A Word from the Bishop – May 2024

The Bishop with Alexis Frei following the service at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Brandon on Easter Day (March 31).

Possibilities … Dreams … Adventures … Welcome to the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Diocese of Brandon!    

Over the past month, I have been learning how to be a Bishop.  How does one learn to be a Bishop, you might ask.  Well, it is a lot of trial and error.  Much repetition.  Tons of laughter.  It involves a lot of prayer.  It helps if you know how to wield a mop when the basement of the Cathedral floods.  A good GPS for the car is an asset too.  Essentially, it seems that learning how to be a bishop is a lot like learning anything new.  You have to be willing to ask questions, observe, try, fail, try again.  There’s no “right” way but there are some “wrong” ways.  Through it all, the learning Bishop needs to have trust and encouragement from God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and from the people gathered around them.

One of the things that I will have the privilege of doing as a bishop will be confirmations.  I have the privilege of meeting people – young and older – who are intentionally discerning how God is leading them to grow in faith.  When they make that decision to affirm their Baptismal Vows for themselves in Confirmation, they are taking that next step in becoming all God is calling them to become.

Confirmation is not simply that fancy church service when the Bishop lays hands upon someone’s head and “presto” spiritual magic happens.  It’s more like the consecration of a bishop: hands are laid upon your head and prayers for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you in new ways and along a new path are shared.  And then the hard work begins – the learning of a new thing.

I don’t know about you but way back when we still travelled by horse and carriage and I was confirmed, there was a bit of a joke that confirmation was graduation from church.  For me, that was a prophetic statement.  At almost 14 years old I was confirmed in a fancy dress with important people at the service.  We had a cake, and photos were taken with the Bishop of Niagara, and I was off … to hockey on Sunday mornings, lazy-sleep-in days, no more Sunday School unless I was roped into teaching with my mom.  I was confirmed and that meant I was a Christian grown-up.

And then one day, a few years later, I realized that God didn’t stop speaking into my heart just because I thought I had “graduated” from church.  Apparently I was called to be a lifelong learner.  And the education of being a Christian – or becoming a Christian – got good!  Possibilities, dreams, and adventures came fast and furious.  Once I realized that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were real “people” in my life, everything became more interesting.  Life didn’t get easier.  As a matter of fact, some things got harder as I realized that the “easy” decision isn’t always the “right” decision.  The Trinity became my partners in life.  I didn’t always listen to their advice, even though I should have.  Sometimes I wandered off and tried to leave them behind … and yet whenever I stopped and recognized how much I needed them, there they were – Companions on my Journey!  

That journey with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, has led me through times of discerning who God was calling me to be.  Was I called to be a nun?  Nope – thank heavens.  (And yes, we do have Anglican nuns.)  Was I called to be a teacher?  In a way, but not how I thought.  I was called to be a deacon … and a priest … and a bishop.  But that is just my path.  

Your journey will be as unique as you are.  Have you already been confirmed?  How are you walking in your Confirmation Vows and discerning where the Trinity is leading you?  If you haven’t yet been confirmed, what are you waiting for?  Put me to work!  I am your bishop and I want to share with you in that beautiful sacrament.  However, make sure you put your priest, or deacon, or lay reader to work as well.  Discerning confirmation is a commitment of the whole community!  Like becoming a bishop, you have to have trust and encouragementfrom God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and from the people gathered around you.

When you’re ready, let me know!  I really do want to share in the sacraments with you!  Any and all of them, as you are so called.  May God bless you on your Journey of Discernment.


Keep on reading

Skip to content