Building Bridges

At our convention in 2019, the Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan kicked off 3-5 years of intentional sharing, collaboration, and exploration focused on considering how we might continue to build and imagine the Kingdom of God from coast to coast. 

BUILDING BRIDGES

Our dioceses have committed to 3-5 years of intentional collaboration and exploration. This includes continuing and deepening existing collaborations, considering where other opportunities might exist, and engaging in conversation across diocesan lines about our individual and shared histories, cultures, ministries, finances, and more. 

While the schedule and topics may vary in response to what we hear as we engage with this work and as we adapt to the requirements of the pandemic, this is what we anticipate taking on over the next program year — around the end of 2021 and the beginning months of 2022:

 

Diocesan Convention Conversations- At our joint diocesan convention, we will spend some time during our Friday afternoon joint session digging into the Building Bridges conversation in mixed small groups that cross the diocesan and lay/clergy lines. In table groups, we will share with one another our answers to three questions:

  • Diocesan Convention Conversations — at our joint diocesan convention, we will spend some time during our Friday afternoon joint session digging into the Building Bridges conversation in mixed small groups that cross the diocesan and lay/clergy lines. In table groups, we will share with one another our answers to three questions:

    From your experience, what is your community of faith/diocese most passionate about?

    What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your diocese to help you and others live out our faith?

    What is your hope for the Church, diocese, your community of faith over the next 5-10 years?


    We see this as an opportunity for relationship building, for learning about one another’s culture and experience, and for collecting responses to disseminate back out to our wider body. 
     
  • Advent — Clergy will be invited to conversation amongst their local clericus groups to offer the steering committee their perspective on current opportunities and challenges they’re experiencing in their ministry and how our structures enhance or inhibit that ministry, including a conversation around diocesan structure as two distinct dioceses, two dioceses in deep continuing collaboration, or considering a coming together of the dioceses.  
     
  • Epiphany — Inter-diocesan affinity groups will meet over Zoom to discuss the ministry landscape in relation to their particular areas of interest and the potential for working together with greater collaboration (as two dioceses, one, or some other possibility), including but not limited to children and youth ministers, lay-led congregations, priests in major cities, deacons, wardens, etc. 
     
  • Eastertide — Institutional-level governance bodies will be invited to discuss the opportunities and challenges of working more closely together through this partnership and beyond, especially related to diocesan structures and governance. This will include but not be limited to diocesan staffs, Standing Committees, Diocesan Councils, Commissions on Ministry, Finance Committees, camp ministries, etc. 

From your experience, what is your community of faith/diocese most passionate about?

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your diocese to help you and others live out our faith?

What is your hope for the Church, diocese, your community of faith over the next 5-10 years?

We see this as an opportunity for relationship building, for learning about one another’s culture and experience, and for collecting responses to disseminate back out to our wider body.

THE BUILDING BRIDGES STEERING COMMITTEE

In 2020, the Standing Committees of Eastern and Western Michigan appointed a steering committee to oversee and facilitate the ongoing conversation around our bi-diocesan partnership.

The committee is accountable to the Ecclesiastical Authority (the Standing Committees and/or the bishop) as well as to the Diocesan Conventions of the dioceses. In addition to annual reports to the conventions, they will be expected to produce an interim report no later than the end of June 2023, articulating whether they propose formal resolutions to the diocesan conventions and the 2024 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, with a final report expected no later than June 30, 2024.

EASTERN MICHIGAN

The Rev. Don Davidson
St. Paul’s, Flint

Gary Grinn
St. Paul’s, Gladwin

Beckett Leclaire
Grace, Port Huron

Tom Manney
St. Paul’s, Bad Axe and St. John’s, Dryden

The Rev. Deacon Dan Maxwell, MD
Trinity, Alpena

Ellen McVey
St. John’s, Midland

Alicia Miller
Holy Family, Midland

 

WESTERN MICHIGAN

The Rev. Jen Adams
Grace, Holland

The Rev. Deacon Jan Gockerman
St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids

Vicki Shroeder
St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor

The Rev. Eileen Stoffan
St. Paul’s, Muskegon

 

STAFF

The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, Convenor
Eastern & Western Michigan

Canon Katie Forsyth
Eastern & Western Michigan

The Rev. Canon Alan James
Western Michigan

There are several working groups that have been (or will be) created to focus on a particular aspect of the conversation. Asset Mapping – Joyce Henry External Research & Conversations – Vicki Shroeder Governance & Canons – The Rev. Don Davidson History & Storytelling – Beckett Leclaire Internal Conversations – The Rev. Deacon Jan Gockerman Stewardship of Resources – Dan Maxwell

These groups would welcome additional members with particular skills and experience in these areas. To connect, please email kforsyth@eastmich.org.