Recommended for Lent:
Fierce Conversations
by  Susan Scott
Message from the Bishop:

Our Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds us the season of Lent is a season best observed "by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word." Our country is experiencing a challenging time of transition in governmental leadership. The church also finds itself in a time of reformation and restructuring. Much confusion and anxiety, division and anger is arising as a result of these realities. How might we proceed and respond amidst these turbulent times is the presenting challenge for people of faith and goodwill.

As a way to address this question, I am inviting us to read together, in the season of Lent, the book, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time, by Susan Scott. It was recommended to me by Bishop Jeff Lee of the Diocese of Chicago and is considered, "a guide to tackling your toughest challenges and enriching relationships with everyone important to your success and happiness through principles, tools, and assignments designed to direct you through your first fierce conversations with yourself on to the most challenging and important conversations facing you."

Perhaps the best way for us to work through these trying times is to find ways to communicate well with one another so we might faithfully fulfill our baptismal covenant vow to respect the dignity of all people.

May you have a blessed Lent.


Lent Curriculum
for small and large groups, individuals, children and families

For Lent formation this year, we are recommending people in the diocese again turn to the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE). Their 2017 Lent program is called " 5 Marks of Love: Living Life Marked at Christ's Own," and provides free videos, thought-provoking questions and activities to help you examine and reflect upon the ways in which God's mission expresses itself in and through us. Participants will look for signs of God's presence and activity in our lives.

How to sign up:
Downloadable materials are free for participants and facilitators, for adult and children's groups. Those who sign up will also receive daily video offerings. Click here to sign up to participate.

In Search of Giants: Ghosts of the Underground Railroad

St. Martin of Tours, Kalamazoo, is producing "In Search of Giants: Ghosts of the Underground Railroad" on Sunday, February 5, at 4:00 p.m.  This production, written and directed by Dr. Von Washington, Sr., premiered in Western Michigan and then went on to play in Toronto, Canada.  

St. Martin's is bringing it back to Western Michigan for Black History Month.  This celebrated Reading with Music is based in present day America, but is looking back at ancestors who had a strong desire to reach Canada.  The majority of the play takes place in the current Underground Railroad Museum in Schoolcraft, MI, but it reaches back to the heart-wrenching activities of slavery.  It follows the modern-day curiosity of a college professor searching for his ancestral roots.

The congregation is also offering this presentation to support its India Ministry.

For more information, or for tickets, please contact St. Martin's:   or (269) 381-3188.  Click here for the flyer. For advanced purchase, tickets will be $25.00 or 2 for $40.00. Tickets will be available at the door for $25.00

Rebooting for new participants in 2017

The Diocesan Congregational Development Institute, DCDI is a leadership training program focused on developing the spiritual community and the organizational life of the congregation.  The program is for both clergy and lay leaders who desire to transform their congregations by making them stronger, healthier, more rooted in the Anglican spiritual tradition, more responsive to God's call for that community, and more effective in reaching out beyond their walls. The Institute weekends will be held at the R. A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon, just south of Grayling on Higgins Lake (click here for map).

The weekends for 2017 are as follows:
               March 24-25
               May 5-6
               September 29-30
               November 17-18

The diocese will cover the cost of meals and lodging for all the weekends, but we ask each participant to pay a $50 registration fee to cover the cost of the materials and text for the program.  If the registration fee presents a hardship, (or if you have questions regarding the program) please contact Canon Bill Spaid ( or Canon Mike Spencer ( in your diocesan office. Additionally, the Rev. Heather Barta is available to answer questions about registration, accommodations, special diets, etc. (

The Prodigal God: Renewing Humanity through Forgiveness

A Retreat Day on April 1, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Luke's, Kalamazoo (click here for map)

Reflections Offered by
  • The Rev. Paul Nuechterlein, Founder of Discipleship Seminars in Mimetic Theory and Editor of Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary at
  • Abbot Andrew Marr, O.S.B., author of Tools for Peace: The Spiritual Craft of St. Benedict and RenĂ© Girard and Moving and Resting in God's Desire: A Spirituality of Peace
On this retreat day, Pastor Paul and Abbot Andrew, both published workers with Girardian concepts, will help us explore forgiveness as a radical nonviolent and non-competitive act of reconciliation, renewal, and resistance to the Powers.

Lunch is provided.

Registration and Fees
  • $60 per person if you call or email by March 24th;
  • $75 per person, afterwards;
  • $40 per person, with student id.
  • A limited number of scholarships are available by request.
Register now by email: or  call 269-345-8553 then pay at the door by cash or check.

Episcopal Youth Camp
A place where all ages come together to form a Christian Community

2017 Camp Dates
  • Senior Camp (entering grades 9-12), June 18-24
  • Weekend Camp (adults and children of all ages), July 21-23
  • Middle Camp (entering grades 6-8), August 6-12
  • Junior Camp (entering grades 3-5), August 13-19
Both the registration forms and the health forms are available online, and are combined. The new Family Information Record means that families who have multiple children who attend camp only have to fill the form once. 

Staff positions include the following: chaplain/spiritual director, cabin counselor, music leaders, nurse/health professional.

Click here to learn more about 2017 summer camps. Click here to see the most recent communication sent by Gennie Callard, Bishop's Assistant for Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
Bishop's Workshops Here Again

Each year, Bishop Hougland and the diocesan staff hold workshops to be of service to leaders in EDWM congregations, including new and experienced vestry, delegates to convention, and other decision-makers in our parishes.
Bishop Hougland's annual set of workshops are now scheduled for 2017, and here is what we will address.

The Bishop's presentation will be called "Adaptive Leadership in Reformation Times."

There will be four breakout sessions that will include the following:
  • Nuts & Bolts of Church Finances
  • Discerning Our Own Racism (new
  • Thinking Theologically in Today's Culture
  • Communications Tech Desk (for help with church websites and communications - please bring your laptops/tablets with you).
All are welcome. Bishop's workshops begin at 9:30 a.m. with the Bishop's presentation starting at 10:00. The event is free and lunch is provided. We request at all parish leaders, including vestry members (and especially NEW vestry members) attend for the benefit of their role in the congregation.
Childcare will be available, but please answer the questions on the form about ages, special needs, etc. if you need childcare.

The Coppage-Gordon School for Ministry
Social Justice Series

The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan and the Coppage-Gordon School for Ministry invite you to join together to build skills, get resources, and prepare for the work of the church by participating in their upcoming Social Justice Series.
Over the course of 2017, they are hosting four workshops focused on the varying aspects of the work of sacred activism hosted  by ministry leaders from our local communities, wider church, and beyond.

Topics include the following:
  • Community Organizing with Sister Cheryl Liske, The New Ezekiel Project, Gamaliel Network, March 4th
  • Asset Based Community Development, June 10th
  • Advocacy & Media Engagement, Jim Naughton & Rebecca Wilson, Canticle Communications, September 23rd
  • The Theology of Social Justice - Telling the Story with Dr. Courtney Cowart of the Beecken Center and Sewanee School of Theology
All events at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Flint, MI ( click here for map).

Click here to learn more. Click here to register.
Accepting Applications:
2017 Dominican Republic Mission Trip
For the past several years, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan has sent mission teams to the Dominican Republic through our companion relationship with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.  We have built long lasting friendships with our Dominican brothers and sisters as well as our fellow missioners from the Dioceses of Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
The focus of the trip June 17-24, 2017 will be to help the communities of Mosovi and San Simon. We have been able to assist with construction of a new church, repair on existing structures, painting, Bible School, and contributing to the water project in Mosovi.  Our 2017 trip will continue the finishing touches on bringing potable water to the Mosovi community and also to return to San Simon to repair flood damage to the perimeter wall that occurred during recent flooding. 

Applications are due April 1, 2017. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Beth Drew at

Apply Online
Formation Gathering

The next lunchtime gathering for formation ministries will be February 14th at St. Andrew's, Grand Rapids ( click here for map) from 12 noon - 2pm. Bring a bag lunch. The topic will be summer activities and VBS planning.