The Feast 2022

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Autumn 2022 | Issue IX

THE FEAST everyone has a place at the table


leaning in towards a shared vision for the future page 06



THE FEAST is a collaborative publication of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. EDITING & DESIGN: Katie Forsyth Canon for Evangelism & Networking | Michelle Ruiz Communications Assistant Anne Davidson Copy-editor ON OUR COVER: Produce is grown at Grace, Port Huron. CONTACT US: The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan 124 N. Fayette Street Saginaw, MI 48602 The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan 1815 Hall Street SE, Suite 200 Grand Rapids, MI 49506

© 2022 The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan




Two congregations collaborate to host a “fiesta en el campo”


pg. 10


The Port Huron community comes together to build and share a Good News Garden



Artists in southwest Michigan explore spirituality in their creativity

pg. 14




pg. 22

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism & Networking What a year we’ve had, Eastern and Western Michigan Episcopalians.

a reimagined effort out of Grand Haven and Holland to serve and celebrate their neighboring migrant workers.

Since our last issue, we’ve welcomed our bishop provisional, the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh.

We’ll get our hands dirty, hearing about a pivot that resulted in a wildly collaborative community garden on the campus of Grace Episcopal Church in Port Huron.

We’ve continued to develop relationships between our two dioceses, gathering both for intentional conversations with our Building Bridges process and for general fellowship and collaboration between various leadership groups. We’ve stepped out in justiceseeking, engaging in education around antiracism, advocating against gun violence, and sharing a message of love with our LGBTQ neighbors through over a dozen local Pride Month events. And now, with our bishop’s call to a Season of Practice (see more about this in his column, starting on page 6), we are stepping into something new. This issue of The Feast centers around newness -- like everything is made new in the Holy Spirit, we are making things new in Eastern and Western Michigan. From across our body, we will hear stories of our leaders stepping out into some new thing -- a new program, a new approach, a new frame of mind. We’ll join a fiesta, stepping into 4 | EASTMICH.ORG

We’ll get creative with artists in Southwest Michigan, learning about their approach to spiritual practice through the arts. We’ll stop in at the GRACE Center, reflecting on their decades of innovative ministry in Grayling and how they adapted when COVID forced them to do things a little bit differently. And, finally, we’ll take a step back in time and across the country, discovering a unique response when a fire forced a congregation out of their comfort zone. For these stories and their writers, for the ministries they celebrate, and for you, dear reader, I give thanks. The world is being made new -let’s be part of it.

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! The EpiscoColoring Book just underwent an update! An educational tool around basic church structures and theology, this activity book is a fun athome or anywhere resource for all ages. Email McKenzie Knill at with any questions or to request copies at no cost.

The Bishop


by the Rt. Rev. P

p’s Column


Prince G. Singh

Let me begin by thanking you for your trust in God, me, and us as we journey into God’s new future. Over the past eight months, you have invited me to visit nearly fifty of the ninety-plus mission hubs in Eastern and Western Michigan. Each mission hub or congregation is a unique experiment responding to the teachings of Jesus with particular attention to context in which we serve. The faithfulness I see among you gives me the confidence to enter the new season. We have heard it said: to everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As we watch the splendor of God’s creation unfold yet another iteration of goodness in the changing seasons, I have invited us as dioceses to engage in an intentional “Season of Practice.” During this season, we will continue leaning into each other as Episcopalians in Eastern and Western Michigan. So, what does this mean? It means we will pray for each other even more intentionally.

“As we watch the splendor of God’s creation unfold yet another iteration of goodness in the changing seasons, I have invited us as dioceses to engage in an intentional ‘Season of Practice.’” — The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh

Photo on previous page: Participants from the August Leadership Retreat pose for a silly photo before departing to travel home from the gathering.


It means we will explore what it feels like to work together more through our leadership bodies. Our diocesan councils, commissions on ministry, and staffs are stepping into working together more closely. We’ll be following the lead of those who went ahead: our Joint Standing Committee and the Building Bridges Steering Committee – two communities who have built some muscle memory from working together over the past couple of years. Each governing body will determine how best to integrate, share, and learn from one another during this trying-on season. And, it means we will work together with intention to glean and clarify a common purpose for our two dioceses.

In order to get there, we need a clearly articulated common goal. With the help of expert host Katie Ong, our Building Bridges Committee will lead and guide this process. We need every voice and insight to engage in this year-long visioning process. To kick off this Season of Practice, over fifty of our leaders met in August for a two-day retreat. We prayed together, dreamed together… We are moving in the light of God with confidence, depending entirely on God while leaning on one another! Harkening once more to the wisdom offered in Ecclesiastes, it is a reminder that our season of leaning into one another is nothing new. We do many things together: the Academy for Vocational Leadership, youth ministry, Holy Hikes Great Lakes, Fresh Start for new clergy, trainings, celebrations… the list goes on and grows every week. Additionally, we share several staff members across the two dioceses: a Canon for Evangelism and Networking; a Director of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Formation; a part-time Communications Assistant; four Regional Youth Missioners; and, of course, me, your bishop. As we prepare for this practice season, I want to name a few value assumptions – things I’ve learned and heard as I’ve been with you these many months: •

We are more alike than we are different.

When we work together, we don’t lose our unique charisms but instead share them generously with one another.

Our unity is an external expression of inner grace and antithetical to a culture of suspicion.

We are not entering a partnership or a marriage but instead are

The second joint clergy retreat of Eastern and Western Michigan took place this Spring exploring the theme of H.O.W. (Honesty, Openness, Willingness) led by Bishop Singh. Left - The Rev. Jim Enelow, deacon serving St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor, proclaims the Gospel during the closing Eucharist and Chrism Mass. Top - Participants engage in conversation following a meditation.

seeking a new creation around a purpose (vision and mission) that we create together •

While collaboration is a gospel value, the decline of our numbers is not

We follow Jesus boldly when we live more nearly as we pray.

Together with our resources – human, financial, and other – we can do bigger and better things. For example, next year, we will launch and share a College for Congregational Development – supporting leadership development as part of our regular formation. Imagine the impact of investing in the ongoing development of new and seasoned leaders! If we graduated twenty people from each diocese every year for five years, we will have one hundred Christian leaders with contemporary and credible leadership development skills, strategy, and shared language. This formation will help us tackle present and future complexities with greater clarity and ability.

When we work as a team – clergy and lay leaders together – we will make the most significant difference on the ground without feeling stuck or paralyzed. Our small congregations – the lifeblood of our dioceses – will gain practical and spiritual help, enabling more excellent connectivity between their leaders across communities. The key to this possibility is leadership development – the root of congregational development. Congregational Development is a common ground issue across the two dioceses and a clear example of how working together toward a common solution, we can better engage and better resource us all. I am excited about the possibilities ahead of us. You are a resilient bunch of Christians with a deep love for God. Let’s discern where God calls us while leaning into each other during this season of presence, prayer, and practice. + The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh is bishop provisional serving the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan.


La Gloria de D by the Rev. Alicia Hager

Volunteers engage with families during last summer’s Fiesta en el Campo, distributing gift bags provided by local brewing company, Burzurk.. Photo via Alicia Hager.


West Olive is the area between Grand Haven and Holland, moving both west and east off of U.S. 31. The west side backs up to Lake Michigan, many large homes and large wooded lots. The east side is dotted with the county jail complex, and migrant camps seemingly dropped into the middle of blueberry fields. The camps vary in size and amenities, but most are either single wide trailers parked in the cleared, dusty yards, or long cement block structures divided into a handful of units that every summer season house single men, and working families who have traveled to pick the blueberries in those fields. The camps I have been to don’t consistently seem to have indoor plumbing in their units; one was equipped with portable bathrooms, and one with a another long cement building for bathrooms and showers. According to a 2013 study, more than 16,000 workers come to Ottawa County every year, and there are more than 600 camps spread between both Ottawa and Kent counties. This is a sizeable population flux that we experience annually. In late July I drove down a dirt road and parked my car in a grassy field. It was a hot evening, with that glorious mid summer light shining through the fields and the cicadas whirring in the trees. The camp was already buzzing with the activity of two local churches coming together to tend to the migrants living for a season roughly mid-way between our parishes; the Fiesta en el Campo was underway. Back in 2021, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven and Grace Episcopal Church in Holland, two neighboring congregations with active latino ministries, collaborated on a “Misa en el Campo” – literally, Mass in the Camp, and St. John’s had held this mass in the camp for several summers prior to the pandemic. As I attended those events I was honored to be welcomed into the front yards of people living for a season in our town. We would bring food and cold drinks for everyone, games for the children, and donated clothing for all. We would end by celebrating a mass in Spanish. This year the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, rector serving St. John’s, Grand Haven, suggested a change to the format. “There is always the worry, on my part, that people think the reception of services is somehow tied to an expectation that they

“I was honored to be welcomed into the front yards of people living for a season in our town.” EDWM.ORG | 11

come to worship as well,” he reflects, “We want to be clear that we love and value our migrant community and that we are here to serve them no matter what. So, this year, we let the focus be on celebration through a fiesta instead of on worship.” And a fiesta it was! With the help of a grant through the vaccine equity initiative of the Community Foundation of Zeeland and Holland, we celebrated in style. There were food trucks, a COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinic, a bounce house, and bags and bags and bags of food, clothing, shoes and toiletries. A DJ played Spanish-language pop songs and a piñata, bursting with candy, fell in the setting sun, resting only for a moment on the sandy ground before children were able to grab up every last sweet. The face painter kept the kids busy as parents collected their bags of groceries and toiletries. Plates were piled high with fresh cuisine from the food trucks as we all sat out of the sun under tents to have dinner. Cramer notes, “Our goal of increased collaboration between Grace and St. John’s has been building for a few years… one area that works well is when we do ministries of justice or service in West Olive, an area right in the middle of our two churches. It’s been a joy to be out there together and I know we’re both looking forward to more shared activities in the years ahead.” The Rev. Jen Adams, rector serving Grace, Holland, adds, “I think that collaboration is integral to our well being as church in general, but especially as we tend to our church’s faithfully growing edges, Hispanic/ Latino ministries included… I’m grateful to be working with St John’s and hope that partnering in efforts such as Fiesta en el Campo will help us vision and engage shared

ministries forward. Together, our clergy and congregations have a great deal to give. We also have a lot to learn from one another and those who have yet to call the Episcopal Church home.” As our congregations join with others in beginning to move through the pandemic, in all of the many ways we’ve changed and in all of the myriad things we’ve lost, we’re beginning the challenging work of envisioning what the church looks like now and the work we’re called to do. For us in Grand Haven and Holland, it has been a joy to see these parishes collaborate to serve vulnerable and often invisible populations in our area. The Spanish speaking population of Ottawa County has risen steadily for years, but the church as a whole has not kept up. Beyond our own reticence to enter spaces that are not comfortable for us (like, non-English spaces), even our materials are inaccessible. For example, we see this in the lack of Spanish-language Episcopal hymnals (a Catholic hymnal is used instead). I really believe that our reticence can help us to understand why we haven’t been able to attract Latino families to our services. There is something deeply emotional about being able to worship in one’s native language, but we don’t always see that, because for us worship has always been in our native tongue. So while this event was primarily about honoring the hands that have picked our food, and the bodies that are so often over-looked, this is also about being the hands and feet of Jesus in the world with the small hope that maybe we can bring people into the church, a way of saying that we are for them too, that we welcome them and want to change in ways that reflect that welcome. Back in the tent with full bellies and empty

plates, the light began to fade as the DJ ramped up and people began to dance. As I walked back down the dirt road to my car I sang to myself the words of a current favorite song: De la Gloria de Dios vendrá bendición y abundante pan. Para ti, para mí y a quien quiera venir la Gloria de Dios [From the glory of God will come blessings and abundant bread, for you and for me, for all who come to the Glory of God]. In my life, I’ve been witness to just a few really holy things, been made aware that I am standing inside of the absolute love of God – and this night was one of those times. These moments seem to fizz, the light is different and my hands open, my heart grows soft and if I really listen closely it seems like I can hear all of heaven singing just over the next hill; singing with joy for the way the realm of God bursts through sometimes, and it’s like my heart begins to beat again when I hadn’t even realized it had stopped. Seeing two parishes worth of beloved faces work for the good of the kingdom, for the bringing of that kingdom close felt this way. I’m so grateful that even as old ways and things come to an end, God is really doing something new, and nothing is ever really lost, because God is in the business of helping us find our hearts, our corazones. +

The Rev. Deacon Alicia Hager serves at the Assistant Clergy at Grace Episcopal Church in Holland, Michigan and is also the Communication & Community Curator for The Gathering of Leaders. La Gloria de Dios was written by Ricardo Montaner.

“In my life, I’ve been witness to just a few really holy things, been made aware that I am standing inside of the absolute love of God -- and this night was one of those times.”

Top left photo: Grace, Holland volunteers - Elizabeth Brubaker, Cherie Schmidt, Robbie Schorle, and Alicia Hager. Middle: Grand Haven volunteer offers face painting. Bottom: St. John’s, Grand Haven volunteers - Lupita Salas, Karen Forbes, Abby Teasley, Reyna Masko. Right: The Otttawa County Health Department hosted a vaccine clinic during the fiesta.


The green foliage sprouting from the large oval metal bathtub-like containers are likely to give anyone passing by reason to pause. After all, the corner at Sixth and Union Street is a rather unlikely place to see tomatoes and peppers hanging on the vines, or greens and okra sprouting out of the dirt-filled tubs. 14 | EASTMICH.ORG

That’s because, for more decades than anyone can remember, that corner was a parking lot at Grace Episcopal Church, in the midst of downtown Port Huron. But this past spring, church members joined with others from the community and created a community garden out of what once was just an asphalt surface. “It was an experiment, but then every year for us has been an experiment,” Emily Mosher

Wallace, a certified master gardener and member of Grace, said. “This, however, I would say has been a successful experiment in many ways.” The growing season is still going strong, and the Good News Garden Collaboration continues producing food to supplement the church’s pantry bags that are distributed weekly to four families and 10 seniors. Plus, organizers know it’s also been

“Just seeing the vegetables we’ve gotten has made it successful, but the community


interaction the garden has brought has been incredible... It opens the church up to the community on a whole new level.” - Emily Wallace

A fresh cabbage, ready for harvesting in the Grace, Port Huron community garden. Photo by Jeanette Bommarito.

helping those in the neighborhood when they’ve found themselves in need of food. “Just seeing the vegetables we’ve gotten has made it successful, but the community interaction the garden has brought has been incredible,” Wallace said. “I can’t tell you how many times someone has been working in the garden and people just walking by will stop and start asking questions about the garden and the church. It opens the church up to the community on a whole new level.” Jeanette Ettin, coordinator of the Good News Garden Collaboration and member at Grace, agreed.

“It’s more than just growing these vegetables and more than just those pantry bags,” she said. “It’s the community collaboration that brings it all to fruition. It’s where we grow. “We live in a garden. We’re sustained in a garden. We die in a garden. The garden is the community.” Laying the groundwork It was a cold Saturday spring morning when church members and others from across the community came together to start building the area now designated as their Good News Garden Collaboration. EDWM.ORG | 15

“It’s all about collaboration. That’s what this is, the community coming together to work collaboratively to help others in the community who are in need.”

- Pastor Kevin Totty

Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Pastor Kevin Totty moved through a parking lot of Grace Episcopal Church in Port Huron, teasing a small crowd that had gathered. Their mission: to build a garden. “Okay folks, we can do this,” cheerfully bellowed the lead pastor of the #C4Youself Church, which shares space with the Episcopal congregation in the historic church building. “We have prizes! We have a trip to Hawaii for the team that finishes first!” Suddenly a voice in the crowd was heard: “Wait a minute! That’s not in

our budget!” drawing chuckles from the group. Not too much longer, a duo finished assembling the metal frame for a raised garden bed. “We have a winner,” Totty shouted jokingly, clapping his hands. “Only seven more to go!” Completing the frame of that first raised bed was symbolic of what the crowd was gathered there to achieve. The eight raised beds, measuring 10 feet long each, have been residing in the parking lot of Grace for the past six months; the fruits of their labors now putting produce on the tables of area neighbors. “It’s all about collaboration,” Totty said at the time. “That’s what this is, the community coming together to work collaboratively to help others in the community who are in need.” Wallace said the style of planting is more than just filling the tubs with dirt. The process is called Hügelkultur and comes from Germany. “It was developed to create a raised bed growing space where there were poor soil and growing conditions,” Wallace said. “In this case, the tubs are the forms for the raised beds.” Each tub contains a layer of big logs topped with branches, leaves, and wood chips. And because the tubs are not directly connected to the ground, a foundation of stones was added to improve drainage. “Then we added 12 inches of dirt on top of all of that,” Wallace said. “So, these are pretty deep growing beds.” Building on a vision This is the third year Grace has had a Good News Garden, but it is the first year that they grew on church land.


Pastor Kevin Totty and other garden volunteers prepare the raised beds for future planting during a community build day in April. Photos by Mary Lou Creamer (left) and Jeanette Ettin (right).

Getting the garden to the downtown church has been Ettin’s vision since she first planted the seed. The inaugural garden, first planted in 2020, grew on church members’ rural property; last year’s garden was planted on the city’s south side. Soil in which to plant is limited at Grace, a downtown church, but Ettin was determined to find a way to get the garden on-campus. “When we started our talks about this year’s garden I said, ‘You know, we have to do something,’ so I went to our vestry and said, ‘We have to have a place,’’’ she said. “I said to Kevin, ‘Let’s do it on church property.’” A $20,000 Social Service and Ministry Network Grant from

the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan was the seed that was needed to get the garden growing. “This isn’t just a Grace grant,” Ettin said. “Grace is just the fiscal fiduciary. This grant belongs to both Grace and #C4Yourself Church. Both churches committed to putting in money as well as manpower. “The grant is allowing us to do what we’re doing here today, building community. Not just with each other, but with churches of all different kinds as well as community organizations.” Food for thought and others Ettin said the garden is located in a walkable community, which is important.

“Much of Port Huron is considered a food desert,” she said. “Having the garden in the city means it will be more accessible to those who really need the food.” Food from the previous iterations of the garden was distributed to recipients of their food pantry and “pop-up markets” in the neighborhood. This summer, in addition to the garden giveaways in the pantry bags, the grant also provided for monthly food trucks as well as four “pop-up markets” during September. Growing in the garden are tomatoes, okra, cauliflower and broccoli, cucumbers, beets, collard greens, potatoes, beans, and a variety of peppers. Ettin said Grace members, Tim and Sarah O’Brien have volunteered property


On September 28th, 2022, Grace Episcopal Church and C4Yourself Church in Port Huron celebrated their successful growing season, dedicating the garden in memory of their late rector, the Rev. Dr. Lydia Agnew Speller, who passed away unexpectedly on February 9, 2021. Photo by the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh.

at their rural home to grow vine vegetables. “We’re all really excited about that because it means we’ll be able to grow our squash, pumpkins, and other foods like that,” she said. For an added touch, pots of herbs were installed to be harvested weekly and shared in the pantry bags. There are also herbs that have been cut, bagged and frozen for the church’s soup ministry. Ettin said the final planting decision was made after consulting with other community garden coordinators. “Working with them is just another form of building for this project,” she said. Totty, who is also the program coordinator for the St. Clair County Community Foundation, said his goal was to draw in other partners to help on that Saturday as well as in the distribution of the food. By midseason, other


congregations and organizations joined in growing and distribution efforts in addition to the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service, which provides information about food nutrition as well as recipes and food preservation programs. “It’s collaboration that will help spread the fruits of this garden,” Totty said. “People need to be able to walk through our community and get a fresh plate. “That’s the vision that Jeanette has about being about to bring this huge garden to this walkable community, and that’s what Grace has right here,” he said. “We will have food for us, and a way for people to come in, and we’ll still be able to take those garden items out, too.” Carol Bublitz, a nutritionist with the St. Clair County MSU Extension Service, was on hand to help build the garden beds.

“I was very excited when I heard about this. I work in cooperation with other community environments, and this will be a perfect fit for me,” she said. “Once it gets going, I will see the food, help people get the food and learn how to use it.” Creating friends out of strangers As the day progressed, the crowd in the parking lot grew. More than 100 people – ranging in age from children to retirees – volunteered to help get this garden off the ground. Even Joseph Platzer, chief of the Port Huron Police Department, could be seen pushing a wheelbarrow through the parking lot. “I had some time this afternoon and I wanted to come down and lend a hand,” he said. “This is going to be such a boost for the Olde Town Neighborhood. It’s so exciting to see all these different people here helping.”

Totty said most of them represented some 15 to 20 different groups. Cynthia Bankston and Cecilia Combs, both of Port Huron, were working together to build a frame. “I’m representing Spero Pregnancy Services and know the importance of getting expectant mothers nutritional food,” Combs said. “So, when I learned of this I thought, I can do this. I do flower gardening, but I’ve never done vegetables, so I am learning something new and meeting new people.” Bankston, a retired nurse who was working on the other side of the frame, said she first learned of the build when she saw a flyer. Then she received an email from the local NAACP chapter president regarding the event. “I had already decided I was going to do this and had called Jeanette to sign up,” she said. “So, I sent an email back that said ‘I’m already going!’ “But honestly, I really believe this is an awesome project. I mean, feeding the community like this is just awesome.”

Demarr Dinkins is the worshipful master of his Masonic Lodge and joined some of his Mason brothers at the build. They had been helping move stones into the completed frames to provide the first layer of the beds. He also brought his two children with them. “I like this idea,” he said while taking a break and leaning on his shovel. “It’s great to help people, and I think it’s great to keep this garden in the neighborhood. I just love how so many people from so many different walks of life have come together to make this a reality.” “It’s a beautiful thing when community comes together,” his 16-year-old daughter, Mia Dinkins said. Mike Gould said he came at the invitation of Totty. “I think it is pretty cool that they are utilizing this space and doing something for the community, he said. Annabelle Keef and Lily Wilder, members of the Port Huron Northern High School National Honor Society, said they were so glad they decided to participate.

“It’s great to help people, and I think it’s great to keep this garden in the neighborhood. I just love how so many people from so many different walks of life have come together to make this a reality.”

- Demarr Dinkins

The garden beds are prepared during a volunteer day in April. Photos by Jeanette Ettin.


The Lydia Speller Memorial Garden in growing season. Photos by Mary Lou Creamer.

“It was a lot of work, but we had a lot of fun,” Annabell said. Lily agreed saying, “We’re coming back in a couple of months to help plant.” Continuing the vision Ettin said the garden is dedicated and named for the Rev. Dr. Lydia Agnew Speller, the former rector at Grace, who died in 2021. Totty said Speller also understood the mission. “She passed the torch to all of us. Lydia had a dream of moving ahead to keep this garden and market going” he said. A dedication service and Eucharist took place on September 28, 2022. On that day, when God decided to water the garden, the event originally intended to take place outdoors was moved inside the church. The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, provisional bishop for the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, performed the dedication service. A local food truck, which was supplying food for a reception, set up shop inside as well. Ettin said she found herself in awe of the number of volunteers who helped complete the first phase of the garden. “It was a constant influx of people throughout the day,” she said. “People just kept coming and going as their schedules allowed. We even had people driving by who just stopped to see what

was going on. “People were laughing and having a good time, and they were learning things, too.” Ettin said she never doubted that the garden would happen, but that she still couldn’t get over the feelings she had watching it happen. “I remember thinking at one point, ‘WOW, God, this is Church,’” she said. “It was surreal. You could feel the Holy Spirit working. It was a feeling of unspeakable joy.” Ettin said they aren’t ready to rest on the success of this year’s garden, just yet. In fact, she and Totty are already in the process of making plans for a second build date for six new bins.

“I remember thinking at one point, “Wow, God, this is Church. It was surreal. You could feel the Holy Spirit working. It was a feeling of unspeakable joy.”

- Jeanette Ettin

“We’ll build them and fill them, and then prep them for winter,” she said. “But in the meantime, we still have a lot going on that is tied to the garden. For example, we’re working with the Michigan State Extension Service to get preservation classes scheduled. “It’s going to be self-sustaining. What we can do with this garden next year is amazing.”

Mary Lou Creamer is a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron, and an award-winning journalist with by-lines that have appeared in newspapers across the country. She also is the author of Port Huron, 1857-2007: Celebrating Our Past, a book about the first 150 years of the city.

THE GOOD NEWS GARDEN MOVEMENT In 2020, our dioceses launched a local Good News Gardens initative with Plainsong Farm, asking our congregations to use their land for community gardens that could feed neighbors experiencing food insecurity. Since that time, the Good News Gardens movement has grown churchwide! Learn more about this and other agrarian ministries at


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

Arts of Mediator Creating with Creation by Michelle Ruiz

It started with a box. About a year ago, William Card, Senior Warden approached Julie Bender, Church of the Mediator’s inhouse artist, about a tiny art gallery. The project formally brought together a group of Harbert artists who happen to worship together. The group came to be known as Arts of Mediator. The tiny art gallery resides on the church’s residential road by the lending library. The gallery houses local artwork and it encourages people to take from the display. Bender says, “We offer it as a gift to people as a way of expressing our desire to make connections.” The art inside the gallery turns over quickly. Bender says in the last year they have probably gone through 100 pieces of artwork, with more traffic in the summer season. Artists Jan Anderson, Julie Bender, and Phyllis Norris have been the biggest contributors of art to the collection. The project naturally allowed the artists to collaborate and share ideas. Before their collaboration, Bender and Norris have been actively involved in the world of arts. Phyllis Norris, a long-time Episcopalian and inhouse artist at Mediator, had a vision for how the arts could be a way to engage the community. Norris was looking for a way to make their ministry relevant in the resort area where the parish is located. Harbert attracts several visitors in the summer season due to their proximity to the lake. About a decade ago, Norris organized their very first art show, along with some art camps.

More recently, Bender co-led a 14-week online course on The Artist’s Way with the Rev. Cynthia Caruso, rector of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Benton Harbor. The program, written by Julia Cameron about spirituality and creativity, centers around the idea that an individual’s life is their ultimate work of art. The course is based on The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-consciousness, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture one’s inner artist, which encourages people to think about their creativity. Ten people participated in the 14-week online series, joining from all over Michigan and as far as Texas. The Artist’s Way program allowed Bender to reimagine the way Mediator could partner with other congregations in the surrounding area. Once the tiny art gallery brought the artists together, Arts of Mediator became united under a common mission. According to Bender, the ultimate goal is to put together a show that will represent a community of artists from several congregations – Episcopalians in South West Michigan. “I have a vision for ways that we can use the arts for Christian formation in terms of looking at a piece of artwork and seeing how it responds to us around a theme or a message or a scripture reference,” says Bender. Anderson, Norris, and Bender joined forces with Liz Andrews to apply for a grant from the Bishop Whittemore Foundation to fund the program’s mission. In July 2022, Arts of Mediator received $4,000. “It was able to give us the seed money,” says the Rev. Darlene Kuhn, the rector of the Church of Mediator.

BEAUTIFUL DECAY, A PHOTOGRAPH by JULIE BENDER “One of the resilience practices I do is to practice grounding. Often this is by noticing colors or being aware of the actual ground I am on. In this instance, I lay belly down in the sand to peer through the interior of this magnificent form. It brought such joy to contemplate the cycle of growth and decay that is evident in all of nature, which left me feeling accepting and peaceful.” Artist’s Statement, ECVA Spring Art Show


Determined to put on a show before the end of the season when many of their members move south for the winter months, Norris quickly organized the first art show. In September, Arts of Mediator put on the art show in the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Harbert. The gallery was open to the public, featuring 15 local artists from the congregation in addition to others in the community recruited by Norris. The collection featured stained glass work, woodwork from a retired computer science professor, sculptures from a Kendall Art school graduate, oil paintings from a retired law professor and paintings from their spouse, work from an 11-year-old artist, and even a drawing from the priest. “It’s amazing… I didn’t know we had so many artists,” says Kuhn. Arts of Mediator is using the first show as a benchmark to grow from. “We wanted to get our feet wet in terms of what we need and what will work,” says Bender. Moving forward, Bender says, “The Artist’s Way program with St. Augustine’s started laying the foundation for doing some traveling art shows.” Arts of Mediator is reinvesting a portion of the grant money into a portable display system that

can be brought from church to church. Long before the Arts of Mediator and the art show came into creation, the Harbert congregation has been a place where creatives explore spirituality through art. Kuhn says, ”The arts have always been a part of Mediator”. The art includes the very architecture of the building. Built in 2010, the building was intentionally designed to double as a community hall with good acoustics for music and sound, not just as a worship space. According to Kuhn, the southwest Michigan building was designed with the intention of “making sure the church was part of the community.” One way the congregation stays connected to the community is by beautifying its grounds. In 2021, the church completed the construction of a community labyrinth and meditation garden. Kuhn says the labyrinth was built to honor family members of the congregation, and with the hope it would welcome and invite people from the community. She says, “Beauty is how we worship. We believe our worship is the full integration of our whole being. All our senses are involved in it.”

Whether it be with music, poetry, or stained glass, Kuhn believes that art helps people build relationships by giving them the ability to share their stories in memorable ways. Mediator’s goal is to continue integrating all types of arts into their common life and spiritual practices. “We call it the Arts of Mediator because it is not just about artists painting and sketching, it’s the whole idea of arts, like the School of American Music”, says Kuhn. Mediator’s arts extend to its musical offerings. According to Bender, Donna Mitchell, an Episcopalian and School of American Music Executive Director, carries out several concerts in the church with the School of American Music. The church gladly acts as host for acts of artistic expression. Mediator wants to make art accessible to everyone in all forms. Kuhn says, “It doesn’t mean they have to believe what we believe. But if they are curious to know who we are, that is a bonus! It’s about being part of the community and getting people’s interest.” +

To learn more about Arts of Mediator, visit mediatorharbert. com/arts-of-mediator.

“Beauty is how we worship. We believe our worship is the full integration of our whole being. All our senses are involved in it.” 24 | EASTMICH.ORG

Art showcased at Mediator, Harbert, either in their tiny gallery or during their September Art Show. From right to left: Watercolors by Mary Ellen McTigue and Kay Longeran; Pear sculpture by Ruth Merrifield, 2022; Bill Card shows off the outdoor gallery; metal sculpture by Robert Roth, 2020; watercolor flower field by Phyllis Norris, 2022; and the tiny gallery’s offerings in August 2022.

In the late 1980s, the Grayling community witnessed a rise in the number of people affected by substance abuse. In response, in 1987, the St. Francis Episcopal Church established an outreach center out of their place of worship: the G.R.A.C.E Center, or Grayling Regional Addictions Counseling Education Center.

SMALL AND MIGHTY by Michelle Ruiz

The G.R.A.C.E. Center is a fully licensed and accredited substance abuse counseling facility in Grayling, Michigan. They’ve been living their mission of “helping heal the lives of those in need” since 1987.

In its initial days, the center was simply a place for people to get substance abuse help. Carol Moggo, the G.R.A.C.E Center’s Administrative Director since 1995, says the program outgrew itself in just seven years. As more people became familiar with the services, it became more of a need in the community. Around the time Moggo started working, the G.R.A.C.E Center had moved out of the church into a building across the parking lot. Since then, the center has transformed into a fully licensed independent counseling agency. The services have expanded to include substance abuse treatment, child and family services, specialized counseling services, and education and consultation. The center is strictly an outpatient facility. They offer programs for individuals, families, and groups. Their daily counseling services help clients with things such as minor anxiety, depression, marital issues, and anger management services. Other services include domestic violence programs, and programs centered around family issues. Their ministry doesn’t stop there. The G.R.A.C.E Center has established partnerships with the courts, the Department of Human Services, and local schools. The center offers evaluation reports and court assessments for the community and can even double as a driver’s license center. “We’re a place that helps people! We’re small but mighty,” says Moggo. Additionally, the center offers several workshops and educational presentations suited for group environments such as businesses, church groups, schools, and other organizations. Topics may include alcohol education, mental wellness, trauma, and recovery as well as spiritual retreats. The center adapts and grows with the community. The treatments are a reflection of the community’s needs. Moggo says the center improves when they receive input from its clients. Staff from the G.R.A.C.E Center will often attend community events in the area, everything from parades to fundraisers, in order to maintain an ongoing relationship with the community they serve. Jody Robson, Clinical Director at the G.R.A.C.E Center, agrees with Moggo: the local outreach initiatives are a large part of

Left photo by Fudo Jahic on Unsplash.

26 | Right EASTMICH.ORG photo courtesy of Carol Moggo.

understanding the community and identifying their needs. In the past, the center has hosted events such as a Truck or Treat, in which the community gathers in a parking lot for a Halloween celebration, and has taken part in many health fairs. Members of the team have also joined several support groups and attended events for organizations such as Families Against Narcotics.

The center partners with outside organizations and courts to accept referrals and medical insurance. The duration of the treatments varies from person to person. The clinic works with every individual to accommodate people’s situations. Moggo says, on average, people receive about eight to twelve weeks of treatment with many exceptions. For example, sobriety programs and court mandates are assigned independently and domestic violence programs span up to 26 weeks. Grant writing plays an important role in the overall operation of the center. There are few grants that the clinic receives every year that allow them to fully operate. Among their recurring grants are the Social Service and Ministry Network grants from the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. Moggo says the diocese is a big supporter of G.R.A.C.E. Any excess from the grants pays

The G.R.A.C.E. Center is located on the campus of St. Francis, Grayling. Learn more about their ministry at

for the services of people in need that might not have insurance. According to Robson, several people can get their services through grant funds. Typically, the center can accommodate those clients using block grants and sliding scale therapy. Sliding scale therapy refers to treatment priced by each person’s income and dependents. Members in the community can receive an adjusted fee ranging from $30 to $100 for services. Fortunately, Robson says they’ve never had to turn anyone away due to financial ability.

secure federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to help with the cost.

Unfortunately, changing with the community has not always been easy. When the pandemic broke out in 2020, the clinic had to adapt its services into a telehealth model.

Moving forward, the G.R.A.C.E. Center wants to continue providing a space for the community to heal mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As Robson steps into her role as the center’s Clinical Director, they wish to expand their selection of group sessions. They hope to keep inviting the community in by offering programs like Yoga for Recovery to promote healthy conversations about mental wellness.

“We had to really pivot,” says Moggo. The center had to transition to using electronic medical records which posed new challenges in patient privacy procedures. The shift pushed the center to allocate resources for new computers and new programs. Moggo emphasizes how much of a team effort it took. Thankfully, the center was able to

The building officially opened back up to the public last year in August. The G.R.A.C.E Center now operates on a hybrid model, both in-person and online. People continue to request telehealth services for the flexibility it offers. Robson says that the online model even helps some clients attend more regularly. The center will continue to offer this hybrid model as long as the state continues to allow it.


The G.R.A.C.E. Center aims to be accessible to the community. Most of the people that seek the services are eligible for treatment. The center is classified as a tax-attempt non-profit organization, opening up the organization to receive funding from a variety of sources including state and federal funds, grants, individual and business donations, client fees, and private insurance.

“We’re excited to grow! We’re going to keep building on what we already have,” says Robson. + EDWM.ORG | 27


by the Rev. Dr. Don Davidson

Marcie and I had been married about five months when we were awakened by a phone call at 4:30 AM on November 10, 2006, telling us that St. David’s Episcopal Church, where I was then serving as rector, was on fire. We dressed in a hurry and drove at high speed the nine blocks between our home and the church building. The scene was frightening and devastating; there were multiple firetrucks, streets were blocked and the a-frame roof of the church was just billowing smoke. As the water from the hoses hit the roof, it would sizzle and rise again as steam. Flames lept out as a firefighter used a chainsaw to cut a huge hole into the side of the roof. I watched as the firefighter moved back in a hurry and lost hold of the huge chain saw, causing it to fall 50 feet off the east side of the building to the ground. At one point, the chief on the scene counted noses of the firefighters present and, realizing he was one short, had all the trucks blow their mighty horns for two minutes until the lost was found. I decided to immediately use the parishowned home next door as a meeting and office location, knowing that the church building was off limits. A group of parishioners was dispatched to find tables, chairs, and a desk or two to get things started and the telephone company was called to connect service. Kansas’ Bishop Dean Wolfe arrived to provide counsel, and later he presented a check to help us with the organization. It was about 12 hours later that the allclear sounded, although firetrucks stayed at the building for the next two days. We learned that evening that the fire was the result of arson and that the structural integrity of two parts of the building was unsafe.

Peter Tremain, the pastor of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church across the street, invited us to use their worship space for our service on Sunday. His graciousness and pastoral kindness will never be forgotten. On Saturday, with the help of professionals, about 75 members of the congregation came out and began to box up everything from the burnedout building; boxes that would later be transferred to a warehouse in Kansas City for safekeeping. On Saturday, I received many calls from local pastors, Army buddies, and the local rabbi, Debbie Stiel. Rabbi Debbie had not been in Topeka long and was a bit of a novelty (there being only a few female Reformed Rabbis at the time). She was so kind on the phone and later we developed a lasting friendship. On that day after our fire, Debbie asked if we would be willing to come and use their building as they had very little going on most Sundays. She said there would be no charge. An agreement was reached and for the next year, St. David’s Episcopal Church held services at Temple Beth Sholom. An old Plymouth minivan was given to the parish by one of our families, and while it was not in the best condition, it was a wonderful gift. We used the van to transport everything necessary for Sunday services. A group of St. Davidians would show up early on Sunday morning to unload the van and a different group would load back up at the conclusion of the two services. On the side of the van, we had a magnetic sign that read, “St. David’s on the Move.” During this time, the parish leadership made crucial decisions regarding moving, rebuilding, or closing. Ironically, the parish grew. Many people gained the distinction of saying that they were baptized in a Jewish Temple.

“... for the next year, St. David’s Episcopal Church held services at Temple Beth Sholom.” Firefighters put out the blaze at St. David’s, Topeka in 2006. Photo via The AP.


“Did we miss it? Did we miss what we might have been told?” - Rabbi Stiel

Below, firefighters battle the flames at St. David’s, Topeka in 2006. Photo by Hud Hamilton. Right, members remove the damaged Christus Rex from the old sanctuary at St. David’s. Photo via


Our year at the Temple was exciting and provided opportunity for unique collaboration and fellowship. One Sunday, we traded “pulpits” with Rabbi Stiel as the preacher on a Sunday morning, and I had the honor of speaking at a Shabbat service. We would visit each other’s hospitalized. At the annual Temple Blintze brunch, a group of 50 St. Davidians marched in about ten minutes before the event concluded, armed with mops and brooms. Within 60 minutes, we had put everything away and cleaned the entire floor, including the kitchen.

Temple’s foundation. They presented us with a historic reading stand that had been used in their original building in the late 1800s.

A number of social and more serious events were held, uniting the people of St. David’s and Temple Beth Sholom. We sure had a lot of fun.

“Did we miss what we might have been told?”

The newly rebuilt St. David’s building was dedicated on November 10, 2009, and fourteen months later, the congregation made their last payment on a loan of 1.4 million. Out of gratitude, we made a large monetary gift to the

During our time together and afterward, it has become a custom for Rabbi Debbie and me to enjoy a sushi lunch (devoid of any shellfish of course). At one of those lunches, Debbie asked a question that I will never forget. She said, “Did we miss it?” I truly had no idea what she was asking. “Did we miss what?” I replied.

There was a kind of reflective silence as we both recognized that in our haste to do, we might have missed a prodding from our creator. We had such good times when we were together, we blessed each other, and we grew to love each other with

deep respect for the beauty of our traditions. Why did we act so quickly to take back space of “our own?” They had lots of room for new buildings and our small congregation. Our church campus was landlocked with limited parking space across the street. It might well have worked; we might well have been guided to do something we did not expect. “Did we miss it?” she asked. In 2022, I serve on our Building Bridges Steering Committee, a group charged with facilitating the conversation between our dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. “What is the best we can do for Jesus right now?” is our charging question. Together, across our dioceses, we are asking big questions about who we are, and how we hear and understand our call. As dioceses, we are at the forefront of our wider church asking these questions about how the Episcopal Church can adapt and minister in the world we inhabit in this time and place. I hope we don’t miss it. +

The Rev. Dr. Don Davidson is an intentional interim priest, currently serving as Interim Rector with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Flint. In our dioceses, Don has also served in interim roles with St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc and Holy Trinity, Wyoming as well as in diocesan leadership, serving on the Eastern Michigan Standing Committee and the bi-diocesan Building Bridges Steering Committee.

LEARN MORE: BUILDING BRIDGES The Building Bridges Steering Committee shepherds the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan through a process of prayerful and mutual discernment around opportunities for enhancing collaboration, identifying barriers to active and thriving ministries, faithful stewardship of diocesan resources, and building relationships through holy curiosity, love, and respect for one another, and an unrelenting hope for the future. This year, the committee will faciliate a listening process to identify a common mission and vision for these dioceses, including congregational conversations. Learn more about the Building Bridges process at and


HEARTS ABLAZE: PARABLES FOR THE QUEER SOUL A Book Review by Beckett Leclaire In his book, Hearts Ablaze: Parables for the Queer Soul, Rolf R Nolasco Jr. seeks to offer “a fresh take on… familiar parables intertwined with lived stories” while also offering it up as a “devotional book” (1). Nolasco largely accomplishes this, albeit with some hearty caveats. For those with a solid foundation of background knowledge on the LGBTQ+ community, or at least a working knowledge of “LGBTQ+ 101,” this book would serve as a wonderful entry into Queer Biblical Interpretation, or, indeed, as a devotional. In fact, I would argue that even those who are naive to such background knowledge would find the body of the text edifying, provided their encounter with it was facilitated by someone prepared to fill in those gaps. If not, I can see a reader quickly getting overwhelmed in the early pages of the introduction. None of these caveats are to say that this is not a wonderful book which I would highly recommend. It is a wonderful book, and I do 32 | EASTMICH.ORG

highly recommend it. However, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I often find myself explaining terms that I take for granted (e.g. cisgender, heteropatriarchy, heterosexism). Without having that foundation, the introduction of this book would likely be overwhelming, which is a shame, given that one possible audience of this book would be straight, cisgender people seeking an opportunity to do that vital work of self-education. As much as I heartily endorse the message that marginalized folks do not owe privileged people a free education and not every space or piece of media should or even can be accessible for the privileged, in this case I wish there was some effort at improving accessibility. The root of this wish is the fact that the “queerables” (queer parables) presented in each chapter are phenomenal. I found myself taking notes, reflecting on them, and soaking up the stories presented alongside each scripture enthusiastically. Part of this, I’m sure, is a function of my delight as a queer person in interpreting the Bible through a queer lens which is not fundamentally apologetic.

Queer apologetics are an important and necessary aspect of the interpretive work we do, but there are so many more aspects of queer interpretation, and I long to see my straight and cisgender siblings in Christ understand that. There are novel layers of meaning in scripture which would benefit anyone but which are often uncovered through a queer interpretation. I long for my siblings in Christ who do not belong to this community to be able to catch a glimpse of that and I can envision this book being a wonderful tool, bringing that to fruition. Without even a passing moment of disambiguation in the introduction however, I feel this would be less of an “open and go” tool and more of an iterative one. If combined with, or following, an accessible “LGBTQ+ 101” primer, I can see reading this being a powerful and transformative experience, particularly for those in communities where LGBTQ+ folks are less visible. I would stress that -- if you think that your community is too conservative, too rural, or otherwise not demographically suited to

having LGBTQ+ folks among you who are just as desperate, if not more so than their siblings in Queer enclaves elsewhere for the Good News of Jesus Christ -- we walk among you. Moreover, the current political climate which has yet again incited moral panics about our mere existence makes it all the more important that those who would be our allies speak with clarity and conviction, especially if they are in positions of institutional authority. Otherwise, as Nolasco himself states in his chapter on The Parable of the Good Shepherd, “[they] use… progressive and persuasive words of inclusion– yet task queer subjects to carry the heavy burden of justice making” (23). This book would make a great resource for sermon preparation, and I intend to use it as such. The chapters integrate all three stages of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical arc, and could be a wonderful addition to resources such as Feasting on the Word as a jumping off point for digging into a text. I could also see it being an impactful book study. Nolasco often lays bare aspects of the Queer Christian experience which, frankly, the LGBTQ+ folks in your midst may not feel comfortable sharing, such as the way the near constant barrage of anti-LGBTQ+ messaging from society at-large, but especially from those who proclaim Jesus as Lord, often leaves us in modes of spiritual desolation, wounded by our very desire to be in relationship with our God (157-8). This kind of honesty and vulnerability can help our siblings to be better friends and pastors to us without expecting us as individuals to display our wounds for their benefit. The audience which would most benefit from picking up a copy would be LGBTQ+ folks themselves, who would be far less likely to need accommodation before embarking on their journey through the text, and would doubtless find immense comfort and joy in it. I know I will likely be purchasing a few copies as Christmas gifts for my LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ. + Beckett Leclaire serves as coordinator of Holy Hikes Great Lakes, as Regional Youth Missioner for the Eastern Youth Region, and as a member of the Building

Dr. Rolf R. Nolasco, Jr. is a professor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He is the author of The Contemplative Counselor: A Way of Being, Compassionate Presence: A Radical Response to Human Sufferings, and God’s Beloved Queer.

Bridges Steering Committee. A member of Grace, Port Huron, he is also a postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.



October 2021- September 2022


Bishop Singh processes during an ordination service.

For the fourth time, young adults (collegeaged through millenialsish) from across the dioceses and beyond gathered in retreat at Camp Chickagami over Labor Day Weekend, reflecting on our belovedness and call to community.

CALLS & TRANSITIONS The Rev. Jodi Baron is Canon and Senior Associate at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis (Diocese of Indianapolis), concluding her service as Co-Rector serving St. Philip’s, Beulah and Holy Trinity, Manistee. The Rev. Christian Baron is Priest-in-Charge serving St. John’s, Crawfordsville, Indiana (Diocese of Indianapolis), concluding his service as Co-Rector serving St. Philip’s, Beulah and Holy Trinity, Manistee. The Rev. David Blank (ELCA) is Interim Rector serving St. David’s, Lansing. Jeff Brown is Regional Youth Missioner serving the Central Youth Region of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. The Rev. Dan Buchin is Priest-in-Charge serving Holy Spirit, Belmont. The Rev. Allan Feltner entered retirement in June, concluding his service as Priest-in-Charge serving St. Bartholomew’s, Mio. Maggie Gonzalez is the Safe Church Administrator serving the Diocese of Western Michigan. The Rev. Alicia Hager was ordained to the diaconate in June and serves as Assistant Clergy with Grace, Holland. The Rev. Trish Harris was ordained to the diaconate in June and serves St. Thomas, Battle Creek. The Rev. Radha Kaminski is Regional Youth Missioner serving the Northern Youth Region of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. She continues as Rector serving the Central Michigan Episcopal Covenant (St. Andrew’s, Big Rapids and St. Mary’s, Cadillac). Devin King is Assistant Bookkeeper serving the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. The Rev. Mark Kelley was ordained to the diaconate in June and serves St. John’s, Grand Haven.

In the days following the shooting of Patrick Lyoya, a Congolese immigrant shot by police in Grand Rapids, Bishop Singh called the dioceses to a service of lament, streamed and hosted by Sudanese Grace, Grand Rapids. EDWM.ORG | 35

CALLS & TRANSITIONS, CONT. Beckett Leclaire is Regional Youth Missioner serving the Eastern Youth Region of the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. The Rev. Dr. Tracie Little is Canon to the Ordinary serving the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, concluding her service as Rector serving St. Jude’s, Fenton.

Mark’s, Atlanta and Christ Church, East Tawas. The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh is bishop provisional serving Eastern and Western Michigan. The Rev. Canon Michael Spencer is Canon for Transitions and Congregational Ministry serving the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, concluding his service as Canon to the Ordinary of Eastern Michigan.

The Very Rev. William McClure entered retirement in August, concluding his service as Rector serving Trinity, Alpena.

The Rev. Jim Steen is Interim Rector serving Epiphany, South Haven.

The Rev. Jim Mitchell was ordained to the diaconate in June and serves St. Mark’s, Newaygo.

The Rev. Joel Turmo is Regional Youth Missioner serving the Southern Youth Region of the dioceses. He continues as Rector serving St. Timothy’s, Richland.

The Rev. Nurya Love Parish concluded her ministry as Rector serving Holy Spirit, Belmont in January. She continues as Executive Director serving Plainsong Farm. Sara Philo is Chief Financial Officer and Benefits Administrator for the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. The Rev. Diane Pike entered retirement at the end of 2021, concluding her service as Rector serving the Southwest Michigan Episcopal Covenant. Michelle Ruiz is Assistant for Communications for the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. The Rev. Anne Schnaare is Rector serving Grace, Grand Rapids, concluding her service as Rector serving Trinity, Marshall. The Rev. Phil Seitz entered active retirement in December, concluding his regular ministry with St.

Five leaders were ordained to the diaconate during a service on April 24, 2022 at St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids. From left to right: the Revs. Joanna Unangst, Derek Quinn, Kurt Unangst, Alicia Hager, and Alex Quick. Their ordinations to the priesthood are expected to take place in late 2022 and 2023. 36 | EASTMICH.ORG

The Rev. Joanna Unangst was ordained to the diaconate in April and serves as curate with Trinity Church, Woodlands, TX (Diocese of Texas). The Rev. Kurt Unangst was ordained to the diaconate in April and serves as curate with St. Isidore’s, Spring, TX (Diocese of Texas). The Rev. Alex Quick was ordained to the diaconate in April and serves as Children and Family Minister with St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids. Julia Quillan is Bookkeeper serving the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. The Rev. Derek Quinn was ordained to the diaconate in April and serves as Deacon-in-Charge (to become Priest-in-Charge) with St. Paul’s, Elk Rapids and Outreach Coordinator with Grace, Traverse City.

The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church was held in Baltimore, Maryland in July 2022 after a one-year delay due to the pandemic. Top: Bishop Singh joins with bishops and others from across the church in a March against gun violence the day after a shooting took place just a few blocks from the convention center. Photo by Randall Gornowich. Below: Deputies on the floor of the House of Deputies, spotting bow ties from the collection of the late Rev. Canon Bill Spaid in his memory. Top, members of both deputations; photo by the Rev. Cynthia Black. Left, Matt Roney (Grace, Traverse City); photo by Randall Gornowich. Right, Carol Moggo (St. Francis, Grayling).


CELEBRATIONS & MILESTONES Julianne Lark, seminarian from Western Michigan, was named the 2022-23 St. Marina Scholar at BexleySeabury. The Rev. Canon Dr. Tracie Little, Canon to the Ordinary serving Eastern Michigan, was awarded a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Bexley-Seabury. The Rev. James Smith, Priest-in-Charge serving Trinity, Three Rivers, and his spouse, Nikki Smith, welcomed their second child, Timothy Alan, on January 13th. The Rev. Joel Turmo, Rector serving St. Timothy’s, Richland, married Katy Chapman-Turmo on April 23rd. The Rev. Derek Quinn, now serving Grace, Elk Rapids and Grace, Traverse City, was awarded the Prize in Biblical Studies from Sewanee School of Theology. Michelle Ruiz, bi-diocesan communications assistant, graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. in Multimedia Journalism.

On June 5, 2022, during a service at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, we celebrated three leaders’ graduation from the Academy for Vocational Leadership and their ordinations as deacons. From left to right, the Revs. Mark Kelley (St. John’s, Grand Haven), Trish Harris (St. Thomas, Battle Creek), Jim Mitchell (St. Mark’s, Newaygo), and the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh. 38 | EASTMICH.ORG

In 2022, Holy Hikes Great Lakes, our bi-diocesan chapter of the churchwide network, hit seven trails across our great lower peninsula, hiking and praying amongst God’s creation. Pictured are hikers along the Lumberman’s Monument Trail in Oscoda and on the Fern Lake Loop in Long Lake.

REST IN PEACE The Rev. Marlene Clark died December 30, 2021. During her priestly ministry in our community, Marlene served St. Matthew’s, Saginaw. The Rev. Peter Cominos died December 19, 2021. During his priestly ministry in our community, Peter served Trinity, Bay City and other congregations as a supply priest. The Rev. John Lyle English died on October 1, 2021. During his priestly ministry in our community, John served St. Paul’s, Grand Rapids; St. Andrew’s, Grand Rapids; and St. Philip’s, Grand Rapids. The Rev. Robert Finn died December 10, 2021. During his diaconal ministry in our community, Bob served Trinity, West Branch. Edward Henneke died on February 11, 2022. He served many years as Chancellor of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.

The Rev. John Kirkman died July 7, 2022. During his priestly ministry in our community, John served St. Paul’s, Greenville and St. John’s, Ionia as well as other congregations as a supply priest.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Stuart died September 28, 2022. During his priestly ministry in our community, Chuck served Grace, Traverse City; St. John’s, Mount Pleasant; and St. John’s, Saginaw.

The Rt. Rev. Edwin Leidel, Jr. died on June 5, 2022. He was the first bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.

The Rev. Canon William John Spaid died March 20, 2022. During his priestly ministry in our community, Bill served St. Martin-of-Tours, Kalamazoo as well as Canon to the Ordinary and Canon Missioner for the Southern Region serving the Diocese of Western Michigan.

The Rev. J. Ralph Ansell Patston died November 17, 2021. During his priestly ministry in our community, Ralph served St. James, Pentwater and Grace Church, Ludington. The Rev. Margaret Holt Sammons died August 3, 2022. She was the first woman ordained in the Diocese of Western Michigan. The Rev. Nancy Steele died on April 5, 2022. During her priestly ministry in our community, Nancy served St. John’s, Dryden and many other congregations as a supply and interim priest.

The Rev. Gail Vince died on January 28, 2022. During her priestly ministry in our community, Gail served Trinity, West Branch and St. Andrew’s, Rose City as well as other congregations as a supply priest. The Rev. Dr. Warner Clock White died on April 16, 2022. During his priestly ministry in our community, Warner served Trinity, Marshall. EDWM.ORG | 39

The first ever Camp Naucratius was held at Camp Chickagami last summer, bringing together anglers from across the state and beyond for a weekend of fishing, prayer, and family fun. The second Camp Naucratius is planned for June 23-25, 2023. Learn more about the Order of Naucratius at and learn more about Camp Chickagami at

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. Mike and Nann Bell

Barbara Gladding

Joyce and Bill Rouse

Jane Bingham In memory of John Sargis

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

Robert Trautman

Robert Brook The Rev. Marilyn K. Dressel

The Rev. Michael and Elaine Houle Minette Rollins


Nancy Jean Winkler In memory of the Rev. Canon William Spaid

LOOKING AHEAD < Episcopal Youth Event Every three years, The Episcopal Church convenes an international youth event welcoming thousands of high-school aged young people across the church for celebration, worship, learning, and leadership development. The next EYE, after a long pandemic delay, will be held July 4-8, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Diocesan Councils of Eastern and Western Michigan have agreed to totally subsidize the cost, making it free for our young people to attend and experience this incredible gathering. Applications to join the delegations from Eastern and Western Michigan will open later this fall. Those selected to attend will be youth entering grades 9-12 in the 2023-24 school year who are demonstrated leaders in their church and community.

< The Fourth Joint Diocesan Convention The fourth joint diocesan convention of the DIoceses of Eastern and Western Michigan will take place October 27-28, 2023 at the Horizons Center in Saginaw, Michigan. Join with our wider body for a weekend of fellowship, celebration, worship, and the governance of the Church.

< LGBTQ+ Inclusion Training The Episcopal Church is on the forefront of LGBTQ+ inclusion, committed to our call to love and serve Christ in all persons, no exceptions. Join congregational leaders from across the dioceses on Saturday, February 11th for a day-long training around building understanding and engagement with our LGBTQ+ members and neighbors, sponsored by our Evangelism Ministry of the dioceses.

< The Academy for Vocational Leadership The AFVL is a three-year bi-diocesan program of formation for ordained ministry affiliated with with the Seminary of the Southwest. The 2022-23 school year begins in August for students and those seeking certain lay licenses. Visit your diocesan website for more details. EDWM.ORG | 41

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 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 are 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.

when the calling comes The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. Psalm 29 & they crash down on every side of me. there goes the dog; there goes the lounge chairs. one tree hurls through my kitchen window. branches crack and ricochet, the earth jolting with each syllable. your voice breaks the cedars, splits the maples, rips through elms. when you talk, the landscape falls to its knees, begging for another chance, cowering from the deep thunder voice. but it is me you want. each word carves through my heart slicing off thin wedges until I am you & you are me & together we begin to gather the wood for eternity.

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 is a member of St. Jude’s, Fenton. Photo: The sun rises over Plainsong Farm. Photo by Chavala Ymker.



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

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