese voted to place itself under the authority of Bishop Skelton at the Diocese of Olympia’s 2022 Diocesan Convention.

Bishop Skelton has deep ties to the Diocese of Olympia, previously serving as the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and as the Canon for Congregational Development and Leadership for the Diocese of Olympia. During this time, she developed and launched the College for Congregational Development, which continues to this day and is currently hosted by eight dioceses across the Episcopal Church.

In 2013, Bishop Skelton was elected 9th Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster [Vancouver], The Anglican Church of Canada. In 2018, she was elected Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon, making her the first woman in the Anglican Church of Canada to hold the position of Archbishop.

Before her time in the Diocese of Olympia, Bishop Skelton served as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Castine, Maine, while also serving as the Executive Director of a land trust. Prior to this, she was Vice President for Consumer Products and Community Engagement at Tom’s of Maine, Vice President for Administration at The General Theological Seminary, and Brand Manager at The Proctor & Gamble Company. While at General Seminary, she served as the Director of the College for Bishops.

Bishop Skelton holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of South Carolina, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Master if Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Additionally, she completed a certificate in Organization Development at the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. After retiring from the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Skelton returned to the Diocese of Olympia to serve as a Bishop Assisting. She is married to the Rev. Eric Stroo, a mental health counselor and a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Between them they have three children and five grandchildren.

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, reaching out to the world.

Church of the Redeemer

Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, and reaching out to the world around us. We are an Episcopal Church serving north King County and south Snohomish County. We welcome you be with us as we walk the way of Jesus.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 Northeast 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. We are a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. And we managed to hide a large building on the side of a hill that is not easily seen from the street.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you.