Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Robyn Meyer who died July 6, 2020. She was 83. Robyn is the wife of the Rev. Canon Robert "Bob" Meyer, retired priest of the diocese, who served St. Mark’s, Waupaca, St. Olaf’s, Amherst , Christ the King, Sturgeon Bay, Holy Nativity, Jacksonport and as a supply priest after retirement in 1995. The Meyer's resided in Tremont, Illinois and she died at Pekin Manor after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
She was born May 10, 1937 in Cook County, IL to Edwin C. and Joy Bacon Witwer of Niles, MI. She married Dr. Robert B. Meyer on February 3, 1962 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Niles, MI. He survives along with one daughter, Valerie (James) Moore of Tremont; three grandsons, Nate Danz, Matthew Moore, and Jason Moore, all of Tremont; and her twin brother, Scott Witwer of Niles, MI. She was preceded in death by her parents and one infant daughter, Albion Gabrielle.
She attended school in Niles and Kemper Hall, Kenosha, WI from which she graduated in 1955. She attended the University of Michigan, Colorado A & M College, where she was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority, and received her B.A. from Western Michigan in 1962.
When her husband left teaching at Monmouth College in Illinois to enter Seminary in New York City, Robin obtained a job with Manufacture Hanover Trust in their International Department as one who “floated” among their various branches in Manhattan. During this time, she foiled two attempted bank robberies. After leaving New York, she worked successively at Community Bank and Swearington Wholesale in Canton, as a receptionist in the Fulton County State’s Attorney’s Office, Lewistown and as the librarian at Lewistown Grade School. When they lived in Missouri, she worked as a “Homemaker for the Elderly” through an entitlement program held by an area nursing home. This proved to be her favorite job as she found her special gift of working with the elderly. She later became a member of the Waupaca County, WI Commission on Aging.
She was an avid reader, enjoyed fishing, and being with her grandchildren. She made Cursillo in 1976 in Peoria and was on teams in Peoria, Western Missouri, and in the Diocese of Fond du lac, WI, where she was Rectora of Monarch Cursillo #16. She was a member of the Rebecca Circle at First English Lutheran Church and a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peoria, where services will be held after Covid-19 restrictions allow. Visitation will be held at the church prior to the service. Davis-Oswald Funeral Home in Tremont is assisting with the arrangements.
Burial of cremains will he at a later date in Union Cemetery, Oak Harbor, OH.
Memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peoria, First English Lutheran Church in Peoria, St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Tremont Rescue 702, the Alzheimer’s Association, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
A special thanks goes to the staff at Heddington Oaks and Pekin Manor for their loving care.
The Covid Task Force of the Diocese of Fond du Lac released "Back to the Buildings" June 1 with guidance for congregations for in-person worship. The guidelines limit the number of participants to 10 with additional directions for reducing the risk of transmission to provide the safest worship environment we are able to. This includes social distancing, face coverings, use of hand sanitizer, and one-way traffic to name a few. Some congregations have started in-person worship, many have chosen to wait, and some are still considering the course of action they wish to take.
At it's July 6 meeting, the Task Force determined its process for moving forward. When the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the State of Wisconsin trends down over a two-week period, it will determine if the number of persons for in-person activities will increase from 10 people to 25% of capacity.
Why two weeks? Many factors impact trends, but based on past numbers, it appears two weeks is a long enough window to see a trend as compared to day to day variations.
Why Wisconsin (and not counties)? More data results in better reliability. County by county numbers can be helpful for determining hot spots, but not as reliable in determining trends. There are limitations for trend determination from population size and that people don't limit travel and interactions to those only from one county.
Why 25% of capacity? The short answer: geometry. 25% of capacity allows social distancing with enough space for movement. Individuals easily observe when someone may be closer than six feet and react accordingly.
This criteria of a two-week trend does not mean we move to 25% immediately. It means it is the point when the Task Force will examine the various factors to determine if moving to 25% is warranted. For example, if new cases doubled each week over 4 weeks followed by a slow decrease over 2 weeks, it is unlikely the limit would change because the total number of people with the virus would be much higher than it is today. Another example: if the rate declined over 2 weeks, but the death rate and hospitalization rate increased, these increased might lead the Task Force to decide not to move to 25%.
The Task Force recognizes there is a desire to worship in-person. It also recognizes doing so should not create unnecessary risk to the health and well-being of those worshipers. Please be assured that members of the Task Force consider these factors as it continues to deliberate the best course of action for the congregations of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
For some, understanding the history of racism in America is hard to grasp. In a recent clergy virtual gathering, Bishop Matt shared a 20-minute video from the creator of Veggie Tales which has informed him about that history with a broader understanding. If you are looking for a better understanding, this video, "Holy Post -Racism in America" is recommended viewing.
The diocesan Covid-19 Task Force has released "Back to the Buildings" here. It provides direction and guidelines for the first stage of in-person gatherings for our church buildings. Congregations need to prepare, so vestries and clergy will need to review the document, determine if they plan to re-open when approved by the Bishop, then determine how to best implement the guidelines and directives in their local context.
No date of return to the church buildings has been decided, but will be no sooner than June 28. This target date allows vestries the time to do the homework, plan, and prepare (for example, getting a supply of hand sanitizer).
The goal is to have gatherings which reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible to create the safest environment for the in-person gathering of the Body of Christ. The document is downloadable here or may be viewed online below.
The Rev. Tyler C. Richards has accepted a call to serve as Rector at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, De Pere.
Fr. Tyler is originally from Alabama. He received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Alabama. He completed a Masters of Divinity at from The School of Theology at The University of The South (Sewanee) currently serves as Rector of Transfiguration Episcopal Church in Indian River of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.
St. Anne's Episcopal Church has served the De Pere area since 1935 with roots as a worshipping community dating to as early as 1849. It is a worshiping community of 250 baptized members with an average Sunday attendance of 100. Located on De Pere's east side near De Pere High School, it's members are dedicated to being “a Family Living and Growing in Christ.”
Fr. Tyler, his wife Colleen, and their baby daughter Emery will join the St. Anne’s family as soon as circumstance allows, hopefully in July.
Learn more about St. Anne's here.
It was March 16, 2020 in response to the directives from the CDC and governmental agencies that Bishop Matthew Gunter suspended in-person public worship in the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Today, together with the diocesan Covid Task Force, he has released Celebrating Eucharist During the Covid Pandemic to provide direction during the current pandemic situation. The document provides direction by which the Eucharist may be celebrated in a congregation. Offering the Eucharist in this fashion is optional.
"The intent is to allow for the Eucharist, with a small community gathering in-person to represent the congregation as a whole" Bishop Gunter commented. "It is not a return to our regular worship, but the Church providing the opportunity to have Eucharist given our current circumstance." Conditions for the Eucharist include only 3 or 4 persons present for the service who maintain social distance. The directions are within Wisconsin's Stay Safe at Home order and are at least as safe as going to the grocery store.
It is expected that congregations who exercise this option may livestream or record it for online distribution. Those participating online may be using a form of spiritual communion in the Christian tradition: when one is unable — because of some unavoidable exigency — to participate in the Eucharist and/or to physically receive the Sacrament. St Thomas Aquinas once defined Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing him as if we had actually received him.” St Teresa of Avila wrote: “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” St Jean Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, wrote “A spiritual communion acts on the soul as blowing does on a cinder-covered fire which was about to go out. Whenever you feel your love of God growing cold, quickly make a spiritual communion.”
"We know God is present in the Sacrament. These directions allow the people of Fond du Lac to worship in a different way, but one recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world." Bishop Matt added. "This is not what we are used to, and it may be comfortable. However, we know the sacrifice and offering of the Eucharist, and with it “ourselves, our souls, and bodies” to God by the Church, even in a small assembly, is a spiritual good in itself."
From Bishop Matt:
Dear Members of the Diocese of Fond du Lac,
I have been pleased with the way our congregations have continued to find ways to be the church despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. Clergy and lay leaders have found creative means of leading prayer worship while we are dispersed. Members have found ways of staying connected to one another. Congregations have proven agile in making sure their outreach ministries continue serving those in need. There is no denying the losses. Regular worship has been suspended. Events have been canceled or postponed. Still, God has remained faithful to his church and you have demonstrated a responding faithful resilience. I am confident you will continue to do so as long as this lasts in whatever ways it lasts.
We will also need to demonstrate that same creative faithful resilience with our Diocesan Summer Camp. Our Camp Director, Erin Wolf, and I have been in conversation and decided it would be unwise hold camp in the usual way. This is not an easy decision given how important we know camp is. Many of you know how much I personally love attending camp every year. But given the uncertainty of where things will be with the infection rate, the likelihood of ongoing restriction of some kind, and our own determination not to put our children, youth or staff at risk, this is the decision we need to make.
The good news is that just as our congregations have found creative ways to continue being the church differently, plans are being made to be camp differently. We can still provide opportunities for connecting with friends, learning more about following Jesus as members of the church, and having fun. I will let Erin tell you about those plans.
From Camp Director Erin Wolf:
The ever-evolving nature of our current pandemic has led us to make the decision that the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp will not happen at Camp Lakotah this summer. We know this decision will disappoint those who hold camp near and dear to their hearts. Our camping community continues to be held in prayer as we grieve the loss of a beloved opportunity to gather in-person. But there will be camp!
We are immensely blessed to have a volunteer staff who is willing to take this opportunity to connect our community in a transformative way with Camp @ Home. During our scheduled camp dates of June 7-21, we will offer times of online check-ins and provide for at-home camp activities. Camp staff will create videos showing how to do crafts or singing a song (and more) featured on the diocesan YouTube channel, viewable at your convenience. Camp @ Home won’t replicate the experience of gathering in-person, but God is with us wherever and however we come together, even in a digital space that is different from what we are accustomed to.
Above all, though, please pray. Pray for our friends at Camp Lakotah, for our staff, for graduating seniors and all our campers & families. These are difficult times we are living in, and God will continue to see us through!
Thank you all for your patience and prayers as we continue to navigate this uncharted territory. We hope you will consider joining us for the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp through Camp @ Home.
Grace and peace,
Erin Wolf (she/her/hers)
P.S. If conditions allow it, we hope to have an in-person Camp Day gathering at Camp Lakotah later this summer. We’d have time for a variety of camp activities that we all love including worship, games, crafts, and hopefully, gaga ball! More information will be shared as we continue to learn more about what we are able to safely offer camp families.
Q&A (Questions and Answers)
Q: What is Camp @ Home? What does that mean for me and/or my camper(s)?
A: Camp @ Home combines scheduled online gatherings via Zoom for campers & staff and @ home activities for campers. Online time gives opportunity to check-in and hang out; worship using the Daily Office; conversations on a topic in both large & small groups. @ home activities include doing camp activities @ home, like crafts, campfire with s'mores, and singing camp graces at mealtimes.
Q: What if I don’t have materials for activities or a Book of Common Prayer? How can I participate?
A: Register for Camp @ Home at diofdl.org/camp by Memorial Day (May 25) and we’ll send you a camp care package at no cost! It will include items like the online gathering schedule via Zoom, camp graces for mealtimes, printouts for worship, materials for some of the projects, and low- or no-cost camp activities to do at home.
Q: What if I don’t have reliable access to the internet? How can I participate?
A: Register for Camp @ Home at diofdl.org/camp (well, or call us at 920-830-8866 as you may not have internet access) by June 1 and tell us about this need. We will do all we can to get you connected either through another camp family nearby or a local congregation. And if that doesn’t work, you can still join the online times via phone and will still get the care package for @ home activities.
Q: Where do I find the current information on Camp @ Home?
A: Visit the summer camp webpage at diofdl.org/camp. We also send out updates via email and through diocesan social media. If you really need to know now, contact the Camp Director.
Q: What can I do to support camp at this time? How might I help?
A: Let’s count the ways you can help:
Q: How do I contact the Camp Director?
A: To contact Camp Director Erin “Erni” Wolf send an email to email@example.com. If you need to talk directly to Erin, call (920) 830-8866 and you can get connected.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Malcolm A. Hughes who died April 6, 2020. He was 87. He is survived by his wife his wife, Lydia Barnes, his children Christopher (Leanne), Sally (Seth), Michael (Kim) and grandchildren.
Malcolm spent ten years in the Canadian military before receiving his BA from McGill University and his Masters of Divinity from Bishops University. He was ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1960 and served the Church in many capacities, including mission work in the Caribbean and Malaysia, Rector of St. James (Hudson, PQ), St. Mary’s (Como, PQ) and St John the Baptist (Pointe Claire, PQ), Executive Director of the Diocese of Montreal, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Montreal Diocesan newspaper. He later served the Episcopal Church as Rector of Saint Saviour’s (Bar Harbor, ME) and St. John’s (Shawano, WI) from 2004-2008 before settling in Palm City, Florida to enjoy retirement.
Malcolm combined his passion for sports and children by working with a number of youth athletic programs over the years, including coaching high school football and tennis as well as refereeing soccer. He also loved the arts by performing in local theater groups, singing every chance he could and leading a local Scottish band as Drum Major. He was an accomplished spoon player and a published poet.
Malcolm cherished his family and friends and will be dearly missed. A memorial service will take place at a later date. Donations in Malcolm’s name can be sent to Treasure Coast Hospice, 5000 Dunn Rd., Fort Pierce, FL 34981 or to your local library as he was an avid reader.
Join Bishop Matt as he reflects on today, Holy Saturday. A day to pause, a day to acknowledge pain, suffering. and to think about the One who died. And to also remember that something more is coming tomorrow.
Watch Bishop Matt's message here
For Easter Sunday Eucharist livestream click here
Why do Christians call today “Good” Friday? Click here to reflect on this and the cross with Bishop Matt in his Friday in Holy Week video message.
In his Maundy Thursday video, Bishop Matt discusses the love of Jesus and what His new commandment in John 13:34 means especially in our current Covid-19 times.
Watch his message here
In today’s Holy week message Bishop Matt reminds us that Christ is the solid rock on which we stand, and that all other ground is sinking sand. Our hearts can be reoriented to Him through suffering.
Bishop Matt invites us to examine our hearts today. To allow Jesus to transform our hearts during this Holy week. Please watch here.
"Jesus is always with us" is part of Bishop Matt's Holy Week video message to the diocese. Please click here to watch Monday's message for Holy Week.
Holy week this year is going to feel very different due to restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Bishop Matt addresses this in a video address.
Watch Bishop Matt’s Holy Week message here
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are now in the early days of an unprecedented disruption of life as we face the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. As with the rest of society, churches are trying to help stem the spread of the virus. By now I expect you know that we have suspended gathering for in-person worship including on Sundays until further notice. We have similarly ceased all in-person meetings that are not absolutely essential. This is hard. And it will get harder in lots of ways. One of those is that we will not be celebrating Easter with one another in person. We will have to find other ways to celebrate. But we are faced with choosing between worshiping together in person and loving our neighbor by maintaining social distance. Indeed, I see this as an act of the neighbor-love to which Jesus calls us. It is an act of considered compassion to try to prevent others from being infected, particularly those most vulnerable due to age or existing health issues.
There is much that remains unknown about the virus and how long we will be dealing with the outbreak. What we do know is that it is highly contagious with the potential to be very bad. What we also know is that slowing down the spread is our best bet to not overwhelm the health system with too many cases all at once. That also will allow more time for hospitals to prepare to treat the more serious cases. Many of us are going to contract the virus sooner or later. For most of us it will be no worse than a bad case of the flu. For others it will be very serious or even life-threatening. You may have heard the term “flattening the curve”. Here is something Fr. Chris Arnold of Trinity, Oshkosh and chair of our Covid-19 Task Force has written to explain that:
If you pay $12000 a year in rent, you'd prefer to pay $1000 a month instead of having your landlord demand $12000 all at once! That's because your rent would keep pace with your income, and the demand for rent would hopefully always be lower than the supply of money. You don't want a big bill to hit you all at once and put you in debt. Likewise, we have a limited amount of medical resources: hospital beds, ventilators, and staff to help us. We don't want to have more sick people than there are beds for them.
It is to help flatten the curve that we have taken the extraordinary steps we have taken.
For the time being we have suspended our usual church activities. But that does not mean church is cancelled. We, all of us, remain the church, the body of Christ. And we are working and planning to find ways to be the church in this strange time. Among other things each congregation will be finding ways to stay connected. We are practicing physical social distancing, but we will find ways to be personally and socially connected by other means. I expect things will get harder before they get better. We will need one another for support and encouragement.
Please know that suspending regular public worship and most in-person meetings, etc. doesn't mean your priest and lay leaders now have nothing to do. Rather, they are working longer and harder to figure out how to do worship, pastoral care, faith formation, etc. remotely. Pray for them. And offer to help.
I would be remiss as bishop not to point out that suspending worship does not mean that our obligation to financially support the mission and ministry of the church is suspended. If you have made a pledge to your congregation, I urge you to continue honoring that by mailing your offering to the church. If you did not make a pledge but are accustomed to giving something, I urge you to also send your financial offering to the church.
To help us make our way through this and continue to be faithful as the body of Christ I have formed Covid-19 Task Force made up of clergy and healthcare professionals to advise me. I am also forming sub-groups to focus on providing ideas and resources for Pastoral Care, Prayer & Worship, and Christian Formation to our congregations. I will be in regular contact with clergy and lay leaders of congregations. And we will do what we can for all members of the diocese informed as things develop or change.
Know that the clergy and each congregation is in my daily prayers. Beginning this Sunday, I will be at Grace, Sheboygan livestreaming worship beginning at 10:15. I also invite you to a Lenten video retreat which I recorded yesterday “Keeping it Together When the World is Coming Apart: Praying with Julian of Norwich. It will be available for viewing beginning at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 21 by clicking here. A booklet to go with the retreat can be found here. If you know of someone without access to the internet , who wants a booklet please contact the office.
We are entering a sort of wilderness as a church and as a society. But as followers of Jesus, we know that he is with us in the wilderness and trust that he not only walks alongside us, but he will go before us to prepare a way. I encourage you to draw nearer to him in the days to come. The Church and her members have in wilderness times before – persecution, war, famine, plague, etc. We might well wish that we were not facing the particular wilderness before us. But we know that God will not abandon us even as God did not abandon Jesus to the grave. Holy Week and Easter will be different this year. But the reality of Easter remains. The tomb is empty. And therefore, our hope never is.
So, let us roll up our spiritual sleeves and dedicate ourselves to being faithful witnesses to the hope that is in us. Sink your heart into the heart of God through prayer. Practice patience and compassion, even with yourself. Reach out to one another by phone or video or regular mail. Encourage one another. Pray for one another.
If God is for us, who is against us?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31, 37-39)
You are in my prayers. I ask your prayers for me.
Under the Mercy,
VIII Bishop of Fond du Lac
In response to the latest directives from the CDC (no gatherings larger than 50) and the White House (no gatherings larger than 10) we will be suspending in person public worship in the Diocese of Fond du Lac until further notice. I also urge you not to meet in person unless absolutely necessary.
This is not a decision I take lightly. As I wrote in my statement last Friday, in an outbreak of serious infectious disease as we are experiencing, loving our neighbor means keeping our distance. In that way we hope to “flatten the curve”. It is about balancing our need to gather for worship over against our need to love our neighbor and not spread the disease.
I know this will make many aspects of worship and ministry difficult. Along with the Task Force of healthcare experts I announced on Friday, I am also forming sub-groups to help gather ideas and resources for doing worship, pastoral care, and faith formation during this time while it is inadvisable to meet together.
For those congregations not equipped to live stream or otherwise post their own worship at this time, I will be live streaming worship for Grace, Sheboygan this Sunday at 10:15. You can access that by clicking here
St. Thomas, Menasha live streams their worship. Click here for access.
Intercession-Beloved Community, Stevens Point also live streams their worship by way of Facebook
click here. Other resouces at www.belovedcommunitysp.org/
It may well be that your church will be doing so as well
I will also be posting, this Saturday, a video Lenten Retreat on Julian of Norwich who lived in a time of pandemic, political unrest, and other uncertainty yet found peace and hope in spite of that. More details on how to access the video will be posted on the diocesan website soon.
I will also be mailing a letter to each member of the diocese this week. It will contain information about Covid-19 and where things stand in our diocese.
In the meantime, here is a quote that I find reassuring:
"He who is anxious and knows Christ may be assured that he is not alone in his anxiety, but that Christ, too, has gone through it. And this means a completely new attitude toward the future; no longer is the future a befogged landscape into which I peer anxiously because all kinds of obscure perils are brewing there for me. No, everything is changed: we do not know what is coming, but we know *who* is coming. And he who possesses the last hour no longer needs to fear the next minute."
– Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986), 'On Being Afraid of Life'
in 'Christ and the Meaning of Life'
And here is a prayer:
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
– Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)
Under the mercy,
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter
VIII Bishop of Fond du Lac.
To the Diocese of Fond du Lac
My Sisters and Brothers,
Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ. With the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), we are facing a serious public health crisis, unprecedented in our lifetime. Earlier reports compared this disease to the seasonal flu, but from China, Italy, Seattle, and other places we now know that this is a very serious, potentially life-threatening pandemic. The situation is changing from day to day, and there will be an impact on our shared life as the church.
I want our congregations to be prudent, but not to panic. Let us remember first of all that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)
The essentials of the Christian faith never go away, no matter how challenging the times, give thanks to God in all things, love God, love your neighbors, say your prayers.
What I am doing
I’m sure you and I are experiencing the same thing: lots of news, lots of advice, and lots of decisions to be made. In order to help me sort through the data and give the best direction, I have convened an ad hoc Covid-19 Task Force. Current members of that task force are:
That task force is tracking the best recommendations from public health experts and monitoring the response from fellow communities of faith as well as soliciting ideas and expertise from others in our diocese. I am also communicating with the deans and other diocesan leaders, as well as meeting virtually with the Standing Committee and the Executive Council in the coming week .
In addition to this letter to the parishes, I will be issuing more detailed advice to the clergy and wardens of the diocese. We will be working on preparation plans for a number of eventualities.
What we will be doing effective Monday, March 16, 2020
As Christians, and as members of this diocese, we will strive to balance two values:
This leads to a number of directives that continue or extend those that I issued last week
I appreciate that for a time I am requesting that many of our members stay home instead of going to church on Sundays. I want you to be aware that we do have some congregations in the diocese that already live stream their Sunday worship. I encourage you to attend one of them virtually on Sunday mornings until you are able to safely return to your own congregation’s worship. Here are two options:
Church Mission other than Worship
At this point, each congregation is encouraged to plan for ways to minimize gatherings, while still providing pastoral care, sacraments, and service.
Things to Think About
I recognize that the above instructions will create difficulties. But I believe they are the most prudent and faithful options at this moment. This is likely not the last statement on the topic I will need to make. We are entering a time of uncertainty and turmoil. None of us can quite foresee how society will appear next week, let alone a month or a year from now. We will need to extend the greatest of patience to one another as we explore this new landscape together. We will continue to be the church even as some of what that looks like changes. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore more fully what it means to truly be the body of Christ. As Christians we stand on the solid ground that is Jesus Christ. Especially in this season of Lent we remember that he who is God incarnate became human to stand in solidarity with us, shoulder to shoulder with us in temptation, in poverty, in suffering, in anxiety, and even in death, so that he could pave the way for us into everlasting life. Nothing in all creation can separate us from his love, and that includes viruses, economic uncertainty, or the disruption of our church life. We do not know what the future holds. But we know Who holds the future.
Under the Mercy,
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter
Bishop of Fond du Lac
Communion and the Coronavirus
Instructions for the People of the Diocese of Fond du Lac
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter
VIII Bishop of Fond du Lac
I have received questions regarding the growing concern about possible spread of the coronavirus. First of all, I want to remind us that God’s love is greater than any disease or danger. So, we need not succumb to a spirit of fear. We will continue to gather for worship because that is what we do as Christians. Still, the assurance of faith does not mean that we do not exercise proper prudence and care for ourselves and one another. Seeking to be prudent in light of the potential spread of the coronavirus and more familiar flu viruses, I am directing members of the Diocese of Fond du Lac to adopt the following guidelines*.
While it is our faith that the sacraments are means of grace and not of sickness, they are physically administered, and we should take physical care. As well as the specific concern about coronavirus, this advice is generally applicable to all infectious disease.
Wash Hands. Priests presiding at the Eucharist, Eucharistic Ministers, and servers must wash their hands with soap prior to serving and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers immediately before the Preparation of the Table and Eucharistic prayer. I urge everyone to wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently in this season. The rule of thumb is to wash for about 20 seconds – or about as long as it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer.
Do Not Intinct. Because hands can be as much or more of a source of pathogens as lips, intinction (dipping the bread into the wine) is actually less safe than drinking and can introduce germs into the cup. No matter how careful we are, fingers will inevitably be dipped in the wine with the bread. Some research actually suggests that illness is less likely to spread when drinking from a metal chalice. Keep fingers out of the cup.
Consider Receiving Holy Communion in One Kind. It is Anglican teaching that to receive the sacrament in one kind only (i.e. just the bread) is to receive the sacrament in its entirety. The celebrant should always receive from the chalice. Should a communicant feel ill or not wish to drink from the chalice then he or she ought to receive the consecrated bread alone. There is no need to cease offering the chalice to the congregation for those who desire to receive it.
The Peace. Passing the Peace as a symbol of our reconciliation and commitment to belong to one another as members of the body of Christ is an essential element of the liturgy. But it is not essential that we shake hands or embrace one another in doing so. Greeting others verbally, with a wave, a nod and a smile suffice. It might be prudent to avoid hand shaking and hugging until the threat of infection has ebbed. Use your discretion and respect the boundaries others set for themselves.
Visiting. Pastoral visitors to homes and hospitals should observe all precautions in personal hygiene before and after such visits.
If You Think You Might be Sick (with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath) you should stay home and say Morning Prayer or otherwise join your prayers to those of your congregation from afar. And see a doctor ASAP.
Further direction might be given should the virus begin to spread more widely in the United States.
* (Adapted and expanded from those of the Diocese of London in the Church of England)
A printable copy of the guideline can be found here.
From the Happening leadership: Following several months of discernment between Happening leadership, the Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, diocesan administrative staff, and the Bishop, the very difficult decision was made to cancel the upcoming Happening weekend in March. At this time, the Happening program will be put on, what we hope to be, a temporary hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience or hardship this may cause those wishing to participate as either candidates or staff. That said, we extend our deep gratitude for St. Anne’s, De Pere who had been planning to host, as well as to our leadership team (students & adults) for their willingness to serve and work through this process.
In light of this news, we’d like to remind families around the diocese that there are still upcoming opportunities available for students to get plugged in within the diocesan youth community. There will be a 30 Hour Famine event at St. Thomas, Menasha (open to grades 6-12 & adult leaders) Feb. 14-15, and there is no cost to attend. Those in grades 9-12 will also have the opportunity to represent their congregations, as well as the Diocese of Fond du Lac, at the 2020 Province V Youth Event at Bellwether Farm Camp & Conference Center in the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio Feb. 28-Mar. 1. Cost is $100/person, and the diocese will cover travel costs (sign up has been extended to Feb. 10). Finally, those in grades 9-12 are welcome to apply by Jan. 31 to be part of the diocesan delegation to the 2020 Episcopal Youth Event, July 6-12 (travel dates included) in Washington, D.C. EYE is a triennial gathering of Episcopal high school students from all over the world, and it is an incredible opportunity to see a bigger view of the church.
If there are any additional questions, please feel free to contact Erin Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to keep those connected to Happening in your prayers, and please continue to pray for and support the youth of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
The Rev. Canon Ezgi Saribay Perkins has accepted a call to serve as Rector at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Ripon and St. Mary's Episcopal Chapel, Wautoma.
Mthr. Ezgi was born in Izmir, Turkey and grew up in a secular, Muslim family. She converted to Christianity while a student at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Drawn to the faith in the Episcopal Church, she experienced a calling to be a priest. She completed a Masters of Divinity at Nashotah House in 2015 and served congregations on Missouri prior to moving to Wisconsin in 2018 with her husband, the Very Rev. Patrick Perkins. She is Canon Precentor at St. Paul's Cathedral, Fond du Lac.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church has served the Ripon area as a parish since 1860. It is a worshiping community of over 50 baptized members with an average Sunday attendance of 35. Located in the heart of downtown on Ripon’s Gothic Mill Pond and near Ripon College, it's members are dedicated to the mission “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”
St. Mary's Episcopal Chapel was built in 1932 on Bugh's Lake, Wautoma and placed under the supervision of St. Peter's in the 1950's. Seating up to 25 people, the chapel is an intimate setting with a choir of birds, frogs and crickets. A small but dedicated group of parishioners and visitors gather weekly for the Eucharist and to hear God’s word.
Learn more about St. Peter's and St. Mary's Chapel here.
“There is great potential of building up God's kingdom there." Bishop Matthew Gunter shared. "There is strength and stability in communities and with the presence of Ripon College as well as being in vacationland, I expect that this is an area the expression of the faith through the Episcopal Church will expand."
Mthr. Ezgi's first Saturday in Wautoma is February 1 with her first Sunday in Ripon is February 2, 2020.
God Willing and the People Consenting, the Right Reverend Matthew A. Gunter, Eighth Bishop of Fond du Lac, shall ordain to the Sacred Order of Deacons in Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Lisa Marie Ueda, On the 25th of January, 2020 at 11:00 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle, 51 West Division Street, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935. Lisa is a member of St. Thomas, Menasha.
Your prayers and presence are requested. Reception to follow.
A new year of the Diocesan Deacons School starts January 11, 2020 at St. Paul’s Cathedral , Fond du Lac. Two courses open to auditors are Church History (taught from 9-12 by The Very Rev. Patrick Perkins) and Old Testament (taught from 1-4 by The Rev. Dr. Tom McAlpine). Brief descriptions of each are provided below.
Courses are taught the 2nd Saturday of the month from January-May (except April on the 18th due to Easter) and September - December). Auditors are requested to attend all classes and do the reading, but have no prerequisites and do not need to do the homework. Auditors are requested to provide a donation to the Diocese of Fond du Lac in lieu of tuition. If you are interested in exploring signing up as an auditor for either or both course, email the instructor and they will contact you and provide a syllabus with additional information on the course: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHURCH HISTORY COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course is an overview of the history of the Christian Church, from the early Church, the Church in the East and the West, the reformation, the Church in America, Ecumenism, and the Anglican Communion. Emphasis will be placed on Church History through the ministry and perspective of a Deacon.
OLD TESTAMENT COURSE DESCRIPTION
We’ll explore the Old Testament in its various literary, historical, and theological contexts and its interpretation in service of Christian practice, with particular attention to the Book of Psalms. We’ll use The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (5th ed.) and work through A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (2nd ed.) by B. Birch, W. Brueggemann, T. Fretheim, and D. Petersen, Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament by E. Davis, and Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East. By C. Hays. The lens the course will be taught through is a mission perspective.
Read Bishop Matt Gunter's Pastoral Address to the Diocesan Convention assembled in Appleton, Wisconsin on Friday, October 25, 2019.
“Lightning on the horizon.” That’s what the man said.
In 2005 I traveled to the Diocese of Renk of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan leading a delegation from the Diocese of Chicago. We had a companion relationship like the we have with the Diocese of Masvingo. There, we heard a story told by one of the pastors. During the civil war, this pastor was talking to a man who was not a Christian. When the man learned that the pastor belonged to the Episcopal Church, he said, “I know your church. Your church is like lightning on the horizon in a time of drought signaling the promise of rain.”