July 23-28, 2023 in Midland, MI

The College for Congregational Development (or CCD) is a comprehensive training program, rooted in the tradition, ethos, and character of The Episcopal Church, that seeks to nurture and develop congregational development practitioners from within the local community.

Originally begun in the Diocese of Olympia, CCD has grown and expanded, now supporting congregational development in over a dozen dioceses. This year, as announced by Bishop Singh at diocesan convention, Eastern and Western Michigan join the College, engaging our challenges and opportunities with new tools for progress, whether it be in church growth, formation, decision-making, worship, and gaining clarity in identity and mission.

The two-year program gathers in one-week sessions led by trainers from across the country. Participating congregations send 3-4 member teams who, together, will complete both years, engage in practical on-the-ground projects, required reading, and complete the final certification and graduation. Teams should include any parish clergy. For congregations for whom gathering a team of that size may be difficult, the formation of regional collaborations are encouraged.

With questions, please contact the Rev. Dr. Tracie Little, Director of our bi-diocesan CCD, at



Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640


St. John’s Episcopal Church
405 N. Saginaw Rd.
Midland, MI, 48640


What is “congregational development?”
Congregational development is the development of congregations of all sizes and locations into more faithful, healthy and effective communities of faith that are:

  • Focused on and faithful to their unique reason for being/primary task as congregations which are full expressions of the Body of Christ
  • Connected to and expressive of their unique ecclesial tradition, ethos and character
  • Self-renewing and responsive to the challenges and opportunities before them
  • Sustainable or working toward greater sustainability in terms of a fit between the elements of their organizational life: vision for ministry, leadership, culture, size, property, finances, etc.


What will participants learn?
The College seeks to quip people with knowledge and skills at three levels: individual, team, and system. The program includes theory, application exercises and experiential learning, and planning, doing, and evaluating at-home projects.

The program works toward the development of a learning community throughout the dioceses, sharing common experience, skills, and language for working together.

Facilitation skills are a particularly central practical element of learning throughout the program. We also make extensive use of a set of core models to help us think about our congregations as systems.

Who should we invite to join our team?
Teams should be 3-4 people with interest and capacity to learn, engage, and bring the content home to their congregation. Clergy staff should be part of their congregation’s team.

Teams are usually from a single congregation. We will also accept combined teams from congregations in collaboration with one another.


What are the components of the training that team members will be expected to complete?
In order to graduate, all team members must participate in Year 1 and Year 2 sessions, complete a required reading list, conduct and participate in two team projects in your congregation, and complete a final core models exam (which can be retaken as needed until passed).

Where will we sleep? Where will we meet?
In this inaugural session of our Eastern and Western Michigan CCD, participants in need of local accommodation will stay in on-campus housing at Northwood University in Midland. While specific assignments will be made by our CCD organizers based on mobility needs and more, most participants will be assigned to single bedrooms within air-conditioned four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments.

Our training sessions will all take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, a short 6-minute drive from Northwood.

What are the expectations around COVID-19 health and safety?
Specific COVID-19 expectations and policies will be set closer to the session in consideration of our status at that time. Regardless, up-to-date vaccinations and boosters are encouraged.


Through significant subsidy from the dioceses, congregational teams of up to three people are able to attend the week-long session for the flat fee of $900, including all materials, meals, accommodations, and more. Additional team members are welcome; each additional member adds $900.

If this amount is prohibitive, please contact Canon Tracie Little to inquire about additional assistance at

Due to the larger fee associated with this event, we will not be processing payments on the registration form. After you register, you will receive an invoice for your team from The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan (they’re handling the income/expenses for CCD), which will be payable by credit card or check.

The deadline to register your team is (REVISED) June 1st.

Journey: Traveling with the Magi and Searching for our Dreams

A Retreat Day for Children and Youth Workers

During this Epiphanytide retreat day, those who minister with children and youth are invited to gather online to be nourished, pray together, and take time for holy rest before launching into Lent. Drawing on the journey of the Magi, we will make space for our heart’s wanderings and wonderings.

Children and youth ministry leaders work tirelessly to help others follow the Bethlehem star; now it’s your turn to reflect on where that star may be leading you. Join us for a refreshing time with God, yourselves, and one another.

We will gather on Thursday, February 2nd from 10-2:30pm.

The Rev. Callie Swanlund is an Episcopal priest serving in Philadelphia in addition to her work as retreat leader, spiritual companion, and coach. She supports individuals and groups as they build creative ministry as a certified Daring Way Facilitator in the work of Dr. Brené Brown. Learn more about Callie at and follow her Wholehearted Weekly movement through @callieswanlund on Instagram or Facebook.

With questions, please contact Director for Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation McKenzie Knill at or or by calling 810-434-5982.


All those who work with children and youth in Eastern and Western Michigan are invited to attend, volunteer or staff, clergy or laity.

This retreat is offered at no cost by the Office of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry.

Please RSVP by January 27th.

Episcopal Youth Event 2023

July 4-8, 2023 at the University of Maryland

The Episcopal Youth Event is a triennial gathering of Episcopal youth from around the world who assemble on a college campus to learn, laugh, and worship together. According to the EYE website, “it is the single greatest and second largest event The Episcopal Church does.”

The culture of EYE is like summer camp… a really, really big summer camp! Over a thousand young people and their adult leaders and bishops will be in one place, experiencing the breadth of The Episcopal Church and all its diversity. We will spend time in creative and engaging worship, large group plenaries, small group discussions, workshops on a myriad of topics, and so much more.

Learn more about EYE in this informational video from 2017!
Learn more on the EYE 2023 website!

EYE 2023 will take place July 4-8, 2023 at the University of Maryland in College Park. After a delay due to the pandemic, this is the first EYE in five years! It is open to youth ages 15-19 (as of July 4, 2023). Bishop Singh will join our bi-diocesan delegation, representing Eastern and Western Michigan well!

Photo: In 2017, the Eastern Michigan delegation to EYE ran into Presiding Bishop Michael Curry!

With questions, please contact Director for Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation McKenzie Knill at or or by calling 810-434-5982.


EYE is open to high schoolers completing grades 9-12. Participants must be no younger than 15 or older than 19 by July 4, 2023.

For some teenagers, EYE will change their lives and church engagement forever. For others, it will be a great summer trip. Either way, not every teenager is ready for group travel and an event the magnitude of EYE. Knowing the stress related to travel and large-scale interactions with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place, we recommend prayerful discernment and thought so that all participants have the best chance for a positive experience.

Our adult chaperones will include Director for Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation McKenzie Knill and our regional youth missioners. Bishop Singh will attend alongside our delegation!

Nothing! Really!! The Diocesan Councils of Eastern and Western Michigan have made it FREE for our youth to attend, including all registration fees and airfare.

A required $200 deposit, due by June 15th, will be returned when participants arrive back from EYE.

We are asking that church leadership (clergy, vestry, and/or formation staff) are informed and supportive of the young person’s participation in EYE. We will ask for contact information on the form so we can check in with them!

Also, youth must have the support of their parent or guardian to attend EYE. There will be sections of the registration form that require their input and attention!

The deadline to register is February 1st.

Canon Alan James to Depart Diocesan Staff

Dear Friends,

We shared at convention that my time as Interim Canon Missioner would draw to an end, but we did not know when. Now we do, as I have been called to serve as the Interim Rector for St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church, Chicago. St. Edmund’s is a historic Black congregation on the city’s South Side with a rich history, most especially in its role in revitalizing the Washington Park neighborhood. I will conclude my ministry with you on January 31st.

This transition fills me with mixed emotions – grief about leaving people and faith communities for which I have developed a deep respect and affection, and the anticipation and wonder that comes with beginning a new call. Just over four years ago, I drove north from Chicago to Petoskey for the first of my three calls in the Diocese of Western Michigan. It has been an honor and wonderful experience to serve as the Interim Rector of Emmanuel, Petoskey, and Grace, Grand Rapids, and now, as the Interim Canon Missioner for the Southern Region. Each stop along the way, I have witnessed God’s Spirit at work in new and transformative ways, and I count myself fortunate to have worked with such talented and faithful lay and clergy leaders throughout the dioceses.

The role of an Interim is to lead through a season of transition. My season on the bishop’s staff allowed me to share my gifts and experience as we moved through the choppy waters of COVID, the bishop-suspension/resignation, and the retirement of Canon Spaid. With Bishop Singh’s arrival, this time of transition has come to its end, and the diocese is moving into its next chapter. Bishop Singh has been a great pastor and bishop to me, and I am grateful for the deep listening and spirit of peace with which he leads.

This is an exciting and creative time in the life of the dioceses, and I am going to miss being a part of what unfolds for you. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church is a small place, so I look forward to those times when our paths next cross. In the meantime, I leave with a deep sense of gratitude and joy for the privilege of walking with you these four years. Thank you.

Faithfully Yours,

The Rev. Canon Alan James
Interim Canon Missioner for the Southern Region
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

Friends and Colleagues,

That time that we had prepared ourselves for has arrived and we must say goodbye to our friend and colleague, the Rev. Canon Alan James, who will depart his role as Interim Canon Missioner for the Southern Region on January 31st.

Click here to read/watch the bishop’s convention address.
Click here to read our October announcement about staff departures.
Click here to watch our Canon staff discuss their time serving our dioceses.

Alan has served our diocese faithfully over the last 4 years, all the while commuting from his beloved Chicago where he lives with his wife, the Very Rev. Lisa Hackney-James, newly installed provost of St. James Cathedral. He first joined us as Interim Rector serving Emmanuel, Petoskey in 2018, later transitioning to serve again as Interim with Grace, Grand Rapids. In 2021, following the retirement of the Rev. Canon Bill Spaid, Alan stepped into the role of Interim Canon Missioner for the Southern Region of Western Michigan. Alan’s passion for collaboration and his future-oriented leadership has been instrumental on our team – thank you.

We will have the opportunity to honor our departing colleague with a celebratory evensong somewhere in Western Michigan’s Southern Region on a day and time yet to be determined. We anticipate streaming the service for those unable to join us in-person.

If you’re unable to attend but would still like to offer your thanks and congratulations, notes may be mailed to: The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, 1815 Hall St SE, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.

The search is underway for three regional canons who will join the Rev. Canon Tracie Little in a reimagined regional structure with our partnering diocese, Eastern Michigan. Click here to read a recent announcement about the positions. The deadline to apply is January 15th.

Please join me in celebrating Alan’s ministry amongst us. Let us pray for him and his family as he prepares to return home more permanently, and for the congregation he will serve so well.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
Bishop Provisional
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan

OUR SEASON OF PRACTICE: A Conversation with our Regional Canon Staff

As we look ahead to reimagined regions across both dioceses, Bishop Singh sat down with Western Michigan’s three departing Canon Missioners and the Rev. Canon Dr. Tracie Little, current Canon to the Ordinary for Eastern Michigan to reflect on their ministries and look ahead into our Season of Practice. This long-form video (around 30 minutes) explores aspects of working on a bishop’s staff, what gifts are sought in a regional canon, and the gifts they’ve experienced in our dioceses and in our great Mitten state.

We invite you to respond to similar questions as well, whether as individuals or in small groups from your congregation, such as:

  • What gifts are important for the diocesan Regional Canon to have in support of our congregations’ mission and ministry?
  • What opportunities might exist for your congregation to collaborate with others through the reimagined regional model?
  • What are some gifts you’ve noticed in our bi-diocesan community?
  • How have you seen our communities shifting or adapting over the last several years?

We are seeking three new Regional Canons to join our diocesan staff. Click here to read more about the new positions and share with your network.


Three Sessions to be Offered via Zoom

The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan seek to safeguard all of God’s children. We commit to creating safe environments, especially for our children, youth, and vulnerable adults, from sexual, physical, and personal abuse or exploitation. All people exercising ministry in the Episcopal Church are required to participate in Safe Church training, including vestry members, children and youth staff and volunteers, Eucharistic Visitors, diocesan elected leaders, and more. The training and our diocesan policies for Safe Church are intended to provide leaders with the tools and insights to take an active role in keeping our communities safe. They give our communities a vocabulary for discussing the issues of sexual misconduct and harassment to assist in and teach all of us healthy boundaries and loving ways to interact with the children and other adults in our midst. This furthers the crucial mission of transforming all of our churches into truly safe spaces for God’s beloved family. These three two-hour training sessions are offered for those who wish to participate in the Safe Church, Safe Communities training in a community setting (on Zoom) rather than through the online, self-directed platform. This is not a “train-the-trainer” opportunity. Please see below for specific dates and times. With questions, please contact McKenzie Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation, at or, or at 810-434-5982.


This training session will be offered three times. Please join us for the date and time that work best for your availability. Click the buttons to RSVP to receive your Zoom link.

Saturday, February 4th

Wednesday, February 15th

Thursday, March 16th 6:30-8:30pm

A Christmas Message from Bishop Singh

Greetings Beloved,

I am so grateful to God and to you for the privilege of celebrating my first Christmas with you.

When I started my ministry I was on my first tour as a priest and I had many villages and congregations to take care of. This was in India. One of those churches didn’t have a building. 

We met on Christmas Eve in a hut that had a large room and the adjacent space was a stable. There we were celebrating the Eucharist with the wafting smell of a stable. While we were there, I remember very clearly we heard a lamb, a cow mooing, and a donkey braying. All that was a part of the Incarnation story as we know it. It gives me pause as we come to this Christmas in 2022. 

I have a few prayers. I pray that we will listen deeply. We are living in a time when there’s so much noise and it is very easy to get carried away with whatever noise is coming at us. 

The Christmas narrative is filled with individuals and groups listening deeply. Marry listened. Joseph listened. Their shepherds listened. Their Magi listened. Even the angels listened. In the midst of the listening, there was a new birth. A birth that changed everything for us as we know it.

 In this divided world where there is so much noise. Some of it is about calling people out, calling people names, and just working on the vitriol of this season. We as people who follow Jesus have an opportunity to listen, listen deeply, listen to heal, listen to love, and listen toward joy. 

The second prayer that I have is that we will be joyful. Joy is not based on our reality. Joy is based on God’s presence in our lives. Paul says rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to God and known to all. The Lord is near. It is the nearness of God that gives us the opportunity to rejoice. I pray that we will choose joy. 

In choosing joy we will also come to the third part of my prayer; Do not be afraid. It is a refrain throughout scripture. The shepherds heard it from the angels, do not be afraid, for see, we bring you good news of great joy to all people not just to some. 

My prayer is that we will be filled with courage not because we’re not fearful, but because we have faith in a God who is with us. May you have a blessed Christmas and may God bless you. May God’s blessing be pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing. 

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Saludos estimados,

Estoy muy agradecido a Dios y a ustedes por el privilegio de celebrar mi primera Navidad con ustedes.

Cuando inicié mi ministerio estaba en mi primera gira como sacerdote y tenía muchos pueblos y congregaciones de los que ocuparme. Esto fue en la India. Una de esas iglesias no contaba con un edificio. 

Nos reuníamos en Nochebuena en una cabaña que tenía una habitación grande y el espacio adyacente era un establo. Allí estábamos celebrando la Eucaristía con el olor de un establo. Mientras estábamos allí, recuerdo claramente que escuchamos mugir a un cordero, a una vaca y rebuznar a un burro. Todo eso formaba parte de la historia de la Encarnación tal como la conocemos. Me hace reflexionar al llegar a esta Navidad de 2022. 

Tengo algunas oraciones. Rezo para que escuchemos profundamente. Vivimos en una época en la que hay mucho ruido y es muy fácil dejarse llevar por cualquier ruido que nos llegue. 

La narración de la Navidad está llena de personas y grupos que escuchan profundamente. María escuchó. José escuchó. Sus pastores escucharon. Sus magos escucharon. Hasta los ángeles escuchaban. En medio de esta escucha, hubo un nuevo nacimiento. Un nacimiento que lo cambió todo para nosotros tal y como lo conocemos.

 En este mundo dividido donde hay tanto ruido. En parte se trata de llamar la atención, insultar a la gente y simplemente trabajar en el vitriolo de esta temporada. Nosotros, como personas que seguimos a Jesús, tenemos la oportunidad de escuchar, escuchar profundamente, escuchar para sanar, escuchar para amar y escuchar hacia la alegría. 

La segunda oración que tengo es que estemos alegres. La alegría no se basa en nuestra realidad. La alegría se basa en la presencia de Dios en nuestras vidas. Pablo dice regocijaos en el Señor siempre. De nuevo diré que se alegren. Que su mansedumbre sea conocida por Dios y conocida por todos. El Señor está cerca. Es la cercanía de Dios lo que nos da la oportunidad de alegrarnos. Rezo para que elijamos la alegría. 

Al elegir la alegría llegaremos también a la tercera parte de mi oración: No temas. Es un estribillo a lo largo de toda la Escritura. Los pastores lo escucharon de boca de los ángeles: no temáis, porque mirad, os traemos una buena noticia de gran alegría para todo el pueblo, no sólo para algunos. 

Mi oración es que nos llenemos de valor no porque no tengamos miedo, sino porque tenemos fe en un Dios que está con nosotros. Que tenga una Navidad llena de bendiciones y que Dios lo bendiga. Que la bendición de Dios se apriete, se agite y se desborde entre ustedes. 

¡Feliz Navidad y un próspero Año Nuevo!


LGBTQ+ Inclusion Training for Congregations

February 11, 2023 from Noon-4pm in Lansing

In the first century, Jesus inspired a movement – a community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. As Episcopalians, we believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan have legacies of inclusion, though not always perfect, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being. In our church, all people have access to every level of belonging and leadership, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

We believe that God loves all – no exceptions. And, because of this, we believe we have a role in sharing that unconditional love with the world, especially in this time in which our siblings are barraged by a marked increase in harassment, discrimination, and violence.

Join our Office of Evangelism, in partnership with Great Lakes Bay Pride, for an afternoon training for congregational leaders intended to build knowledge about this large and underrepresented demographic, to learn steps to make your congregation’s culture and physical plant more safe for our LGBTQ+ siblings, and opportunities to connect in new ways for church growth and the sharing of the Good News. Participants will walk away with increased language, knowledge, and practical tools to implement in their congregation and local community.

There are LGBTQ+ identifying people in every community — this training is applicable to your congregation regardless of your size, age demographics, location, or local politics.

This training is open to all participants and may be of particular interest to clergy, vestry members, communications and evangelism staff and volunteers, welcome teams, and more.

With questions, please contact Canon for Evangelism and Networking Katie Forsyth at


In addition to leaders from our diocesan staff and congregations, we will welcome two trainers from Great Lakes Bay Pride to share their expertise in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with our congregations.

Scott Ellis (he/him)
Scott is the Executive Director of Great Lakes Bay Pride, a role he stepped into in 2019 (fun fact, the former ED is Chris Lauckner, member of St. John’s, Midland!).

Under Scott’s leadership and with the board of the organization, Great Lakes Bay Pride has become the predominant leader and resource for LGBTQ inclusion throughout Mid-Michigan, up through northeast Michigan and through the Thumb. Their work includes organization for Pride Month festivities, trans support groups, education, social gatherings, advocacy, and more.

A native of Atlanta, Michigan, Scott now lives in Bay City.

Lee Ann Keller (she/her)
Lee Ann serves as President of the Board for Great Lakes Bay Pride. She is also President and CEO of Omni Tech International, a Midland-based business that provides consulting services around several areas, including strategic planning and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) training for nonprofits and businesses.

She and her wife, Tamara, live in Sanford.


St. David’s Episcopal Church
1519 Elmwood Road
Lansing, MI 48917


This event takes place on Saturday, February 11th from Noon-4pm. We will begin with lunch.

The cost for this training has been subsidized by the Office of Evangelism for the dioceses. We will offer this pricing structure for participants to self-select:
Individuals – $15/person
Groups of three or more from a congregation – $10/person
If this cost is prohibitive, please contact Canon Katie Forsyth at to request assistance.

The deadline to register is February 5th.

Safe Church – Train the Trainers

Five Sessions to be Offered via Zoom

Join McKenzie Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation, for one of five sessions in which participants will be trained to lead and facilitate the Safe Church, Safe Communities sessions for their local community.

Our hope is that each region will have several leaders trained and available to facilitate Safe Church, Safe Communities, both in online and in-person settings in addition to the existing resources for self-directed training via the Safe Church website.

The one-session, 2.5 hour training will be offered five times over the coming winter and spring. Our content includes an overview of the various sessions within the revised Safe Church, Safe Communities curriculum, a deep dive into our bi-diocesan Safe Church policy, and resources for facilitation.

Please see below for specific dates, times, and registration links.

Are there any requirements for trainers?
Yes. All those seeking training to facilitate the Safe Church, Safe Communities curriculum must be adults (over 18) and members in good standing of an Episcopal congregation (or Lutheran congregation in collaboration).

Additionally, each trainer must be generally familiar with technology — able to use Google Docs, email, and Zoom. When facilitating in-person trainings, the trainer must be able to project content from a website. When facilitating online trainings, the trainer must be able to host a Zoom meeting and be able to (or to recruit assistance to) screen share and manage break-out rooms.

With questions, please contact McKenzie Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation, at or, or at 810-434-5982.


This trainings session will be offered five times. Please join us for the date and time that work best for your availability. Click the buttons to RSVP to receive your Zoom link.

Thursday, December 15th

2:30-5 pm

Tuesday, December 20th

Thursday, January 5th

Saturday, April 8th

Friday, May 5th


RSVP for 12/15 RSVP for 12/20 RSVP for 1/5 RSVP for 4/8 RSVP for 5/5