The Feast 2021

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Autumn 2021 | Issue VIII

THE FEAST everyone has a place at the table


exploring God’s creation through prayer and community page 08



THE FEAST is a collaborative publication of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. EDITING & DESIGN: Katie Forsyth Canon for Evangelism & Networking | ON OUR COVER: Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash CONTACT US: The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan 924 N. Niagara Street Saginaw, MI 48602 The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan 1815 Hall Street SE, Suite 200 Grand Rapids, MI 49506

© 2021 The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan






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One priest’s unofficial chaplaincy at the hardware store



HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SUN Caring for creation one solar panel at a time in Hastings, Michigan


Sowing seeds, preparing bread, convening with the Spirit during a pandemic

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism & Networking In his sermon to the House of Bishops last month, our Presiding Bishop describes a sense of being in a “narthex moment.”

existing relationships, forming new ones, and engaging in deep conversation about who we want to be and do as Episcopalians inhabiting this little corner of the world in this time.

As the in-between room, the narthex serves as the link between the sacred and the ordinary, where “divine and human meet.” He describes it as a threshold, a crossing, a liminal space -- a room where transformation takes place.

In this latest issue of The Feast, our authors explore their ministry and spirituality in the “narthex space” -- beyond the boundaries of church buildings and Sunday mornings.

As people in this world and as Episcopalians in Eastern and Western Michigan, we are in narthex space -- somewhere between the familiar and the unknown -- drawn out of “business as usual” and on the brink of something new. We are in the narthex of the pandemic -- with the availability of vaccines some things are safe again. But until more people receive their life-saving doses, we remain in and live with the not-yet normal. We are in the narthex of episcopal transition -- with the conclusion of our bishop’s suspension, we wait for the election and arrival of our longterm provisional and a return to the ordinary of having an Ordinary. We are in the narthex of the conversation between our two dioceses -- after pandemic delays, we are looking ahead to deepening 4 | EASTMICH.ORG

We meet some carrying forward the presence of the extraordinary into ordinary spaces -- the aisles of an ACE Hardware, in the garden and at the dinner table, and within cathedrals composed of tree trunks and riverbeds. And we’ll hear from folks engaged in conversation and ministry about how we steward resources to confront other thresholds in our lives: climate change and 21st century Christendom. Our authors join Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in calling us into the narthex, dreaming of that new and extraordinary church formed by the way of Jesus and his love. Stay safe and stay well, friends. See you in the narthex.

THE EPISCOPAL ASSET MAP The Episcopal Asset Map, a joint project of the Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development is the primary source for “Find-a-Church” engines across many dioceses (including our own!) and the wider Episcopal Church. People seeking a community or wanting to learn more about other congregations across the two dioceses can utilize the Asset Map to search by several categories, including worship opportunities, outreach and

advocacy efforts, volunteer opportunities, networks within and beyond The Episcopal Church, and language. To update your community’s information, visit the Find a Community page of your diocesan website, locate your congregation or ministry’s profile, then click, “Update this Place”. The changes you submit will be forwarded to an administrator to approve and publish the updates to the diocesan sites and!

REQUEST THE EPISCOCOLORING 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 to request copies; free while supplies last.



In September, Canon Katie Forsyth sat down with Janet Huff-Worvie and the Rev. Dr. Randall Warren, Presidents of the Standing Committees of Eastern and Western Michigan, to reflect on the last year and look forward to what’s ahead.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

KF: What are you looking forward to in the next year?

CANON KATIE FORSYTH: It’s been a year since The Feast was last published. What have we experienced as Eastern and Western Michiganders in that time? What have we learned?

RW: I’m looking forward to both dioceses having a bishop provisional whom we chose together. I believe it will make our conversations about sharing ministry together that much more rich because we, together, will have chosen a bishop provisional for both dioceses.

THE REV. DR. RANDALL WARREN: We have learned that we can be and do church in the hardest of times! We have churches out there feeding people, doing ministry, worshiping… Yes, there are crazy things happening and grief-filled things happening, but I would say on the whole, we have continued to be the Church in Michigan. Wouldn’t you, Janet? JANET HUFF-WORVIE: Oh, absolutely. You know, it makes me think of my mother who drove one of those big, old, honking, Plymouth cars – like pre-seatbelts, right? The tires were wearing down, so my father would say to her, “Elda, you need new tires on the car” and she’d say, “No, we don’t! I’ll just go slower.” And it reminds me that we didn’t go slower. Our tires got a little worn through the last year and a half but we didn’t go slower. We got new tires and kept going down the road. Yes, there were some roadblocks but we took the detour and did it together. We didn’t turn back and go home when things got tough. We took the detour together. RW: That’s right. 6 | EASTMICH.ORG

JHW: I’m really looking forward to the work that the Building Bridges process will bring us. I believe it will bring us to a new level of understanding of ourselves – who we are as Episcopalians, who we are within our own dioceses, and who we might be together. Whatever the end result, the journey that we’re taking together will really help us grow and have potential to do great things. RW: I hope that we actually do new things and discover new ways of being church. One of the things the pandemic has made very clear, though the handwriting has been on the wall forever, is that we have been tasked with coming up with completely new ways of being the church. As we go through this conversation, I hope that other parts of the church can look back at what we’ve done over these years and learn from us. I hope we come up with some new models and I hope they’re really different ones. So different that they make people a little nervous, like, “Oh my God, they’re doing what?” That’s the kind of

A 1967 Plymouth Fury, just like the one Janet’s mother used to drive. Photo via

JHW: It’s actually happening without us even knowing it’s happening! Just in the last year, I got this email asking me to consider and sign a contract for Holy Hikes Eastern Michigan. It goes through Diocesan Council, I sign it, and it happens, and it’s great. That’s a new way of doing church and gathering community. KF: And it’s lay-led! JHW: Yes, right! It’s lay-led too. And the next thing I know, I’ve been sent a new contract with a message saying, “Oh, by the way, we’d like to change our name because Western Michigan wants in on this and we want to do it together. Can you re-sign?” And I’m like, yes! I can sign that contract!

We’re doing it. The beauty of what’s happening is that we’re already doing some of this stuff and we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re that good! Is this a new way of doing church? It sure is. RW: I think of Plainsong Farm. I’m a monthly giver to Plainsong Farm. Can you think of anything worse suited to Randall Warren than working in the literal field? I mean, I’m an urban boy who is happy to sit on the eighth floor of my city apartment. But I support it! I know and see the Gospel work they’re doing – that we’re doing. KF: We are all navigating the continuing pandemic and, hopefully, looking ahead to a post-COVID world. What do you hope the church will have learned throughout this time? RW: How to not major in the minors. Broadly speaking, the obsessions of the church are not the obsessions or needs of the world. I hear all the time from young people, even some in my congregation, who are convinced that Christianity

“I want us to really stretch and show a commitment to the church being lively and available to the world, relevant and speaking to the world’s concerns with the love of Christ.” '

stuff I’m really excited about. I want us to really stretch and show a commitment to the church being lively and available to the world, relevant and speaking to the world’s concerns with the love of Christ. And we can’t do that in 1950s Episcopalianism anymore.

— The Rev. Dr. Randall R. Warren


“I remember when I visited Western Michigan in 2019... that the only thing that really separated us was zip codes. And then when the pandemic came along, zip codes had no relevance either... we had one zip code -- Zoom.” — Janet Huff-Worvie

is hopelessly sexist, hopelessly homophobic, hopelessly hierarchical, hopelessly all the things. In truth, a lot of portions of the Church are not speaking to them. We have a lot that we could be and could say to the world about what we really believe and we don’t because we’re distracted by other things. I’m tired of seeing TikToks about how stupid and backward Christians are. I want to send them all a message to say, come to my church and see something different! Come to our dioceses and see something different! KF: Are you on TikTok, Randall? RW: I have not made any videos yet, but I do watch TikTok. I am going to though because there needs to be a different voice out there. I really want us to be speaking a gospel of love and truth and joy to the issues that the world is concerned about. Not the issues that major portions of American Christianity are concerned about. KF: What have you learned about the dioceses in this time that you’ve spent as presidents? JHW: That there really are people behind the work. I’d been part of the diocese, read all the things, participated in trainings, sent my kids to camp. What I really learned is that, for all of these


things we see, there really are really good and well-intentioned people behind it. I also learned that Western Michigan was there to lift me up when I needed it. That we could lift each other up. They were strangers to us, as we to you, except for a handful of “crossovers.” But this last year was like speed dating. It was amazing when I would get texts from people – sometimes not even sure if I knew them – that just said, “good job” or “you hit it out of the park” or “thank you.” It made me realize that everything we’ve talked about, read on paper, is really true. It was so nice to see and experience that, when you need it, people showed up. RW: I think I knew this before the pandemic, but it’s really been made especially clear to me. Our clergy are so supportive of one another – this hasn’t always been true in other dioceses in which I’ve served. I certainly experienced that when I first arrived – people pulling for me to be successful at St. Luke’s – but there is a genuine sense that people really care about one another, that we aren’t in competition. This very naturally happened in the midst of COVID as we all started sharing ideas with one another. It was like, “okay, we have to figure out how to do this. What are you doing? What am I doing?” and we all just quickly and

automatically moved into good idea mode with our colleagues. KF: I absolutely saw this amongst our lay-leaders too, especially around technology and digital ministry. It happened immediately. RW: Yes! KF: The dioceses are a network of organizations, congregations, and people ministering with and to communities across lower Michigan. What would you say to somebody considering stepping up to exercise leadership at the diocesan level? RW: I would tell folks to listen for diversity. It’s important that we have all kinds of diversity – not only racial and language diversity, but also in local culture, geography, size, age… The concerns of various groups are very real and we need all voices in leadership. JHW: I would just say that this is a great moment to be involved in our church. We’re not just… KF: We’re not on cruise control. Yeah. JHW: Right! We’re not like…

skipping through the tulips! We’re picking them, replanting them. We’re doing all sorts of great things. What a great time to be a part of something – to have a voice, to be the voice of others that don’t have a voice… What a great time to be involved. RW: And I will say that Zoom helps us with this. It helps us overcome geographical difficulties and accessibility issues. We’re not always going to be community in a building anymore. We have to learn to be community over online tools. I’m grateful for it. We wouldn’t have been able to navigate this last year without it. JHW: I remember when I visited Western Michigan in 2019 to speak at their Bishop’s Teaching Days that the only thing that really separated us was zip codes. And then when the pandemic came along, zip codes had no relevance either. That wall came down and we had one zip code – Zoom. KF: Where are you experiencing God right now? RW: As I always do – in ancient and sacred texts. I experience God in the many and interesting

ways our people are enacting that love into the world. I found out recently that St. Stephen’s, Plainwell had paid off all local school lunch debt – that’s God working. I hear about things all over our dioceses about things people are doing and it’s like, oh my God, the Holy Spirit has been busy. JHW: I am experiencing God in conversations that I never thought that I would have with people who mean a lot to me. Just when you think that you know what your plan is, God has you do something bigger. He doesn’t call you to do small things, he calls us to do big things. So, I’m experiencing God’s love in managing the holy tears. RW: I think that part of what you said, Janet, is a word to the church, especially the church in our two dioceses. God doesn’t call us to do small things. God calls us to do really big things. The church may be smaller now than it was in the past. But that doesn’t mean that God has stopped calling us to do big things. +

Janet Huff-Worvie is the President of the Standing Committee of Eastern Michigan. She is a member of St. John’s, Otter Lake and lives on a farm in Mayville with her husband, Frank, and their many animals. The Rev. Dr. Randall R. Warren is President of the Standing Committee of Western Michigan. He serves as Rector of St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo and definitely does not live on a farm.


Gospel, Aisle Five by Hunter Kurzawa

“I heard the words as I was driving along the freeway, ‘Witness. You must be a witness,’” reflects the Rev. Harold Schneider, priest serving on the ministry team at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Otter Lake. As he began the ordination process in 2015, Harold said his family and friends were noticing a difference in him – that they had a sense that he was closer now to God than ever before. People began to come seeking his prayer and words of insight at Ace Hardware, where he has worked as a store associate since 2006. “I have what you would call a ‘hardware ministry,’” he explains, “I would always talk to anybody about God, and I still do.” The Ace Hardware in downtown Davison, where Harold exercises his unofficial chaplaincy, looks like just about any other Ace Hardware in the state. Nestled amongst other storefronts on the main drag of town, the store is spacious and filled with aisles containing everything one needs for home improvement. And over the last sixteen years, it has become a place of prayer and comfort for the busy customers and friendly employees. Harold tells the story of one man who approached him for prayer -- a recovering alcoholic looking to turn his life around. The man accepted Harold’s invitation to come hear him preach at St. John’s. The man later went on to get baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. Harold journeyed with him as he explored his relationship with God. Proud of him, Harold reflects, “He eventually built a bell tower cross; it’s really a work of art, such a sight to behold.” This cross, entirely made of metal, was built as a representation of his spirituality. The man ended up giving it to the church as a gift where it now remains. “He grew up his whole life struggling with dyslexia, yet he is an amazing artist. He probably saved the church $3-4,000 in purchasing a cross with his generous gift,” Harold explains.

“Witness. You must be a witness.”


Another person that stands out to him was a “cranky old man looking for a three-way light switch.” As he tried to help this man find what he was looking for, Harold kept pulling out the wrong product from the shelf of disorganized boxes. Eventually he found the correct switch but not before the man grew quite frustrated with the process. When Harold asked the customer why he seemed so troubled, the man reported that he had just left the hospital after visiting a family member. “I’m just a little bit depressed,” the customer said. “I put my hand on his shoulder and I asked if he wanted me to pray for him and his family.” The old man was shocked that this stranger would do something so kind and prayed with him. When asked how he comes across these people in need of prayer, Harold says, “People that know me come in and pull me to the side for prayer. Other people, God leads to me. I’ve learned that God will provide you with people and you will recognize them. There’s no putting a handle on the need, the need is always there.” The aisles of this Ace Hardware have also been full of miracles. Joe Robideau, one of

Harold’s co-workers, has a young grandson named Drake who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was not expected to survive. Harold began to pray regularly over his coworker and his grandson, also adding his name to the prayer list at St. John’s, Otter Lake. The boy just turned four and is now completely cancer-free. “When the news was announced to the church, everyone stood up and cheered. I said, ‘that’s the power of prayer.” Harold has begun broadcasting services live from the hardware store on occasional Sundays, sometimes preaching live from the store. One Sunday, he asked if a customer was comfortable with the Zoom service playing aloud and the customer replied, “it doesn’t do any harm to have a little session with God every now and then.” Recognizing the impact of these broadcasts, Harold reports that customers are often appreciative to have prayer in such an unexpected place. Harold has no plans for concluding his ministry and presence anytime soon, saying, “I feel that I will continue what I’m doing until I can’t do it anymore.” +

“People that know me come in and pull me to the side for prayer. Other people, God leads to me. I’ve learned that God will provide you with people and you will recognize them.” The Rev. Harold Schneider

Harold tends to inventory at Davison’s ACE Hardware; Harold, his coworker, and Drake pose for a photo at the store; shelves stocked with hoses. Photos by Canon Katie Forsyth.

Solar panels mounted on the roof of the parish hall at Emmanuel, Hastings. Photo by Hunter Kurzawa.

Light Perpetual Harnessing the Power of the Sun by the Rev. Linnea Stifler


“What would you think about putting solar panels on this roof?” Dr. Bob Schirmer and I were standing on Center Street looking up at the south-facing roof of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings, MI when he asked me this question. It’s an old roof, because it’s an old church, a church that gathered for the first time while Mr. Lincoln was still president and celebrated the completion of their “new” building in 1890. “Wow, that would be awesome,” I said out loud and enthusiastically, while inwardly thinking, “What?!” I wish my response would have been closer to that of the Blessed Mother, “Yes, but how can these things be,” but I will confess to the more common response of “How in God’s name would we ever afford solar panels?!” That was the beginning, in the fall of 2018. Working with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, we had already enlisted the services of Diane Mills, an independent energy consultant. Diane had worked with us to identify easy and costeffective ways for us to conserve energy, looking at our lighting and temperature management. We had installed LED lighting in the nave, parish house, offices, and classrooms. We had begun and would expand our recycling efforts and had begun composting biodegradable waste from our Saturday morning Community Breakfasts. And now we had a solar project.

strategies around education, which had resulted in greater buy-in from the entire membership. We left inspired. At Emmanuel, we began by posting fliers around the church containing photos and information based on research from Dr. Schirmer. With the leadership of Shannon Thornton-Nagy, an outdoor educator with Battle Creek Public Schools, and John Howarth, a science professor recently retired from the School of Education at UC Berkeley, the youth group prepared hands-on activities and presentations for coffee hour. What had seemed impossible was moving toward conceivable. “I was attracted to Emmanuel because of its interest in social justice...,” member Denise Thompson reflects, “But the emphasis on creation care was a new topic for me. I’ve talked about it and recycled cans, plastics, and paper for many years, but when Emmanuel put their money where their talk was by actually investing in and installing the solar system at the church, it expanded my definition of social justice to a new level…’Creation’ has taken on greater importance and I have more of an urgency and desire to be part of restoring the beautiful world God created and put in our hands to protect and use responsibly.” After much consideration and study, we focused on the roof of the Parish House for the initial project with a ten-year plan to include the insulating, reshingling, and paneling of the roof of the nave.

We formed a Creation Care Committee, and But how were we going to pay for it? Two long-time through Diane, began conversations with a solar members of Emmanuel, Russ and Jean Hammond, installer, Mike Linsea. Mike provided the Creation were approaching the age of 90. As they reported to Care group with print materials, measurements, us, they had talked with one another asking, “Why estimates, and contacts at Plymouth United Church wait to leave money to Emmanuel when we die?” of Christ in Grand Rapids -- a congregation that had just replaced an old roof and covered it with solar Believing in the solar project and wanting to see its panels. On a field trip to Plymouth UCC, we were impact themselves on the place they so loved and impressed by the clear messaging within the parish cared for, they embraced the plan and donated a about renewable energy, about the monthly, daily, large portion of the seed money for the project. hourly output of their panels, the number of trees that had been saved comparatively, and more. A member “I have more of an urgency and a desire to be part of restoring the beautiful of the church world God created and put in our hands to protect and use responsibly.” explained their

— Denise Thompson EDWM.ORG | 15

Panel by panel (and sometimes half-panel by halfpanel) we gathered donations from our members and friends in the community. The response was overwhelming. We mounted sticky-note sunbursts on sections of paneling as they were “purchased” and displayed them in the parish house. By the time installation began in September 2019, all 66 panels were paid for, with additional funds already secured for the 10-year plan for the nave. Together on a Sunday, everyone took turns to sign the underpinning of the panels. On a Monday morning, we prayed a short liturgy of blessing for the work and the workers before they began erecting the scaffolding. Within two weeks they were done. In addition to the panels, the installers placed the internal systems for conversion and transmission of energy, the connection with Consumers Power, and the monitoring systems that would allow us to electronically “see” what our panels were doing. It was time to celebrate. On October 23rd, we held A Solar Celebration, dedicating the project and recognizing each person’s contribution. We welcomed many special guests including our bishop, representatives from the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and our local congresswoman Julie Calley, a representative from the Match-E-BeNash-She-Wish Gun Lake Band of the Potawatomi Nation, the mayor of Hastings and guests from the city council, county commission and the chamber of commerce, local ecumenical clergy and parishioners, clergy colleagues from our diocese, and members of Emmanuel. The celebration was marked by scripture, poetry, a song of blessing from the Anishnabe tradition, presentations of documents, and great fun with the aspergillia. Instead of a ribbon cutting, we fastened together a

papier-mâché plug and receptor. As guests and parishioners entered the building for the reception, two large paper footprints met them at the door and led to a series of smaller and smaller footprints that climbed the short flight of stairs to a tiny pair of footprints at the door of the nave, a visual witness to our intention. The panels continue to cheerfully do their work day after day. Emmanuel was recently the recipient of the Solar Steward Award from the West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and their Battle of the Buildings at the Michigan Energy Summit. We continue to share information with other parishes and groups, and maintain contact with the Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, MI, which is now entirely carbon neutral, and the Climate Witness Project, a great source of education and advocacy for Houses of Worship, as well as Michigan Interfaith Power and Light. As extensive a project as this was, it is the other efforts to reduce energy use – changes in lighting, heating and cooling, composting and recycling, home energy audits for members and friends – that change our thinking, increase awareness, and help us attend to the earth, our island home. “We are charged to be stewards of God’s creation,” reminds member Dan Auer, “Supporting sustainable and renewable energy is one powerful way to do so. Our efforts help shine the light on how anyone can make small or large steps to a more environmentally friendly future.” +

The Rev. Linnea Stifler serves as rector with Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings. Contact Linnea at to connect with resources to explore with your local congregation.

WATCH THE SOLAR CELEBRATION! Scan the QR code with your phone camera to watch a short video with moments from the October 2019 Solar Celebration at Emmanuel, Hastings!


Dr. Bob Schirmer, the Rev. Linnea Stifler, Georgette Schirmer, Sheryl Lewis-Blake, and Willo Fuhr pose for a photo in front of the building; Emmanuel, Hastings; seed funders Russ and Jean Hammond. Photos by Hunter Kurzawa.


PRESS FOLD TURN by Theresa Williams


Theresa kneads dough for communion bread. Photo by Emily Williams.


Press, fold, turn. Press, fold, turn. Press, fold, turn. The rhythm of kneading bread is an ancient one. Standing at my counter, kneading this lump of dough, the feeling came over me that I was connected to something more than this place and this moment and that this bread was about more than just food to eat. Connections. That’s what this loaf was about. This bread was connecting me to the millions of people across the globe and across the centuries who’ve engaged in this same activity in order to make their daily bread. It was connecting me to the soil and water on our land that grew the wheat, to the work I put into raising it, and to my husband. It was connecting me to longcherished spiritual traditions, and to hope for the future. For many years I had toyed with the idea of growing wheat. We were already raising abundant crops of vegetables, fruits, herbs,


flowers, and chickens; why not a small grain as well? Sowing oats and rye for cover crops has always been part of our cycle of fall tasks, and I’d grown hull-less oats to make into oatmeal. I’d even purchased a book on how to grow wheat. But then – reality check. My husband Jim had grown up on a farm where wheat was one of the crops, planted with a tractor and harvested with a combine. There are good reasons why the inventions of threshers and combines were heralded as revolutionary: the harvesting, and especially the threshing and winnowing of wheat are incredibly labor intensive. The realistic and practical parts of our brains informed us that growing wheat was not for us; it was one of those crops that was best left to larger acreages and large machines. We relegated growing wheat into the “maybe someday” category. Then I heard about how the people at Plainsong Farm,

a ministry of The Episcopal Church, were growing wheat on a small scale to bake communion bread, and I was intrigued. Perhaps I could dip my toes into the waters by growing just enough to make some communion bread. I decided to grow just one bed; a mere 1/350th of an acre of wheat. There was a farmer in Wisconsin that I’d heard of who was growing heritage varieties of wheat, and I was able to purchase a small amount of ‘Turkey Red’ wheat berries from him. In mid-September of 2018, after the threat of Hessian fly had passed, I aerated the soil of one of the beds with a broadfork: put the tines in the ground, step on the crossbar, pull back the handles, and lift the soil. Move the tool one foot back and repeat until the entire bed is done. The next step was to get down on my hands and knees to give tilth to the soil and create shallow furrows, eight inches apart, running the length of the

bed. I do a lot of my farming this way, getting up close and personal. I do this so that my eyes can see and my hands can feel the condition of the soil. And so that I can be in communion with it. The soil takes care of me by providing nourishing crops and life-giving soil organisms. I take care of it by giving it the water, organic matter, and nutrients that it needs to flourish. It is life in a full and beautiful circle. One by one, I nestled the kernels of wheat into the warm ground and then covered the rows with soil. After the seed was sown, I spread a layer of compost on the bed and watered it deeply. Within a week the seeds were starting to grow and the bed was covered with a haze of green. After that, the bed only needed weeding a couple of times before winter settled in. Then Mother Nature took over, and there was no more work for me to do until the next spring. The melting of the snow in late March revealed a lush, green bed. I weeded it a couple of times in April, and then the vigorous growth of the young wheat plants prevented all but a few weeds from taking hold. We irrigated it a couple of times when the weather turned dry.

When June came around, we experienced firsthand why the shorter stalks of hybrid wheat varieties are so desirable. Heritage varieties of wheat are generally taller than their hybrid cousins, and once the heads began to fill with grain, the summer winds promptly laid the crop down on the ground. A network of step-in fence posts and twine enabled us to resurrect most of the stand. By late July, it was ready to harvest. Harvesting was tedious. A pair of garden shears served as my combine, and I gathered small handfuls of the stalks and clipped off the seed heads and dropped them into a bin. An hour and a couple of blisters later I had a bin full of wheat, most of which was still attached to vastly shortened stalks. Threshing and winnowing were the next steps. I had no illusions about the amount of work that involved, as I had seen this done by hand when I lived in Lesotho (a small country in southern Africa). The women there would thresh the crop by spending hours beating sheaves of wheat to release the grain from the stalks. After that, they would winnow it by repeatedly tossing the grains in the air and catching them in shallow baskets, allowing the wind to blow the chaff away.

“The soil takes care of me by providing nourishing crops and life -- giving soil organisms -- and I take care of it by giving it the water, organic matter, and nutrients that it needs to flourish. It is life in a full and beautiful circle.”

Women winnowing wheat in Lesotho, August 1986. Photo by Theresa Williams.


“As I gave myself over to the rhythm of kneading, a sense of profound blessing surrounded me and filled me.” About the same time that I was harvesting the wheat, we had a worship committee meeting at church where we discussed using loaves rather than wafers for communion. We had used bread in the past, and I had assumed that there would be enthusiasm for having communion bread made from locally grown wheat. I hadn’t thought about the challenges that using a loaf of bread for communion presents as compared to wafers. Crumbs can get into the wine, and it does take time to break the bread into enough pieces. I went home and placed the wheat in a bag and hung it from the ceiling beams in our barn to protect it from rodents. It stayed there, just as it was harvested, un-winnowed and un-threshed, through that winter and the next. My Lenten journey this year caused me to rethink many things, the grains of wheat hanging from the barn ceiling among them. The COVID pandemic meant that the usual Holy Week activities we knew and valued, including our Agape meal, simply could not happen. Something stirred inside of me, and it said that this year, Maundy Thursday, could be wellremembered by using that wheat. Something stirred inside my husband as well. Jim, ever the practical realist, had shaken his head at my endeavor. To him, the intensive labor just never seemed worth it. But he agreed that now was a good time to use the wheat (mainly being motivated to finally get it out of the barn). On Holy Wednesday, with his typical good humor and patience, he donned a pair of gloves and set about removing the grains of wheat from the stalks, rubbing them between his hands. He blew away what chaff he could by directing a blast of air from the shop vac into the bin that contained the kernels. Next, he brought the wheat into the house and started painstakingly sorting out the remaining chaff and any bad kernels, first by sieving it, and then by spreading the grains out on a cookie sheet. As he did so, he told me a story from his youth.


Jim had been involved with 4-H throughout his childhood, and from the time he was 10 until he was 17, he showed wheat every year at the county fair. Showing wheat involved two things. The first was communicating about your crop with the judges so they could ascertain what you’d learned. The second was displaying eight quarts of cleaned kernels in glass canning jars. Although the family farm’s combine had done the harvesting, threshing, and most of the winnowing, he still had to sort through the kernels to get wheat for his display. Sorting through our wheat brought back happy memories, and the stories he shared about how he showed wheat during his youth were a gift to me. We have been married for over 32 years, and yet here was a chapter of his life that I had never heard before. On Maundy Thursday, I began to make the bread. The grains of wheat needed to be turned into flour, and our coffee bean grinder accomplished this task remarkably well. I mixed the flour with water from our artesian well, a well that flows year-round, blessing us with a never-ending supply of fresh, clean water. Honey from a friend provided a little sweetness to the dough, and the ancient sea salt I used reminded me that we are of this earth. Olive oil connected me to the Mediterranean region where our tradition of Eucharist began and where Jesus lived his life. Rather than having unleavened bread, I chose to add yeast. How could I not, when it is such a metaphor for growth and life? On to the kneading. I’ve been baking bread since I was a teenager. In the early days I did it all by hand, but for the last couple of decades, I’ve used a bread machine to do the time-consuming and sometimes heavy work of kneading. But this time, for this wheat, I wanted to use my hands. Press, fold, turn. Press, fold, turn. Press, fold, turn. As I engaged in this rhythmic, meditative action, I began to think about the many connections embodied in this simple loaf of bread. And as I gave myself over to the rhythm of kneading, a sense of profound blessing surrounded me and filled me. And

I wondered – was it like this at the Last Supper? Did the disciples feel this same sense of blessing when they were in the presence of Jesus?

Theresa planting wheat seeds. Photo by Emily Williams.

We ate the bread that night for dinner. It was chewy and delicious, but more than that, it was deeply satisfying. It nourished something deep within me that I didn’t even know was hungry. I reflected on the Last Supper as we ate the bread. Unlike the disciples, we knew that Easter comes a few days after Maundy Thursday, so I didn’t feel any of the despair that they knew that night. Instead, I felt hope. Hope that this long period of sacrifice was soon to be over. Not just the sacrifices of Lent, but the sacrifices of the past year as well. COVID has been a dark cloud in our life for nearly two years as it has been for most of the world. The much longed-for wedding of our daughter had to be canceled, we’ve not been able to see our son who is living in a far-off country for nearly two years, and our other daughter has undergone severe stress due to isolation. The bitterest pill was the death of a brother and the compounding pain of not being able to gather with family for a funeral. It is asking a lot of bread to want it to represent connection and hope as well as sustenance. I certainly didn’t start the whole process of growing wheat and making and eating bread with the thought that it would connect me to a hope for the future, but it did. Perhaps it was because of all the work involved, perhaps it was because it came from our soil, or perhaps it was because it was an endeavor spanning two and a half years. I’ve tried to come up with a succinct answer, but I haven’t been able to. I do know this though – the Spanish poet Antonio Machado was right when he said “Wanderer, there is no road; the road is made by walking.” Jim and I have talked about it, and we will plant wheat again this fall and probably for every fall in the foreseeable future. We’ll look forward to a few special loaves of bread made from this wheat, but without hanging any special meaning on them ahead of time. Those roads have not yet been made. Those connections are yet to come. + Theresa Williams is a forester, farmer, and member of St. Mary’s, Cadillac. EDWM.ORG | 23


I revived my practice of hiking during the pandemic lockdown, mainly out of concern for my physical and mental health. What I wasn’t expecting was the profound spiritual experience it would be or the wisdom God would reveal while I rambled through the woods by myself. These solo experiences led to the formation of our local chapter of Holy Hikes, where we seek and worship God in Creation, as a community that transcends traditional institutional boundaries. 24 | EASTMICH.ORG

On one of my first outings on a chilly morning, I found myself breathing heavily while I struggled up a steep hill. “No way to get better at this than by doing it,” I thought to myself as I leaned on my trekking pole. Once I reached the top of the hill to find a bench, I lavished praises upon whoever had the presence of mind to place it. As I took a deep breath and waited for my heart rate to come back down, my mind wandered back to the words of encouragement I’d given myself on the climb up the hill. How often do I encounter discomfort and instead of leaning into it as an opportunity for growth, choose to go in another direction? Christian discipleship often calls us to embrace

“How often do I encounter discomfort and, instead of leaning into it as an opportunity for growth, choose to go in another direction? Christian discipleship often calls us to embrace a certain amount of pain, discomfort, even death, in our pursuit of God’s Kingdom… After all, Easter doesn’t come without Good Friday.”

Participants hike the For-Mar Nature Preserve in Burton, June 2021. Photos by Canon Katie Forsyth.

a certain amount of pain, discomfort, even death, in our pursuit of God’s Kingdom… After all, Easter doesn’t come without Good Friday. Medieval European Christians, who lived with war, plague, and pestilence as constant companions, viewed all sorts of suffering as a blessing… an opportunity to emulate Christ and the Martyrs of the early church. Modern American Christians (especially those who

embrace a “prosperity gospel” paradigm) frequently view any sort of suffering as an affliction from God for poor conduct. This view of the world can lead us, more often than not, to blame people for their suffering, rather than the very human systems that lead to their suffering. Moreover, we can spend so much time blaming ourselves for causing our own suffering that we fail to recognize where God is calling us to go. I could

have spent that breather on the bench beating myself up for becoming so sedentary after leaving my very active retail job to become my newborn child’s primary caregiver. I could have decided then and there that this walk was too much of a drag and I shouldn’t keep coming out to the woods. But as my heart rate slowed and I was able to shift my focus to the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind and birdsong dancing overhead, I grew EDWM.ORG | 25

“Hiking with others yields different spiritual fruit. Sharing delight in a banditry of chickadees flitting back and forth across the trail twittering to one another may not be Eucharist, but it’s certainly its own sort of communion of the spirit.”

Participants hike the Banwell Nature Preserve in Afton, October 2021; Tanna leads a meditation during the hike at the For-Mar Nature Preserve in Burton, June 2021. Photos by Canon Katie Forsyth.

spontaneously grateful for the breath God had given me. I knew then that God had called me out to the woods to do some serious contemplative work… the kind of work that I was struggling to do at home and couldn’t do in the usual sacred spaces while our church buildings were closed. As weeks passed and my body got more accustomed to the vigors of the trail (though I still huff and puff on hills) I began to get to know the other beloved creations of God that I encountered: blue jays and chickadees, pine and maple trees, turtles that sunned

themselves on a log in the little pond at the back of the nature preserve. Then, of course, were the myriad insects, more than a few of whom seemed to have a keen interest in obtaining whatever they could from me. Winter hiking became one of my favorite pursuits because I had the assurance that I needn’t keep trudging along just to keep from becoming a buffet for whatever creepy crawly and their 500 best friends happened upon me. The trail has a way of reminding us, by force and sting if necessary, that we are inseparable from creation, for we ourselves are also created beings. The oxygen, water, and carbon that form the chemical basis for our existence has already cycled countless times through other created beings on “our island home” floating in the midst of our almost incomprehensibly large universe. Try as we might to separate ourselves from creation, we remain interconnected… to creation and to one another. I might go to the woods in search of solitude, but when I happen upon a bench or a fallen tree that has been removed from the path I’m walking, I sure give thanks for those whose good stewardship of that speck of creation eased my way. I might not delight in the insects that find me so delicious, but I find myself in awe of the more charismatic fauna who rely upon those insects and their larva for sustenance. Without the mosquito chasing me on the summer trail, there can be no cardinal brightening the winter trail with his song. Without the carpenter and the park ranger, there can be no hilltop bench nor the maintained trail that each bring me such joy. Hiking with others yields different spiritual fruit. Sharing delight in a banditry of chickadees flitting back and forth across the trail twittering to one


another may not be Eucharist, but it’s certainly its own sort of communion of the spirit. Hearing one’s companions encouraging one another reminds one of all the ways we show up for and encourage one another when we’re in community. Sharing water and granola bars out of an abundant snack bin is a small taste of the radical hospitality we’re called to extend to one another and the world in response to God’s grace. Just as in the church at large, the body has many parts, all of whom are necessary to making the whole function: leaders and sweeps, cheerleaders and caregivers, administrators and, of course, someone to make sure no critters sneak up and pilfer the snack bin while the hikers are on the trail. We come together for an afternoon from all directions and form a community to worship and encounter God in that unique place and time, and then we take whatever God has shared with us back to our home communities. Some of us are old friends, but inevitably we make new connections, and share our stories with one another. The trail gives us the time and space to move through our prayers together, interspersed with the sharing of stories and contemplation. + Tanna Leclaire is a nominee for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. She serves as facilitator and coordinator of Holy Hikes Great Lakes, on the bi-diocesan Evangelism Taskforce, and on the Building Bridges Steering Committee. She lives in Port Huron with her spouse, Kay, and their daughter, Audrey.

SAVE THE DATE: HOLY HIKES GREAT LAKES 2022 In 2022, Holy Hikes Eastern Michigan becomes Holy Hikes Great Lakes! We are looking forward to gathering together to hike through God’s creation throughout the spring and fall, across both dioceses. • • •

April 16 - Portman Nature Preserve, Matawan May 28 - Shiawassee Wildlife Preserve Environmental Learning Trail, Saginaw June 25 - Lumberman’s Monument Trail, Oscoda

• • • •

July 23 - Bowman Lake Loop, Baldwin August 6 - Wolf Creek Trail, Mio September 17 - Fern Lake Loop, Long Lake October 1 - Blue Water Riverwalk, Port Huron


An Urgent Agen of Reimaginatio by the Rev. Jen Adams


The House of Deputies during the 78th General Convention, 2015. Photo by Deputy James Steadman, courtesy of House of Deputies News.

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In July 2012, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church passed a unanimous resolution formally creating the Taskforce for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (aka “TREC”). I had the honor of serving as one of twenty-five members of this special taskforce appointed from around the Church, which included bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people. TREC was mandated to present a plan to the following General Convention in 2015 with recommendations to reform the Church’s structures, governance, and administration. Our formal charge was “to facilitate this church’s faithful engagement of Christ’s mission…in a way that maximizes the resources available for that mission at all levels of the church.” There was relief, even applause, in both Houses of General Convention in the moment that this resolution passed! What I didn’t know then but know now, was that the momentous beginning was the easiest step. Any process of genuine spiritual growth – whether individual, communal, or both – demands faithful discernment around when to hang on and when to let go. It’s often hard and gut wrenching work – work that invites awareness and truth telling that ultimately changes us. Such journeys are hard but can also be holy, if we let them be. They break us open to the presence of the Spirit and also to those with whom we travel. TREC began our work by asking fundamental questions of identity. This provided places to “hang on” because hanging on to our foundation was essential. Who are we as Episcopalians? What is particular about Episcopal embodiment of the Way of Jesus? How is Episcopal identity being expressed and renewed in this 21st century context? We also asked questions that would reveal some necessary “letting go.” Are our resources being used in ways that look forward and reflect good stewardship? Do our structures actually support our identity in today’s context? What does our church organization need to look like now in order to better support the work God has given us to do into the future?

“Any process of genuine spiritual growth - individual, communal, or both -demands faithful discernment around when to hang on and when to let go.” EDWM.ORG | 29

“In our final report, TREC encouraged The Episcopal Church to adopt ‘an adaptive agenda of innovation’... to help facilitate what we called ‘an urgent agenda of imagination.’” — The Rev. Jen Adams

Through in-person and online conversations, TREC engaged thousands of Episcopalians about their “hopes, dreams, ideas, and concerns for the Church” and about our collective mission to serve Christ. We reviewed broad research on the identity and mission of The Episcopal Church – a process in which thousands more participated. We studied the history of our Church. We examined other churches and even non-religious organizations that had innovated “to pursue their missions in a changing world.” We prayed without ceasing.

Episcopalians in Eastern Michigan participate in a local TREC Conversation in St. Clair in 2014; Jen with TREC team members, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Kevin Nichols (now Bishop of Bethlehem), and Bishop Sean Rowe (now of Central New York and Northwest Pennsylvania); the TREC Taskforce meets in Baltimore in 2013.


TREC leaned into scripture and the fact that the Church began as a movement. In Luke 10, Jesus sent the seventy out into a plentiful harvest to preach and to heal. Jesus told the disciples to travel lightly and to engage all those whom they encountered. He also advised them to “shake the dust off of their feet” and move on when it was the faithful thing to do. Discerning when to hang on and when to let go was an essential practice of discipleship. As the early church grew, organization and structure were developed to

“preserve, support, and spread the Jesus movement.” The Book of Acts describes this as “an exciting and dynamic process of experimentation, discernment, and discovery.” Rather than an anxious focus on how to preserve our institution, TREC suggested we adopt that early church spirit, that “a joyful focus on the basic practices of the movement will hold the real keys for moving us into God’s future”. In our final report, TREC encouraged The Episcopal Church to adopt “an adaptive agenda of innovation” along with supportive structural changes which, if chosen wisely and implemented well, would help facilitate what we called “an urgent agenda of reimagination.” Given the breadth of the charge and our discoveries along the way, TREC’s final recommendations were more comprehensive than most resolutions tend to be. Our proposals integrated governance and culture, administration and identity, polity and practice, offering “renewed ways not only of speaking to the world, but also of being together”. TREC’s sense was that progress will be driven by “a commitment

to collaboration across structures that may have no formal connectivity today.’ Our final recommendations fell into three categories: • • •

Restructuring for spiritual encounter; Reimagining dioceses, bishops, and General Convention; Restructuring assets in service of God’s mission in the future.

TREC’s proposals were a very intentional beginning to a long-term, reformative, and hopeful haul. While not the most legislatively successful endeavor the Church has ever seen, (none of our resolutions

were approved as written, some did not make it to the floor for a vote), the work of TREC, along with many other efforts in our Church continues to bear good fruit. Right here in Eastern and Western Michigan, we’re engaged in faithful, long-term discernment as we pray and work together for Spirit-filled transformation. The Building Bridges Joint Committee is inviting us all into conversations which begin soon. The harvest is plentiful, people of Eastern and Western Michigan! It’s time to re-imagine who and how it is God is calling us to be. +

The Rev. Jennifer Adams serves as Rector with Grace Episcopal Church in Holland. She is a member of the bi-diocesan Building Bridges Steering Committee.

CONNECT WITH BUILDING BRIDGES! All people of the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan are invited to be part of the conversation between our two dioceses -- a process of prayerful and mutual discernment for the purposes of imagining and investing in structures, governance models, and episcopal oversight models that enhance collaborative, active, and thriving ministry as faithful stewards of our resources and in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Learn more and get involved at and



Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for Beloved Community A Book Review by the Rev. Ann Grady The Church Cracked Open – Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for Beloved Community, somehow holds in tension both the hard truths about dominant American Christianity and hope for beloved community. The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation Care to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, wrote this book six months into a pandemic and two months after the murder of George Floyd -- a world in the midst of grief, protests, and racial reckoning. In it, she offers a vision of a church “cracked open” to the leading of the Holy Spirit, especially as we come to terms with our history of proximity to empire and our call to follow Jesus in walking with the oppressed. Spellers’ image of the cracked open church comes from the story of the Woman with the Alabaster Jar. In the story, a woman crashes a gathering of Jesus and his disciples. In what some may consider a wasteful gesture, she breaks her nard-filled alabaster jar and drenches Jesus with the oil. Recognizing who Jesus was, she offers him the very best of what she has to give in direct conflict with the norms and expectations of those in power. Spellers notes that Jesus is also probably relieved that someone else is busting the boundaries of “moderation, rationalism, and business as usual.” She reflects that we too have been broken open – by the pandemic, by loss, by reckonings. “Not 32 | EASTMICH.ORG

knowing how to deal with all this chaos, we run around gathering up the broken pieces, gluing them back together, and salvaging as much of the spilled oil as we can.” Over the course of the book, Spellers offers observations and history of American Christianity – majority white, mainline Protestant, and evangelical – marking its rise and decline and the moment we find ourselves in now. She observes that the denominations that constitute our white-dominant American Christianity still identify with the cultural traits of our immigrant ancestors and still serve the purposes of empire. Since its inception, our own Episcopal Church, a product of the British Empire and American exceptionalism, has offered prayers for “sobriety, proper order, and quiet” – the very traits that are essential to maintaining dominant culture. “We have often functioned as a faithful chaplain to empire,” Spellers writes, “upholding a tasteful banner to cover the sins of genocide, slavery, greed, segregation, and oppression.” Offering a word of hope, she reflects that whether religious or not, all people all yearn for beloved community -- a milieu of mutual thriving, sacrifice of comfort for the other, and shared aspirations. The beloved community is complicated by avoidance of sacrifice and commitment as we are captives of our possessions, our power, and our privilege.

She then explores the concept of kenosis, the voluntary detachment and radical selfgiving that exemplifies Jesus’ life, through the stories of four Episcopalians who, led by the Holy Spirit, moved from self-centrism and privilege to resistance and self-sacrifice to be in solidarity with the persecuted and rejected. She invites Christian communities, those that have always identified with empire and power, to a life of solidarity and walking in humility with the oppressed. Spellers describes this as the “stewardship of privilege” which she defines as “tak[ing] hold of the power of privilege and turn[ing] back on itself, to disarm the very thing it was designed to protect.” Rather, she hopes the book sparks serious examination of the systems and assumptions by which we and our parishes live. The Church Cracked Open is powerful, compelling, and necessary reading for individuals and parishes. Spellers wants more from us than simply reflection. Rather, she hopes this book will spark serious examination of our lives and our parishes’ lives, and the systems and assumptions that form them. She hopes we’ll be less anxious about how we’re being cracked open, and more open to “how God might remake [us] as a true community of love.” To that end, Spellers provides The Church Cracked Open: Reflection and Action Guide, which is available for free at or at the publisher’s site, Knowing where we’ve been, where we are, where we want to go, and what we want to be, Spellers invites us to risk being cracked open with the knowledge that God is with us and blesses us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she reassures, redemption is indeed possible. +

The Rev. Ann Grady serves as Chaplain to the Retired Clergy and Spouses, and Surviving Spouses in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. She is a retired priest and intentional interim, and serves on the Diocesan Council. She lives in Bay City, MI.

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers is Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation Care for The Episcopal Church. Her other books include Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation (2006), and The Episcopal Way (with Eric Law, 2014).



October 2020- September 2021

In May 2021, several members of the Diocese of Western Michigan traveled to Lansing to advocate for the protection of voter rights. From left to right, Bobbie Gaunt (All Saints, Saugatuck), the Rev. Canon Valerie Ambrose (diocesan staff), the Rev. Jim Perra (Grace, Traverse City), the Rev. Radha Kaminski (St. Mary’s, Cadillac and St. Andrew’s, Big Rapids), the Rev. Sr. Diane Stier (St. John’s, Mount Pleasant), the Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson (All Saints, Saugatuck), the Rev. Cynthia Caruso (St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor), the Rev. Deacon Jim Enelow (St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor), the Rev. Deacon Francis Berguis (All Saints, Saugatuck), and Vicki Shroeder (Western Michigan). Photo by Canon Katie Forsyth.


At their ordinations in January, the Rev. Radha Kaminski (Big Rapids, Cadillac) offers a blessing to the Rev. Jen Adams (Holland); the Rev. Philip Zoutendam (North Carolina) proclaims the Gospel; the bishop and sponsors pray over the Rev. Eileen Stoffan (Muskegon).

ORDINATIONS Bishop Doug Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Radhajyoti Kaminski to the priesthood in January. Bishop Doug Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Eileen Stoffan to the priesthood in January. Bishop Doug Sparks (Northern Indiana) ordained the Rev. Philip Zoutendam to the priesthood in January.

REST IN PEACE Pamela Chapman, member of St. Philip’s, Grand Rapids and longtime lay leader in Western Michigan and The Episcopal Church, died December 18, 2020. The Rev. Dr. Jim Croom died May 10, 2021. Jim previously served Holy Trinity, Wyoming; St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo; Grace, Grand Rapids; and Holy Spirit, Belmont. The Rev. Walter Draeger, Jr. died December 2, 2020. Wally previously served St. David’s, Lansing; Grace, Traverse City; Emmanuel, Petoskey; St. Francis, Grayling; and St. Elizabeth’s, Higgins Lake. The Rev. Deacon Floyd Kunce died January 31, 2021. Floyd previously served St. John’s, Sturgis. The Rev. Deacon Audra Nickerson died June 3, 2021. Audra previously served St. Thomas, Battle Creek. The Rev. Kenneth Michnay died December 4, 2020. Kenneth previously served St. John’s, Grand Haven. The Rev. Ann Norton died April 11, 2021. Ann previously served St. John’s, Otter Lake. The Rev. Dr. Lydia Agnew Speller died February 9, 2021. Lydia previously served Grace, Port Huron.

The Rt. Rev. Skip Adams prays over the oil during a Chrism Mass at St. Andrew’s, Gaylord in May. The two Chrism Masses (the other taking place at St. David’s, Lansing) included the renewal of clergy vows. EDWM.ORG | 35

CALLS & TRANSITIONS The Rt. Rev. Gladstone (Skip) Adams served the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan as consultant and Assisting Bishop February-September. Pastor John Autio entered retirement, concluding his ministry with St. Paul’s, Greenville in November. The Rev. Cynthia Caruso is Rector serving St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor. The Rev. Rebecca Crise entered retirement, concluding her ministry with St. Mark’s, Paw Paw in December. The Rev. Don Davidson is Interim Priest-in-Charge serving St. Paul’s, Flint. He also served as Interim Priestin-Charge with Holy Family, Wyoming. The Rev. Hugh Dickinson entered retirement, concluding his associate ministry with St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids. The Rev. Deacon Jim Enelow serves as deacon with St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor. The Rev. Dr. Valerie Fargo entered retirement, concluding her ministry as Director of the CoppageGordon School for Ministry on the diocesan staff of Eastern Michigan in September. The Rev. Mike Fedewa entered retirement, concluding his ministry with St. Paul’s, Muskegon in December. The Rev. Jim Harrison is Priest-in-Charge serving St. John’s, Midland. The Rev. Ken Hitch accepted a call to serve St. Eustace, Lake Placid, NY, concluding his ministry with St. John’s, Midland in January. The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr. concluded his ministry as Bishop Diocesan of Western Michigan and Provisional of Eastern Michigan in July. The young adult community of Eastern and Western Michigan gathered at Camp Chickagami over Labor Day weekend for their annual Dinner Church Retreat, which required proof of vaccinations this year. 36 | EASTMICH.ORG

The Rev. Canon Alan James is Interim Canon Missioner for the Southern Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. Alan also served as Interim Rector with Grace, Grand Rapids. The Rev. Deacon Liz Kinsey is Western Michigan’s Team Member to the leadership of the Academy for Vocational Leadership. The Rev. John Kirkman entered retirement, concluding his ministry with St. John’s, Ionia in February. The Rev. David Pike entered retirement, concluding his ministry with St. David’s, Lansing in May. The Rev. Dan Scheid accepted a call to serve All Saints, San Francisco, CA, concluding his ministry with St. Paul’s, Flint in May. The Rev. William Spaid entered retirement, concluding his ministry as Canon Missioner for the Southern Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan in December. The Rev. Sr. Diane Stier is Rector serving St. John’s, Mount Pleasant after previously serving as Priest-inCharge. The Rev. Eileen Stoffan is Priest-in-Charge serving St. Paul’s, Muskegon. The Rev. David Vickers accepted a call to serve as Priest-in-Charge serving St. Paul’s, Greenville, concluding his ministry with Holy Family, Blue Water in July. The Rev. Mike Wernick is Priest-in-Charge serving Holy Trinity, Wyoming, continuing his ministry as Rector and Pastor with Two Churches ELCA and Episcopal, Kentwood.

Top: Former Assisting Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Skip Adams, confirmed, received, and re-affirmed sixteen people into The Episcopal Church during his time with us during services held at St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids (pictured) and St. John’s, Saginaw. Middle: Plainsong Farm is home to The Episcopal Church’s newest Episcopal Service Corps program. Ana, Karina, Chavala, and Aidan arrived at the farm in August. Bottom: Kay, Audrey, and Tanna Leclaire were three of 41 contributors to our bi-diocesan online Lessons & Carols service last December.


CELEBRATIONS & MILESTONES McKenzie Knill, Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry for the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, and her husband, Evan, welcomed Kennedy Ruth Knill on March 13, 2021.

In September, our outgoing Assisting Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Skip Adams, offered two day-long retreats titled, “All God, All the Time: Quiet Days with Bishop Skip.” The events, hosted by Sudanese Grace, Grand Rapids and St. John’s, Midland, included times of teaching and reflection, group discussion, and silence. The Quiet Days concluded with the celebration of Holy Eucharist. 38 | EASTMICH.ORG

Our camping programs returned in some capacity this summer. Camp Chickagami (top, Eastern Michigan) offered traveling day camps across the lower peninsula and a few modified on-site programs in Presque Isle. Episcopal Youth Camp (left, Western Michigan) offered two weeks of youth camp at Camp Newaygo. Learn more at and

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. Jane M. Bingham

Barbara Gladding

Kai Carrigan In honor of St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids

The Rev. Thomas Guback

The Rev. Marilyn K. Dressell In memory of the Rev. Louise Kountze The Rev. Ed and Ann Emenheiser Willo and Gordon Fuhr In honor of the Rev. Linnea Stifler Frank and Patricia Eichenlaub The Rev. Deacon Robert Finn

The Rev. Michael Houle Sharon Huitema In thanksgiving for all God’s children The Rt. Rev. Edwin Leidel, Jr. In thanksgiving for the people of Eastern Michigan The Rev. Deacon Sharon Naughton Sandra L. Reed The Rev. Canon Curtis Zimmerman EDWM.ORG | 39

Seeking and Finding by Sandy P. Selden Sandy’s work has been featured in several galleries and juried shows across the state. This piece, in pencil and pastels, was inspired by a retreat led by the Rev. Canon Jannel Glennie in 2017. She and her husband, Steve, are members of Emmanuel, Petoskey. 40 | EASTMICH.ORG

LOOKING AHEAD < Progressive Mission Trip Episcopalians on the move! Next summer, high schoolers in Eastern and Western Michigan will take part in a progressive mission trip -- a journey of prayer and service in which the group will travel and volunteer with several outreach ministries throughout the week. The trip will culminate with a visit to the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland -- a chance to see and experience the work of the wider Church up close. The Progressive Mission Trip will take place July 7-13, 2022 and is open to rising 9-12th graders. More details, including drop-off and pick-up information, will be available to our email lists and websites early next year.

< 2022 Joint Convention The 2022 Diocesan Convention of Eastern and Western Michigan will take place October 28-29, 2022 in Lansing. We look forward to gathering to continue to build relationships between our dioceses and to take on the work of the church together.

< CORR Anti-Racism Training Congregations Organizing for Racial Reconciliation (CORR) will offer an anti-racism training for Eastern and Western Michigan Episcopalians March 4-5, 2022 at Grace, Grand Rapids. The cost to attend has been subsidized to $20. This event satisfies both diocesan policies around training for lay and clergy leaders. Visit your diocesan website for details and registration information.

< 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 2022-23 school year begins in August; some classes are open for drop-ins now. Visit your diocesan website for more details.


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THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESES OF EASTERN & WESTERN MICHIGAN Stay connected with friends and neighbors in the dioceses throughout the year. Our diocesan communications channels keep the people of Eastern and Western Michigan informed on the latest news and resources from across and beyond our dioceses.

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

42 | EASTMICH.ORG and member of St. David’s, Lansing.

Becky Foster (St. John’s, Dryden) in a moment of prayer during the Quiet Day at St. John’s, Midland, September 2021. Photo by Canon Katie Forsyth.

we have to believe by David James The day will come, maybe not this year, maybe not in the next decade, but the day will dawn when love will be as common as air and we’ll breathe it in until it seeps into our blood stream, lodges in our cells. This love will bend hatred into toys for children; mold anger into kindness and patience; bury violence into rows of lilies and snapdragons, into roses and peonies. This love flowing in us will shine up in the sky; it will rise at night and sing us to sleep; love will fall like rain and soak the earth, fill the seas, carry the homeless and poor into our homes for rest and laughter. The day will come, maybe tomorrow, maybe in twenty years, when only love will matter, when love will fuel our desire, when love will stretch its eternal arms around the world, and everyone in it, and we’ll realize, finally, we’ve made it to heaven.

David James’ latest book, Wiping Stars from Your Sleeves, was published in 2021 by Shanti Arts Books. More than thirty of his one-act plays have been produced in the U.S. and Ireland. James teaches at Oakland Community College and belongs to St. Jude’s, Fenton. EDWM.ORG | 43


THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESES OF EASTERN & WESTERN MICHIGAN 1815 Hall Street SE, Suite 200 Grand Rapids, MI 49506