The Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., was elected at a Special Electing Convention on May 18,2013, to be the 9th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. The Rev. Hougland, currently rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, was elected on the 8th ballot out of a field of four candidates. To be elected, a candidate must have received a majority of the votes in both the lay order and the clergy order. He received 87 of 139 votes cast in the lay order and 34 of 65 votes cast in the clergy order.
Under the canons (III.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, the election of a bishop requires the consent from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church. Assuming that consent is received, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, will consecrate The Rev. Whayne Hougland, Jr., as the 9th Bishop of Western Michigan on September 28, at the Van Noord Arena on the campus of Calvin College, Grand Rapids.
The election, which was held at Grace Church, Grand Rapids, followed a year-long search process in which three candidates were selected by the diocesan search committee; the fourth was nominated through a petition process. Prior to the election, the four candidates spent the first weekend in May traversing the diocese, meeting the people, and answering questions in a series of three “walkabouts.”
The Rev. Hougland has been rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, in Salisbury, NC since 2005. Originally from Kentucky, he also served as Canon Evangelist at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, KY, and prior to ordination, worked for Lexmark International, also in Lexington. He Chaired the Missionary Resources Support Team for the Diocese of North Carolina (2008-2012), and was a Clergy Mentor for postulants to Holy Orders for the Diocese. He is married to Dana Lynne Hougland, an educator and autism specialist. They have two daughters. Erin Elizabeth Hougland, 27, is married to Isaac Hougland and is a postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Indianapolis. Leigha Karl Hougland, 23, lives with her partner Evan Edwards in Chicago.
The other three candidates for bishop were as follows:
The Rev. Jennifer Adams, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Holland, Michigan
The Rev. Canon Angela Shepherd, Canon for Mission, Diocese of Maryland
The Rev. Canon William Spaid, Cannon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Western Michigan
The Rev. Whayne Hougland will succeed The Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert, who is retiring after serving as Bishop of Western Michigan for 12 years. Bishop Gepert and his wife, Anne Labat-Gepert, will be moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in September to be closer to their grandchildren. He hopes to do some writing, and she plans on doing a lot of quilting and volunteer work at their new church home in Lancaster.
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan covers the western half of the lower peninsula of Michigan with 10,153 members worshiping in 61 faith communities.
From the Official Press Release of the Western Diocese of Michigan.