(RNS) — One day after he was placed on leave for allegations that he had physically and emotionally abused his wife and sons, Episcopal Bishop Prince Singh has resigned as provisional bishop of the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan.
“Our Standing Committee Presidents have met with Bishop Singh and reached a mutual decision: it is time for him to step down as our bishop provisional, allowing him to focus on the next phase of the Title IV process, his family, and his personal well-being, and allowing our dioceses to step ahead in forward-thinking mission together, focused on our collective ministry and ongoing discernment,” an announcement sent by the standing committees of the two dioceses said Friday morning (Sept. 8). “The bishop’s resignation is effective as of today.”
In Singh’s absence, the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan will be led by the dioceses’ standing committees, elected groups made up of both clergy and lay members. The committees are working on identifying a bishop who will temporarily provide pastoral guidance for diocesan and parish leaders and anticipate identifying candidates for a new provisional bishop who would likely be elected next spring.
The announcement also includes an accompanying letter from Singh, who expressed “profound” sorrow over his resignation and characterized his family’s allegations against him as “distracting” from his ministry and the work of the dioceses.
“My resignation is not an admission of guilt but intends to remove the distraction from our discernment in these dioceses,” he wrote. “I am sorry for the impact this Title IV situation has had on our work and for any harm this situation may have raised out of past traumas of individuals and communities.”
In a statement shared with Religion News Service, Singh’s sons, Nivedhan and Eklan Singh, and their mother, Roja Suganthy-Singh, expressed gratitude for the decision, but called for changes to the Title IV process, an internal disciplinary procedure for Episcopal clergy accused of misconduct.
“Title IV as it stands is not a trauma-informed or survivor-centered process and lends itself to retraumatizing survivors and to protecting offenders. The Title IV process was also not designed to address the most common abusive relationship: abuse within family systems.”
In 2020, Singh’s predecessor in the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan, Whayne M. Hougland Jr., was suspended after admitting to adultery. Last summer, members of the dioceses issued a complaint asserting the Episcopal Church bungled the Title IV process and prioritized the healing and well-being of the bishop at great financial expense, while providing little support to the impacted dioceses.
Nivedhan and Eklan Singh, originally disclosed their abuse allegations to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in December 2022, but a Title IV investigation was not launched until the brothers went public with their allegations in June 2023. They and their mother have said Prince Singh physically and verbally abused his sons throughout their childhood, threatened his ex-wife Suganthy-Singh with a knife and threw objects at her and misrepresented facts about his divorce. The family has called for investigations into Curry and Bishop Todd Ousley, who heads the denomination’s Office of Pastoral Development, saying the two mishandled their allegations.
“These men are beloved leaders in TEC and it is painful for those who love and trust them and who have experienced the best from them to see what they have done and to hold them accountable,” Nivedhan and Eklan Singh and Roja Suganthy-Singh said. “However, until we are willing to hold those we love accountable for causing harm in positions of power, TEC will not substantially change.”