Special Permission for Ministry

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya

Special Permission for Ministry

To All God’s Beloved in Minnesota,

Grace to you and peace from God our Creator and from Jesus Christ, the coming light of the world.

I bring you glad tidings of great joy: Bishop Nicholas of Myra is coming to town!

Bishop Nicholas arrived in Duluth harbor this morning. His sledge was unable to dock due to ice cover, so Bishop Nicholas got out of the boat, and, delighting in the water, he and his eight traveling companions came towards the shore, jingling all the way. I wished him a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

By ancient custom, no bishop may minister in another bishop’s diocese without the express consent of the seated bishop. Upon our meeting, Bishop Nicholas asked me about my heart’s desires. Though I felt a bit shy to tell him at first, he leaned his ear to me, and I whispered that what I would really love is for all Minnesota Episcopalians to experience transformative encounters with Jesus through prayer and scripture, to build community with the poor and marginalized, to engage in faithful experiments in new Christian community, and to share life together deeply.

Hearing that, the jolly old bishop laid a finger aside his nose and gave a nod, then took off down Santa Claus Lane.

We can expect Bishop Nicholas to minister throughout our diocese from now until January 6, 2024. You may not see him, but you will no doubt see signs of his good work, perhaps in a spiritually-rich Bible study on the housetops of Hibbing, or a holy moment in a stable in Farmington. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of him in the joyful games of a group of children at Santo Niño, in the huge Christmas meal that the whole town of International Falls will attend, or in unexpected gifts arriving at your doorstep.

Bishop Nicholas’s visit to our diocese is a great honor, one that heralds good news even in a bleak midwinter: God is being born to us again, a helpless baby, met by two scared young parents in a stable in the backwater of a land occupied by a huge and violent empire. God, like Bishop Nicholas, comes to the most unexpected of places in the most unexpected of ways, giving undeserved gifts to every one of God’s children.

Given under my hand and seal, in the city of Minneapolis, on the Sixth Day of December, 2023, I am very merrily yours,

The Right Reverend Craig Loya
X Bishop
Episcopal Church in Minnesota

To see this email with images, please click here.