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On Friday, February 19 the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia posted the following announcement:

The Diocese of Olympia is pleased to announce that, effective March 1, 2021, Archbishop Melissa Skelton will be joining diocesan staff as an Assisting Bishop after retiring as Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon and Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster. Archbishop Skelton will be serving on a per diem basis, meaning she will be remunerated on a case-by-case basis. Archbishop Skelton will be available for visitations and will be assigned by Bishop Rickel, from time to time, to represent the diocese in official capacities.

When asked about Archbishop Skelton joining diocesan staff as an Assisting Bishop, Bishop Rickel said,

“I cannot tell you how excited I am to have Archbishop Skelton back here in Olympia, and I hope everyone realizes how fortunate and blessed we are to receive this gift. My service as your bishop began with Melissa on our team and I was so blessed to have her expertise during those first years. I am so very excited that she will be ‘on the team’ again as I round out my last ones.”

Prior to her election as bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, Archbishop Skelton served here in the Diocese of Olympia as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and Canon for Congregational Development. During this time, Archbishop Skelton developed and launched our College for Congregational Development, which continues to this day and has spread to dioceses across the United States and into Canada. Archbishop Skelton was elected 9th Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in 2013, and 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 that comes with the honorific, "Archbishop." As she is retiring from the Province of BC and Yukon, Archbishop Skelton retains that honorific in retirement.

When asked about moving back to the Diocese of Olympia after retirement, Archbishop Skelton said,

“I'm delighted to be able to serve as an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Olympia, the diocese I served in before being elected bishop in New Westminster. Serving in this way will enable me to support the ministry of Bishop Greg Rickel with a special emphasis on congregational development and on cultivating relationships with Indigenous Peoples in the Diocese of Olympia.”

The preceding announcement was created in collaboration with the DofNW communications office. Archbishop Skelton retires on Sunday, February 28. The retirement age for bishops in active episcopal ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada is 70, in the Episcopal Church it is 72.

The Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province meets March 6 and a main agenda item will be the Election of the 13th Metropolitan.

Please pray for Archbishop Melissa, her husband, Deacon, the Rev. Eric Stroo and their families as they begin this new chapter in their lives and ministry.

A .PDF copy of this announcement is available below for downloading.


Headshot Photo: Bayne Stanley

2 and 3: Bishop Greg Rickel assists the newly ordained bishop with vestments, March 1, 2014 Photos: Wayne Chose