Senior warden shares his pick for next bishop

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Candidates for Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan:  (L-R) Whayne Hoagland, Jen Adams, Bill Spaid, Angela Shepherd The election will take place at a convention on May 18 in Grand Rapids.

Candidates for Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan: (L-R) Whayne Hoagland, Jen Adams, Bill Spaid, Angela Shepherd The election will take place at a convention on May 18 in Grand Rapids.

By Steven Wade, Sr. Warden

On Saturday, May 18 delegates and clergy from around the diocese will gather to elect our next bishop. This is an important event in the life of a diocese as the bishop is not only the leader of the diocese as a whole, but also of each congregation. Grace will send five voting members including me, Daniel Richards, Bob Foote, Jeff Wescott, and Chuck Wolterink. As a delegate I believe I am called to represent not just my thoughts but those of all of you. As such I feel compelled to share my thoughts in advance of the election. It is my hope by publishing my intentions you will then have an opportunity to share your thoughts affirming or challenging my position.

I have met each of the candidates, read their biographies and have done some level of additional research . I find each of them to be deeply faithful, qualified for the job of bishop, effective priests and all around nice people. That said here’s a summary of my thoughts:

· Jen Adams – Jen has a great wealth of experience from her work with our diocese and the national church. However, almost all of Jen’s ordained ministry has been at one church. As a bishop she will need to understand a variety of church structures and systems. I am concerned her lack of experience with other congregations will limit her ability to effectively support parishes of various sizes, and those facing issues different than those with which she is familiar.

· Whayne Hoagland – I found Whayne charming and personal. I think he communicates well and could easily become well liked and respected across the diocese. I believe Whayne could be an effective manger and administrator but question his ability to lead spiritually. This is the unique balance a bishop must fulfill and I believe there is a candidate better suited to this job.

· Angela Shepherd. Angela brings a great breadth of experiences as a priest, including time serving small and medium sized parishes, larger and smaller communities and her work as a member of a diocesan staff. I find her unequivocally able to communicate from a spitit-centered base. I found her response in writing and orally to be direct and thoughtful. Her history and her presence communicate an air of confidence without self-importance.

· Bill Spaid – I have worked with Bill often and have always found him knowledgeable, prepared and a valuable member of the team. Bill’s leadership style seems pastoral and supportive but not very directive. I feel this diocese needs clear and decisive leadership and I believe there are candidates better suited to this work.

For these reasons and many more I feel Angela Shepherd is being called to be our next bishop. I am committed to continue a prayerful discernment in the days leading up to convention. Each of you can play a role in this by sharing your thoughts about these candidates. If you care to do so please call me 938.3362 or email wadetc@charter.net.

I appreciate your trust in me to represent you at this important time.

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