Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan

Diocese of Northern Michigan

Diœcesis Michiganensis Septentrionalis
CountryUnited States
TerritoryThe northern Michigan counties of Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince V
HeadquartersMarquette, Michigan
Coordinates46°32′43″N 87°23′27″W / 46.5452922°N 87.390934°W / 46.5452922; -87.390934
Congregations21 (2022)
Members968 (2022)
DenominationEpiscopal Church
EstablishedNovember 14, 1895 (1895-11-14)
Current leadership
BishopRayford Jeffrey Ray
Location of the Diocese of Northern Michigan
Location of the Diocese of Northern Michigan

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (TEC) with canonical jurisdiction in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Initially part of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, it was designated a Missionary District in 1892, and became a separate diocese in 1895 as the Episcopal Diocese of Marquette.[1] The diocese was renamed the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan on June 2, 1937.

The diocese is one of the smallest, in number of congregants, in the Episcopal Church. It is headquartered in Marquette, Michigan. As of 2014 there were 22 churches in the diocese. In 2020 average Sunday attendance was 233.

Bishop Jim Kelsey, the bishop of the diocese, died in June 2007 in a car crash. At a diocesan convention in February 2009, Kevin Thew Forrester was elected the next bishop of the diocese. Any bishop's election requires the consent of the church's bishops along with the standing committees of the 110 dioceses and jurisdictions.[2] A majority of the dioceses' standing committees and a majority of the church's bishops rejected his election because of Forrester's practice of Zen Buddhist meditation, revisions that he made to the baptismal liturgy, and his beliefs about salvation.[2] After the deadline for consent passed, in July 2009, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced that Forrester had become the first bishop-elect in 77 years to have his election declared "null and void" by the church.[3] The last candidate rejected on strictly theological grounds was James DeKoven in 1875 for his high church practices.[2]

In December 2010, a diocesan convention elected Rayford Ray as bishop. His election was confirmed by the Episcopal Church, and after his consecration in May 2011 he became the 11th diocesan bishop of the diocese.[4][5][6]


  1. 1896-1919: Gershom Mott Williams (elected November 14, 1895, ordained May 1, 1896; resigned October 1919)
  2. 1918-1929: Robert LeRoy Harris (February 1918 Coadjutor, October 1919 Bishop; resigned 1929)
  3. 1930-1939: Hayward S. Ablewhite (elected December 1929; resigned when indicted in a defalcation and embezzlement case in October 1939, served nine months in state prison)
  4. 1939-1942: Herman Riddle Page Sr. († April 1942)
  5. 1942-1964: Herman Riddle Page Jr. (* May 3, 1892, † 1977)
  6. 1964-1972: George R. Selway
  7. 1972-1974: Samuel J. Wylie († 1974)
  8. 1975-1981: William A. Dimmick
  9. 1982-1999: Thomas K. Ray
  10. 1999-2007: Jim Kelsey
    2007-2011: vacant
  11. 2011–present: Rayford Jeffrey Ray


  1. ^ Staff. "Centennial History". Diocese of Northern Michigan. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Burke, Daniel (July 2009). "Episcopalians Reject Bishop Who Embraced Zen Buddhism". Beliefnet. Religion News Service. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  3. ^ ENS staff (July 27, 2009). "Northern Michigan Episcopal Election Fails to Receive Required Consents". Episcopal News Service. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  4. ^ ENS staff (February 18, 2010). "Northern Michigan: Diocese Forms Bishop Search Committee". Episcopal News Service. Archived from the original on October 16, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  5. ^ McCaughan, Pat (December 4, 2010). "Diocese of Northern Michigan Elects Rayford Ray as 11th Bishop". Episcopal News Service. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  6. ^ McCaughan, Pat (June 7, 2011). "Rev. Rayford Ray Consecrated as Episcopal Bishop". Daily Press. Escanaba, MI. Episcopal News Service. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2012.

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