Video: The Episcopal Church Holds our Dioceses in Prayer

In anticipation of our Special Joint Convention on March 16th, the Building Bridges team invited several neighboring bishops and others throughout The Episcopal Church to offer a message of prayer to our dioceses. In this next week and as we meet to determine whether we will step forward together as one diocese, know that our greater church community beyond our shores is holding us in deep love, appreciation, and prayer.

Our team offers our sincere gratitude to those who contributed to this video and to all holding us in prayer.

We also extend our thanks to Abby Teasley, Latino Ministry Communications & Equity Coordinator at St. John’s, Grand Haven, for assisting us with Spanish translation.

Almost in F – Tranquillity by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100394 Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Summer Camps and Retreats for All Ages

Summer Opportunties in Eastern and Western Michigan

Calling all Episcopalians and beyond! The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan have a wealth of formation experiences to offer for all ages throughout our coming warmer months.

Please read below for a listing of 2024 camp and retreat offerings from our diocesan camp and retreat centers: Eastern Michigan’s Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, Western Michigan’s Episcopal Youth Camp taking place this year at Stony Lake Camp in New Era, and Plainsong Farm and Ministry in Rockford.

Our sessions are offered throughout the summer for every age group — opportunities for children and youth, for families, and for adults. These offerings are open to all people regardless of location, diocese, or church affiliation.

SUMMER 2024

FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH

Little Gardeners Summer Farm Camp (Rising 1st-3rd Graders)
Plainsong Farm in Rockford, MI
June 10-13, Daily from 9-3pm
June 17-20, Daily from 9-3pm
$240/week – Learn more and register

Service Trip Camp to General Convention (Rising 9th-College)
Bi-Diocesan Youth Formation Team
Traveling: Michigan to Louisville, KY
June 21-28, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $150/week – Learn more and register

Pioneer Camp (14-17 year olds)*
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
June 30-July 5, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $450/week – Learn more and register

Overnight Youth Summer Camp Sessions*
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
June 30-July 5, Overnight (12-14 year olds)
July 7-12, Overnight (9-13 year olds)
July 21-26, Overnight (8-12 year olds)
Tiered pricing begins at $400/week – Learn more and register

Counselors-in-Training (Rising 10-12th graders)*
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
July 7-12, Overnight – Session I
July 14-19, Overnight – Session II
Tiered pricing begins at $250/week – Learn more and register

Big and Little Camp (6-9 year olds with a caregiver)
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
July 9-12, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $300/week – Learn more and register

Episcopal Youth Camp (Rising 3rd-12th Graders)
EYC at Stony Lake Lutheran Camp in New Era, MI
July 14-20, Overnight
$425/week – Learn more and register

Day Camp (Rising 1st-6th graders)
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
July 15-18, Daily from 9-4pm
Tiered pricing begins at $100/week – Learn more and register

Peer Ministry Leadership Camp (14-17 year olds)*
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
July 21-26, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $400/week – Learn more and register

*Group transportation option available from Lansing.

INTERGENERATIONAL

Families on the Farm (Children 5 and younger with a caregiver)
Plainsong Farm in Rockford, MI
April 25-May 22, Wednesdays from 9-10:30am
$20/class or $90 for the series – Learn more and register

Sabbath at the Farm (Worship & Potluck)
Plainsong Farm in Rockford, MI
June 4-September 29, Sundays at 4:30pm
No cost or RSVP req. Learn more.

Family Camp
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
July 20-23, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $300/week – Learn more and register

Days at the Lake (For Individuals and Families)
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
August 4-7, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $300/week – Learn more and register

FOR ADULTS

Spiritual Practices Retreat
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
August 16-18, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $200/week for commuters and $300/week for those staying onsite – Learn more and register

Young Adult Retreat
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
August 31-Sept. 2, Overnight
Pay-what-you-can pricing, starting at $10 – Learn more and register

Contemplative Fiber Arts Retreat
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
September 27-29, Overnight
Tiered pricing begins at $200/week for commuters and $300/week for those staying onsite – Learn more and register

Schedule your own!
Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, MI
Contact Camp Chick for availability and support for hosting your own retreat for your parish or other group.

ABOUT OUR CAMP & RETREAT CENTERS

CAMP CHICKAGAMI

Camp Chickagami, located in Presque Isle, Michigan on the shores of Lake Esau and Lake Huron, is the ACA-Accredited Family Camping and Retreat Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. Founded in 1929 as an Episcopal camp for boys, the program and facility now offers summer youth and family camps for all ages and genders, facilitated adult retreats, and rental space for individuals, families, and groups.

Learn more on their website.

EPISCOPAL YOUTH CAMP

Episcopal Youth Camp is the decades-long camping program of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. This year’s one-week camp program for all ages will take place at Stony Lake Lutheran Camp in New Era, Michigan. Their volunteer-led program seeks to build deeper relationships between one another and with God in a loving, inclusive community where all are welcome.

Learn more on their website.

PLAINSONG FARM
& MINISTRY

Plainsong Farm and Ministry is an agency of The Episcopal Church and a cooperating ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. Through their local and national work, Plainsong seeks to cultivate disciples through the lens of farm and food, address local food insecurity through their Nourish Your Neighbor program and grow the conversation about wiser use of church-owned land. This is the second year that Plainsong’s farm formation programs will include opportunities for 1-6th grade students.

Learn more on their website.

Creation Care Online Summit III

Saturday, March 2nd from 10-11:30am

The Creation Care Task Force provides leadership to the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan on issues related to the care, protection, and remediation of God’s creation. One of the group’s key goals is to make environmental stewardship and climate care a significant element of every parish’s life and mission. We would love to see members of our two dioceses become practicing “environmental evangelists!”

We invite you to spend part of your Saturday morning with the task force, March 2nd from 10-11:30am, for our third online Creation Care Summit. Our panel of four leaders from our dioceses will talk with us about actions individuals can take to live more sustainably and decrease your personal impact on the environment. The panel’s insights will help inspire and give information to jumpstart your own stewardship of creation, starting at home.

Recordings from our previous Summits are available on the creation care resource pages of the websites – Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Ben Brown (St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo) – Products and practices for living sustainably
  • Amy Freeman (St. Jude’s, Fenton) – Composting at home
  • Tobi Hanna-Davies (St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo) – Reducing animal products in diets, veganism
  • Lydia Nicholas (Grace, Port Huron) – Caring for one’s watershed

We look forward to sharing our experiences with you and hope this is the beginning of a broader conversation about how Episcopalians can work together to become better stewards of God’s creation.

With questions, please contact Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism and Networking, at kforsyth@eastmich.org or kforsyth@edwm.org.

RSVP

There is no cost to participate in the online Creation Care Summit.

The Zoom session will be recorded and made available for later viewing on the Creation Care resource pages of the diocesan websites – Eastern MI and Western MI.

Please click the button below to RSVP and receive your Zoom link to access the summit.

Second Call to Special Convention of Eastern and Western Michigan

To the Delegates, Clergy, and People of
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan:

The information for the business meeting of our special joint convention is now available. All information is in the Agreement of Union including the proposed name, the Episcopal Diocese of the Great Lakes; the draft constitution and canons for the proposed new diocese; financial information; steps toward the election of a bishop diocesan; and more. The text of the resolutions on which the conventions will be voting and the rules of order are also attached. The Agreement document is a final draft and no further changes are expected before our meeting.

The original Call to a Special Convention was distributed on February 1st.

For information, please read below and visit the convention page of our websites, www.eastmich.org/special-convention and www.edwm.org/special-convention.

This notice has been sent to all clergy and general subscribers as well as to 2023 senior wardens, delegates, and alternates and some 2024 Eastern Michigan delegates. We are currently in the window of updating our contact lists for delegates following parish annual meetings, and have an early deadline (Feb. 15) for the submission of Parish Annual Reports in order to better communicate directly with delegates who will serve this special convention and annual convention in 2024. It will be especially important that parish leadership communicate internally to ensure that all delegates have the information for our meeting.

Peace,

Angela Krueger
Secretary of Convention
Assistant to the Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan

The Rev. Joel Turmo
Secretary of Convention
Rector, St. Timothy’s, Richland
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

IMPORTANT DATES & DEADLINES

  • Feb. 20
  • Feb. 22
  • March 1
  • Zoom Pre-Convention Meeting – Eastern Michigan
  • Zoom Pre-Convention Meeting – Western Michigan
  • Deadline to register for the convention. Deadline to reserve hotel rooms. Deadline to express interest for youth delegates.

THE AGREEMENT OF UNION

The Agreement of Union is the packet of materials that would be submitted to the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church for ratification, should our conventions vote “yes” on the resolutions at our Special Joint Convention. It contains the proposed name of the new diocese, the draft constitution and canons, financial information, steps toward the election of a bishop diocesan and more.

At this convention, the action taken will be to vote on the resolutions for juncture, not to “pass” or “adopt” the Agreement of UnionThe Agreement essentially demonstrates to the dioceses and the wider church that we’ve done our homework to prepare for this moment. Should we vote to juncture, the draft canons and budgets would remain amendable prior to adoption at the First Convention of the Diocese of the Great Lakes.

>>  Click here to access the Agreement of Union document, plus additional materials: the text of the resolutions before convention and the rules of order for the convention. 

The convention will not have printed copies of the 63-page Agreement available. It is available digitally and for printing at home or at church before you travel. The text of the resolutions will be printed and available as a standalone, one-page document.

A note on what would come after our vote: 

Should each diocese vote to approve juncture, our dioceses would submit the Agreement of Union to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church for formal affirmation this summer. We would remain separate dioceses until the adoption of the new constitution and canons at the first convention of the new diocese in October. The transition period of formally aligning processes, structures, and policies would begin in the summer, expand following the convention in the fall, and continue over time as we would live into being one body.

SCHEDULE

  • 9:00 am
  • 11:00 am
  • 12:30 pm
  • 1:30 pm
  • After
  • Check-in Opens Book Exchange Opens
  • Service of Holy Eucharist
  • Lunch
  • Joint Business Session
  • Short Prayer Service Dismissal

*This basic schedule is subject to change. Breaks will be taken as needed.

PRE-CONVENTION MEETINGS

All in the dioceses, especially voting delegates and clergy, are invited to join via Zoom for a pre-convention meeting to prepare for the business session of our convention. 

Both pre-convention meetings will be recorded for later viewing for those unable to join in-person. Delegates are encouraged to attend the pre-convention meeting for their respective diocese, but may attend the meeting of the other diocese should schedules conflict.

You must RSVP separately from your convention registration to receive your Zoom link to participate in the pre-convention meeting.

Eastern Michigan – Tuesday, February 20th at 7pm – Click here to RSVP
Western Michigan – Thursday, February 22nd at 7pm – Click here to RSVP

PRAYER & WORSHIP

Prayer and worship will be built into our time together during our convention, consistent with our call as followers of Christ and in accordance with our canons for convening a diocesan convention.

Holy Eucharist – 11:00 am
We will begin our gathering with Holy Eucharist. The Rt. Rev. Gladstone Adams, III, our bi-diocesan assisting bishop, will celebrate and preach.

Due to space and timing constraints for this special convention, this service will not include the procession of church banners and clergy are not expected to vest for the procession unless holding a role in the service.

Post-Business Prayer
Before departing from our special convention, our liturgy team will lead us in a short (10-15 minute) service of prayer.

Our planning team recognizes that, no matter the results of our vote on juncture, this is a significant moment in the life of our dioceses and a range of emotions and reactions will be present in the room. Grounding ourselves in prayer at the beginning and end of our day sets the tone for our work in this moment and in the months ahead, and reminds us of our call as disciples in this church and in the communities we serve.

YOUTH DELEGATES

High school-aged young people are invited to participate at the special convention by expressing interest in serving as a Youth Delegate.

Youth Delegates are leaders in their congregation and in the diocese and have voice and vote at convention. For this special convention, youth delegates will be appointmented by the ecclesiastical authority. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the youth delegates to participate. Food, and registration fees are included; no overnight accommodations will be provided for this one-day convention. 

Youth with interest should contact Director of Children and Youth Formation McKenzie Knill at mknill@eastmich.org or mknill@edwm.org by March 1.

BOOK EXCHANGE

At the request of some in the dioceses, we will offer an area for a book exchange.

Books related to the church and ministry are welcome to be offered at no-cost to other convention attendees. Any books left over at the conclusion of our convention may be reclaimed or will be donated.

CONVENTION LOCATION

St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc

The joint special convention, including worship and business meeting, will be held at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, located at G-9020 South Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI 48439. 

The church building and parking lot are totally handicap accessible.

HOTEL & ACCOMODATIONS

We have several hotel blocks to provide options for those requiring overnight stays, available Friday night. Please read below for information including rate and booking instructions.

All reservations under our hotel blocks must be made by March 1st. A limited number of rooms are available at each site and blocks may fill before the deadline.

Hyatt Place Flint/Grand Blanc

Rate: $109/night
Features: Free breakfast, free parking, pool
Address: 5481 Hill-23 Drive, Flint, MI 48507
Distance from St. Christopher’s: 9.2 miles or a little over 15 minutes

Click here to reserve our rate.

Hampton Inn Flint/Grand Blanc

Rate: $109/night
Features: Free breakfast, free parking, pool
Address: 6060 Rashelle Drive, Flint, MI 48507
Distance from St. Christopher’s: 9.4 miles or a little over 15 minutes

Click here to reserve our rate.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Blanc

Rate: $119-124/night
Features: Free breakfast, free parking, pool
Address: 3405 Regency Park Dr Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Distance from St. Christopher’s: 2 miles or a little over 5 minutes

Click here to reserve our rate.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Flint/Grand Blanc

Rate: $139-149/night
Features: Free breakfast, free parking, pool
Address: 9044 Holly Rd, Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Distance from St. Christopher’s: 1.8 miles or a little over 5 minutes

Click here to reserve our rate.

Home2Suites Flint/Grand Blanc

Rate: $139-149/night
Features: Free breakfast, free parking, pool
Address: 9020 Holly Rd Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Distance from St. Christopher’s: 1.7 miles or a little over 5 minutes

Click here to reserve our rate.

REGISTRATION

FOR DELEGATIONS – One person from the congregation (usually a parish secretary, senior warden, or clergy person) must complete the registration form for their group, including all lay delegates and clergy. Additional visitors and attending children may be added to the group order form if desired. Please be prepared to provide accurate email addresses and dietary restrictions for each person. ($25/person.)

UNASSIGNED CLERGY ($25/person) and VISITORS ($25/person) may register individually, regardless of congregational affiliation.

CHILDREN UNDER 12 ($10/person) may be registered individually or with a delegation to have meals provided. High chairs and booster seats are not available. A soft space with quiet toys for the youngest attendees will be set up for use during our worship and business meetings. Please note that there is no childcare or programming for children provided; kids must be supervised by their responsible adults at all times. Children in this age group who will not eat the lunch provided do not need to register.

The deadline to register and submit all payments is March 1.

>>  Click here to register.

Canon for Northern Collaborative, Beloved Community and Creation Care Called

Friends in Christ,

We are overjoyed to share that the Rev. Nurya Love Parish has accepted our call to serve as Canon for the Northern Collaborative and Coach for Beloved Community and Creation Care after many months of search and interviews with multiple candidates. She will officially join our diocesan staff on March 15th.

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada to a nonreligious family, she first felt a call to ministry while attending church for the first time as a college student. While attending Harvard Divinity School as a Unitarian Universalist, she was baptized as Christian and later ordained as a Christian pastor within the UUA in 1997. After ten years as a Unitarian pastor and church planter, she realized she was “sneaking off for prayer with the Episcopalians regularly and frequently.” After completing a Certificate in Anglican Studies at Seabury-Western Seminary, she was confirmed in The Episcopal Church and re-ordained as a priest in 2011. Since then, she served as associate rector with St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids and as priest-in-charge with Holy Spirit, Belmont. At the end of February, Nurya will conclude nine years of service as the founding Executive Director of Plainsong Farm and Ministry, a new Episcopal community in the Diocese of Western Michigan. Her decision to depart the farm was made last September, recognizing the evolving needs of the organization as it grows into its next season and seeking a role more specifically aligned to her call as a priest. Nurya has exercised extensive churchwide leadership for many years, especially in the areas of creation care and its integration into our understanding of the beloved community. This summer, she serves as the chair of the House of Deputies legislative committee on Environmental Stewardship and the Care of Creation for the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

She is married to Dave, a retired firefighter, and together they parent two college-age young adults, Claire and Nathan. She is the author of Resurrection Matters: Church Renewal for Creation’s Sake (2018).

As Canon for the Northern Collaborative, Nurya will coach, encourage, and equip congregations in the northernmost area of our two dioceses in areas of congregational development, transitions, and in seeking the mission and vision of our dioceses. Her specialty as Coach for Creation Care and Beloved Community focuses on convening and building capacity for individuals and congregations across both dioceses around the care and understanding of God’s creation, seeking the beloved community by confronting systems of oppression and building relationships across difference.

Acknowledging the special convention quickly approaching, the Joint Standing Committees and Nurya are aware that expectations for this role may shift and adapt, depending on the results of the decision on juncture. She anticipates beginning her ministry living in a series of short-term rentals in different areas of the north while she discerns where to settle long term.

Starting March 15th, Nurya can be reached by calling either diocesan office and listening for the list of extensions, or by emailing nparish@eastmich.org or nparish@edwm.org.

Please join us in welcoming Nurya to this new role in our dioceses!

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Don Davidson
CR, Eastern Michigan

Jelecia Geraghty
St. Paul’s, Flint

Neil Hargrave
St. John’s, Dryden

Barbara Ilkka, President
St. John’s, Saginaw

The Ven. Linda Crane
Grace, Port Huron

The Rev. Jerry Lasley
St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc


The Rt. Rev. Gladstone Adams, III
Assisting Bishop
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan

The Rev. Valerie Ambrose
Retired, Western Michigan

The Rev. Molly Bosscher
St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids

Freya Gilbert
St. Paul’s, St. Joseph

Carole Redwine
St. Philip’s, Grand Rapids

The Rev. Anne Schnaare, President
Grace, Grand Rapids

Ellen Schrader
Grace, Traverse City

Fred Skidmore
St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids

The Rev. Eileen Stoffan
St. Paul’s, Muskegon

A Lenten Message from Bishop Skip

 

 

Greetings to Eastern and Western Michigan,

Lent is about getting honest: honest with God, honest with ourselves, honest with the community of faith, about who we really are before God. Perhaps you’ve heard the old one-liner about a very non-emotive German farmer who said, “I love my wife so much I nearly told her once.”

We need to be able to speak honestly—as Isaiah does, as Jesus does, not for the purpose of making us feel bad about who we are in our human condition, but in order to establish, maintain, repair, and transform our relationship with God and our relationships with one another, indeed, the entire creation. The purpose of the disciplines of fasting, praying, and almsgiving are gifts to us from God to do just that.

First, we must be honest about who we are. We start with our baptism, and in so doing we are reminded that the entire season of Lent originated in the Church as a time of preparation for Easter baptism. We hear again our baptismal reality from the holy Mount of Transfiguration on the Last Sunday After the Epiphany a couple of days ago, when the welcome words from Jesus’ baptism are echoed and repeated: “This is my Son, the Beloved.” This is the reality for us all as daughters and sons of God. As it is spoken to Jesus, it is spoken to us. You are God’s beloved. If you hear nothing else, go into Lent with that truth close to your heart.

Our honesty must start there—in Christ as God’s beloved. So even as we are reminded today that we are dust, that is, mortal, broken, and not yet fully whole, remember also that we are redeemed dust, totally loved and embraced by the God of all creation. Hopefully, this then prepares us to hear the difficult yet honest words from Jesus, that we sometimes misuse our giftedness, the gifts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, in order to be noticed, even thanked by someone. In other words, doing the right things for the wrong reasons.

Or hear the bold honesty from Isaiah, not holding back, but shouting out and declaring that Jacob’s fast was not bringing about the desired result. Our life as a people of faith is to participate in the loosing of the bonds of injustice, undoing the thongs of the burdensome yoke, letting the oppressed go free, sharing one’s bread with the hungry and homeless, bringing the poor into our house, and covering the naked. It’s why we pray, “thy Kingdom come.” If we do not see this happening, Isaiah is telling us our faith is a sham, a false representation of the purpose of life in God.

So, we find that we are dust, mortal and finite on this earth, yet we are beloved, made in the image of God, and united to Christ in our baptism. It has been said that the glory of God is a human being fully alive! At the same time, we are broken and in need of love, healing, and transformation, as we are always needing to be made new. We are, as Martin Luther said, “simul justus et picatur,” at the same time a saint and a sinner. Or to hear it a different way from John Dominic Crossan: “Heaven is in great shape; earth is where the problems are.”

If we are honest then, we must admit, even confess, that we have a problem as a human race that Ash Wednesday is calling upon us to address. We are out of proper relationship with one another, with God, and the creation itself. Contrary to the manner in which Lent has been too often overly individualized in personal piety, Isaiah and the prophets show us a way of repentance, walking a new way, not merely as an act of individual piety, but an action of the entire community as we make ourselves available to the world. The gifts of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting are not only good Lenten piety, they are ways to move into the heart’s journey of peace, and being awake to addressing the issues of humanity.

Isaiah and Jesus are calling us to see once again why we are here as a faith community. Only when our piety is about God’s justice for the world will our light break forth like the dawn, and healing spring up quickly. If we offer our food to the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then our light will rise in darkness and the gloom be like noonday. That is a church people want to be a part of! It has integrity. It is honest.

If we dare to enter into the way to which Ash Wednesday calls us, we find that the call to return to prayer, almsgiving, and fasting is for our sake, yes, but even more for the sake of the world. It calls us once again to do the work we are given to do, knowing who we are and whom God calls us to be.

A blessed and holy Lent to everyone.

Bishop Skip

Saludos a Michigan Oriental y Occidental

La Cuaresma consiste en ser honestos: honestos con Dios, honestos con nosotros mismos, honestos con la comunidad de fe, sobre quiénes somos realmente ante Dios. Quizá haya escuchado el viejo chiste de un granjero alemán muy poco emotivo que dijo: “Quiero tanto a mi mujer que casi se lo digo una vez”.

Tenemos que ser capaces de hablar con sinceridad -como hace Isaías, como hace Jesús-, no con el propósito de hacernos sentir mal por lo que somos en nuestra condición humana, sino para establecer, mantener, reparar y transformar nuestra relación con Dios y nuestras relaciones con los demás, de hecho, con toda la creación. El propósito de las disciplinas del ayuno, la oración y la limosna son dones que Dios nos da para hacer precisamente eso.

En primer lugar, debemos ser honestos sobre quiénes somos. Comenzamos con nuestro bautismo, y al hacerlo se nos recuerda que todo el tiempo de Cuaresma se originó en la Iglesia como un tiempo de preparación para el bautismo de Pascua. Volvemos a escuchar nuestra realidad bautismal desde el santo Monte de la Transfiguración en el último domingo después de la Epifanía, hace un par de días, cuando resuenan y se repiten las palabras de bienvenida del bautismo de Jesús: “Este es mi Hijo, el Amado”. Esta es la realidad para todos nosotros como hijas e hijos de Dios. Como se le dice a Jesús, se nos dice a nosotros. Eres el amado de Dios. Si no escuchas nada más, entra en Cuaresma con esa verdad cerca de tu corazón.

Nuestra honestidad debe empezar ahí, en Cristo como amado de Dios. Por ello, aunque hoy se nos recuerde que somos polvo, es decir, mortales, rotos y aún no totalmente enteros, recordemos también que somos polvo redimido, totalmente amado y abrazado por el Dios de toda la creación. Esperemos que esto nos prepare para escuchar las difíciles pero honestas palabras de Jesús, que a veces abusamos de nuestros dones, los dones de la oración, el ayuno y la limosna, con el fin de ser notados, incluso agradecidos por alguien. En otras palabras, hacer lo correcto por las razones equivocadas.

O escucha la audaz honestidad de Isaías, que no se contiene, sino que grita y declara que el ayuno de Jacob no estaba produciendo el resultado deseado. Nuestra vida como pueblo de fe es participar en soltar las amarras de la injusticia, desatar las correas del yugo gravoso, dejar libres a los oprimidos, compartir el pan con los hambrientos y los sin techo, traer a los pobres a nuestra casa y cubrir a los desnudos. Por ello rezamos: “Venga a nosotros tu Reino”. Si no vemos que esto sucede, Isaías nos está diciendo que nuestra fe es una farsa, una falsa representación del propósito de la vida en Dios.

Así, descubrimos que somos polvo, mortales y finitos en esta tierra, y sin embargo somos amados, hechos a imagen de Dios, y unidos a Cristo en nuestro bautismo. Se ha dicho que la gloria de Dios es un ser humano plenamente vivo. Al mismo tiempo, estamos rotos y necesitamos amor, curación y transformación, pues siempre necesitamos ser renovados. Somos, como decía Martín Lutero, “simul justus et picatur”, al mismo tiempo santos y pecadores. O para escucharlo de otra manera de John Dominic Crossan: “El cielo está en plena forma; en la tierra es donde están los problemas”.

Entonces, si somos honestos, debemos admitir, incluso confesar, que tenemos un problema como raza humana que el Miércoles de Ceniza nos llama a abordar. Estamos fuera de la relación adecuada entre nosotros, con Dios y con la propia creación. Contrariamente a la forma en que la Cuaresma se ha individualizado demasiado a menudo en la piedad personal, Isaías y los profetas nos muestran un camino de arrepentimiento, recorriendo un camino nuevo, no sólo como un acto de piedad individual, sino como una acción de toda la comunidad al ponernos a disposición del mundo. Los dones de la oración, la limosna y el ayuno no sólo son una buena forma de piedad cuaresmal, sino también de adentrarse en el camino de paz del corazón y de estar despiertos para abordar los problemas de la humanidad.

Isaías y Jesús nos llaman a ver una vez más por qué estamos aquí como comunidad de fe. Sólo cuando nuestra piedad se centre en la justicia de Dios para el mundo, nuestra luz brotará como el alba, y la curación brotará rápidamente. Si ofrecemos nuestro alimento al hambriento y satisfacemos las necesidades del afligido, entonces nuestra luz se alzará en las tinieblas y la oscuridad será como el mediodía. Esa es una iglesia de la que la gente desea formar parte. Tiene integridad. Es honesto.

Si nos atrevemos a adentrarnos en el camino al que nos llama el Miércoles de Ceniza, descubriremos que la llamada a volver a la oración, la limosna y el ayuno es por nuestro bien, sí, pero aún más por el bien del mundo. Nos llama una vez más a hacer el trabajo que se nos ha encomendado, sabiendo quiénes somos y quiénes Dios nos llama a ser.

Bendita y santa Cuaresma a todos.

Obispo Skip

 

 

Ecumenical Endeavors

The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) held their final in-person meeting in December in Denver, Colorado, at the Central Presbyterian Church. This third round has been at work since 2019, having held a few of its previous meetings via Zoom and in-person. Dialogue members reviewed and finalized language for their final report to the 81st General Convention and the 226th General Assembly in 2024. Included in the final report is a joint proposal for “Episcopal-Presbyterian Local Sharing of Ministries.” If approved and implemented, the agreement would enable Episcopal diocesan bishops and Presbyterian presbyteries to authorize priests/teaching elders to serve in the other’s churches for a limited time for a commissioned ministry while still under the ministerial and disciplinary jurisdiction of the sending body.

The United Methodist-Episcopal Church Dialogue Committee met at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 1 – 3. A major focus was given to planning strategy for upcoming churchwide conferences in 2024; the UMC Annual Conference will occur in May with The Episcopal Church’s General Convention happening shortly after in June. Notably, this will be the first in-person UMC conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 89th meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States of America (ARC-USA) met at the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center in Marriottsville, Maryland, from Nov. 8-10, hosted by the secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Against a background of communal worship, participants finalized a draft of a document on reconciliation, tentatively titled, “A Call to Reconciliation: A Joint Document from the Anglican-Roman Catholic USA Dialogue.” All members participated in a careful review of the entire document, providing final additions and edits. A final draft of this document on reconciliation will be presented in 2024 for approval by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

House of Deputies President Julia Ayala Harris led a delegation of Episcopal leaders on a trip to Sweden last week to attend the Church of Sweden’s General Synod and affirm the recently finalized full communion agreement between the two churches.

In addition to visiting various Church of Sweden parishes and ministries, Ayala Harris spoke at the closing Eucharist of General Synod in affirmation of the two churches’ agreement. “The fires of the Holy Spirit are moving among us in fresh ways, forming what is to come. We are called to help the church evolve and take a new shape,” Ayala Harris said, according to the written text of her Nov. 22 remarks at the Church of Sweden’s Uppsala Cathedral.

The National Council of Churches (NCC) hosted the first Christian Unity Gathering since 2019 in October. Participants met under the theme, “Faith Under Fire: The Church in the Public Square.” The opening reception and worship was hosted by Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Featured speakers included Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, Rob Schenck, and the Rev. Renita Weems, who holds a doctoral degree in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies.

Compiled by:


the Rev. Mike Wernick
Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer
the Episcopal Dioceses of Western and Eastern Michigan

THE COLLEGE FOR CONGREGATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

July 21-26, 2024 in Midland, MI

The College for Congregational Development (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. In July of 2023, thirty-five lay and ordained leaders from thirteen congregations/covenant groups helped launch CCD in Eastern and Western Michigan. We are excited to build on the success of our diocesan launch, and we are inviting you to be a part of the training for transformation in your congregation in 2024.

This two-year program gathers each year in a one-week session, focusing on the formation and transformation of congregational teams in recognition that teams are more likely to be able to create positive change.

Key components of the program include:

  • Looking at our current reality (Who are we? What are we? Where are we?)
  • Discerning our future (What is God inviting us to do and to be at this time and in this place?)
  • Working on strategies, goals, and actions (How do we get there?)

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

Participating congregations send teams to CCD training who will complete both years by engaging in practical on-the-ground projects, required reading, and the completion of final certification and graduation. Teams should include any parish clergy. For congregations for whom gathering a team of 3 or more members may be difficult, the formation of regional collaborations is encouraged.

With questions, please contact the Rev. BJ Heyboer, coordinator of our bi-diocesan CCD program, at ccd@eastmich.org or ccd@edwm.org.

LOCATION

OUR ACCOMODATIONS

Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640

northwood.edu

OUR TRAINING SESSIONS

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

sjec-midland.org

FAQs & DETAILS

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 or more people with a keen 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 A and Year B 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?
CCD participants in need of local accommodation will stay in on-campus apartments 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 2-4-bedroom apartments, each apartment with its own bathroom.

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.

REGISTRATION

HOW MUCH DOES CCD COST?
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. Essentially, this offer is “buy one, get two free!”

Additional team members are, of course, welcome; each additional member adds $900.

HOW WILL PAYMENTS BE HANDLED?
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 June 1, 2024.

Youth Service Trip Camp

SERVICE TRIP CAMP

A journey of pilgrimage and discovery for high schoolers

This summer, Episcopal high schoolers will go on a journey of pilgrimage and discovery, June 21-28, 2024. We’ll pray together and consider the meaning of our Baptismal Covenant and Jesus’ teachings. We’ll serve in ministries that bless others and show God’s love. We’ll learn more about what God calls us to do. We’ll sleep in churches in the Louisville, KY area and serve in local outreach ministries.

This year’s trip includes a special visit to the 81st General Convention of the Episcopal Church – the once every three years meeting of the entire worldwide Episcopal Church. At this convention, our church will be electing a new Presiding Bishop and, if our dioceses vote to approve juncture in March, will take action on our juncture. We’ll attend a revival with current Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. We’ll get to learn about and explore how our church works and visit the convention exhibit hall.

Each day includes time for fun, time for service, and time for small groups to debrief about the day’s events. We’ll also make a special outing to Mammoth Cave National Park towards the end of the trip!

This mission trip — led by Regional Youth Missioners, the Rev. Radha Kaminski, and the Rev. Joel Turmo — is open to high schoolers in the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. Please read below for more information and to register.

We hope you will join us for this wonderful opportunity to serve God’s people, enjoy God’s creation, and meet other high school students around and beyond our two dioceses. Join us on the journey!

Photo: Participants from 2022’s trip explore a national park in Ohio during what was previously called the “Progressive Mission Trip.”

Questions about this event? Please contact the Rev. Radha Kaminski, Regional Youth Missioner for the Northern Collaborative at rkaminski@edwm.org or rkaminski@eastmich.org.

DATES & DETAILS

DROP-OFF
Friday, June 21 between 5-7pm
At a centrally located church in our dioceses, exact location TBD depending on the geography of registrants

PICK-UP
Friday, June 28 at 3pm
At a centrally located church in our dioceses, exact location TBD depending on the geography of registrants

REGISTRATION

This event is open to all high school youth in Eastern and Western Michigan, those rising into 9th grade through those who will have just graduated 12th grade.

Much of the cost for this event has been subsidized by the diocesan youth ministry budget and the generosity of our host sites. Participants are asked to pay $150/person.

If the cost would prevent you or your child from attending, please first contact your parish to inquire about financial assistance. Additional scholarships may be available — please contact Radha Kaminski to inquire.

The deadline to register is June 1, 2024.

Worship Leader Training – Lent and Holy Week

Further training for licensed lay worship leaders

Our whole series invitation to 2024 Worship Leader Trainings was published in November 2023.

The next session in our 2024 Worship Leader Training series takes place on Zoom on Saturday, February 3rd, beginning at 10am and lasting no longer than 2pm. This session focuses on preparing for and leading worship around Lent and Holy Week.

Participants will receive specific instruction around this special holy season to build confidence, knowledge of the liturgies, and to lead the congregation well through any lay-led services. It is expected that participants in this session are either already licensed or have recently completed the introductory worship leading course and are pending licensure.

Participants should have a copy of the Book of Common Prayer that you can write in with you as you participate in the session.

Worship Leaders are laity who regularly lead public worship in the absence of clergy. Training for this license takes place at the diocesan level or in another setting pre-approved by the Canon for Adult Formation. Individuals seeking renewal (EM – Advent 2026, WM – Advent 2027) are expected to participate in continuing education.

Please read below for additional dates and registration.

Questions about this event? Please contact our trainer, the Rev. Paul Brunell (Christ Church, Owosso) at pbrunell_grayling@hotmail.com or at 989-723-2495.

ALL UPCOMING DATES:

2024 TRAININGS

  • Saturday, February 3, 2024 via Zoom – Lent and Holy Week*
    (Registration deadline: January 28)
  • Saturday, May 4, 2024 at St. Andrew’s, Gaylord – Basic Worship Leader Training (incl. lunch)
    (Registration deadline: April 28)
  • Saturday, September 14, 2024 via Zoom – Funeral Preparation*
    (Registration deadline: September 8)

* Continuing education sessions require participants to have already completed their license to serve as a Worship Leader.

REGISTRATION

The cost to participate is $25 per session, which helps to cover trainer time, materials, and other associated expenses.

If the cost to attend is a barrier to your participation and you are unable to recieve financial support from your congregation, please contact Canon Little at tlittle@eastmich.org or tlittle@edwm.org.

Please read the list of dates above for registration deadlines.