Interim Rector

We are pleased to announce that an Interim Rector has been called to St. Chrysostom’s by the Vestry. The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr. will join us on Sunday, July 10th and will reside in the rectory until we identify a new, full-time rector.

We have been discerning this next big step for our community with the vestry and with the bishop’s leadership, and several candidates for Interim Rector were presented to the Wardens for review. While we considered several compelling candidates, we quickly were drawn to Whayne in ways that we did not expect. This feeling that God might be surprising us about where our community is headed felt filled with the Holy Spirit and we are looking forward to seeing where it leads.

It was clear from our first conversation that Whayne is the right person to serve as our transitional leader. He came highly recommended from the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, as well as the Diocese of Chicago, but we were particularly inspired by his thoughtfulness, his strong desire to bring people together, and his deep and personal appreciation for reconciliation.

Whayne is uniquely qualified to join St. Chrysostom’s as our Interim Rector. He has served as both a Rector and as a Bishop, having served as the Bishop Diocesan of Western Michigan and Bishop Provisional of Eastern Michigan from 2013 to 2021. Currently, he is Transitional Director at Bellwether Farm, a working farm and Episcopal retreat center that is part of the Diocese of Ohio. Prior to his 2013 ordination as Bishop, Whayne served for eight years as rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Salisbury, North Carolina. Originally from Kentucky, he also served as Canon Evangelist at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington. He worked for Lexmark International in Lexington prior to his ordination as a priest. Whayne received his Masters of Divinity in 1998 from The University of the South, an Episcopal liberal arts college in Sewanee, Tennessee. Whayne and his wife Dana have two daughters: Erin is an ordained Episcopal priest in Indianapolis, and Leigha lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In the interest of transparency we feel it is appropriate to share that Whayne made the decision to resign as Bishop after acknowledging an extra-marital affair in 2020. Whayne’s adultery is an issue he was able to speak openly about with us, and for him it has been an occasion through which he discovered grace, mercy, and humility before God. Quickly in our conversations we were able to see how this experience might be an asset to our community – to help us be more open about the places we fall short and catalyze new conversations about our identity, heritage, and future.

As we look to the coming months, we truly feel blessed to welcome someone with such extensive experience and perspective of churches in transition. For those who may be unfamiliar with the role of an Interim Rector, the work will include emphasis in these five developmental areas during the interim period:

  1. Heritage (telling the story, how did we get here)
  2. Mission (who are we, where we are headed)
  3. Leadership (structures and people)
  4. Connections (renewing linkages)
  5. Future (planning for new leadership and a new direction)

Within our congregation, there is also work to be done in preparation for our rector search, a process that could take up to 18 months to complete.

Please continue to watch your emails for important updates from our Transition Committee, which has been formed in order to enthusiastically plan a series of celebrations to say goodbye to our departing clergy as well as welcome our interim rector. The Committee is also still welcoming participants.

The Wardens will also be hosting an open forum after the 10am service on May 15th to talk about a range of timely topics, including the interim role as well as the search and selection process for calling the next rector, a process that will not begin until at least July.

We look forward to celebrating Whayne’s arrival on Sunday, July 10th, and know you will join us in welcoming him to our city and our community.

We thank you for your support and prayers during this time!

In gratitude,

John Bankhurst, Senior Warden

Ginny Van Alyea, Junior Warden