By David Paulsen
Episcopal News Service

Bishop Whayne Hougland will resign from leading the dioceses of Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan, the dioceses announced June 28 as Hougland nears completion of his one-year suspension after admitting to an extramarital affair.

Hougland had served as diocesan bishop of Western Michigan and provisional bishop of Eastern Michigan under a partnership between the two dioceses. In the spring, clergy and lay leaders and other members of the two dioceses engaged in a process of discernment over whether to welcome him back when his suspension ends on July 1. After “a series of lengthy, honest and occasionally painful conversations” that included online meetings with Hougland, the dioceses concluded he should resign.

“We know and understand that our continued mission and ministry, including our growing relationship between our two dioceses, would be impeded by [Hougland’s] reinstatement to office,” the dioceses’ standing committees said in their June 28 joint statement.

The Rt. Rev. Skip Adams, a retired bishop of Central New York, began serving the two dioceses as assisting bishop on Feb. 1, and the standing committees said they will ask Adams to remain in that role for at least the coming months as the dioceses determine their next steps. A bishop may serve as an assisting bishop to fill a specific role as determined by a diocese’s ecclesiastical authority. The standing committees in Eastern and Western Michigan remain the ecclesiastical authorities of the dioceses.

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