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Tragedy in the Diocese of Maryland
Thomas Palermo died when his bicycle was struck by a vehicle driven by Bishop Suffragan of Maryland Heather Cook


On Dec. 27, Bishop Suffragan for the Diocese of Maryland, Heather Cook, struck and killed Tom Palermo, 41, while he was riding his bicycle. She allegedly left the scene for 30 minutes before returning, and registered a blood-alcohol content of .22 percent after the wreck. Palermo died of a head injury at a nearby hospital later that day. Less than four months earlier, Cook was ordained as the diocese of Maryland's first female bishop.

Earlier this week, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, released a pastoral letter to the diocese of Maryland. Bishop Hougland wanted to share it:

I commend the Bishop of Maryland's recent pastoral address to you as we pray our way through the tragedy that's transpired in Baltimore. This event brings up many issues. It brings to light that we often choose to sweep aside or neglect to consider the casual use of alcohol within our community. I want us to be aware of this.


I want us to be honest about issues we keep secret, like alcoholism and other problems we don't confront within ourselves. We are a people that shouldn't be afraid to face difficult issues. We have each other and we have the love of God. It's part of what people of faith do: they face the tough things honestly - as the Diocese of Maryland is doing. We should keep them in our thoughts and prayers.


I'm committed to our health as a diocese, which includes our physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. I want to invite you to join me in giving up alcohol for Lent as a way we might begin to pursue a balanced, healthy life

- The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.


The EDWM Addictions Recovery Commission has recently reformed as a resource for any and all who want help in reclaiming their lives. They ask that you see the website of the Recovery Ministry of the Episcopal Church for further valuable information. If you would like to speak with someone about a problem you, or someone close to you, is having with a substance or behavioral addiction, you are encouraged contact the Rev. Michael Ryan at Epiphany Church, South Haven or the Rev. Carlton Kelley at St. Paul's Church, Dowagiac

The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee will bestow an honorary doctoral degree on Bishop Hougland at the opening convocation, which is the ceremonial beginning to the semester, Friday, Jan. 16, in All Saints' Chapel at 1 p.m EST (12 noon CST).

Honorary degrees will be presented and new members will be inducted into the Order of Gownsmen. Eric Metaxas, author and television host, will give the Convocation address and will receive an honorary degree. Honorary degrees also will be presented during the Convocation to Janice Holderthe Rt. Rev. Whayne HouglandMichael Leslie, and the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Thomas Wright.

Bishop Hougland received his Master of Divinity from Sewanee in 1998. There are currently four EDWM seminarians at Sewanee: BJ Heyboer, Michael Wood, Nicholas Phares and Teresa Phares.

Convocation will be streamed live for those who are unable to attend. To see the live-streamed convocation,click here at the time of the service.


Cervical Cancer Is Preventable

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the Health Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan wants you to know that there's a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer.

HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common cause of sexually transmitted diseases. is a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don't know they are infected.

Do you have a question about a health topic? Contact Health Ministry volunteer Eva Jerome at






Upcoming Dates in the Diocese


Now that the convention has been moved to the fall in our diocese, some of our spring events have changed. Don't forget about these upcoming events! And feel free to check the diocesan calendar for up-to-date, real-time calendar updates in the diocese.


Leadership Days (soon to be re-named, as all are welcome, not just parish leaders)

March 7, Traverse City
March 28, Grand Rapids
pril 11, Kalamazoo

Time: 9:30-3:00 estimated


Confirmation at the Great Vigil of Easter
The next diocesan confirmation will be Saturday, April 4, 2015, The Great Vigil of Easter, St. John's, Grand Haven (click here for map). Registration information coming soon.

Formation and Education Swap-meet & Lent Prep 

This event helps parishes share Sunday School materials, craft supplies and ideas for Lent formation. Saturday, January 31st, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. Andrew's, Grand Rapids (click here for map). Questions? E-mail



Mission Trips and Reading Camps for EDWM Volunteers

EDWM is planning a year full of missions opportunities. There are two domestic mission trips planned. The first is June 26 - July 4, 2015 to Pine Ridge, South Dakota where the Oglala Sioux Native American reservation is located. The second is to New Orleans, Louisiana October 16, 2015 - October 25, 2015. Click here to read more about these trips. For more information, e-mail Tami Varricchio-Drehle at

There will be three EDWM reading camps in summer 2015.

  • Albion, June 22-26 at St. James Episcopal Church, Albion
  • Beulah, July 13-17 - St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids
  • Kalamazoo, August 3-7, St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church, Kalamazoo 

For more information on Reading Camp, e-mail the Rev. Cindy Nawrocki at

If you are interested in a summer mission to the Dominican Republic July 12-19, 2015, e-mail the Rev. Beth Drew at

2015 Lenten Study Book


Bishop Hougland invites the people of our diocese to read Evelyn Underhill's book, Practical Mysticism, this Lent.

Our book of liturgical commemorations, Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, says of Blessed Evelyn, in part:


Evelyn Underhill's most valuable contribution to spiritual literature must surely be her conviction that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience, and also (at the time, a startling idea) that modern psychological theories and discoveries, far from hindering or negating spirituality, can actually enhance and transform it. 

In just 100 pages, Underhill presents a practical mysticism which can be nurtured in the life of any Christian. As this little book originally went to press at the beginning of World War I, Underhill dared to assert that mysticism was not escapism or a "soothing draught." She presented mysticism as a powerful stimulant which enables one to better distinguish the real from the illusory, to feel a certitude which cannot be shattered by struggle or catastrophe, and to grow from a deep spiritual consciousness.

For more information on where to get the book discussion questions, and how to join online conversations, click here now.

For additional Lent resources for parishes, families and individuals compiled by Gennie Callard, Bishop's Assistant to Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, click here now.

Programs at Transformations Spirituality Center, Kalamazoo

Transformations Spirituality Center, Kalamazoo is highlighting three upcoming programs designed to help participants become more grounded in the Spirit.

Stretch Yoga & Centering Prayer 

Retreat with 

Nancy Diment & Betsy Meagher, CSJ 

Friday, January 16; 7pm through Saturday, January 17; 4:30pm; with an optional extension through 11am, January 18.

Finding Father's Love with Dan Kuiper. The image of God as Father can be difficult for those who have been denied a strong, loving and supportive relationship with a responsible father. Saturday, January 24, 2015, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Beyond Words: An Icon RetreatMonday, February 2, 9am - Friday, February 6, 5 p.m.  Led by Diane Hamel, assisted by David Van Eck. Icons are doorways to the sacred; a stylized art form that is prayed into being.  Our 2015 icon is the stunning, "Lament Not for Me, O Mother."

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, writing an icon with celebrated artist Diane Hamel is a richly rewarding experience.

For more information, click here now


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