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