Letter from Bishop Melissa — Sunday, November 13, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election

Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster,

I awoke this morning, as many of you did, in shock, grief and confusion as the elections in the US concluded. While, as a person born in the US, I could offer my own analysis of what happened, I’m more interested in saying just a few things to you in the face of these events in the life of our neighbour to the south, a neighbour who deeply influences us and the rest of the world.

Stay a while with your uncomfortable feelings and the things you may now be curious about. One piece I read this morning talked about our own urge to get past the uncomfortable feelings that many of us may be feeling today. I encourage you to stay in touch with both the feelings and the questions that are coming up for you out of what has occurred over these many months. It may be that God is working in you as you experience your own response and as you discern how you may wish to respond.

“In a dark time the eye begins to see” – Theodore Roethke. I believe that a time of confusion, fear and grief throws into sharp relief what we value and who or what we are founded on. We, you and I, are founded on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We, you and I, worship and adore the One who identified with “the other” and who asks us to live in solidarity with the other. We, you and I, follow the One who came to bring justice, peace, hope, and loving kindness to the world. We, you and I, walk the path of the One who called us to care for and serve one another. And at this time, I believe it’s important to remember that our kindness, our service and our care are never just something we get to extend to those who agree with us or with whom we feel affinity. As Christians we are asked to extend this kindness, this care, this service, to all.

From The Letter to the Hebrews: “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I would ask that we pray for our friends and neighbours in the US. Pray especially today for those who are afraid of what the future may hold for them. I would ask that we pray for those around the world who are anxious about what the events in the US will mean for them. I would ask that we pray for all those in governmental, civic and religious leadership in the US and in Canada. And, finally, I would ask that we pray for ourselves: for our diocese, its parishes, leaders and people, and for the people of the Episcopal Church, that we all be given the grace to live our lives as Christians with commitment, perseverance and hope. This is our calling. Now is always the time to enact that calling.

Let me close by expressing my gratitude to all of you who have personally offered me care during this time. It has been sobering to witness these events unfolding in the country of my birth. It has been sobering to try to make sense of some of the things that have been said and done during this long and emotional campaign. Thank you for your understanding, your interest and your tenderness.

As always, it is an honour to serve you here in Canada and here in this great diocese,

Right Reverend Melissa Skelton