Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As your Standing Committee Presidents, we write to share information about a sensitive situation taking place in our dioceses, with our bishop provisional.
Several months ago, the bishop shared with the Standing Committees that, after learning about his new relationship, his sons had reached out to the Presiding Bishop expressing hurt around the dissolution of the previous marriage and some internal family dynamics. We were aware that the Presiding Bishop’s Office was going to be in touch with the boys and his ex-wife to respond pastorally. In the last week, this situation has escalated as his sons have shared their concerns more broadly.
We feel that Bishop Prince has been transparent with us in raising this awareness and in seeking appropriate next steps with our churchwide processes. We invite you to read the message below from Bishop Singh. We welcome the next steps that are to be taken and look forward to a resolution.
Our dioceses are resilient partners; focused on mission! We are grateful to serve.
Yours in Christ,
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern Michigan
The Rev. Randall Warren, D.Min.
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Dioceses of Western Michigan
As I wrote on Friday, after two and half years post-divorce, I have moved into a new relationship. Unfortunately, this has created a hurt-filled and harmful reaction within my family, now in a public way. Over last week and weekend, my sons have published letters with some serious allegations against me, posting that letter to social media and sending it directly by email to several of our congregations.
First, I want you to know that I am deeply embarrassed and this has been extremely painful. Divorce is messy and mine was no exception. While we separated amicably at that time, it was not without years of spousal conflict and not without some time spent in family therapy. It has not been a simple process since. I have spent quite a bit of time attempting to rebuild the bonds of trust between sons and father since splitting from my former spouse.
Recognizing that one of the areas they feel harmed is the lack of privacy afforded to a family when one parent is a bishop, I am conscious of striking a balance between protecting what privacy can yet be afforded to them and to us, and with responding to these allegations transparently and fully for the dioceses I have been called to serve; dioceses that have a recent experience of trauma related to bishop misconduct. I recognize this dynamic is at play here, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for it.
With the Standing Committee Presidents and Chancellor Fleener, I have been in conversation with the Presiding Bishop’s Office over the last week related to this particular effort and for several months previous, when this was first understood to be a family conflict. With some new clarity and for appropriate and necessary transparency, I want to address a few points in the letter and update you on what’s next for me and for us.
- Over the past few months, I have invited my sons to dive into these sensitive family matters in a therapeutic setting. My older son was willing to do one session before requesting to discontinue due to his tinnitus. My younger son said he was not ready to do this work. I have been in solo therapy on and off since 2003 and continue to meet regularly with my therapist as well as with two spiritual directors – this is advice I give to all clergy.
- In response to these allegations, I have encouraged the Presiding Bishop’s Office to officially open a Title IV investigation, a process to determine the veracity of the points and to determine appropriate actions. There should be no sense that these concerns are casually dismissed. The Presiding Bishop will appoint a separate intake officer to facilitate this process. From my vantage point, an official Title IV process is the appropriate way to clear these painful allegations. As part of this, I have offered to submit myself for comprehensive psychological and alcohol evaluation by a clinical professional. By taking my sons’ concerns seriously, I hope that this will keep open the possibility of reconciliation.
- The Presiding Bishop’s Office has not called for a suspension or restriction on ministry. I will, however, take a week’s break to do the clinical evaluation, and will go on a reflective retreat during the week of July 4th. I will miss attending the Episcopal Youth Event with our remarkable young leaders and am grateful for our youth director’s blessing to take this time.
- I will continue to be in conversation with the Presiding Bishop and our diocesan leaders to keep them apprised of this process and to check in along the way. It is my firm belief and hope that the investigation will determine that I have not broken my vows to the church and my adherence to the canons.
Again, Eastern and Western Michigan, I am sorry. I am sorry for the impact this has on our dioceses. I am here to serve Christ in this church, not to distract. I am so encouraged and hope-filled for our dioceses and for our ministry together. Amazing things are happening. Our formation – spiritually, vocationally, developmentally – amongst all orders is in focus. Our collaborations are growing and deepening in mission-oriented, relational ways. Our leaders are growing in their confidence and expertise, strengthening our church to welcome, invite, and lead in all corners.
I am grateful for you. Know that you are in my prayers every day. I ask that you keep me in yours.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan