December 28, 1958 – January 3, 2012
Born in Pontiac, Mark George Bidwell earned his bachelor’s at Lawrence Technological University. He also attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and earned a master’s in pastoral ministry at the Samaritan Institute of Sunshine Cathedral. In 1989, Bidwell joined the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, rose to the position of deacon, and later served as senior pastor until his resignation in 2011.
Between The Lines, January 20, 2012
February 17, 1965 – May 17, 2010
Janine Denommé was born in Detroit and majored in religious studies at the University of Detroit Mercy. She later earned her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and served as director of youth programs at the Center on Halsted in Chicago. In April 2010, Denommé fulfilled a lifelong dream and was ordained by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests contrary to the Church’s ban on women priests.
Huffington Post, May 19, 2010
Detroit News, May 28, 2010
Elegy for Janine Denommé
August 28, 1945 – October 17, 2014
Marvil Thomas Shaw III was born in Battle Creek, grew up in Coldwater, and attended Alma College. A celibate gay monk ordained into the priesthood in 1971, Shaw became Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in 1995. Throughout his tenure, he advocated for minority rights, for allowing women, gay men, and lesbians to be ordained, and for other causes of social justice.
Bay Windows, October 23, 2014
February 20, 1931 – August 22, 2015
Grand Rapids resident Dorace “Dorie” Johnson graduated from the Blodgett Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1950 and had a long career as an RN. She and her life partner Cindy Gould were active in the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Grand Rapids Press, August 25, 2015
November 24, 1907 – August 12, 1971
James Francis Jones, better known as Prophet Jones, was a nationally renowned religious leader in Detroit famed for his flamboyance and fantastical predictions. In 1956, he was arrested for allegedly making an “indecent proposal” to an undercover vice officer.
The Advocate, September 15-28, 1971
June 8, 1937 – October 19, 1986
Fr. James Markunas was a graduate of Detroit’s Cody High School and Albion College. While serving as associate rector of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Fr. Markunas was arrested for peaceably demonstrating after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 49.
Bay Area Reporter, October 23, 1986
March 22, 1959 – August 31, 2015
Ordained into the priesthood in 2007, Rev. Karen Johanns moved to Michigan in 2008 to become rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pontiac, a position she held until cancer forced her into “grouchy” retirement. Johanns was survived by her wife Claire Dodds.
Oakland Press, September 2, 2015