Bishop Melissa Skelton spent Holy Week with the parish of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. She preached at all services of the “Paschal Triduum,” the ancient name for the three sacred days—Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil at the dawn of Easter Day.
The Bishop was elected at an electoral Synod on November 30 and ordained and installed as bishop on March 1 at the Vancouver Convention Center and the Cathedral. Her previous post was rector of St. Paul’s, Seattle.In her talk to about 120 at the Cathedral’s Maundy Thursday parish supper, Bishop Melissa spoke about her upbringing in the southern US before and during the Civil Rights movement. She had been born in Columbus, Georgia, to a military family of four children. “Our family was at the bottom rung of the economic ladder.”
She spent time in business, including work marketing shampoo. The business experience opened up a belief that with others much can be accomplished. Business people had a “stunning” confidence that enabled them to act. “Why should business have the corner on creativity and possibility?” she asked the group.She spoke of coming to the West Coast from Maine a decade ago to work in Seattle. At her Anglo-Catholic parish of St. Paul’s in Seattle she found “a palpable sense of prayer in the place—you could cut it with a knife.” She learned she could pay “in any way I wanted to.” She asked the Cathedral parish whether Anglicans could have “the boldness to pray for what we want to see.”
During a question and answer period, the Bishop revealed that she is “a dog person,” and lives with her second Westie (West Highland white terrier) named “Teddy” who greets her when she comes home in the West End. Her first Westie lived 18 years.She mentioned three things that struck her about Vancouver:
At the Cathedral, besides preaching, on Thursday she participated in the “Pedilavium”—the ceremonial washing of feet, washing a priest’s left foot, and co-celebrated the Eucharist with Dean Peter Elliott and the Rev. Lois Boxill, and honorary priest at the Cathedral, plus 15 other priests. On Good Friday she preached and with others meditated before a large wooden cross brought into the Cathedral by youth.Later on Easter Day, She anointed four children during a Baptism service at 8 am Day, and preached at the main choral celebration Easter morning at 10:30 am. She had spent Palm Sunday with St. James, Vancouver.
*More detailed coverage of the Bishop's Holy Week at Christ Church Cathedral written by Neale Adams will be available in the June issue of Topic the monthly publication of the Diocese of New Westminster.
**Please click the link to access the BISHOP'S STAFF PAGE, all five sermon texts are archived there.
Images: Top, Bishop Melissa speaking at the Maundy Thursday Dinner in the Parish Hall of Christ Church Cathedral. Upper right, Bishop Melissa preaching on Maundy Thursday. Middle left, Pedilavium, Bishop Melissa washes the foot of Christ Church Cathedral Honorary Assistant, the Reverend Dr. Linda St. Clair. Bottom, Bishop Melissa meditates upon the Cross, Good Friday. Homepage and Below, Bishop Melissa lights the Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil, 5:30am, Easter Sunday in the courtyard of Christ Church Cathedral. PHOTOS: Neale Adams