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EASTERN MICHGAN: First bishop says farewell, second bishop addresses convention

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

The first bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, Edwin M. Leidel Jr, laughs with his successor, Bishop Coadjutor Steven Todd Ousley.  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, meeting in its 12th annual convention October 20-21 at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, said farewell to its first bishop Edwin M. Leidel Jr.

The Rev. Steven Todd Ousley, 45, will succeed Leidel, 67, the first bishop of the diocese, when he retires at the end of this year.

Leidel, in his convention homily, gave the diocese seven ways to love its new bishop, acknowledging that he was borrowing from the form of the Rev. Gay Jennings' sermon at Ousley's ordination, titled "Top Ten Things a New Bishop Needs to Know." Leidel's ways were:

  • Feed him with marvelous pot-lucks, but do it judiciously;
  • Remember that behind the name "Bishop" exists a real person;
  • Remember that your Bishop needs you;
  • Pray for him and his family daily;
  • Remember, Todd was married and had children before you made him a bishop;
  • Stay in touch and never assume anything without asking; and
  • Remember that "they" or "the diocese" is us.
  • In his convention address, Ousley said, "Everything I know about being Church I learned in the midst of my family."

"That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it is certainly true that my basis for understanding and valuing Church was learned in the midst of family rituals and that these insights shape my concept of ministry within the Church," he said. "As Eucharistic people, we are shaped by regular gathering at God's Holy Table and by regular gathering for family meals. These occasions of communal sharing mold us into the people that God would have us to be -- people sent forth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ."

The convention considered and passed one resolution renewing "its desire to serve the needs of indebted poor countries and the need to work with the worldwide Anglican Church to provide contact in those areas," that the Diocesan "1%" funds will be spent primarily to support its partnered mission relationships as advised by its Global Partners in Mission Task Force and that the Standing Committee, with the advice of the task force, may direct those funds outside the partnered mission relationships as long as the money serves the needs of a poor, indebted country and are coordinated through an Anglican presence in that area.

The Diocese of Eastern Michigan is composed of 8,300 Episcopalians worshipping in 51 congregations.