A Word on the Violence in Ukraine

Dear Saints,

History teaches us that violent takeovers and coercion are not gospel values — though Christians have been complicit with such expressions. Our prayers and intentional thoughts surround the people and all creation in Ukraine as this manifest plague of coercion debilitates the life and safety of many.

Let us pray:

Oh gracious, God of peace and agency.

We cry with the people and all creation in Ukraine to bring this violent war to a quick end.

We pray for global leaders to intervene and nip this culture of bullying in the bud. Please help us to disallow such tendencies when we witness their manifestations near or far from us. May we never be bystanders of indifference and hate!

You are the source of all that is good and holy, and we ask for your deep and abiding presence to hold these, our dear siblings, close to yourself.

Please help us be peacemakers where we are and help us put away tactics of devaluing the God-given dignity of others and their spaces.

In your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Yours faithfully,

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


Delegates at convention engage in intentional conversations with their table groups. In the last section of this update from the Building Bridges Steering Committee, a summary of the submitted responses is provided for all to review.


At its roots, the Building Bridges process is about our two dioceses exploring ways to collaborate. Collaboration is relational, it involves knowing one another. So the Building Bridges Steering Committee is inviting you to participate in a conversation with other people from across our two dioceses who are involved in a similar ministry or church context.

What we heard from many of our delegates in the Building Bridges conversation at convention and in recent Clericus discussions is the importance of one’s local culture and wondering how a potential junction between our dioceses might change that culture. Therefore, in this round of intentional conversations we want to discuss, share, and learn about our own culture and that of our partnering diocese. The questions we will discuss at each of these affinity group sessions are:

  1. What are the core values that inform my ministry?
  2. What are the most important traditions within my ministry, church, and diocese?
  3. What, if any, similarities and/or differences have I heard between the two dioceses tonight?

Each conversation will be from 7:00-8:30pm. Please read below for the specific dates and ministry/affinity groupings. We ask that you register for one meeting, even if you may share ministries with several groups. Two of the sessions are open to all in case your particular ministry is not listed or you have a personal conflict on the night(s) you would sign up for otherwise.

Monday, March 7th – Youth/Children’s Formation Leaders

Tuesday, March 8th – Adult Formation and Spirituality Leaders

Wednesday, March 9th – Current and Recent Vestry Wardens

Thursday, March 10th – Deacons

Monday, March 14th – Music Directors, Musicians, Choir Members

Tuesday, March 15th – Outreach Ministry Leaders and Committee Members

Wednesday, March 16th – Church Administrators, Treasurers, Finance Leaders

Thursday, March 17th – Open Session
(Open to all unable to participate in another session)

Monday, March 21st – Clergy and members in urban/suburban communities

Tuesday, March 22nd – Clergy and members in small-town/rural communities

Wednesday, March 23rd – Clergy and members of majority Black, Hispanic/Latino Parishes
(Spanish translation is available in-person at St. John’s, Grand Haven)

Thursday, March 24th – Clergy and members of congregations in resort communities

Monday, March 28th – Open Session
(Open to all unable to participate in another session)


As part of our recent joint diocesan convention held in Lansing in October, the Internal Conversations subcommittee of the Building Bridges Steering Committee facilitated small group conversations amongst the gathered delegates, clergy, and visitors. With specific prompts, the participants discussed the questions amongst their assigned, mixed tables and were asked to respond to a form (available both written and online) to document their reflections back to the Steering Committee and to the wider dioceses.

Click here to view a summary of their responses.


When one reads the scriptural record of this woman of faith, the negative ascriptions given to her over the centuries are quite astonishing, even puzzling.  One wonders if there is not some kind of latent sexism at play here.

First, there is the common misconception that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.  Nothing in the Bible indicates that this was so.  The city of Magdala was an important shipbuilding and trade center in its day and history indicates it had an unsavory reputation.  Guilt by association does not necessarily apply, however.

Then there is the word “maudlin,” which is an alteration of the word “Magdalene,” from the practice of depicting her as a weeping, penitent sinner.  Well yes, John’s Gospel does indicate that she wept at Jesus’ tomb when his body was found to be missing, a perfectly appropriate grief reaction to my mind.  She also was healed by Jesus of some kind of spiritual and/or physical illness.  But the definition of maudlin as “weakly and effusively sentimental” is a completely unfair characterization when it comes to Mary.  Her story would indicate quite the opposite.

Mary Magdalene travelled with Jesus and supported the mission financially.  She went with others to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body and in John’s account, was the first witness to the resurrection.  The Eastern Church regards her as the equal of an apostle.  Even more stunningly, it was Mary Magdalene who was present at the crucifixion after all of the other disciples had abandoned Jesus to save their own hide.   I understand why the disciples ran.  My point is that Mary of Magdala did not run, but chose to stay at the risk of her life.  Her devotion to Jesus is unquestionable.  After the resurrection the disciples went back home, but Mary “…wept and remained standing outside the tomb.”

What are we afraid of here—intimacy?  Is it that the man Jesus seems to have had a close, loving relationship with an empowered woman as a disciple and it makes us nervous?  Whatever the source of anxiety may be in the historical record surrounding her, it is important that we see in Mary Magdalene a person of strength who never stops her seeking of the Christ in his life or in his death.  Gregory the Great said that, “She longed for him whom she thought had been taken away.  And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him.”

We tend to find what we are looking for, positively and negatively.  Mary was looking for Jesus and in her seeking, heard her name called by the Savior of the world.  Who was seeking whom?  It is in our seeking that we are found.


Bishop Skip


Cuando uno lee el registro bíblico de esta mujer de fe, las ascripciones negativas que se le han dado a lo largo de los siglos son bastante asombrosas, incluso desconcertantes.  De hecho, uno se pregunta si no hay algún tipo de sexismo latente en juego.

En primer lugar, existe la idea errónea de que María Magdalena era una prostituta.  Nada de la Biblia indica que esto fuera así.  La ciudad de Magdala era un importante centro comercial y de construcción naval en su época y la historia indica que tenía una reputación desagradable.  Sin embargo, la culpa por asociación no se aplica necesariamente.

Luego está la palabra “sensiblera”, que es una alteración de la palabra “Magdalena”, por la práctica de representarla como una pecadora llorona y penitente.  Pues sí, el Evangelio de Juan indica que lloró ante la tumba de Jesús cuando se descubrió que su cuerpo había desaparecido, una reacción de dolor perfectamente apropiada a mi entender.  También fue sanada por Jesús de algún tipo de enfermedad espiritual y/o física.  Pero la definición de sensiblero como “débil y efusivamente sentimental” es una caracterización completamente injusta cuando se trata de María.  Su historia indicaría todo lo contrario.

María Magdalena viajó con Jesús y apoyó la misión financieramente.  Ella fue con otros a la tumba de Jesús para ungir su cuerpo y, en el relato de Juan, fue el primer testigo de la resurrección.  La Iglesia Oriental la considera igual de apóstol.  Aún más sorprendente, fue María Magdalena quien estuvo presente en la crucifixión después de que todos los demás discípulos abandonaron a Jesús para salvar su propio pellejo.   Entiendo por qué huyeron los discípulos.  Lo que quiero decir es que María de Magdala no huyó, sino que eligió quedarse a riesgo de su vida.  Su devoción a Jesús es incuestionable.  Después de la resurrección los discípulos volvieron a casa, pero María “…lloró y se quedó de pie fuera del sepulcro”.

¿De qué tenemos miedo aquí, de la intimidad?  ¿Acaso es que el hombre Jesús parece haber tenido una relación estrecha y amorosa con una mujer empoderada como discípula y eso nos pone nerviosos?  Cualquiera que sea la fuente de ansiedad en el registro histórico que la rodea, es importante que veamos en María Magdalena a una persona de fuerza que nunca deja de buscar a Cristo en su vida o en su muerte.  Gregorio Magno dijo que: “Ella anhelaba a quien creía arrebatado.  Y así sucedió que la mujer que se quedó buscando a Cristo fue la única que lo vio”.

Tendemos a encontrar lo que buscamos, positiva y negativamente.  María estaba buscando a Jesús y, en su búsqueda, escuchó su nombre llamado por el Salvador del mundo.  ¿Quién buscaba a quién?  Nos encontramos en nuestra búsqueda.


Obispo Skip

Announcing New Part-Time, Bi-Diocesan Staff Members

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to announce the hiring of four regional youth missioners to serve our two dioceses.

The intention is to develop additional on-the-ground support for our local congregations in the area of youth ministry appropriately contextualized to the area in which they serve. In this role, they are charged with communicating and collaborating with leaders and families to increase and empower local efforts with youth within and beyond the existing community. Their specific duties will be flexible, depending on the needs of the congregations in their region and may include resource sharing, congregational and/or regional events, volunteer recruitment, and more. Whether your community has a robust youth program or hasn’t for years, these youth missioners are here to support you.

The two dioceses have been broken down into four youth regions to encompass the area that these missioners will serve*. In all but one grouping, the youth regions include congregations and ministries from both dioceses. Click here to view the breakdown.

Our regional youth missioners will be in touch with their respective communities as soon as possible to learn more about your needs and dreams for youth ministry within and beyond your community.

Please join me in welcoming the people listed below to the role of Regional Youth Missioner. We are blessed to have such wonderful leaders serving among us.

The Rev. Radha Kaminski (she/her) — Northern Youth Region

Radha joined the Diocese of Western Michigan as a Hope College student in 2008 after growing up in North Central Florida, spending time with the communities of Grace, Holland and St. John’s, Grand Haven, where she was the youth coordinator. She was ordained to the priesthood in January 2021 after receiving her M.Div. from Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX. She serves as the rector of the Central Michigan Episcopal Covenant (St. Andrew’s, Big Rapids and St. Mary’s, Cadillac). She lives in Cadillac with her husband, Matthew, their dog, Mara Joy, and two cats, Bob and Shirley. She enjoys knitting, board games, baking, and exploring the great outdoors.

The Northern Youth Region is composed of 34 congregations and organizations, including communities from both dioceses. Click here to view the regional break down.

Jeff Brown (he/him) — Central Youth Region

Jeff is the Director of Youth Ministries for Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth, a collaboration between St. Mark’s, St. Andrew’s, and Grace Episcopal Churches in Grand Rapids. Jeff is a known leader in youth ministry, having organized and led efforts such as the progressive mission trip for many years. Jeff also works as the Visual Display Coordinator for Gazelle Sports, is a certified yoga instructor, loves trail running, and is quite obsessed with Cedar Point. He and his wife, Angie, live in Grand Rapids with their two teenage sons.

The Central Youth Region is composed of 24 congregations and organizations, including communities from both dioceses. Click here to view the regional break down.

Beckett Leclaire (they/them) — Eastern Youth Region

Beckett serves as the Faciliator of Holy Hikes Great Lakes and is a nominee for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. They attended University of Mississippi, and graduated in 2019 from the Academy for Vocational Leadership, the local formation program of the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. They serve on the Building Bridges Steering Committee and the Bi-Diocesan Evangelism Task Force and are a member of Grace, Port Huron. Beckett lives in Port Huron with their spouse, Kay, their daughter, Audrey, and their cat, Razzle.

The Eastern Youth Region is composed of 25 congregations and organizations, including communities from both dioceses. Click here to view the regional break down.

The Rev. Joel Turmo (he/him) — Southern Youth Region

Joel has been the rector of St. Timothy’s, Richland since 2012. Prior to this he was the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at St. Gregory’s in Boca Raton, FL. Both in Florida and in Michigan, he’s served as a youth coordinator, co-leading many diocesan events including retreats and the progressive mission trip. He is passionate about including youth in all aspects of the church. Joel earned his M.Div. from Sewanee School of Theology in 2008. Joel and his college-aged sons live in Richland.

The Southern Youth Region is composed of 23 congregations and organizations, all geographically resident in EDWM. Click here to view the regional break down.

We are also happy to introduce Michelle Ruiz, who will serve both dioceses as Assistant for Communications, a quarter-time and remote position budgeted under the ministry of Evangelism and Networking.

Michelle Ruiz (she/her) — Assistant of Communications 

Michelle is a student at Grand Valley State University working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Journalism. She enjoys advocating for women’s rights and communities of color. In her free time, Michelle likes to unwind by painting and watching television shows. She especially loves the comedy genre and anything that will make her laugh.

In her role, Michelle, who is bilingual, will assist our dioceses in all functions of communications including our bi-diocesan newsletter, websites, social media, and our print magazine, The Feast. She may also assist in resourcing congregations, clergy, and lay leaders for improvement and integration of local communications efforts. This position had been vacant since November of last year.


Black History Month

Greetings, beloved saints. I want to thank you for the generosity that I have received and the welcome that you have showed me. Many of you have reached out to me. I look forward to meeting each of you.

As we celebrate black history month, I do have a sense of joy and pride in coming to you as the first bishop of color in this part of the world. And I want to thank you the leaders and all of you in your prayers as I join you in this journey.

I’m conscious that we stand on these grounds that have been traveled by many before us, and I want to acknowledge the Ojibwe also known as the Chippewa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi Indians. And remember that we traveled on this journey on the shoulders of our ancestors.

One on my favorite groups growing up, that I listened to, was Sweet Honey in the Rock. And I am constantly drawn to the depth of their theology. In one of their lyrics, they talk about every child, for each child that is born a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.

“We are our grandmother’s prayers; we are our grandfathers dreaming’s. We are the breath of the ancestors. We are the spirits of God. We are mothers of courage, fathers of time, daughters of dust, and sisters of mercy, brothers of love, lovers of life and builders of nations. We are seekers of truth, keepers of faith, makers of peace, wisdom of ages. We are our grandmothers’ prayers; we are our grandfathers dreaming’s. We are the breath of the ancestors. We are the spirit of God. We are one “

Black history month, in a way, is a reminder to us that we remember we are one. We need each other. And I believe the intentionality in recognizing that some groups are forgotten. Like the history of black people, is a reminder so that we might remember ourselves. Reorient ourselves. Correct ourselves.

The second thing that stands up for me is that we are better when we know our history. And in this young country of ours there is some history that we are better when we understand the intentions behind that history. For instance, the doctrine of discover is something we know don’t know a whole lot about. In the episcopal church we do. We have all of the denominations that came out and confessed for the ways we have” benefitted” from this doctrine of discovery

It was a secular doctrine, but it was endorsed by the church. Granted it wasn’t The Episcopal Church that was endorsing it, but we, in that sense of the word were complicit. And why is this important? It is important because when we enforce the theology that suggested that some lives are more important and more valuable than other lives, that ideology, has implication. And I think that’s where the problems of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, orientation discrimination, everything kind of falls in a domino out of that kernel of a lie.

And so, I think when we celebrate black history month, it gives us an opportunity to understand our history better and figure out ways not to repeat lies. Repeat things that are not of God. In other words, as a church, we have to get out of ungodly religiosity. And it is a matter of the mind—how we know things.

So when we look at the teachings of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus was all about helping us understand our whole selves and that we don’t have to do that on the back of others. In other words, I don’t have to feel better because somebody else is less than me.

I am familiar with the caste system in India, and that is a system. It is a system that affects the mind, and then affects policy, practices, and then culture is formed, and then sustained.

So as we engaged black history month, I hope that we can pay attention to some of the ways in which in we can be transformed, and places that we need to confess, and acknowledged our complicit behaviors and policies with things that did not affirm the humanity of all people.

It is an opportunity for us to recognize that we are followers of Jesus. In the words of the great Verna Dozier, who was a Black American Lay women in The Episcopal Church. Verna was pretty articulate in helping us understand that at the end of the day we are not just worshippers of Jesus, we are followers. And the more we can follow the teachings of Jesus the better we will be as a church, and the more impact we can have in our world at large.

The world is hungry to recognize that we are not “us and them”. We really are much better when we are one. But it takes a lot of effort, it takes courage. It takes vision. And I pray that we will move in that direction one step at a time, one person at a time.

So blessings as we engage black history month, and may it be a transformative experiences for all of us inside. Take care.


Saludos queridos santos, deseo agradecer la generosidad que he recibido y la acogida que me han mostrado. Muchos de ustedes se han puesto en contacto conmigo. Y espero conocer a cada uno de ustedes.

A medida que celebramos el mes de la historia afroamericana, tengo un sentimiento de alegría y orgullo por venir a ustedes como el primer obispo de color en esta parte del mundo. Y quiero agradecer a los líderes y a todos ustedes en sus oraciones mientras me uno a ustedes en este trayecto.

Soy consciente que estamos en estos terrenos que han sido recorridos por muchos antes que nosotros, y quiero reconocer a los Ojibwe también conocidos como los Chippewa, los Odawa y los indios Potawatomi. Y recordar que viajamos en este viaje a hombros de nuestros antepasados.

Uno de mis grupos favoritos de la infancia, que escuchaba, era Sweet Honey in the Rock. Y me atrae constantemente la profundidad de su teología. En una de sus letras hablan de cada niño, por cada niño que nace sale una estrella de la mañana y le canta al universo quiénes somos.

“Somos las oraciones de nuestras abuelas, somos los sueños de nuestros abuelos. Somos el aliento de los antepasados. Somos los espíritus de dios. Somos madres del valor, padres del tiempo, hijas del polvo, y hermanas de la misericordia, hermanos del amor, amantes de la vida y constructores de naciones. Somos buscadores de la verdad, guardianes de la fe, artífices de la paz, sabiduría de los tiempos. Somos las oraciones de nuestras abuelas, somos los sueños de nuestros abuelos. Somos el aliento de los antepasados. Somos el espíritu de dios. Somos uno”

El mes de la historia Afroamericana, en cierto modo, es un recordatorio para que recordemos que somos solo uno. Nos necesitamos mutuamente. Y creo que la intencionalidad en reconocer que algunos grupos son olvidados. Como la historia de los negros, es un recordatorio para que nos recordemos a nosotros mismos. A reorientarnos. A corregirnos a nosotros mismos.

La segunda cosa que me parece importante es que somos mejores cuando conocemos nuestra historia. Y en este joven país nuestro hay algo de historia que es mejor cuando entendemos las intenciones que hay detrás de esa historia. Por ejemplo, la doctrina del descubrimiento es algo de lo que no sabemos mucho. En la iglesia episcopal lo hacemos. Tenemos todas las denominaciones que salieron y confesaron por las formas en que nos hemos “beneficiado” de esta doctrina del descubrimiento

Era una doctrina secular, pero estaba avalada por la iglesia. Concedido que no era la iglesia episcopal la que lo avalaba, pero nosotros, en ese sentido de la palabra éramos cómplices. ¿y por qué es importante? Es importante porque cuando aplicamos la teología que sugiere que algunas vidas son más importantes y más valiosas que otras, esa ideología, tiene implicación. Y creo que ahí es donde los problemas de discriminación racial, de género, de orientación, todo cae en forma de dominó a partir de ese núcleo de mentira.

Y por eso considero que cuando celebramos el mes de la historia afroamericana, nos da la oportunidad de entender mejor nuestra historia y de encontrar maneras de no repetir las mentiras. Repetir cosas que no son de dios. En otras palabras, como iglesia, tenemos que salir de la religiosidad impía. Y es una cuestión de la mente, de cómo conocemos las cosas.

Así que cuando miramos las enseñanzas de Jesús, recordamos que Jesús trataba de ayudarnos a entender nuestro ser completo y que no tenemos que hacerlo a costa de los demás. En palabras de orden, no tengo que sentirme mejor porque otra persona sea menos que yo.

Estoy familiarizado con el sistema de castas en la india, y eso es un sistema. Es un sistema que afecta a la mente, y luego afecta a la política, a las prácticas, y luego se forma la cultura, y luego se mantiene.

Así que, al participar en el mes de la historia afroamericana, espero que podamos prestar atención a algunas de las formas en las que podemos transformarnos, y a los lugares en los que tenemos que confesar, y reconocer nuestros comportamientos y políticas cómplices con cosas que no afirman la humanidad de todas las personas.

Es una oportunidad para reconocer que somos seguidores de Jesús. En palabras de la gran Verna Dozier, que fue una laica negra estadounidense de la iglesia episcopal. Verna fue bastante elocuente al ayudarnos a entender que al final del día no somos sólo adoradores de Jesús, somos seguidores. Y cuanto más podamos seguir las enseñanzas de Jesús, mejor seremos como iglesia, y más impacto podremos tener en nuestro mundo en general.

El mundo tiene ganas de reconocer que no somos “nosotros y ellos”. En realidad, somos mejores cuando somos uno. Pero se necesita mucho esfuerzo, se necesita valor. Se necesita visión. Y rezo para que avancemos en esa dirección paso a paso, persona a persona.

Así que bendiciones al participar en el mes de la historia afroamericana, y que sea una experiencia transformadora para todos nosotros en nuestro interior. ¡Cuídense!



Leadership Workshop Series 2022

Christmas Message from Bishop Singh


Love came down at Christmas. Love all, lovely love divine. Love was born at Christmas, star and angel gave the sign. Beautiful words from Christina Rosetti, reminding us of the beauty of Christmas which combines the deep vulnerability that God would come and become like us. 

My first experience as a priest of Christmas was in a very remote village in South India and the only place that we could meet on that dark, starlit night was in a cattle shed. And so there we were, sitting among the animals with the smells and everything that goes with being in a cattle shed. 

It reminded me of how deeply God loves us. That God would choose to become dirty and vulnerable and to communicate this love. 

The second thing that stands out for me in this love is the deep trust that God has – that we will take care of each other. God became a human being in the form of a baby entrusted to human hands: Mary’s, Joseph’s, yours, mine – that we will take care of each other, especially the vulnerable, the lonely, the elderly, the refugee, the one who doesn’t agree with us politically. Let us trust again and again, wisely, but trust again. 

And finally, it takes agency for us to actually translate these beautiful concepts of vulnerability and trust. And so I invite you to appreciate the essence of Christmas by reaching out and acting out in love, in great vulnerability, and trust so that you may be a channel of love in a real way wherever you are. 

I look forward to coming to you as your bishop provisional and wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a blessed journey that we will engage together with Jesus walking beside us and perhaps creating a new thing by the Spirit’s leading. 

In my encounters with you, I have seen you always hold your palm up and every time somebody did that to give me directions, I took that as a sign of blessing. So the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you now and always. Amen. 


El amor bajó en la Navidad. Ama a todos, amor divino encantador. El amor nació en la Navidad, la estrella y el ángel dieron la señal. Las hermosas palabras de Christina Rosetti, nos recuerdan la belleza de la Navidad que combina la profunda vulnerabilidad de que Dios vendría y llegaría a ser como nosotros.

Mi primera experiencia como sacerdote de la Navidad fue en un pueblo muy remoto en el sur de la India y el único lugar que pudimos encontrarnos en esa noche oscura y estrellada fue en un cobertizo de ganado. Y ahí estábamos, sentados entre los animales con los olores y todo lo que conlleva estar en un cobertizo de ganado.

Me recordó cuán profundamente Dios nos ama. Que Dios eligiera ensuciarse y volverse vulnerable y comunicar este amor.

La segunda cosa que se destaca para mí en este amor es la profunda confianza que Dios tiene: que nos cuidaremos unos a otros. Dios se convirtió en un ser humano en la forma de un bebé confiado a manos humanas: María, José, la tuya, la mía, que nos cuidaremos unos a otros, especialmente los vulnerables, los solitarios, los ancianos, los refugiados, el que no está de acuerdo con nosotros políticamente. Confiemos una y otra vez, sabiamente, pero confiemos de nuevo.

Y finalmente, se necesita de agencia para que realmente traduzcamos estos hermosos conceptos de vulnerabilidad y confianza. Y por eso los invito a apreciar la esencia de la Navidad al llegar y actuar con amor, en gran vulnerabilidad y confianza para que puedan ser un canal de amor de una forma real dondequiera que estén.

Espero venir a ustedes como su obispo provisional y les deseo una Feliz Navidad, un Próspero Año Nuevo y un bendito viaje que emprenderemos junto con Jesús caminando a nuestro lado y tal vez creando algo nuevo por la guía del Espíritu.

En mis encuentros con usted, los he visto siempre levantar la palma de la mano y cada vez que alguien hacía eso para darme instrucciones, lo tomaba como una señal de bendición. Así que la bendición de Dios Todopoderoso, el Padre, el Hijo y el Espíritu Santo, estén entre ustedes y permanezcan con ustedes ahora y siempre. Amén.

Preparing for the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church: An Invitation from the Deputation Chairs

The General Convention normally meets every three years and is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. It is composed of the House of Deputies, with nearly 900 clergy and lay deputies elected from the church’s 109 dioceses and area missions, and the House of Bishops, with over 200 active and retired bishops. 

Are you curious about what happens when the General Convention legislative committees hold open hearings to discuss proposed legislation affecting the entire church?

Have you ever wanted to give direct input into The Episcopal Church’s legislative process but couldn’t attend the whole convention?

Deputy Elizabeth Jordan poses for photo representing her home congregation, St. Paul’s, Flint, on the floor of the House of Deputies at the 79th General Convention in Austin, TX.

In preparation for the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2022, the process has been revised to allow for greater direct participation in the legislative process from the wider church from home. 

The business of the convention take the form of resolutions that must be passed by both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops in order to be adopted. Resolutions come to the convention from the taskforces and committees that operate between conventions as well as from bishops, dioceses, provinces, and deputies. <THIS IS WHERE I”LL PLACE THE “KEEP READING” LINK>

After their initial submission, resolutions are assigned to relevant legislative committees composed of deputies and bishops. These committees study the proposed legislation and make modifications as needed. The committees also hear public testimony on all resolutions before they come to the convention for futher discussion and vote. The legislative committees are required to hold at least one public hearing on each resolution at which anyone is allowed to “testify” or provide input to the committee.

In previous years, legislative committees did not begin meeting until gathered on-site for the General Convention, requiring speakers to be physically present to provide their perspective to the committee. This time around, the process has changed such that legislative committees began meeting online in November – nine months before the official start of the 80th General Convention, July 7-14, 2022. Online public legislative hearings will begin as early as mid-February 2022. 

In addition to increasing access to the process for the wider church, by holding hearings online ahead of the convention, the time spent on the ground in Baltimore will be shorter and at a reduced cost from prior conventions. 

The elected deputations of Eastern and Western Michigan have begun meeting monthly to build relationships with one another and monitor legislation. We will be tracking the hearings and testifying to specific areas of interest and expertise. We strongly encourage our wider diocese to take advantage of this unique access to the legislative process by observing the hearings and testifying if you wish. 

Please note that all matters of legislative committee meetings are subject to the rules established by that particular House (House of Bishops Rules and House of Deputies Rules). Prior to open legislative hearings, committee meetings remain open to non-committee members to observe. Requests must be submitted at least two business days ahead of the meeting and observers must agree to a code of conduct in order to participate.  

Several of our deputation members are serving on committees during the General Convention: 

  • The Rev. Jennifer Adams (Grace, Holland) – Chair, Ministry
  • The Rev. Brian Coleman (St. Thomas, Battle Creek) – Stewardship & Socially Responsible Investing
  • Anne Davidson (St. Mark’s, Coldwater) – Chair, Certification of Minutes
  • Bill Fleener, Jr. (St. David’s, Lansing) – Program, Budget & Finance
  • Dr. Elizabeth Jordan (St. Paul’s, Flint) – Vice Chair, Ecumenical & Interreligious Relations
  • The Rev. Pamela Lenartowicz (St. Andrew’s, Gaylord) – Rules of Order
  • Ellen McVey (St. John’s, Midland) – Sexual Harassment/Safeguarding
  • Carol Moggo (St. Francis, Grayling) – Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation
  • The Rev. William Spaid (Kalamazoo) – Constitution and Canons
  • The Rev. Canon Michael Spencer (Dio Staff, Grand Blanc) – Dispatch of Business

As the chairs of your deputations to General Convention, we sincerely hope that you will take advantage of this unique opportunity available to the wider church to observe and participate in the legislative process.  Also, if you have questions about the process or anything else related to General Convention, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Ellen McVey (St. John’s, Midland)
Deputation Chair,
The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan    

Bill Fleener, Jr. (St. David’s, Lansing)
Deputation Chair,
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan