National Acolyte Festival in Washington, D.C.

St. Andrew's Church, Grand Rapids is excited to announce a trip to the Washington National Cathedral for the National Acolyte Festival from October 5-8, 2017. They are inviting parishes in the diocese to join them on this adventure. They will travel by deluxe motor coach, and stay at the Holiday Inn Express, Silver Springs.  

Participants will have a 1½ days for exploring the city. The site-seeing groups will be arranged based on participants' interests, and will include the  White House, Smithsonian, and other historic places in our nation's capital.

Of course the main event is the Acolyte Festival where all acolytes are invited to bring and carry banners, flags, crucifers, streamers, thuribles, and torches to participate in the impressive expansive procession. After the procession and the re-dedication service they will choose from fun workshops including Holy Smoke, Streamers, Vestments, or the Gargoyles of the Cathedral. Before leaving for more DC site-seeing they will find the Darth Vader grotesque on the northwest tower of the cathedral.

Available seats are first come, first served. All interested acolytes and churches will find trip information and registration forms here. Interested persons may also contact them at, or (616) 365-7887. 
St. Thomas Episcopal Church , Battle Creek is hosting an Eastern Deanery Choir Festival.

The combined Eastern Deanery Festival Choir (40+ singers) will present a Festal Choral Evensong for the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, June 4 at 5:00 p.m. at St. Thomas ( click here for map). A pre-service organ recital begins at 4:30 p.m. The entire diocese is invited to join us for this service. More information about the music and the service can by found by clicking here.

Choral Evensong at St. Thomas takes place on the first Sunday of each month. A pre-service organ recital takes place at 4:30 p.m. and Choral Evensong (Congregational Evensong in July/August/September) begins at 5:00 p.m. All are cordially invited to attend.

Gender Revolution Documentary at Two Churches

The documentary takes viewers across the U.S. and to other parts of the world to explore the evolving concept of gender. Former TODAY anchor Katie Couric narrates the film and provides the audience with a newcomer's lens to this topic.

In order to educate herself and  viewers and "get to know the real people behind the headlines," the two-hour film has Couric visit a number of activists, doctors, families and individuals. Among those who share their insight are Dr. Marci Bowers, M.D., a transgender woman and a pioneer in the field of gender confirmation surgery; Hari Nef, a transgender model and actress best known for her role in the Amazon hit series "Transparent"; Georgiann Davis, an intersex activist and sociology professor; and Gavin Grimm, a transgender student whose lawsuit was heard by the Supreme Court.

Now What? A Conference on Reimagining Our Buildings, Our Mission, Our Leadership

Now What? A Conference on Reimagining Our Buildings, Our Mission, Our Leadership  is an ecumenical gathering sponsored by the building funds of The Episcopal Church, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church, and United Church of Christ. It is designed so participants will leave with practical ideas, resources, and plans of action for their congregations. 

In 2010 the Episcopal Church Building Fund (ECBF) launched national conferences called Buildings for a New Tomorrow (BFNT) to assist Episcopal congregations, dioceses, and church-affiliated entities in finding new and innovative ways to use their buildings in response to changing times, needs, and culture.

In 2016, ECBF shared this highly successful brainchild with ecumenical partners to more effectively present joint regional conferences while multiplying the resources available to participants at a lower cost with the Now What? conferences. Buildings for a New Tomorrow still will be held as a multi-day national event every few years, with Now What? being held annually on a regional level.

This year's conference is being hosted by an ecumenical partner, the Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis, although it is co-sponsored by ECBF.

It will be held Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Indianapolis Convention Center, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Registration is $75 per participant, or $199 for three registrants from a single congregation (registered together at the same time). Click here to see a list of presenters and for the registration link.
Pilgrimage with the Bishop

In cooperation with EO Travel and Dr. Douglas Mohrmann, Bishop Hougland and his wife Dana are planning a pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine April 10-19, 2018, with an optional extension ( April 19-22), with room for 45 pilgrims on the journey.

The pilgrimage starts at a cost of $2,598.00. Airfare is additional, but airfare for all pilgrims will be arranged by Dr. Mohrmann. 

Interested persons can register via the web by clicking here.  There you enter the Tour Number HL18, Date 041018, Code E, and ID 57441. Any registration questions can be made directly to EO Tours at (800) 247-0017, referencing our tour ID number 57441. They will handle all registrations and issue billing statements.

Register by June 10, 2017 and receive $125 off!
First Great Lakes Conference on Anglican Catholicity

Members of the diocese are warmly invited to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Battle Creek, (click here for map), on August 11-12 for the "First Great Lakes Conference on Anglican Catholicity."

This conference is offered by the Great Lakes Chapter of the Society of Catholic Priests in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada  and is designed to offer to laity and clergy alike some of the riches of the catholic stream of Anglicanism. 

The keynote speaker will be Father Martin Smith, former Superior of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and a former speaker at our own diocesan convention. Fr. Smith's address will be "Baptism and the Mystical Core of the Gospel: A Catholic Perspective." In addition to the keynote address, there will be offerings of worship in the high tradition of the church and a variety of workshops on practical aspects of the worship, devotional, and historical life of catholic anglicanism. Find out more and register to attend online here
red cross for invite
Phares and Wood Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate

Your prayers and presence are requested when the Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., Bishop of Western Michigan, ordains

Nicholas Phares and Michael Wood

 to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Thursday, June 8th in the year of our Lord Twenty Seventeen at seven o'clock in the evening at   St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Reception to follow.
Clergy: Cassock, Surplice, Red Stole
Registration and Events 

The Domestic Missions Team is accepting registrations for the mission trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation July 7-15, 2017. Click here to register.

The Restructuring Task Force will present its recommendations on staffing, budget and funding, canon changes and more at four different gatherings across the diocese. In the video above, Bishop Whayne Hougland explains why the input and support of Episcopalians across the diocese is important as we prepare to discuss and implement these upcoming changes.

Eastern Deanery
Sunday, June 11 at 2 p.m. at St. Thomas, Battle Creek

Grand Valley & Lakeshore Deaneries
Sunday, June 11 at 2 p.m.  at St. Andrew's, Grand Rapids

St. Joseph Deanery
Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m. at St. Barnabas, Portage

Traverse Deanery
Saturday, June 17 at 10 a.m. at Grace Church, Traverse City

Formation Leaders Training and Retreat Coming in October

Save the date for a retreat this fall for formation leaders October 27-28, 2017 at Camp Newaygo ( click here for map).

Formation leaders are Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, and adult education facilitators in their parishes or dioceses. M ature high school leaders are also invited to participate and attend with their adult mentor.

This is a hands-on retreat led by Jalisa Danhof, award-winning camp director at Camp Newaygo. Activities will include the following:
  • Group and  community building
  • Debriefing activities with a theological perspective
  • Leading discussion and keeping people on track
  • More topics to be announced!
Cost is $40, and includes meals, lodging and training.

Click here for more information on check-in, schedule, what-to-expect, and registration information.