Celebrating 50 Years of Change – Women in Ministry

The 2023 Joint Gathering of the DOK and ECW

The Daughters of the King and Episcopal Church Women invite all women across Eastern and Western Michigan to join them for their special 2023 joint gathering, taking place on Saturday, November 4th at St. John’s, Mount Pleasant. You do not need to be a current member of the DOK or ECW to join this exciting gathering.

They will be screening The Philadephia Eleven, a new documentary telling the story of the first women to be ordained in The Episcopal Church as we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this transformational occasion next year in 2024.

A panel discussion will follow with several clergy women sharing their experiences, including some who were ordained in the early days of women’s ordination. Together, we will consider our experiences in the church as women, the historic and current challenges, and the changes we’ve experienced over the last fifty years since the historic ordination in Philadelphia. A Q&A will follow the panel discussion.

The Order of the Daughters of the King is an order for women in The Episcopal Church and through our ecumenical relationships. They focus on prayer and service.

The Episcopal Church Women empower women in the church to carry out Christ’s work throughout the world, especially in the work of healing, justice, and peace, and upholding the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion.

Questions about this event?
Please contact one of the following: Jeaninne Totzke at jtotzke@berriencounty.org or Marilee Roth at mjrothfarm@gmail.com.



November 4, 2023

St. John’s Episcopal Church
206 W Maple St.
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858



The planning team secured a block of rooms (single, queen-size beds) at a discounted rate of $159 for those requiring or preferring overnight accommodations on Friday night. Reservations for the hotel must be made separately from the registration for the event.

Comfort Inn & Suites and Conference Center – Mount Pleasant
2424 S. Mission Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

The deadline to reserve a hotel room is October 3rd. To reserve, call 989-772-4000 or visit their website at this link.


The cost to attend is $20 per person, payable online or by check at the door.

The deadline to register is October 15th.

Applications Open for Official Youth Presence


On behalf of the youth formation team of the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, I write to invite young people from our dioceses to apply to serve as part of the Official Youth Presence at General Convention next summer.

Episcopal teens who will be ages 16 to 19 in June 2024 are invited to apply to become part of the 81st General Convention’s Official Youth Presence, a competitive and impactful experience in our church. Members of the Official Youth Presence have seat and voice on the floor of the House of Deputies and can testify at hearings held before and during General Convention.

“I am delighted to invite young Episcopalians to apply for the Official Youth Presence,” said House of Deputies President Julia Ayala Harris. “The voices, experiences, and viewpoints of our young people are invaluable as we seek to discern God’s calling for our church. Through the Official Youth Presence, we create opportunities for our youth to engage actively with legislative committees, learn about the governance and polity of The Episcopal Church, and build relationships across the church.”

Up to two youth from each of the church’s nine provinces will be selected to participate in the Official Youth Presence from June 20-28, 2024, in Louisville, Kentucky. Youth who are selected must also attend orientation and training in Louisville from February 16-19, 2024. The Episcopal Church budget covers travel, lodging, and meals for those attending orientation and General Convention.

The General Convention, which normally meets every three years, is The Episcopal Church’s governing body. It is composed of the House of Deputies, with nearly 900 clergy and lay deputies elected from the church’s 108 dioceses and two area missions, and the House of Bishops—with around 140 active and retired bishops.

Applications and nomination forms—in English and Spanish—can be found online, as well as additional criteria and information for potential applicants. The deadline for applications and nominations is November 17, 2023. All applicants must identify a non-family member nominator who can complete an online essay nomination form by November 17, 2023.

Questions about the application process should be directed to Myra Garnes, Officer for Youth Ministries for The Episcopal Church. If we can support you locally, please contact me at the information listed below.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Radhajyoti Kaminski
Regional Youth Missioner – Northern Collaborative
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan
rkaminski@eastmich.org | rkaminski@edwm.org

Ecumenical Endeavors

A number of important dialogue meetings are set to occur this fall. These dialogues will serve as important stepping stones for resolutions that will be brought to the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church in June of next year. The Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, which will compose the proposed resolutions coming out of these dialogues, will meet in Baltimore in October.

The United Methodist-Episcopal Church Dialogue will meet in Atlanta in November to discuss the full communion proposal “A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness.” The United Methodist Church, a world-wide communion, has been split over issues of human sexuality.

The Lutheran-piscopal Coordinating Committee will discuss a proposal for the sharing of deacons between the two denominations, which builds upon the historic full communion agreement between the two denominations, “Called to Common Mission.”

The Presbyterian-Episcopal Church Dialogue will meet this fall to follow up on the 80th General Convention’s reception of the Episcopal-Presbyterian Agreement on Local Sharing of Ministries.

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States of America (ARCUSA) will meet in November via Zoom. The meeting, entitled “A New Journey in Reconciliation,” will focus on ecological, racial, and ecclesiological reconciliation.

The Moravian-Episcopal Coordinating Committee will meet in September. In addition:

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) met in Geneva, Switzerland (June 21-27), marking the first central committee meeting under the newly installed General Secretary Jerry Pillay. The meeting also commemorated the WCC’s 75th anniversary with a special worship event.

The United Church of Christ (UCC) met for its 2023 General Synod in Indianapolis (June 30-July 4). The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson was elected as the denomination’s general minister and president, making her not only the first woman, but the first Black woman to hold the title in the UCC’s history. Previously, Thompson was both director of Global Ministries and our colleague as an ecumenical and interreligious officer for the UCC.

The Moravian Church’s Northern Province Synod in Bethlehem, PA (which includes congregations in Canada) approved in June, a full communion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada. This
completes the full communion circle with the “Churches Beyond Borders” resolution approved at General Convention last July.

“The Philadelphia Eleven,” a new documentary directed by Margo Guernsey and Nikki Bramley about the first eleven women to be ordained as priests in The Episcopal Church, is set to premiere September 30 at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia (the same church where the eleven ordinations took place in 1974).


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

Bishop Singh Resigns as Bishop Provisional

Please read below for an important update from the Standing Committees and a note from Bishop Singh.

Friends in Christ,

Over the last few months, our dioceses have walked alongside our bishop provisional, the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, as he’s responded to and participated in a Title IV investigation in light of allegations raised this summer by his two sons and ex-wife (click here for a previous communication regarding this case). Following the process set forth in our Episcopal Church canons, our role was to remain neutral and take action should charges and/or actions be brought as a result of the investigation. As Joint Standing Committees, we have been in frequent conversation, monitoring the response and feedback from the dioceses as well as extensive conversation taking place across The Episcopal Church about our Title IV process and approach to bishop discipline.

Yesterday, we were notified by those overseeing the matter that the bishop has been placed on restriction from ministry (click here for yesterday’s notice to the dioceses.)

Our Standing Committee Presidents have met with Bishop Singh and reached a mutual decision: it is time for him to step down as our bishop provisional, allowing him to focus on the next phase of the Title IV process, his family, and his personal well-being, and allowing our dioceses to step ahead in forward-thinking mission together, focused on our collective ministry and ongoing discernment. The bishop’s resignation is effective as of today.

We have been able to identify and address preliminary next steps. Here’s what we anticipate at this moment:

  • Our Joint Standing Committees once again hold the ecclesiastical authority of our dioceses, according to church canon. We are actively identifying an “assisting bishop” to offer pastoral presence for our diocesan and parish leaders on a temporary basis. Assisting bishops are already consecrated bishops (often retired) who take on specific responsibilities for a diocese.
  • At this time, we anticipate calling for a new “bishop provisional,” beginning a search as soon as possible, identifying candidates, conducting interviews with an appointed search committee, and – God willing – facilitating an election next Spring during a special convention, where we are likely to also consider the question of juncture between our dioceses.
  • Regretfully, all upcoming scheduled bishop visitations are canceled. The diocesan office will be in touch to formally communicate this cancellation. If schedules allow, our diocesan canon staff members have indicated a willingness to be present in lieu of an official episcopal visitation, whether celebrating the Eucharist or guest-preaching.
  • The diocesan confirmation scheduled for next Saturday, September 16th in Alpena will take place as scheduled, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) celebrating.

We have scheduled two opportunities to meet via Zoom with parish leaders in light of this news:

  • With Clergy during our already-scheduled All Clergy Call on Tuesday, September 19th at 1pm.
  • With Senior Wardens on Tuesday, September 19th at 7pm. A Zoom link will be sent directly to Senior Wardens separately from this email. This meeting will also be recorded for Senior Wardens unable to attend in real-time.

We prayerfully recognize that this situation is complex and this news will be received in many ways within and beyond our dioceses. We have tred in these waters before. We have learned much from our previous experience of bishop discipline, both about our imperfect and beloved church and about our resilient and courageous dioceses. We have grown in relationship and in trust of one another across our leadership. We have taken on big questions and come out stronger together on the other side. We will address this new challenge with careful stewardship of our body, compassion for one another, and faith in the One who loves us infinitely more than we could ask or imagine.

Please continue to hold our dioceses in prayer – for our leadership and for one another across our geography. And please pray for Bishop Singh: for his journey ahead, for his family, and for a resolution to be reached.

Yours in Christ,

The Standing Committee of Eastern Michigan

Barbara Ilkka
St. John’s, Saginaw

The Rev. Donald Davidson
Resident, Eastern Michigan

Jelecia Geraghty
St. Paul’s, Flint

Neil Hargrave
St. John’s, Dryden

The Rev. Anna Leigh Kubbe
Resident, Eastern Michigan

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

The Standing Committee of Western Michigan

The Rev. Randall Warren, D.Min.
St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo

Martha Bartlett
St. James, Pentwater

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
Grace, Grand Rapids

Fred Skidmore
St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids

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

Dear Friends,

When I started among you over a year and a half ago, I said, “Transitions are us.” I did not expect mine from you to be so soon or this way. It is with a profound sense of sorrow that I resign as bishop provisional of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan.

Throughout my service, I have always sought to lead from a place of moral integrity. The public allegations against me have made it so that is not possible, distracting from the incredible work of these dioceses and the ministry I came to practice among you.

My resignation is not an admission of guilt but intends to remove the distraction from our discernment in these dioceses. I have seen the amazing things you are already doing and see on the horizon amazing opportunities for missional effectiveness through potential juncture. I am sorry for the impact this Title IV situation has had on our work and for any harm this situation may have raised out of past traumas of individuals and communities.

I wish you well as you continue to pursue your discernment in the coming months, led by the Building Bridges team and our wider diocesan leadership! I will pray for you as you journey forward in this Season of Practice.

It has been a privilege to serve among you these nineteen months as a follower of Jesus, the shepherd, and bishop of our souls. I am grateful to the Presiding Bishop and his office, our lay and clergy leaders in ministry here, and our fantastic staff for engaging with me in this privilege and responsibility to serve with you, Eastern and Western Michigan. We have done good work as a team. You are good and faithful people. And while I will not get to the promised land with you, I pray that you will thrive in God’s future with excellent spiritual health, profound wisdom, and renewed joy!

In Paul’s encouragement, “rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” I love you, and may the grace and peace of God abide with you as you grow from strength to strength.

With unwavering devotion to Christ’s reconciling love,

Prince Singh

Title IV Update: Bishop Singh placed on restriction

Friends in Christ,
This afternoon, we were notified by those overseeing the Title IV inquiry into Bishop Singh that he was being placed on immediate restriction from ministry in light of the pending allegations against him. This includes his active ministry amongst us as provisional bishop. This restriction is in effect until further notice.

This news is being disseminated quickly by the Office of Public Affairs for The Episcopal Church in recognition of the uniquely public, online nature of these allegations. We regret that we did not have more time to adequately notify our parish leaders before this wider dissemination.

The Standing Committees will communicate further details of our next steps together via email tomorrow. Please continue to hold our dioceses, our leadership, and one another in your prayers.

Tonight’s pre-convention meeting for the Diocese of Western Michigan will proceed as planned. Acknowledging the difficulty of the circumstance, this meeting will be primarily focused on the agenda items related to convention, especially those essential to the continued work of this annual season and its canonical timeline. The communication sent tomorrow will include details about gatherings for clergy and senior wardens to discuss the Title IV matter.

Yours in Christ,

Barb Ilkka
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan

The Rev. Randall Warren, D.Min.
President of the Standing Committee
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan

Sunday Afternoons October through mid-March 2024

Episcopal young people are invited to join regional youth missioners, the Rev. Beckett Leclaire (Deacon – St. John’s, Dryden; Youth Missioner Admin) and the Rev. Joel Turmo (Rector – St. Timothy’s, Richland; Youth Missioner for the Southern Collaborative) for an opportunity to participate in a free youth-focused, online confirmation class as preparation for diocesan confirmation services next year.

Youth entering 7th-12th grades unable to participate in youth-focused confirmation classes in their home congregation are invited to participate in a weekly one-hour online Zoom class every Sunday afternoon from 4 to roughly 5pm beginning October 1st and running through March 17, 2024. Upon completion of the program, students who feel they are ready to make a mature affirmation of faith may be registered for any diocesan confirmation service.

We encourage the families and faith communities of our students to actively support their student by praying for them, discussing the content of their classes, and by providing logistical support to ensure that students are able to attend and be fully engaged with their classes.

With questions, please contact the Rev. Beckett Leclaire at bleclaire@eastmich.org / bleclaire@edwm.org or the Rev. Joel Turmo at jturmo@eastmich.org / jturmo@edwm.org.


There is no cost to participate in the confirmation classes. Please register before the first class, October 1st.

Zoo Day – Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

October 1, 2023 at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing

Children, youth, and adults of all ages are invited to a bi-diocesan Zoo Day celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint of animals and creation.

Please join us on Sunday, October 1 from 2-5pm at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing for a visit through the zoo, snacks, and a short prayer service celebrating St. Francis and all the animals we love.

Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a reusable water bottle.

Unable to join us in Lansing? Celebrate at home or at your local zoo! The linked resource documents include our short prayer service and ideas and resources for planning your own Zoo Day as a family or congregation.

Questions about this event?
Please contact one of the following bi-diocesan youth missioners: the Rev. Beckett Leclaire at bleclaire@eastmich.org or bleclaire@edwm.org, and the Rev. Radha Kaminski at rkaminski@eastmich.org or rkaminski@edwm.org.


October 1, 2023

Potter Park Zoo
1301 S Pennsylvania Ave
Lansing, MI 48912



This event is offered at no cost for children and youth under 18 years old, subsidized by the Office of Children and Youth Formation. Adults over 18 are $10/person.

Minors must be accompanied and supervised by a participating adult.

Please note: the zoo charges $5 for parking.

The deadline to register is September 29th.

Spiritual Practices in Contemplative Retreat

August 18-20, 2023 at Camp Chickagami

Adults of all genders are invited to join us for several days spent in community, building a closer relationship with God and creation and journeying deeper into our spiritual practices.

God invites us to relationship each and every day. Retreats are a great opportunity to take time apart and disconnect from our everyday lives, connecting with this call to relationship through exploration of spirituality, prayer life, and community. Our retreat is faciliated by a dynamic duo of deacons, the Revs. Anna Leigh Kubbe and Beckett Leclaire.

The schedule for our retreat is flexible with time spent both alone and in group. This weekend was formerly offered as our “Women’s Retreat.”

This retreat’s pricing is a tiered pricing structure beginning at $300. Lodging for this retreat will be in a communal setting assigned by Camp Chickagami staff. If you have requests for cabin-mates please let us know during the registration process.

Questions about this event? Please contact the Rev. Anna Leigh Kubbe at 810-334-3189 or alkubbe43@gmail.com.


August 18-20, 2023
Check-in: Friday, 3-6pm
Check-out: Sunday, Noon

Participants are welcome to linger for the remainder of the day after check-out/departing their cabin.

Camp Chickagami
6952 Kauffman Road
Presque Isle, MI 49777


Registration is offered as tiered pricing and begins at $200 for commuters and $300 for those staying on-site. Participants also have the option to add on an extra night’s stay (without meals).

Click here for a list of retreat FAQs, including recommendations for packing.

The deadline to register is August 10th.

Building Bridges Update from Listening Sessions

Dear Courageous Disciples,

December 2022 through February 2023, the Building Bridges Steering Committee, the group charged with facilitating the discernment process about the future mission and structures of our dioceses, hosted a series of ten listening sessions, both online and in-person at various locations across both dioceses. We learned a lot of valuable information from the comments that you shared about your priorities, what you value about your faith communities, and what issues you believe we need to address as we discern whether or not to pursue juncture (the canonical term for our potential merger).

The Building Bridges Steering Committee tasked our Intentional Internal Conversations sub team to dig into the notes from those sessions and determine if there are any particular themes emerging from your responses to the questions. Some overarching takeaways are:

  • Many of the things you want to see happening are already taking place or are in the works–but you may not be aware of them at the local congregational level.
  • There is a strong desire to work together and the new bi-diocesan “collaboratives” instituted this spring will provide a structure for much of that collaboration.
  • Collaboration to promote lay leadership of congregations and ministries is also a high priority. Our new congregational prayer partner project is an extension of this priority as well as our renewed investment in formation for congregational development!
  • Prioritizing ministry to people in the first third of life is critical–and we continue to find ways to engage this demographic and learn about what is important to them.
  • We need to continue to work on ensuring that information from the diocesan leadership gets to people in our congregations–and that what is happening in our congregations gets back to diocesan leadership and other congregations; we have much to learn from each other.
  • Although Creation Care did not surface in as many comments, that topic is gaining more and more traction–and as we continue to collaborate in Holy Hikes and engage together in the ministry of Plainsong Farm and the Order of Naucratius–we may want to dig more deeply into how we collaborate around this area.
  • The Episcopal Church’s identity around LGBTQ+ inclusion is helping us to grow, and, with that understanding, we can engage people and have a bigger presence in our local communities.
  • Formation of lay people and clergy is highly important, and we need to find new ways to form us as disciples. We recently took a step forward on a common understanding of formation for holy orders.
  • Finding new, authentic ways to worship is also crucial.
  • Regarding justice issues, people like that the dioceses (and the Episcopal Church) stand for something, such as the joint work we did with other faith leaders on addressing gun violence and our work on LGBTQ+ inclusion and safety.
  • Continuing our work on racial reconciliation and healing for past injustices was also emphasized.
  • Finally, there was much concern about how juncture would impact the relationships between the bishop and the local congregations, as well as concern about overworking the staff, although staff have noted that their workload is more manageable with increased collaboration between diocesan leadership bodies.

The Building Bridges team used the themes emerging out of these sessions and from previous listening sessions to develop new mission and vision statements that we can use through this season of practice and to live into as dioceses, whether operating together, separately or something in-between:

Mission Statement
Called by Christ to proclaim and embody God’s boundless love for all creation, we grow:

  • Collaborative communities of faith, walking the journey together;
  • Innovative ministries, stretching beyond our walls;
  • Courageous disciples, striving to transform systems of injustice.

We nurture relentless hope for a world longing for mercy, restoration, and peace.

Vision Statement
A world transformed, in which all God’s children are unconditionally welcomed, cared for, and loved.

These mission and vision statements were presented to and affirmed during a joint meeting of our Diocesan Councils, Standing Committees, and staffs earlier this year.

The three priorities listed under the mission (collaborative communities, innovative ministries, and courageous disciples) will be the basis for goal-setting as the collaboration between the two dioceses continues and will serve as the theme of our upcoming Fourth Joint Diocesan Convention, taking place in Saginaw, October 28-29, 2023.

Thank you for your prayers and your participation in this discernment! We look forward to sharing more with you as convention approaches and invite you to share generously with others in your congregation.

Yours in Christ,

The Internal Conversations Sub-Team
The Building Bridges Steering Committee

The Rev. Janet Gockerman – St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids
Janet Huff-Worvie – St. John the Baptist, Otter Lake
The Rev. Beckett Leclaire – St. John’s, Dryden
Ellen McVey – St. John’s, Midland
Allie Miller – Holy Family, Midland

Support from:
Katie Forsyth – Bi-Diocesan Staff
Katie Ong – Building Bridges Consultant

Season of Practice | A Conversation with our Archdeacons

Earlier this spring, Bishop Singh sat down with the two archdeacons serving Eastern and Western Michigan: the Vens. Linda Crane and Beth Drew. Together, they consider the role of the deacon in our church and in the world, reflect on the ministry happening in Eastern and Western Michigan, and discuss a strengthened diaconate in our dioceses through our Season of Practice.

While watching this long-form video (around 20 minutes) as an individual or in a small group, we invite you to respond to similar questions:

  • How do you feel your call to serve God and the world?
  • What have you learned about ministry from deacons in the church?
  • How have you seen deacons call the church into more proximate, more compassionate ministry in the neighborhood?


Check out previous videos in our ongoing Season of Practice Series: