How did Whayne Hougland become the bishop elect?

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By Steven Wade,  Sr. Warden

The Truth – The clearest and simplest answer is God chose him. I believe this and ask that if you are less sure of this to prayerfully consider this possibility.

Electing convention from the balcony at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids

Electing convention from the balcony at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids

The Process – First you need to know a group of good and faithful people developed a plan that led us to Saturday’s election. Their work included researching and writing the profile that was shared throughout the Episcopal Church. This profile drew the interest of many and ultimately several dozen people chose to submit their name to the process. The search committee was very thorough in their work. They met with the candidates, explored their qualifications, studied their ministries and questioned their faith. After months of work the slate of candidates was announced. The task of discernment then transferred to all Episcopalians from across the diocese. This phase concluded last Saturday when the clergy and delegates met to pray, worship and actively listen for God’s call.

The Election – The first few ballots showed each candidate with strong support from both clergy and lay delegates. The following few votes showed support for Bill Spaid waning, ultimately leading him to withdraw from the election. The next few ballots saw Jenn Adams and Whayne Hougland emerge as the strongest candidates in both the lay and clergy orders. Angela Shepherd then withdrew from the election leaving Whayne and Jenn. Although Jenn’s support rivaled that of Whayne, he was elected with the 8th ballot.

What Comes Next – Each of us cast our first vote for the candidate we believed called to be our bishop. The final ballot saw a very different result. Roughly 75% of the people did not see their candidate elected. Three-quarters of us were disappointed to see the candidate we identified not elected. Most of us left the convention having to reconcile our personal disappointment with the great promise that lies ahead. Despite this frustration we must all earnestly welcome Whayne as our bishop and must do all within our power to support him in his ministry.

How can so much change in 90 minutes? That is the power of God.




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