Lent 2024: A Message from Bishop Skelton

Greetings, people of the Diocese of Olympia.

From John’s Gospel:

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

John 12:24-26

You may notice that the visual we’re using for Lent is a picture of the Northwest woods with a large, really a huge fallen tree across whatever might be seen as a path, a fallen tree already in the process of becoming new life. For me, Lent is a lot like this image.

We ended Epiphany with the story of Jesus’s Transfiguration on the mountaintop, the Transfiguration in which the disciples for a moment glimpse Jesus’s full beauty and glory rising before them, like some magnificent cedar, if you will, complete with all the attendant awe and wonder we hear about from the disciples. But on Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, we get to gaze at something else, the fallen tree becoming a new thing, the mystery of Jesus, and the mystery of our own lives that we call the Paschal mystery.

Roman Catholic writer Ron Rolheiser has described the Paschal mystery in this way. He says, “We must let go of current life and spirit to receive new life and spirit.” This is my way of describing it. Living out of the Paschal mystery is learning over and over again that God’s favorite way of creating a new thing is through things falling apart and our expectations being shattered.

And so I want to invite you into a holy Lent. By this, I mean into a Lent in which you reflect on and consider embracing the parts of your life that are falling apart, are falling down into the earth, or need to fall to the earth, all in order to wait for God’s own renewal, for new life in God.

From John’s Gospel:

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

My blessings to you for a holy Lent.

—The Most Rev. Mellissa Skelton
Bishop Provisional of the Diocese of Olympia

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, Washington. As you travel your road, go with friends walking the way of Jesus at Redeemer.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 Northeast 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. The campus is 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.