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.

DATE & LOCATION

October 1, 2023
2-5pm

Potter Park Zoo
1301 S Pennsylvania Ave
Lansing, MI 48912

potterparkzoo.org

REGISTRATION

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.

DATE & LOCATION

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
campchickagami.org/retreats

REGISTRATION

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:

Initial Steps in the Title IV Investigation

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Thank you for the support and care you have shown us and one another over the last several days, as our dioceses have stepped into a sensitive situation along with our bishop. We write today with an update on the progress of the Title IV process and to underscore some important understandings about this unique status.

First, an update. The comprehensive psychological and alcohol evaluation that the Presiding Bishop has requested and that has been readily accepted by Bishop Singh has been scheduled and will take place the week of July 17th with a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians. This is an important step in further information gathering and will give us an accurate portrayal of the bishop’s current mental health, any concern for addictive behaviors, and more. The bishop’s schedule will be cleared and rearranged in order to give time and space for this intense examination. Additionally, the Presiding Bishop has assigned an intake officer for this matter. She will facilitate the intake process and manage this case. We are pleased with the swiftness at which these steps are taking place.

We also want to articulate some of the ways in which this unfolding situation is unique, especially the ways in which it is different from our previous experience of bishop discipline.

  • Bishop Singh is voluntarily participating in a Title IV process in light of the accusations made against him by his sons through social media and email. Typically, a Title IV process would be imposed on a bishop by the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development in response to an official complaint filed with an intake officer.
  • At this point in the process, the intake officer is gathering information and assessing the allegations to determine if the situation rises to the level of a Title IV offense. Typically, a Title IV process at this intake stage would not be announced publicly until and unless offenses were officially identified by the Intake Officer and forwarded to the Reference Panel. Because of the public and targeted nature of the accusations, it was important to Bishop Singh and your Standing Committee Presidents that we talk openly and transparently about how the dioceses and church respond to such a serious matter, keeping you updated as we move along and respond to the process.
  • Bishop Singh has not been suspended or restricted from ministry and continues with his normal schedule and activities, including visitations. Typically, restrictions would be instituted if the bishop under Title IV had acknowledged guilt (our previous experience) or if individuals or the church were in immediate harm.

This website is a resource to understand the Title IV process in The Episcopal Church.

After the intake process is complete, the intake officer will submit her report to the Reference Panel, articulating whether she recommends proceedings based on the information gathered. If it is determined that the alleged offenses would constitute a Title IV matter, we will move forward accordingly, aligned with our Episcopal Church canons, our careful stewardship of our faith communities, and with priority for the continuing vital and transformational mission and ministry of our partnering dioceses.

Bishop Singh has recorded a message to the dioceses, an update on his process, and personal reflection. We invite you to hear directly from our bishop:

Please continue to hold our dioceses in prayer: Bishop Singh and his family, the Joint Standing Committees, our joint staff, and one another. We have traveled far together over the last three years of partnership, through moments of deep challenge and moments of vibrant, Christ-centered ministry. Through all we’ve experienced together, we have grown in beloved community, in the healthy and balanced leadership of all orders, and in our trust and reliance on one another. This movement continues. This season is another challenge; one we will meet with compassion, sensitivity, and an ear toward the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Please direct any questions about this process to info@eastmich.org or info@edwm.org. They will be answered or directed to the appropriate place.

Yours in Christ,

Barbara 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

Discernment Weekend

Take a step in exploring how God may be calling you

Have you ever felt a nagging deep inside, wondering about whether you may be called to ordained ministry? Have you been fighting that feeling? Have others in your life told you you should consider becoming a deacon or priest? Are you interested in exploring a call to ordained ministry?

Then this is the weekend for you.

The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, in collaboration with the Academy for Vocational Leadership and the Iona Collaborative from the Seminary of the Southwest, is extending an invitation to come together for a weekend of discernment. This event is a first step into considering formal discernment for Holy Orders and is open to all.

Our retreat, which will include both time in plenary and discussion, gathers at 5:30pm for dinner on Friday, August 11th and concludes following lunch on Sunday, August 13th.

Questions about this event? Please contact the Rev. Canon Tracie Little, Canon for the Southern Collaborative and Adult Formation, at 810-300-9177 or tlittle@eastmich.org.

DATE & LOCATION

August 11-13, 2023
Arrival: Friday, 5:30pm
Departure: Sunday, about 1pm

St. Francis Retreat Center
703 E. Main Street
Dewitt, MI 48820
www.stfrancis.ws

REGISTRATION

Participants are asked to cover the cost of their room, $98. All other costs and materials are covered by the dioceses.

Please register for the Discernment Weekend by July 31st.

Academy for Vocational Leadership Academic Year 2023-24

Applications Open for Academic Year 2023-24

Postulants ready to begin formation for Holy Orders or lay people seeking intensive theological learning may now apply to join the Academy for Vocational Leadership for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Academy for Vocational Leadership is our three-year, bi-diocesan program of preparation for Holy Orders. Originally founded in its current iteration in 2015, the Academy is one of over 34 diocesan schools in The Episcopal Church forming leaders as part of the Iona Collaborative of the Seminary of the Southwest (SSW) in Austin, TX. All academic classes are developed and taught remotely by SSW professors with support from local faculty. Additional practical classes are taught by local practitioners and experts.

On June 15th, a notification went out from Bishop Singh stating that “our dioceses form priests through a diversity of paths by seriously considering every discernment as unique. Therefore, this fall, our dioceses will send candidates for priestly formation to residential seminaries, hybrid seminaries, and the Academy for Vocational Leadership. This will add an intentional step to the ordination process in Western Michigan.” Therefore, postulants seeking ordination as vocational deacons and priests from both Eastern and Western Michigan may apply.

The Academy is also open to lay people not pursuing ordination but desiring in-depth and intense theological learning for their own spiritual growth and vocation.

Please complete the attached application paperwork and return it by July 31, 2023. Once we receive and review your application, you will receive the “Summer Reading” homework along with instructions for completion.

Please note that participation in this program requires a basic understanding of technology, including the use of Zoom, accessing online password-protected platforms, word processing, and submitting papers online.

Questions about this offering? Please contact the Rev. Canon Tracie Little, Canon for the Southern Collaborative and Adult Formation, at 810-300-9177 or tlittle@eastmich.org.

SCHEDULE & LOCATIONS

All in-person weekends begin with dinner on Friday evening at 5:30pm and conclude by 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

August 11-13 – Opening Retreat, St. Francis Center

September 8-10 – St. Francis Retreat Center

October 13-15 – Zoom

November 17-19 – Zoom

December 8-10 – St. Francis Retreat Center

January 5-7 – St. Francis Retreat Center

February 9-11 – St. Francis Retreat Center

March 8-10 – Zoom

April 5-7 – St. Francis Retreat Center

May 3-5 – St. Francis Retreat Center

June 7-9 – St. Francis Retreat Center

LOCATION FOR IN-PERSON SESSIONS

 
St. Francis Retreat Center
703 E. Main Street
Dewitt, MI 48820
www.stfrancis.ws

PAYMENT & APPLICATION

Tuition for the Academy is $4,300 per year, with one half due by November 1st and the remaining due by April 1, 2024. Tuition includes class materials as well as housing and meals at the retreat center. Text books will be an extra expense.

For inquiries about diocesan scholarship funds, please contact Canon Tracie Little at either tlittle@eastmich.org or tlittle@edwm.org.

The application deadline is July 31, 2023.

Information from the Standing Committee Presidents, Bishop Provisional

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,

Barbara Ilkka

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

Dear Friends,

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.

Please contact info@eastmich.org or info@edwm.org with any questions or concerns. Your questions will either be addressed directly or pointed toward the appropriate party.

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


Bishop Provisional
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan

A Personal Announcement from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

While we celebrate Pride Month and all the joys of loving relationships, I share a bit of news about my own journey and ask for your prayers.

It brings me great joy to share with you that, in the last year, I have reconnected with an old friend from seminary. With the support of our Presiding Bishop and the Standing Committees of our dioceses, Ato and I became engaged last year over the Christmas holidays, and will be wed later this August when I am in India! I am glad to share more about our journey of reconnecting in the video below.

I must also address a painful part of this journey with you. This step forward in my life has created some conflict within my family, especially with my two sons, who are expressing anger on social media and by email. The divorce from two and a half years ago has been a painful transition and this pain has developed further as I moved into a new relationship. As a father, I love them and have worked with them, and will continue to invite them to address this pain and disappointment with me in a safe, therapeutic setting when they are ready. I want you to know that the Presiding Bishop’s office has been attending to this matter with the boys and my ex-spouse and has been in contact with them and with me over the last year. I am attentive to communicating with and responding to the PB’s office in every way as they monitor this tender family situation.

I ask your prayers for my former spouse and our children, especially during this painful time. I also ask for your prayers for Ato and me as we marry this summer and work through a long visa process.

I invite you to get in touch with Canon Katie Forsyth if you have any questions. She can be reached at kforsyth@eastmich.org and kforsyth@edwm.org.

Blessings to you and gratitude for the love modeled to us by Jesus Christ!

Prayerfully,

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

Formation in our Dioceses

Dear Saints,

Greetings in this season of Pentecost, discerning and inviting leaders with multiple gifts of the Spirit among us!

October 27 and 28, we will gather in Saginaw for our Fourth Joint Convention as Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan! I am excited about the opportunity to delight in one another, to pray, worship, learn, break bread, address concerns, conduct business, laugh, and look ahead to the possibilities God calls and presents to us! I thank you for giving me the privilege of serving as your Bishop Provisional and friend!

I am curious about helping nurture a world transformed in which all God’s children are unconditionally welcomed, cared for, and loved. I look forward to discerning how we, individually and collectively as a church, nurture Christ’s call to proclaim and embody God’s boundless love for all creation. I am especially thrilled about our theme for this year’s convention, Collaborative, Innovative, and Courageous discipleship! This theme is derived from our emerging mission and vision identified by our Building Bridges leaders based on what they’ve heard from the wider dioceses in their listening process. I love these clear, simple, and bold marks of discipleship!

As I visit the various outposts of mission and ministry in our two dioceses, I am struck by how we already practice these marks. I am also struck by the multiple ways we relate to one another in this Season of Practice. Most of this is good and life-giving. We do have some nervous patches. In my time with you, I have at different times heard that Eastern or Western Michigan was “driving the bus.” In all honesty, sharing drivers is not a bad thing as long as we are traveling toward God’s future and not in circles.

We are moving through discernment and building consensus in some sensitive areas. One such area is the formation of our priests, specifically as they are formed outside of legacy seminary models. Here is where we have reached some clarity: over the past months, we have had many substantive and candid conversations. Prior to our pivot to organizing as “collaboratives,” I spent time with every Clericus (clergy small group) in Western Michigan to understand hopes and concerns. I heard common refrains about areas of import, such as immersion in liturgical formation, regular corporate worship, and the earnest cautionary note about creating a two-tier system of priests. We noted that within the recent history of priestly formation in Western MIchigan, there have been a variety of models engaged. We also discussed the changing church and our need for diverse formation opportunities to best support emerging congregational needs in our various contexts, blended or bi-vocations, and the ministry of all the baptized.

I have considered all the canonical requirements of pedagogical areas and the future thriving of our clergy leaders. After much discernment and according to the authority granted by the canons of The Episcopal Church, I have decided to formally honor what has already been true in practice: that our dioceses form priests through a diversity of paths by seriously considering every discernment as unique. Therefore, this fall, our dioceses will send candidates for priestly formation to residential seminaries, hybrid seminaries, and the Academy for Vocational Leadership (learn more – Eastern MI and Western MI). This will add an intentional step to the ordination process in Western Michigan. Rather than add to the plate of the current COM, I have called upon a small group of senior clergy to help me discern the best formation path for each postulant who is ready for formation according to the requirements stipulated in our canons.

In keeping with this clarity, I will also appoint and commission a bi-diocesan board to help advise and oversee the Academy.

The Advisory Board will include the following leaders:

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

The Rev. Alicia Hager
Grace, Holland

The Rev. David Vickers
St. Paul’s, Greenville

The Rev. Pat Vinge
St. Martin of Tours, Kalamazoo

The Rev. Sue Colavincenzo, Co-Chair
St. Dunstan’s Davison

Deb Blackhurst
St. John’s, Midland

Beckett Leclaire
St. John’s, Dryden

The Rev. Nancy Mayhew
St. Alban’s, Bay City

 

Our chancellor, Bill Fleener, Jr., and I, as your bishop, will serve as ex-officio members. In addition, each Commission on Ministry will appoint one liaison. Eastern Michigan’s COM has appointed the Rev. Anna Leigh Kubbe and Western Michigan’s COM has appointed the Rev. Jay Johnson, Ph.D. (All Saints, Saugatuck). I am grateful for their willingness to serve at this time in a significant and strategic capacity!

The Advisory Board will report to the bishop, and we will have a robust opportunity to continue forming excellent and relevant priests, deacons, and lay leaders who will lead us into God’s future!

I also want to let you know that we will make the following changes to the priestly formation track in the Academy:

  • A formal process to engage and evaluate field education in the classroom.
  • An expectation to complete a substantive Clinical Pastoral Education experience
  • A requirement for students to complete the General Ordination Exams (GOEs) while allowing for remedial work for those who do not score proficient in particular areas.

Additionally, we will be searching for a co-director to serve with the Rev. Canon Tracie Little, D.Min., starting as soon as possible. As your Bishop Provisional, I am happy to report that the leaders directly involved in such matters are of one mind in this decision that will significantly and positively influence our future as a church. Don’t hesitate to contact me or one of them through my assistant (Angela Krueger, akrueger@eastmich.org) if you have questions or concerns.

Our diversified approach to formation, among other things, will provide a variety of leadership styles for our changing church in a changing world with room to address ongoing changes thoughtfully, promptly, and contextually in the future. Regarding forming priests, it is our opportunity to support their growth, more fully engage this vibrant conversation happening in the wider Church, and help our congregations thrive in a changing world. This significant need has also prompted the formation of the College for Congregational Development under the new directorship of the Rev. BJ Heyboer.

Beloved, the good news is that God is raising leaders who discern a call to holy orders. Right now, about thirty-five people are discerning a call to become deacons or priests in our church from both our dioceses. This reality is unprecedented in the recent history of our dioceses, and we are grateful to the Holy Spirit for this bountiful blessing!

These days, I have become fond of saying, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Pentecost!”

Peace,


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

MORE ON THE CURRICULUM AT THE ACADEMY

The Academy for Vocational Leadership, our bi-diocesan school of formation, is part of the Iona Collaborative, over 34 dioceses forming leaders for holy orders with the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Click here to learn more about the Iona Collaborative.

If you’d like to learn more about the extent of the classes offered through the Collaborative — courses that each student has access to and that the Academy uses as we build the curriculum each year — please click here.

The Iona Collaborative have developed what they call the “matrix” – one for priests and one for deacons. This details the skills that we develop through formation and indicates how we might expect a student to progress in the various skill levels. The faculty at the Academy use the matrix to help design lesson plans that include specific tools to help develop particular skills. A student evaluation is available to help assess how each student is embodying the skills.