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Autumn 2020 | Issue VII

THE FEAST everyone has a place at the table

GROWING GOOD NEWS

responding to the pandemic with seeds and soil page 08

THE DIOCESES OF EASTERN & WESTERN MICHIGAN

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THE FEAST is a collaborative publication of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. EDITING & DESIGN: Katie Forsyth Canon for Evangelism & Networking kforsyth@eastmich.org | kforsyth@edwm.org ON OUR COVER: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash CONTACT US: The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan 924 N. Niagara Street Saginaw, MI 48602 www.eastmich.org The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan 5347 Clyde Park Avenue SW Wyoming, MI 49509 www.edwm.org

© 2020 The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan


IN THIS

ISSUE 04

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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ENTERING THE CALL

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GROWING GOOD NEWS

When the pandemic hit, congregations dug in to respond with faith.

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A PLACE AT THE TABLE

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INTERFAITH SAGINAW: A BRIDGE TO UNDERSTANDING

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One congregation’s practice of opening their doors and opening their hearts.

In the face of divisiveness, faith communities came together in love.

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CAMP AT HOME

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BOOK REVIEW: BE THE BRIDGE

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OUR YEAR IN REVIEW 2019-20

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LOOKING AHEAD

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POEM: HOW TO BUILD A BRIDGE

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pg. 16


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism & Networking What a year it has been. This time last fall, I was writing my annual letter from the editor as our dioceses were about to embark on the last step of entering into partnership. We were in a time of waiting - waiting to claim our time of intentional collaboration and exploration between our two dioceses. And now, we have a different kind of waiting before us. We wait for a vaccine for COVID-19 - a sign of the end of pandemic protocols and gathering restrictions. We wait for the end of the bishop’s suspension - a period of hard truths, uncoverings, and mutual reconciliation, whatever that may produce on the other end. We wait for an end to violence against our human family, especially an end to white supremacy and the murder of our black and brown siblings at the hands of the state. We have a lot of waiting to do, but that doesn’t mean that we stop building bridges to one another and to our wider communities while we do it. We are an Easter people - we will wait, we will love, and we will celebrate the feast when our waiting is over. In this Autumn 2020 issue of The Feast, we have stories of people 4 | EASTMICH.ORG

across our two dioceses taking on the active work of bridge building in their communities. Some stories come to us from a time before the pandemic shifted the way in which we gather, joining St. Paul’s, Elk Rapids for a Thanksgiving meal and St. John’s, Saginaw for a celebration of community and the many ways in which God’s human family gathers for worship. Some stories in this issue would not exist if not for the pandemic, as leaders adapted to greet a world in need, planting seeds as part of the Good News Gardens cohort or singing silly songs from home, as part of our bi-diocesan Compassion Camp. And some stories imagine what’s ahead - a future in which the church, in light of this season of waiting, turns away from rigidness and fear to a world of holy apocalypse, and a future in which the church reflects the diversity of the whole human family, including standing up for our siblings of color. So stay safe and stay well, my friends. I am glad to wait together in such great company.


THE EPISCOPAL ASSET MAP The Episcopal Asset Map, a joint project of the Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development, began as a disaster preparedness tool, but has become the primary source for “Find-a-Church” engines across many dioceses (including our own!) and the wider Episcopal Church. Folks seeking a community can search by several categories, including outreach and advocacy areas, wider Episcopal networks, and language.

Anyone can submit a suggested edit to update outdated or missing information for your parish. Simply visit your page by clicking on your icon or selecting your parish’s name from the list-view. Then click, “Update this Place”. After you update and submit the new information, it is forwarded to the map administrator for verification before it’s published. Once approved, the information is automatically updated on your diocesan website and at episcopalchurch.org.

REQUEST THE EPISCO-COLORING BOOK! Originally developed for the Diocese of Eastern Michigan as an educational tool around basic church structures and theology, The Episco-Coloring Book is a fun at-home or anywhere resource for all ages and for any diocese. Email mknill@eastmich.org/mknill@edwm.org to request copies; free while supplies last.


In the late spring of this year, I started Sacred Ground (the new anti-racism curriculum from the Episcopal Church) with a group of eight others from the Diocese of Western Michigan.

ENTERING THE CALL by the Rev. Molly Bosscher, with help from Milton Roye

“I can almost see a future where we move toward something different. I can almost see us working on the racism that has afflicted us since the beginning of the American experiment ... Maybe it was because the time has come for change, and we as a society and church are finally willing to enter the call.”

We met for the first session right around the time that George Floyd died, unjustly, in the streets. During our first gathering, we were all asked to “share what we yearned for,” both for our group and for the future. When it was my turn, I responded, “I’m tired and I don’t have hope tonight. I feel like I encounter racism everywhere I look and that nothing is ever going to change.” That evening I wasn’t hopeful. There are many evenings in which I am not hopeful and you can even call me cynical sometimes. For just a minute, let me explain why I often feel this way. We are part of a never ending narrative where unarmed Black men and women are killed in the streets and in their homes at the hands of the state. 46% of Black children live in poverty.1 Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers.2 Black children are far more likely to be disciplined in school (even for the same offenses) as white children.3 A Black person is five times more likely to be stopped without cause by police than a white person.4 One out of three of every Black boys born today is likely to be sentenced to prison at some point in their lifetime, which statistically, is expected to be shorter than their white peers.5 These are not just statistics; in my experience, they are lived out. Before I moved to West Michigan, I’d lived in Richmond, Va., a city where race and racism were 1 http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/index.html%3Fp=4193.html 2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595019/#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20black,in%20the%20District%20of%20Columbia 3 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-children-are-morelikely-to-be-disciplined-than-white-kids-for-the-same-behavior-2019-10-16 4 https://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/ 5 https://eji.org/criminal-justice-reform/?gclid=CjwKCAjwq_D7BRADEiwAVMDdHomo-hjY4x-SESk2LVzrw9st_rUtyUvlYwF0p51AANEUoO3AW7-7QhoCqHQQAvD_BwE Photo by Flickr User How I See Life, Reflection of Stained Glass at Washingotn National Cathedral, 2008.

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Life was hard because my neighbors, the ones who were there before the gentrification, had few resources. My neighbor lost his job because of perceived “disrespect” toward his employer. Disrespect was never his way. He was on disability. He looked 70 even though he was barely 50. He was smart, kind, and the best neighbor I’ll ever have. And he suffered because he was Black and poor. His life was hard, and even though he was joyful, he worried. He worried about money. He worried about his fixed income. He worried about doing the right thing and about having enough food at the end of the month. He embodied what it was like to be a Black man in Richmond. We could say that Michigan isn’t like that, but before we do, we might want to look around just a little. Grand Rapids, my city, is a segregated city. Everywhere I look, I see white people. But the reality

that my neighbor experienced in Richmond, others experience here. The sad truth is that most of the time, there is little or no momentum for change. But this summer, something happened after the death of George Floyd, and sometimes I can almost see a future where we move toward something different. I can almost see us working on the racism that has afflicted us since the beginning of the American experiment. Maybe it’s because we were quarantined, so we had time to care. Maybe it was because we finally realized what was right and we had the time to pursue it. Maybe it was because the time has come for change, and we as a society and church are finally willing to enter the call. We’re all invited into this call, into the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18), that comes directly from God (and the Presiding Bishop’s office!). Do you want to participate? Here are a few things you can do. Read White Fragility (a book for white people about what it means to be white by Robin D’Angelo) or Between the World and Me (a book about what it’s like to be black, written for his son by Ta’Nehisi Coates). Or you could participate in one of the Sacred Ground groups that are just starting up in our two dioceses. Because of the

pandemic, you can even be part of one beyond your church via Zoom. Sacred Ground is deep, excellent, and extensive; everyone who participates will learn and grow. There will be other opportunities to join a group. Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing. We all do it. There are two other things that you can do. Listen deeply and open your heart, especially when your Black friends are talking about their experiences in our world. Believe them, even if it’s not your experience. Listen and don’t tell your friend that they are wrong. Instead, give it time to sit a little. The other piece is to open your heart. Ask God to change you. Ask God to help you to see what it is like to live as a person of color in your community. Ask God to show you. We pray in the Prayers of the People for all who seek God or a deeper knowledge of God, that they may be found by him. When we desire to make things right, to explore our explicit and implicit participation in racism, our God is there to help us. Thus, we must (and I speak to myself here!) have hope and then do our work. +

The Rev. Molly Bosscher is Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids. She loves good conversation about important ideas.

JOIN A SACRED GROUND GROUP! All people of the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan are invited to connect with a group taking on the Sacred Ground conversation together. Participation is a multi-week commitment, with the schedule determined by the participants. Email vambrose@edwm.org to get started.

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always and already present. Indeed, there were the monuments on high pedestals of Confederate heroes. Even the church I served honored Confederate heroes with marble plaques and stained glass windows. In truth, the values of that community were embodied in their monuments. But the real kicker was getting to know my neighbors in my quickly gentrifying neighborhood.


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Marigolds protect the garden at Holy Trinity, Wyoming from deer. Photo courtesy of Margarita Gonzalez.

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“Our food and garden ministries help us to be healers. In this current situation, there’s nothing the world needs more than people active in the healing work of God.” — The Rev. Nurya Love Parish

Victory Gardens ' were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the US during World War I and World War II to supplement rations and boost morale.

In the early days of the pandemic, leaders across the Church were looking at what was happening in their communities - massive job loss, tanking stock market, and very little preparedness - and asking themselves, “how can we use our church assets to support those at greatest risk?” In our little corner of the church, I received a call from Bishop Hougland one day saying, “I think we need to plant victory gardens on all our church lawns.” I replied, “Okay. It’s good we know people who are really great at that.” Twenty miles up the road, the Rev. Nurya Love Parish, co-founder and Executive Director of Plainsong Farm, was having a similar discussion with Jerusalem Greer, the Staff Officer for Church Planting for the Episcopal Church. (By the way, it was Jerusalem that came up with the name, Good News Gardens.) So when I called Nurya saying, “the Bishop wants to plant victory gardens. What do you think?” it felt like a great convergence of energy. “It was kind of this strange time where the church did a little 180 and

was suddenly like, ‘wow, what about agriculture?!’” reflected Parish in an April livestream with Bishop Hougland. Plainsong Farm, in addition to their expertise in growing good food and providing educational and spiritual experiences at the Farm, has been working at the corner of food ministry and church-owned land for years. Their hallmark program in this area, ChurchLands, is an ecumenical initiative to equip leaders charged with care of church-owned land to consider stewarding that land in a way faithful to the Gospel, integrating discipleship, ecology, justice, and health. And so, we dug into what it could mean to invite and support congregations to develop “Victory Gardens” on their church owned land. More specifically, we were asking the question, “How can the church be creative in addressing issues of concern in our contexts around issues of food access and creation care, and especially in light of the ramifications of COVID-19?” In the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, nearly every congregation has some kind of food related ministry, from the Soup Kitchen at St. Andrew’s, Flint, to the breakfast program at Emmanuel, Hastings. There are dozens and dozens of food pantries, free meals, dinner

The seedlings are loaded into the minivan to be delivered to Good News Gardens sites.

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Oakley and Oliver volunteer at the Grace, Port Huron Good News Garden with their grandma and garden coordinator, Jeanette Ettin. Grace’s one-acre growing site was donated by a member of the church, Dick Edie.

churches, and existing gardens across our nearly 100 combined congregations. “It’s just natural for Episcopalians to feed people!,” said Hougland on the April livestream. “Our food and garden ministries help us to be healers. In this current situation, there’s nothing the world needs more than people active in the healing work of God,” responded Parish. And so, congregations across Eastern and Western Michigan were invited to join the pilot cohort of the Good News Gardens Network. Congregations that joined would receive enough seedlings to plant a 75-sq. foot garden. Each week, the folks at Plainsong Farm would offer teaching around growing best practices (with Plainsong cofounder and Farm Manager, Mike

Edwardson) and around theology of creation and food (with Parish and other guests). Each participating congregation was asked to put together a team - a Garden Lead, Communications Lead, and a Staff/Vestry Liaison and were provided with guidelines for safe practices while growing amidst a pandemic. A grant from the Kent County United Way enabled Plainsong to expand the invitation beyond the dioceses, welcoming in ecumenical partners and individual households to the cohort. In total, 20 congregations (17 Episcopal, one ELCA, one CRC, and one RCA), two local nonprofits, and 28 households said “YES!” to this holy experiment. And so, in late May, I found myself hitting the road in a rented Chrysler minivan filled to the brim

with seedlings headed for planting in the garden beds of Episcopal congregations across our state. Over the course of two days, Plainsong seedlings reached folks in Beulah and Benton Harbor and Bay City and beyond. While some in our local Good News Gardens cohort were first time growers, like Grace, Port Huron and St. Timothy’s, Richland, several of the gardens had existed for years, like the garden at St. Dunstan’s, Davison, where master gardener and deacon, the Rev. Tom Smith, had organized the building of 40 raised growing and teaching boxes in 2016. Over the last four years, St. Dunstan’s garden has enabled parishioners and members of the community to utilize their land to grow food for their own families and has supplied fresh produce to two of the church’s primary outreach

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Plainsong Farm is an Episcopal and ecumenical ministry located in Rockford, Michigan. To learn more about the farm and its programs, get information about next year’s Good News Gardens growing season, and to become a supporting member, please visit www.plainsongfarm.com.


initiatives: Life Challenge, an addictions program for men in Flint, and to three of their neighboring low-income retirement communities linked to the church.

to make a simple salad for her family. St. Philip’s Good News Garden had provided about 35 pounds of produce through the baby pantry by early September.

Some congregations, like Grace, Traverse City, are located in a downtown area on tightly packed blocks. Grace’s Good News Garden is located elsewhere, on the land of one of their parishioners, Linda Schubert. The garden grows fresh organic produce to stock the parish food pantry and, in previous years, has served as the site for Grace’s annual Vacation Bible School program. While VBS couldn’t happen this year due to the pandemic, several of the previous participants have come as a family to volunteer and see the farm.

We focus on distribution as well as growing because, “on one hand we have farmers dumping food because the supply chain is broken and on the other, we have people lining up at food pantries because the supply chain is broken.” says Parish. “We focus on this: what does it mean to be a disciple in creation, and how does your ministry connect you to God and to your neighbor?”

One of our primary focuses was in connecting the church garden with the food insecure in their community. For some, the connection to the distribution line of the food system was seamless because of existing relationships and infrastructure. For example, the growing team at St. Philip’s, Beulah, who jumped on board the Good News Gardens movement for their first growing season, knew they had the perfect distribution point through their Baby Pantry, located in a separate building across their parking lot from the church. Patricia Compton, St. Philip’s garden coordinator, shares the moment she realized the garden’s impact on the lives of the people in their community, recalling one of her days as a Baby Pantry volunteer. A mother was overjoyed and full of gratitude to have fresh ingredients in order

The Good News Gardens cohort has been growing food since early June and has collectively provided over 1,000 pounds of produce to individuals and families in their communities. “We’ve learned so much from our gardeners.” reflects Emily Ulmer, Plainsong’s Program Director, “In a season of isolation, I’ve witnessed life-giving community grow among folks who were just looking for something to do, when everything else shut down. Folks shared gardening knowledge, laughter, and prayer over garden beds. My hope is that next year we can get off the farm and record the gardening knowledge of the community. In the two dioceses, there are master gardeners, passionate canners, a prayerful composter, faithful land stewards, and a keeper of a monarch way station. There is so much to learn about land, food and faithfulness from within our community.” “God taught us in scripture that we are here on a garden planet, even as we live our lives in buildings,” says Parish. “One of the things that made me realize I wanted to do this work was that when I was first ordained, I was working with children and youth in a basement with no windows. It occurred to me -- Jesus never taught anybody in a basement with no windows. The Bible teaches us that we are made in the image and likeness of God and God is a creator. ” +

“... Jesus never taught anybody in a basement with no windows. The Bible teaches us that we are made in the image and likeness of God and God is a creator.” — The Rev. Nurya Love Parish

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Schubert, reflecting on joining the Good News Gardens cohort after several years of solo growing seasons, says, “The theological and worship aspect of the network has broadened our spiritual aspect of growing - we praise God with our bodies, we praise creation as we grow. It’s always been part of our garden, but we’ve definitely been more aware and intentional.”

Photos: Katie Forsyth and Nurya Parish pose for a photo at Plainsong Farm before loading the minivan; produce is gathered at Nativity, Boyne City for distribution through the Good Neighbors Food Pantry; St. John’s, Mount Pleasant bags their harvest of cucumbers and peppers at their garden located at Emmaus Monastery in Vestaburg; the Rev. Deacon Thomas Smith poses for a photo at St. Dunstan’s, Davison after the seedling drop off; a family of volunteers from Grace, Traverse City looks out on the garden; a volunteer at Resurrection, Battle Creek shows off the pepper harvest.

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As Thanksgiving Day 2020 approaches, many of us fear that this year’s holiday celebration may fall short of fully honoring family tradition.

A Place at the Table by Steve Hallmark

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only upended daily routines, it has severely restricted gatherings of any kind, including Thanksgiving dinner. But despite concerns of a downsized “Turkey Day” this year, we still have the power to transform this year’s breakdown into next year’s breakthrough. For example, why not enlarge the guest list for that first Thanksgiving after lockdowns are over, to include seats at the table for anyone who wants to come? As Christians, this idea should not be much of a stretch; after all, the founder of our faith asked us to remember him by breaking bread and sharing a cup of wine together. In fact, the gospel emphasizes Jesus’ preference for using shared meals with strangers as his preferred venue for reaching out with his revolutionary message of generosity. So much so, that opponents tried to belittle this practice, calling him “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” (Luke 7:34) And we needn’t reinvent the wheel to turn our own family or parish Thanksgiving meal into a Jesus-style outreach opportunity. St. Paul’s, Elk Rapids, has already demonstrated how it’s done. Parish outreach coordinator, Martha Scarboro, credits long-time parishioners, Marcia and Mack Endo, for expanding St. Paul’s Thanksgiving welcome mat some 15 years ago. Declaring that they were “done with driving downstate for the holiday every year,” the Endos invited anyone looking for a place to go on Thanksgiving to join them in the church parish hall. That first celebration Photos: St. Paul’s, Elk Rapids Thanksgiving Dinner in 2019.


was fairly small, maybe 15 people. But as the years rolled by, the hall started to fill up. It’s hard to say when this family-style Thanksgiving formally evolved into an intentional outreach program, welcoming guests, both local and from far beyond Elk Rapids. The 2018 and 2019 events which Anne (Canon Missioner for the Northern Region of the Diocese of Western Michigan) and I first attended, included visitors from several states, as well as relatives and friends of St. Paul’s parishioners. We discovered this fact by listening to some of the amazing conversations going on at the tables around us. I had assumed that Anne and I were among the few genuine outsiders - that most participants were long-time parishioners who came every year. Actually, the more we listened, the clearer it became that we were not the only newcomers. In fact, a significant number of guests were just as new to this community party as we were. The crowded downstairs kitchen is always the beating heart of these festivities, with parishioners and guests struggling to find a spot to drop off another dish on already packed counter tops. Mack Endo is still ‘turkey carver in chief,’ supervising when each bird is ready for slicing. Most regulars bring a favorite side dish, often based on a savory family recipe. Both times I’ve attended, I brought a baked sweet potato dish, doused in butter and dusted with brown sugar and dollops of maple syrup. Once you’ve piled all you can on your plate, you find an empty seat. But watch out for the dessert table, dangerously accessible in the center of the parish hall, loaded down with pumpkin and blackberry pies, lemon bars, as well as multiple versions of cookies & cakes.

While there is something uniquely satisfying about sharing home-cooked comfort-food with so many convivial people in St. Paul’s basement, that’s not what drew us back to St. Paul’s for a second-helping of the whole experience. What we found so amazing is just how much this roomful of mostly strangers felt like being home again with a roomful of dear friends we had known for just about forever. I found myself recalling reading about a modern theologian (whose name I can’t remember) who felt that Thanksgiving Dinner was a better metaphor for what heaven will be like than the traditional notion of walking on streets of gold or sitting on a cloud playing a harp. It’s about going home for a Thanksgiving Dinner that will last forever; a celebration with all the friends and loved ones we have ever known; the Thanksgiving table that will truly have a place for everyone. Let me underscore just how much this event is a truly community event. Martha Scarboro informs me that a number of community organizations, including the public library, help get the word out that anyone is welcome. This was reinforced for me one Sunday morning shortly before Thanksgiving, while eating breakfast in a local restaurant. Another patron paying his bill at the cash register, told the cashier that he was in town on business and felt sorry for himself because he was going to miss Thanksgiving at home. “Don’t fret about that,” she said. “You can have a home-style Thanksgiving dinner at St. Paul’s Episcopal. Everybody is welcome.” +

Steve Hallmark is a retired political and corporate speechwriter, long-time Education for Ministry Mentor, and life-partner of EDWM’s Canon Missioner Anne Hallmark.

“The Gospel emphasizes Jesus’ preference for using shared meals with strangers as his preferred venue for reaching out with his revolutionary message of generosity.” — Steve Hallmark EDWM.ORG | 15


Interfaith Saginaw: Building a Bridge to Understanding by Hunter Kurzawa

“That’s one of the beautiful things about this - when someone asks you what you mean by any given phrase or concept, you have to do a deep dive...” — The Rev. Curt Norman

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Interfaith Saginaw is a collective of many faith communities who come together to build bridges across religious lines. Based in MidMichigan, the group convened in 2017 to bring different religions together in unity during a time of much division within the country. The Rev. Curt Norman, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Old Town Saginaw, says he experienced some skepticism and uncertainty in that first year, but noticed it quickly turned around once people realized how beautiful the experience was. The first Interfaith Saginaw event was held at St. John’s around Thanksgiving and ended up bringing in more than 500 people, including participants from Islamic, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Baha’i, Jain, Buddhist, and Christian communities. The event included


Dr. Waheed Akbar of the Islamic Center of Saginaw said that the Thanksgiving season was chosen because it’s “truly an American Holiday. It’s non-denominational and it crosses all religions.” In the following years, similar events were held at the Islamic Center in 2018 and again at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in 2019. Due to the pandemic, in 2020, the event will take place in an online format. When reflecting on how Interfaith Saginaw has evolved since its beginning, Norman stressed how relationships have grown through the collaboration of the leaders of these different faiths. Together, the group is working to listen to the needs of the community and slowly trying to unite Saginaw and make it a better place. When referring to the central planning group, he says, “we’ve really become deep friends.”

Interfaith Saginaw has been a learning experience in more than one way. Apart from learning about other people’s cultures and faiths, people may also find themselves learning about their own faiths in ways they had never thought of before. Norman discussed how some non-Christian faiths were unfamiliar with the term “ministry.” It required him to stop and think about how to define the term; one that we use as part of our everyday vocabulary in the Episcopal Church. He says, “That’s one of the beautiful things about this - when someone asks you what you mean by any given phrase or concept, you have to do a deep dive. Even on matters of doctrine, what we think and believe about God, and even if I don’t believe what another faith teaches about the divine, it prompts me to think about what I believe. It’s an ironic twist of fate because everybody’s faith in their own tradition becomes stronger.” Akbar adds, “we are not there to prove anyone wrong or right, we are there to talk about how we approach

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a community prayer service with offerings from the many faith traditions and concluded by sharing a meal with foods prepared from across the various cultural backgrounds.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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things…as people of faith.” Dr. Mukesh Lathia of the Jain religion describes when he realized how impactful Interfaith Saginaw had been on his own life. He recalls a moment in 2018 when his son finally got to experience the group in action for the very first time and expressed how emotional it made him feel. His son was so touched that this kind of collaboration was happening in such a small town where he felt it was truly needed. The Rev. Amy Terhune, Senior Pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Saginaw, adds to this, reminiscing on a moving moment when a young man from the Jain religion sang in front of the congregation of many faiths. She said that, at that moment, it was like, “this is one of our kids and we’re going to support our kid.” The strengthening of community seems to be the overarching achievement of Interfaith Saginaw. There is an undeniable spiritedness within the group that keeps this effort growing and bringing more people together year after year. Imam Safwan Eid of the Islamic Center of Saginaw reflects that gratitude is the “universal building

block” that bonds people. He’s learned this applies to both charitable causes as well as social groups and community as a whole. He says, “before one can set out on a journey to theological truth, their hearts need to be together… it’s about building those circles of not just love and compassion, but also faiths. Seeing people live their faiths out loud is very impactful and when we need to have the difficult conversations in the future, we’re able to have those from the foundation of love.” Community, love, and mutual understanding is what lies at the heart of Interfaith Saginaw. With their continued effort, the group plans to continue growing, both in participants and in their expanding knowledge of other faith traditions. In a closing remark, Amrinder “Nicky” Nannan of the Sikh religion Mid-Michigan Singh Sabha, says that this “starts with our love for each other. If we don’t love one another first, then how are we to express our love to our communities?” + Hunter Kurzawa serves as Communications Assistant for the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. She is a junior at Grand Valley State University.

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Photos: Faith communities across the Saginaw Bay Region gathered at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in 2019.

and when we need to have difficult conversations in the future, we’re able to do so from the foundation of love.” — Amrinder Nannan


Apocalyptic Bridges by the Rev. Dr. Randall Warren

During this time of pandemic, I am occasionally asked if I think the world is ending. Because many people’s image of the world ending comes from literalist misreadings of The Revelation to John, my answer is usually an impatient, “No.” The idea of “dispensations,” or periods of history leading to a dramatic ending, and the idea of a “rapture” at the end of those dispensations, are both nowhere to be found in scripture. They are, to put it bluntly, based on misinterpretations of The Book of the Prophet Daniel and The Revelation to John devised in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Those who devised this misinterpretative scheme were people anxious about Charles Darwin, the move from animal based to machine based economies, science, and newly emerging approaches to studying scripture. These well-meaning but anxious folk fell prey to unscrupulous leaders. The cast of characters who used others’ anxiety to create a theological scam started with an alcoholic man who manipulated a little girl to advance his ideas. Another early leader of this movement was a Confederate Army deserter who took bribes, practiced forgery, abandoned his wife and daughters, got himself ordained, and granted himself a doctoral degree. The movement was later advanced by faith healers and televangelists.


Now, without all of that “End Times” clutter, if I were asked if I think the world is ending, I would say, “Why yes, for some people.” Things in our world are changing rather extensively. The COVID-19 pandemic has created some of these changes. More significantly, the pandemic has sped up (perhaps by as much as ten years or more) changes that have been in the works for quite some time. For example, technology and social media were only on the horizon for many churches. Because of the pandemic, we are all suddenly learning to provide online worship and other digital programming. The move towards civil equality had been happening slowly, and then suddenly there have been, not just national but global, civil rights protests on behalf of people of color. Further, the reality of internet connectivity and free flowing information is going to end several authoritarian regimes over the next few years. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Things are changing rapidly and permanently. If a person is deeply wedded to how things were, they may definitely feel like the world is ending. Many of us may not feel as though our world is ending, but we may feel anxious about all the change. We may be worried about the shape of our future. We too are well meaning but anxious folk.

This is precisely where that body of Jewish literature and Christian literature known as “Apocalyptic,” correctly understood, is actually very helpful. The name, “Apocalyptic,” comes from the Greek word “apokaluptō.” The prefix “apo-” means “away from,” and “kaluptō” is the verb, “to cover.” So apocalyptic is that body of literature which unveils or uncovers the way things really are. Apocalyptic literature, such as The Book of the Prophet Daniel and The Revelation to John, was not intended to predict how the world would end. It was intended to be a source of encouragement for the beleaguered and oppressed. Specifically, apocalyptic literature provides the following points of encouragement: 1) We flawed human beings cannot create a perfect society. God sees more deeply than most the strengths and weaknesses of us and our societies. 2) No matter how bad things are, God is at work opposing the forces of oppression and evil. 3) We do not have to, and indeed should not, wait for God’s final triumph. We ought to work with God on liberation for all. We ought to build bridges beyond ourselves and our immediate anxieties. Finally, for the Christian, 4) all these battles were already won at the cross of Christ. We are about the work of living into that paschal mystery.

“Apocalyptic literature ... was not intended to predict how the world would end. It was, rather, intended to be a source of encouragement for the beleaguered and oppressed.” — The Rev. Dr. Randall Warren

So do I think the world is ending? No, not really. But I do think that the world is changing rapidly and permanently. Sometimes I, like all of us, feel anxious. However, the apocalyptic literature in our scriptures reminds me that God is at work, even when I don’t see or understand how. God is and has been at work in more lives than mine. Building bridges beyond myself is a way of connecting to the work of God in our world. That is a source of hope and meaning. +

'

Almost 10 years ago, Harold Camping predicted that the “rapture” would occur on May 21, 2011. He further asserted that only 2.8% of the world’s population would be saved. I would not consider the salvation of only 2.8% of all people a big victory on God’s part. And that is ultimately the problem with “End Times” teaching, also known as “Premillenial Dispensationalism.” Its unscrupulous leaders taught that victory is only to be found by refusing to build bridges beyond oneself. The only victory imagined is getting to be part of the right small group while the rest of the world burns.

The Rev. Dr. Randall Warren is Rector of St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo and the Vice-President of the Standing Committee of Western Michigan.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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CAMP AT HOME: FORMATION AMID A PANDEMIC by Hunter Kurzawa

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It was a quiet summer on the shores of Camp Chickagami’s Lake Esau and Episcopal Youth Camp’s Pickerel Lake as COVID-19 precautions prevented our normal diocesan summer camp programs from taking place as usual. But, while our in-person experiences were on hiatus, our camp communities came together by snail mail and Zoom for our bi-diocesan Camp-at-Home. Camp-at-Home was a six-week interactive experience that took place in late July and August, organized by McKenzie Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation for both dioceses, with a team of staff and volunteer youth ministers from across the state: Jeff Brown (Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth), Kris Forsyth (St. Jude’s, Fenton), Missy Harrison (St. John’s, Midland), and Brownyn Woolman (Trinity, Alpena). The program was based on the “Compassion Camp” curriculum offered by Illustrated Ministry, a publishing house focused on providing intergenerational faithbased formation resources. The theme, “Compassion Camp,” focuses on building skills of compassion in community, with the grounding statement of “Be Kind. Be Loved. Be You.”

While the Compassion Camp curriculum was originally developed as an at-home Vacation Bible School for children, Knill and the organizers adapted the content to our dioceses as a way to connect people during a time of social isolation, also designing it to be intentionally intergenerational, going on to include participants from 3 to 74.

Photos: Left - Gretchen B. (St. Philip’s, Beulah) demonstrates her Camp at Home origami; Top - Valerie Slaught (Camp Chickagami) explains the IXOYE, the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer (St. John’s, Grand Haven) teaches a silly song, Brian and Cameron Ouellette (Camp Chickagami) lead music.

After signing up, each camper received a mailed box of materials, including craft supplies, coloring pages, camp swag, and more. At the beginning of each week, participants were sent an email with the content for that week’s session, offered as short videos led by people across the two dioceses, including clergy and lay leaders of congregations, youth group mentors, and former camp staff. Each weekly session included a Bible story, like the parable of the prodigal son; a song of the week, like Come to The Table, led by Jen Gruzhit from St. John’s, Midland; a silly song, like Father Abraham; yoga and movement led by certified teacher, Jeff Brown; and a craft, like Kumihimo, the Japanese art of contemplative braiding. In one video, Val Slaught, a Camp Chickagami alumni staffer, led listeners through a craft video on how to make an IXOYE, the Greek symbol and acrostic sometimes referred to as the “Jesus fish,”

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“Be Kind. Be Loved. Be You.” — Compassion Camp curriculum, Illustrated Ministry EDWM.ORG | 23


“When we were planning this thing, we really only expected about 30-40 people to join us, but by the end of the program, we had nearly 200 people signed up.” — McKenzie Knill

using pipe cleaner and beads. From her home in Alpena, she explains that the symbol represents “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Our Savior.”

kids returned the next week describing how they’d seen the reactions of their delivery workers and how good it felt to show their gratitude to others.

In another, across the state, from their home in Otsego, Brian and Cameron Ouellette play familiar camp songs like You’re My Brother, You’re My Friend and Angel Wings, and are joined remotely by other former camp staff demonstrating hand motions from their various places, including Milford and Allendale.

Twice a week, Camp-at-Home organizers hosted two opportunities to join optional Zoom calls, where the campers could interact with one another, play games, and watch and reflect on the weekly lessons as a group. Knill recalls how one set of siblings were dedicated attendees for both Zoom sessions every week, even though the lesson and content would be repeated.

The songs didn’t end there; in another video, the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, Rector of St. John’s in Grand Haven, teaches one of his childhood favorites, The Hippo Song, from the chancel of the church, singing “Creation sings of his praise, the sparrow and the tiny babe, and we can say a ‘job well done’ because he made that hippo that weighs a ton!”

Photo Right: Supply boxes stacked against the wall at Western Michigan’s Diocesan House, ready to be shipped to the nearly 200 participants of Camp at Home.

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One of the participants’ favorite activities was a craft project in which the participants created and decorated boxes to place near their front doors containing gifts for postal service and delivery workers. In a video hosted by Trinity, Alpena’s Bronwyn Woolman, participants are encouraged to think about what kinds of items might be appreciated by folks on their feet all day in hot weather, suggesting things like water bottles, snacks, and letters of thanks. Knill remembers how the

Because the Zoom calls were optional, participants had the leeway to shape the kind of experience that worked best for them, including a few congregations that chose to gather in small groups to consider the materials together face-to-face, while following safety protocols. “When we were planning this thing, we really only expected about 30-40 people to join us,” reflects Knill, “but by the end of the program, we had nearly 200 people signed up.” Between the two dioceses, participants included members of 27 congregations, plus additional campers whose connection to our dioceses come primarily through camp experiences. “One of my favorite moments,” Knill reflects, “was when we were learning


about being there for each other, and we asked the kids who would be there for their favorite heroes, like Iron Man and Harry Potter...” After naming several figures, like Spider Man and Ron and Hermione, they started naming first responders, nurses, parents, teachers, and other every day essential workers.

The Camp at Home program included over forty short videos filmed by volunteers, including those pictured above: Alicia Watt (St. John’s, Midland) sharing a story, Carla Kurzenhauser introducing the practice of Kumihimo braiding, Jeff Brown (Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth) leading yoga, Molly Lombard (Camp Chickagami) experimenting with food coloring and physics, McKenzie Knill (Eastern & Western Michigan) introducing Compassion Camp, and Missy Harrison (St. John’s, Midland) telling a Godly Play Story. All videos are available on Camp Chickagami’s YouTube page.

“These kids are the future of the world, and I’m really excited about it,” says Knill. The feedback from Camp-atHome was extremely positive, with participants expressing how nice it was to “gather” for fun and joint learning, even while mourning the loss of their familiar in-person camp sessions. “It was really energizing to be able to interact with kids,” says Knill, “In the middle of a pandemic, we all appreciated being able to focus on something fun. It was amazing to experience some form of togetherness once again.” + Hunter Kurzawa serves as Communications Assistant for the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. She is a junior at Grand Valley State University.

“These kids are the future of the world, and I’m really excited about it.” — McKenzie Knill


BOOKS & RESOURCES

Be the Bridge:

Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation A Book Review by Tanna Leclaire Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison is a grace-filled blueprint for racial reconciliation. In a summer where the dividing lines between Americans seem to be widening into yawning chasms, it provides an accessible way to begin to grapple with White Supremacy as Christians. In so doing, we can begin to bridge those chasms and heal ourselves and our communities. Morrison lays this blueprint out along the familiar Christian framework of Lamentation, Confession, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation. Along the way, she weaves together scripture, history, personal testimony from her own life and those of people she has encountered, discussion questions, and prayers. Although at times it can feel like a sales-pitch for the additional resources her non-profit has developed, the richness of the text and its built-in resources stands on its own quite well. Morrison has a gift for empathy that comes through beautifully in her prose as she discusses the pain, shame, and grief so many people of all ethnicities experience due to racism and White Supremacy. She starts off the book with a significant section where she makes the case for why we cannot reach reconciliation and restoration as a society until we simply appreciate that we are different: “Too many Christians believe that the ultimate goal should be seeing the world without color… In the love of the family of God, we must become color brave, color caring, color honoring, and not color blind. We have to recognize the image of God in one another. We have to live despite, and even because of, our differences… Race, as we know it, is a political and 26 | EASTMICH.ORG

social construct created by man for the purpose of asserting power and maintaining a hierarchy. When we believe the lies embedded with racial hierarchies, reconciliation becomes impossible… If we avoid hard truths to preserve personal comfort or to fashion a façade of peace, our division will only widen.” (p. 23-24, emphasis added) Morrison is also a phenomenal storyteller: whether describing historical events, her personal experiences, scripture, or the experiences of those involved in her non-profit, Bridge Builders. Morrison understands that encountering challenging and ugly parts of our stories as individuals and a society requires vulnerability, so she shares generously of her own story. I was especially struck by her discussion of her lifelong struggles with colorism, even within her own family. While I don’t believe it’s the job of Black authors to center their commentary on race on the comfort of white folks, and Morrison certainly doesn’t do that, she gives space for and honors the complicated and messy feelings that can come with learning about, and coming to terms with, issues of race in America. In her chapter on removing shame and guilt, she writes, “Acknowledging racism, both explicit and systemic, can lead us to experience shame and guilt, even if we haven’t acted in overtly racist ways ourselves.” (p. 76). Ultimately, Morrison’s goal is to help readers to release themselves from the power those feelings can have when they go buried or ignored, so that they can heal even as they seek to be healers.


Be the Bridge would be an excellent resource for small group study. While it is clearly written from and for a more evangelical audience, it’s nonetheless both scripturally robust and theologically consistent with mainline Christian perspectives. I did have a good chuckle when Morrison invoked “White Worship ... music that sounds like Coldplay,” which sounds about as far from the music found in most Episcopal services as the contemporary gospel duo, Mary Mary, or the Christian metalcore band, For Today. Generally, I prefer the use of gender inclusive language for mere mortals and more gender expansive language for the Divine, neither of which Morrison employs. However, I will never turn away wisdom presented in good faith on account of pronouns. I commend this book to all Christians seeking ways to live into the command to love one’s neighbor, just as I commend Morrison for its writing. + Tanna Leclaire is a graduate of the Academy for Vocational Leadership and a nominee for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. She lives in Port Huron with her spouse, Kay, and their daughter, Audrey.

Latasha Morrison is a speaker, author, and teacher, committed to educating people and organizations around cultural intelligence and racial literacy. She is the founder of “Be the Bridge,” a nonprofit aimed at racial reconciliation among all ethnicities. About the work of reconciliation, she says, “I promise you - it won’t be easy. I guarantee - you will be uncomfortable. You have my word - it will be worth it.”

EDWM.ORG | 27


OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

October 2019- September 2020 28 | EASTMICH.ORG


ORDINATIONS Bishop Ian Douglas (Connecticut) ordained the Rev. Abby VanderBrug to the priesthood in June.

Bishop Bonnie Perry (Michigan) ordained the Rev. Thomas Manney to the priesthood in July.

Bishop Bonnie Perry (Michigan) ordained the Rev. Wendy Brown to the priesthood in July.

Bishop Bonnie Perry (Michigan) ordained the Rev. Harold Schneider to the priesthood in July.

Bishop Bonnie Perry (Michigan) ordained the Rev. Paul Brunell to the priesthood in July.

Bishop Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Eileen Stoffan to the diaconate in July.

Bishop Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Michael Hueschen to the diaconate in July.

Bishop Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Wendy Pearson to the diaconate in July.

Bishop Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Radhajyoti Kaminski to the diaconate in July.

Bishop Whayne Hougland ordained the Rev. Canon Michael Spencer to the priesthood in November.

Bishop Douglas Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Elizabeth Kinsey to the diaconate in July.

Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple (North Carolina) ordained the Rev. Philip Zoutendam to the diaconate in June.

CELEBRATIONS & MILESTONES The Rev. Pamela (Lynch) Lenartowicz, Priest-in-Charge of St. Andrew’s, Gaylord, married Tom Lenartowicz in June. McKenzie (Bade) Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation for Eastern and

Western Michigan, married Evan Knill in May. The Rev. James Smith, Priest-inCharge of Trinity, Three Rivers, and his wife, Nikki, welcomed their son, Titus, in August.

REST IN PEACE The Rev. Charles F. Frandsen died January 24, 2020. Charlie previously served several congregations in the Diocese of Western Michigan including Benton Harbor, Lansing, Harbert, Kalamazoo, and Onekama. The Rev. Deacon Floyd Kunce died January 31, 2020. Floyd previously served St. John’s, Sturgis. Pat Kellogg died October 11, 2019. Pat served on Western Michigan’s

diocesan staff under Bishop Lee. The Rev. John MacDonald died on July 23, 2020. John previously served St. John’s, Oscoda. Pastor Ray Orth died on March 8, 2020. Ray previously served St. John’s, Bad Axe and St. John’s, Sand Point. The Rev. Deacon Roger Wood died on October 19, 2019. Roger previously served Grace, Port Huron.

Bishop Bonnie Perry prays throughout the “Veni Sancte Spiritus” before ordaining the Rev. Wendy Brown during a June service at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Grand Blanc. EDWM.ORG | 29


CALLS & TRANSITIONS The Revs. Christian and Jodi Baron are Co-Rectors of Holy Trinity, Manistee and continue as CoRectors of St. Philip’s, Beulah. The Rev. Wendy Brown is Priest-inCharge of St. John’s, Charlotte. The Rev. Paul Brunell is Curate at Christ Church, Owosso. Catherine Cameron-Heldt is Diocesan Office Administrator on the diocesan staff in Western Michigan. The Rev. Brian Chace retired as Priest-in-Charge of Trinity, West Branch in August. The Rev. Elizabeth Chace retired as Rector of St. Francis, Grayling in December. The Rev. Don Davidson departed St. Christopher’s in Grand Blanc and is now Interim Priest at Holy Trinity, Wyoming. The Rev. Deacon Nancy Fulton retired from her ministry with St. John’s, Mount Pleasant in August.

The Rev. Kay Houck departed Trinity, Lexington, and is now Rector of Emmanuel, Petoskey,

The Rev. Deacon Thom McPherson retired from his ministry with Trinity, Marshall in September.

The Rev. Deacon Micheal Hueschen serves with St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo.

The Rev. Becky Michelfelder concluded her interim ministry with All Saints, Saugatuck.

The Rev. Alan James departed Emmanuel, Petoskey and now serves as Interim Rector of Grace, Grand Rapids.

The Rev. Deacon Wendy Pearson serves with Trinity, Marshall.

The Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson is Rector of All Saints, Saugatuck. The Rev. Deacon Radhajyoti Kaminski is Deacon-in-Charge of the Central Michigan Episcopal Covenant - St. Andrew’s, Big Rapids and St. Mary’s, Cadillac. The Rev. Deacon Elizabeth Kinsey serves with St. John’s, Sturgis. McKenzie Knill is the Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation on the diocesan staffs of Eastern and Western Michigan, and continues as Executive Director of Camp Chickagami.

Molly Girard retired as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan in August.

The Rev. Darlene Kuhn is Rector of Mediator, Harbert, having previously concluded her ministry with St. James, Albion.

The Rev. Ann Grady serves as Interim Priest-in-Charge with St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc.

The Rev. Lily Marx is Rector of St. Gregory’s, Muskegon, after having served as Priest-in-Charge.

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Holmgren retired as Rector of Grace, Grand Rapids in January.

The Rev. Thomas Manney is Curate at St. Paul’s, Bad Axe and St. John’s, Dryden.

The Rev. Peter Homeyer departed Holy Trinity, Wyoming and is now Rector of Christ Church, Dayton in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Tammy Mazure is the Chief Financial Officer and Benefits Administrator on the diocesan staff in Western Michigan.

30 | EASTMICH.ORG

The Rev. James Perra is Rector of Grace, Traverse City. The Rev. Tyler Richards departed Transfiguration, Indian River and is now Rector of St. Anne’s, DePere in the Diocese of Fond du Lac. The Rev. Michael Ryan departed Epiphany, South Haven and is now Rector of St. John’s, Kirkland in the Diocese of Olympia. The Rev. Harold Schneider joined the Ministry of the Baptized Support Team at St. John the Baptist, Otter Lake. The Rev. Dr. Chrysanne Timm is Rector of St. Christopher’s, Northport. The Rev. Abby Vanderbrug, formerly of St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids, is Director of Children and Family Ministries for Christ Church, Greenwich, CT. Willa Williams resigned as Office Assistant on the diocesan staff in Western Michigan. The Rev. Deacon Philip Zoutendam, formerly of St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids, is Curate serving three congregations in the Diocese of North Carolina.


Top: The Revs. Mike Wernick, BJ Heyboer, Anne Hallmark, Peter Homeyer and William Whiting gather in downtown Grand Rapids to serve as chaplains for a June silent protest following the murder of George Floyd. Middle: Chris Lauckner of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland prays with a community member outside of The Oak Coffeehouse on Ash Wednesday as part of Ashes to Go. Photo courtesy of the Midland Daily News/mLive. Bottom: The Revs. Jodi and Christian Baron deliver a load of fresh fish to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN), a local nonprofit aimed at improving the quality of life for those with limited resources, including through food distribution.

EDWM.ORG | 31


Early this year, Sudanese Grace Episcopal Church moved into their new home, given to the congregation by the departing Wallin Congregational Church. A February 14th celebration marked the joyful occasion with worship, music, and recognition of Sudanese Grace and of all the generosity offered to the congregation by faith communities and leaders throughout the years.

THANK YOU! Thank you to all that have supported the publication of this magazine, especially to those that have donated since our last issue. You are helping fund our ongoing storytelling of life and ministry in our community. The Rev. Pete Clapp In honor of the ministry of the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley

Robert Trautman In memory of Kathryn Trautman

The Rev. John Kirkman

The Rev. Marilyn Dressel

Kay and Bill Hanson In honor of the Rev. Mary Perrin

Nancy Winkler

Gail Graham In memory of the Rev. H. James Graham

The Rev. Nancy Harpfer In thanksgiving for the Lincoln Haven Ministry at St. Andrew’s, Harrisville

The Rev. Deacon Sharon Naughton

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sand Point

The Rev. Michael Houle

Minette Rollins

Joyce and William Rouse In thanksgiving for Grace, Traverse City

The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Lee, Jr. In memory of Patricia A. Kellogg

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LOOKING AHEAD < Embracing Evangelism Series In Spring 2021, the dioceses will dig into Embracing Evangelism: a six-part course developed by The Episcopal Church exploring our call to seek, name, and celebrate Jesusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; loving presence in the stories of all people, and then invite everyone to more. Each Zoom session features teachings on Episcopal evangelism, group discussion, and exercises to help Episcopalians understand the ministry and call to evangelism. Our sessions will be facilitated by Canon Katie Forsyth with help from the bi-diocesan Evangelism Task Force. This series is appropriate both for individual and small group participation. For more information and to sign up, visit your diocesan website. We begin in February.

< Save the Date: 2021 Convention Pencil it in! The 2021 Diocesan Convention of Eastern and Western Michigan is anticipated to take place October 29-30, 2021 in Lansing. Our hope is that we might be able to gather together in-person, focused on deepening relationship.

< Virtual Youth Group Middle and high schoolers from Eastern and Western Michigan are invited to join their peers and adult mentors for a bi-weekly checkin, games, prayer, and more every Wednesday night at 6:30pm. While some themes will be multi-week, drop-ins are welcome! Email McKenzie Knill at mknill@eastmich/edwm.org to connect.

< The Academy for Vocational Leadership The AFVL is a three-year program of local formation for ordained ministry and is connected with the Seminary of the Southwest. The 2021-22 school year begins in August; some classes are open for drop-ins now. Visit your diocesan website for more details.


Stay Connected with

THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESES OF EASTERN & WESTERN MICHIGAN Stay connected with friends and neighbors in the dioceses throughout the year. Our diocesan communications channels make sure you don’t miss a thing!

THE FEAST ONLINE is our bi-diocesan newsletter, the sister publication to our annual magazine, and your source for all news, events, resources, and more throughout the year. It hits inboxes every other week. Subscribe or pitch a story by visiting the “News” tab of your diocesan website.

Your DIOCESAN WEBSITE is your resource and event information hub for all things. Our websites should be your first stop for any questions around worship, networking, finances, governance, and more. Visit eastmich.org or edwm.org to access this important resource.

Follow the dioceses wherever you hang out on social media. Follow and “like” our FACEBOOK pages for photos, news, and upcoming events around the dioceses. You can also follow either diocese on YOUTUBE, TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM. Just search for our name on your favorite platform.

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Photos: The September 17th issue of The Feast Online, the Western Michigan diocesan website, the Eastern Michigan diocesan Facebook Page.


how to build a bridge by David James First, agree to meet the ‘other’ after you gather a truckload of understanding, some drinks, food and time. Bring chairs and music, find a rolling field of grass

down some lonely country road where you won’t be bothered by the day’s bustle and grime.

Sit down together and talk. Or eat. Or drink. Open your eyes and listen. Open your ears and see. Open your heart and climb

into that person’s body as that person climbs into yours. Remove one chink of personal armor at a time, set it on the ground

in full sunlight. As the façade crumbles, a bridge will form under your feet, rising toward heaven, you think, lifting you above all this petty human debris.

Author David James is a member of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Fenton. David has published eleven books of poetry since 1984. He teaches writing at Oakland Community College. Photo: A footbridge in Grand Ledge, MI. Courtesy of Bill Fleener, Jr., Chancellor for the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan EDWM.ORG and member of St. David’s, Lansing.

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THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESES OF EASTERN & WESTERN MICHIGAN 924 North Niagara Street Saginaw, MI 48602

Profile for The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan

The Feast | Autumn 2020  

The Feast is a collaborative magazine of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. www.eastmich.org | www.edwm.org

The Feast | Autumn 2020  

The Feast is a collaborative magazine of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. www.eastmich.org | www.edwm.org

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