Dear Courageous Disciples,
Our dioceses are no strangers to engaging big questions together and taking on challenges. In early September, our bishop provisional was restricted from ministry and resigned from office. Our Joint Standing Committees once again took on the responsibility of the ecclesiastical authority of our dioceses.
Since that moment, the people and communities of our dioceses have continued thriving and growing mission and ministry. We’ve gathered for our fourth joint convention, focused on our life together as “innovative, collaborative, courageous disciples.” We’ve prayed for one another as friends and family, we’ve expressed anxieties about this new season, we’ve grieved the loss of another bishop so quickly and painfully, and we’ve looked ahead to our next leg of the journey together, building bridges across our body from the sunrise shores of Lake Huron to the sunset shores of Lake Michigan.
As we move forward, we write with exciting and hope-filled news: the Rt. Rev. Skip Gladstone Adams will formally return to our body as Assisting Bishop, expected to serve from now until the calling of a new bishop provisional or bishop diocesan.
Many will remember Bishop Skip’s compassionate, playful, and prayerful ministry amongst us as Assisting Bishop during our previous bishop suspension in 2021. His time with us was cut short due to limitations on his time set by eligibility requirements of the Church Pension Group. Our Standing Committees and CFO are attentive to the restrictions of CPG to prevent a future complication related to his continued eligibility as a retired bishop. Also for this new term, our dioceses once again required a new thorough background and reference check process. That process has been completed and produced no challenges.
“Assisting Bishops” are already-consecrated bishops (meaning, they’ve served in another diocese before) and are called to serve in a specific role as determined by the ecclesiastical authority. The areas that our Joint Standing Committees have specifically asked Bishop Skip to attend to include:
- Pastoral care and support to clergy, leadership, and laity of the dioceses, specifically attentive to our reality of having two recent situations of bishop discipline
- Support, wisdom, and advice to diocesan leadership
- Represent the dioceses in the House of Bishops and in councils of the wider Episcopal Church
- Preside over diocesan liturgies: confirmations, ordinations, celebrations of new ministry
- Consultation and support for diocesan staff
- Assistance with elements of clergy transitions and discernment processes: bishop-to-bishop calls, consent to Letters of Agreement, letters dimissory, selection of postulants and candidates for ordination, supervision of deacons (in consultation with archdeacons and staffs), clergy licensing, disciplinary matters
His service with us is part-time, about 12-15 hours per week. He will be primarily remote, serving with us from his home in New York state while traveling in occasionally for some in-person gatherings. The costs related to this position are shared equally between the dioceses.
A short bio for Bishop Skip is included below this note. Please join us in warmly welcoming Bishop Skip back to our dioceses. His email addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Yours in Christ,
The Joint Standing Committees
Barbara Ilkka, President
St. John’s, Saginaw
The Ven. Linda Crane
Grace, Port Huron
The Rev. Don Davidson
Canonically Resident, Eastern MI
St. Paul’s, Flint
St. John’s, Dryden
The Rev. Jerry Lasley
St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc
The Rev. Anne Schnaare, President
Grace, Grand Rapids
The Rev. Valerie Ambrose
Retired, Grand Rapids
St. Paul’s, St. Joseph
The Rev. Molly Bosscher
St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids
St. Philip’s, Grand Rapids
Grace, Traverse City
St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids
The Rev. Eileen Stoffan
St. Paul’s, Muskegon
Photo: Bishop Adams leads prayer during a bi-diocesan gathering at St. Andrew’s, Gaylord in 2021.
ABOUT BISHOP SKIP ADAMS
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone “Skip” Adams was the tenth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, where he served from 2001-2016. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and is a graduate of Towson University and Virginia Theological Seminary. In his ordained life, he served churches in New York, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Maryland before his episcopacy. He is committed to the Church’s role in speaking out and advocating around environmental and social issues in response to Jesus’ command to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself.
Bishop Adams served as Bishop Provisional with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina from September 2016 – December 2019. Among other things, he led the diocese through an extended and painful court process concerning diocesan property, names, and trademarks after the former diocesan bishop orchestrated a wide-reaching schism from The Episcopal Church in 2012. In 2021, he served as Assisting Bishop with the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan.
Bishop Adams enjoys fly-fishing, reading, music, camping, and canoeing. He and his wife, Bonnie, a registered nurse, live in Upstate New York. They have three adult children – Peter, Stephen, and Emily – and two grandchildren, Greyson and Hazel.