Bishop Melissa Skelton grew up in the Southern United States in a time of great racial strife. Her parents were from very humble backgrounds and taught her to remember that she was the grandchild of a sharecropper and a tough woman who worked to support the family out of her earnings as a factory worker in cotton mill. Along with this, her parents were civil rights advocates living in one of the most conservative political communities in the southern United States.
It is through both race and class that she came by her sensitivities of solidarity with the poor and marginalized, and social justice on their behalf. Her original sponsoring parish for the priesthood was an African-American congregation that was formed to serve the slaves of wealthy Southern landowners in South Carolina.
She brings this personal history to a new context, the Diocese of New Westminster, which has its own issues such as the residential schools that need the same sort of attention, care and advocacy that the race issue in the US continues to need. At its core, all these issues ask that we move into the frame of reference and experience of another and from that position ask ourselves: “What now shall we do?”
*Please note Bishop Melissa Skelton works from the offices of the Diocese of New Westminster, not Christ Church Cathedral. If you wish to connect with the Bishop her contact details can be found here on the Diocese of New Westminsters’ website: www.vancouver.anglican.ca. If you have day to day questions about Christ Church Cathedral please see the staff list.