A Message from Bishop Karen Oliveto (Dec. 31, 2022)

January 03, 2023
I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference on this last day of the year.

2022 has not been an easy year. Divisions seem to have deepened and multiplied. Civility is in short supply. It feels like anger, mistrust, and disinformation guide personal and communal actions. We’ve grown accustomed to war and rumors of war. We have stopped seeing the image of God in some faces. Heartbreak crowds the corners of our heart, nudging out joy.

Looking at the blank slate of the New Year, I wonder what it will hold for you and me. When will a sunset create a deep pang so poignant that catches in our throat? What call will we receive in the middle of the night? How will joy well up so fast it will surprise us, and beauty suddenly appear and take our breath away? What strangers will become friends? What will we learn that will inform how we live for the rest of our lives? When and where will love blossom unbidden?

As I look for a word to guide my steps into the uncharted map of 2023, I found this section of I Peter from the First Nations Version of the New Testament:

"Walk side by side in harmony with each other. Try to feel what others feel. Love each other as family. Be tenderhearted and walk with a humble spirit.

"Never return evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, speak words of blessing over each other, for you were chosen to share together in the Creator’s blessings." (I Peter 3: 8-9)

I receive the gift of these words from the Holy Spirit and will hold fast to them each day. I don’t think they will keep hardships at bay, but I do believe that they will make the way through hardships clearer. Grounded in Jesus’ way of love, I pray that my walk in 2023 will be one of gentleness and tenderness, caring for the earth and others as best I can.

What words will guide your steps into 2023?

With love,
Bishop Karen