Minocqua Calls Woolsey
St. Matthias, Minocqua is delighted to announce that they have concluded their pastoral search by calling the Rev. Deb Woolsey as Rector. Woolsey is a daughter of the diocese being a native of Waupaca where she attended St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. She received an M. Div., from Nashotah in 2007 and is a graduate of Northland College, Ashland. Woolsey has served congregations in both Wisconsin and Ohio. The people of St. Matthias shared that “we are most grateful that Mother Deb and her husband Michael Luelloff, will become part of this community”. Woolsey’s first Sunday at St. Matthias is July 2nd.
St. Matthias' Church was officially organized on October 14, 1973. They are a worshiping community of more than 100 members and their motto is “Open Doors, Open Hearts and Open Minds”.
Teaching on Abortion, Part 7
The 2022 Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac adopted Resolution 2022-03 regarding the church’s teaching on abortion. Bishop Matt is posting a series of teachings on the subject for study, comments, and questions.
In Part 7, Bishop Matt goes “Back to the Bible” to examine and reflect on what scripture says about abortion and discusses ideas by Christian thinkers such as Gregory of Nyssa and Hildegard of Bingen. To read the teaching click here or visit An Odd Work of Grace, a bishop’s blog.
Companion Diocese Video
You are invited to join a time of sharing between Bishop Osiward Mapika of the the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo and Bishop Matt Gunter of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac. The dioceses began a Companion Diocese relationship in 2017. This video discussion was made for use on Companion Diocese Sunday, May 21st, the Seventh Sunday after Easter, 2023. Click here to watch the video.
Arnold Serves as Interim St. Thomas, Menasha
The Rev. Chris Arnold has accepted the position of Interim Priest in Charge of St. Thomas, Menasha. Fr. Chris is canonically resident in the Diocese of Fond du Lac and a recipient of the Bishop's Cross in 2021. He received an M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2008. In his ordained ministry he has served congregations in Kansas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. He and his wife Celeste live in Oshkosh.
This Far by Faith
After its's most recent meeting on April 16th, the Trialogue Steering Committee stated in a letter that it has agreed to present a proposal for reunion to the appropriate governing bodies of each diocese—the Executive Councils in Milwaukee and Eau Claire, and the Board of Trustees in Fond du Lac, in early June. This proposal will draw heavily on the work from the following task forces: Structure, Finance, Culture and Mission, and Parish and Regional Engagement. Who recently submitted final reports concluding their work. We are grateful to all of the people who have contributed their wisdom and hard work to those task forces over the last year. Read the complete letter from the Steering Committee here or visit Episcopal Wisconsin Trialogue .
Teaching, Part 6, Tradition continued
The 2022 Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac adopted Resolution 2022-03 regarding the church’s teaching on abortion. Bishop Matt is posting a series of teachings on the subject for study, comments, and questions.
After a short pause in the teachings, the lesson on “Tradition” continues, you can read it by clicking here or by visiting his blog at An Odd Work of Grace.
Transition at Manitowoc
St. James Episcopal Church, Manitowoc announced that The Rev. Brian Staude has accepted the position of “Transition Pastor” beginning April 1st. Staude is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He received an M. Div. from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1989. In his ordained ministry he has served congregations all around Wisconsin, most recently as Interim Pastor of Bethel Lutheran, Green Bay; St. John’s Lutheran, Little Suamico and Grace Lutheran, Winchester. He and his wife Barb live in Manitowoc.
The Episcopal Church has a relationship of full communion with the ELCA under the terms of "Called to Common Mission," which was adopted by the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church as Resolution A040.
The Fruits of the Trialogue's Labor
Leaders of the Trialogue steering committee say that the next several months will be pivotal in the discernment process that began in the fall of 2021 and involves 58 leaders from across all three dioceses.
“We’re seeing the fruits of the labor of so many faithful Wisconsinites,” Bishop Matt Gunter of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire said. “With God’s grace, we are finding our way toward better being the church that God is calling us to be.” More here
Teaching Series on Abortion, Part 5: Tradition
Bishop Matt’s next installment in a series of teachings on abortion is now available for study, comments, and questions. Please visit An Odd Work of Grace or click here to continue to part 5: Tradition.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, all are invited to celebrate the Feast of Blessed James DeKoven at The DeKoven Center, 600 Caron Butler Drive in Racine, Wisconsin. DeKoven was the most widely known and respected leader of the Anglo-Catholic movement of the nineteenth century and is listed on the calendar of the Episcopal Church.
The Feast Day begins with the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Celebrant is the Rev. Geoffrey Ward, President of DeKoven Center and Rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, River Hills. The Homilist is The Rt. Rev. Jefferey Lee, Bishop Provisional of Milwaukee and music is provided by organist Hunter Erickson. Other activities include a fellowship meal to follow the Eucharist. RSVP at dekovencenter.org/dekovenday.
Informational poster here.
Teaching on Abortion, Part 4: Scripture – New Testament
Part 4- Scripture-New Testament is now available from Bishop Matt’s Teaching on Abortion series.
“As we saw in the last post, there is little if anything in the Old Testament that directly addresses abortion. There is even less in the New Testament. Jesus says nothing about it. Paul writes nothing about it. This is curious because abortion was not at all unheard of 2,000 years ago.” Click here to continue or visit the bishop's blog, An Odd Work of Grace for the whole series.
Wausau Calls Cripps as Rector
St. John the Baptist, Wausau is happy to announce the Rev. Samuel Cripps has accepted a call to serve as Rector.
Cripps is a native of Tennessee. He received his Master of Divinity in 2022 from Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin and was ordained to the Priesthood November 12, 2022.
Prior to seminary, he helped start two software companies by directing department budgets, operational plans, coordinating staffing, and developing partnerships. Hunting, fishing, and gaming are among his hobbies, and he writes for Covenant, a theological blog of The Living Church.
He is married to Lauren Anderson-Cripps, a lifelong Wisconsinite, who is the marketing and communications director for Nashotah House. Together, they enjoy spending time with family and doting on their dog, Jed, a Basset mix. His first Sunday at St. John’s will be May 7th.
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist has served the Wausau area since 1858. It is a worshiping community of a little more than 100 baptized members. It has a strong and welcoming presence in the downtown district.
Starting or Revitalizing Choir? Grant Opportunity
St. James Music Press will award a grant to a church starting or revitalizing a choir program. The purpose is to support new music programs or established music ministries that are adding a new element by offering resources and professional support. Kevin Simons, owner, and editor of SJMP notes, “Serving small churches has always been part of the mission of St. James. But, post-pandemic, the need to reimagine, renew, and support church music is needed more than ever. We want to help some of these efforts get off the ground with resources and professional support so that clergy, staff, and volunteers can do what they do best - minister to their congregations through great music.”
Elements awarded in the grant include:
Deadline June 30th, 2023. For complete details visit: sjmp.com/grants
Teaching on Abortion, Part 3
The 2022 convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac adopted resolution 2022-03 regarding the church’s teaching on abortion. Bishop Matt is posting a series of teachings on the subject for study, comments, and questions. The third installment is now available. To continue the series please visit Anoddworkofgrace.blospot.com or click here.
Trinity, Oshkosh Tackles Medical Debt
Join Trinity, Oshkosh, as they seek to forgive $1.2 million in medical debt in Wisconsin. The aim is to provide relief and, more importantly, hope to neighbors burdened by medical debt. The Rev. Dr. Chris Corbin shared that Trinity is working with RIP Medical Debt to pay off a significant portion of medical debt for low-income Wisconsin families. RIP Medical Debt is a national nonprofit whose purpose is to strengthen communities by abolishing financially burdensome medical debt. Trinity will match, dollar for dollar, the first $6,000 raised in this campaign.
Corbin notes that in the past forty years, medical costs have doubled, insurance copays and deductibles have spiked, and bankruptcy rates have quadrupled, creating an avalanche of destructive medical debt. More than 60% of bankruptcies in America have medical debt as a root cause.
How it works: You donate. RIP buys medical debt at a steep discount. Together we wipe out medical debt. RIP uses data to pinpoint the debt of those most in need. Either those who earn less than 4x the poverty level or whose debts are 5 percent more than annual income. They buy the debt in bundles, millions of dollars at a fraction of the cost. Recipients have no tax consequences or penalties to consider. Just like that, they’re free of medical debt!
Visit Trinity’s campaign to donate here.
Bishop's Teaching on Abortion, Part 2
The 2022 Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac adopted Resolution 2022-03 regarding the church’s teaching on abortion. Bishop Matt is posting a series of teachings on the subject for study, comments, and questions. The first teaching began with a review of resolutions passed by the General Convention.
Establishing context in the second teaching the bishop invites the reader to “prayerfully think it through” with him at anoddworkofgrace.blogspot or by clicking here.
EPF Presents New Preaching Program To Support Parish Clergy
The Lilly Endowment has awarded the Episcopal Preaching Foundation a five-year grant of almost $1 million to develop and pilot-test The Preaching Congregation initiative. Designed to bring together clergy and congregations in a structured process of mutual exchange so that the congregation will more deeply appreciation sermon preparation and development. Also provides the preacher with informed feedback during sermon creation and after its delivery. Informational webinars held Tuesday, January 31st or Tuesday, February 7th at 1 pm (CST). Information and registration here.
Members of the Trialogue task forces and steering committee gathered for the first time in person Saturday, January 14, in Stevens Point to hear a presentation on adaptive leadership and change by Bishop Sean Rowe of the partnership dioceses of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania and for a round-table discussion on their respective work so far and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Exploring the reunification of three dioceses is a major adaptive challenge, one that involves discernment on the part of the stakeholders (the membership) as to what is the problem and the solution. It is a process aimed at helping people manage and distribute loss, said Bishop Rowe. "With adaptive change you are asking people to change values, behaviors, and beliefs," he said, "much of what was hard won," and therefore sparking resistance. Only by engaging the stakeholders can the church move forward in the process.
To learn more and to read updates visit Episcopal Wisconsin Trialogue or the Trialogue Facebook page
Number of Lay Delegates Options for Convention
The pandemic impacted much over the past few years, and this year it effects how many lay delegates a congregation may send to the diocesan convention. Based on a given year’s in-person Average Sunday Attendance (ASA), the 2023 count should be from the 2021 ASA. However, many congregations had in-person worship for only a part of the year. This means calculating ASA on the whole year would skew the number of delegates unless in-person services had been offered every Sunday of 2021.
In order to have fair representation and not penalize congregations who had fewer in-person services, the diocesan Board of Trustees is allowing congregations to use one of three methods to determine their number of lay delegates to the 2023 Convention.
“In looking at the problem, it was decided to work within the spirit of the constitutional language,” noted Matthew Payne, convention parliamentarian. “The idea is to let a congregation determine ASA based only on those Sunday’s with in-person services.” Payne noted the Parochial Report used for last year’s delegate count already did this.
The first method is to use the technical language of the constitution the ASA reported on the Parochial Report of 2021 figures. The second method in the spirit of the language is to calculate 2021 ASA only on those Sundays with in-person services. If “in-person” was 20, then total the attendance on those Sundays and divide by 20, not 52. The third method is like the second but for services held in 2022.
Election of lay delegates doesn’t change. Many will elect during their Annual Meeting. However, the Board of Trustees encourages their Annual Meetings to pass a resolution either authorizing the Vestry to elect or the priest and wardens to elect. Both are currently allowed. The benefit of shifting election to the Vestry or priest/wardens is that the decision to vote on reunion at this Convention won’t be known until April or May.
Regardless of how the number of delegates are chosen or elected, a certification form is to be submitted to the Diocesan Office by June 22. This form may be found at diofdl.org/convention. For any questions, contact Matthew Payne (920) 830-8866.
Osborne Annouces Retirement
The Rev. Ralph Osborne has announced retirement from active ministry as a priest as of January 31, 2023. He served as Rector of St. Thomas, Menasha since 2010, during which time he has fulfilled various roles at the diocesan level including Intake Officer and Dean of the Lake Winnebago Deanery. He was of Co-Chair of the Way of Love Revival Planning Committee in 2019. He served as Deputy and Chair to the General Convention a number of times. He was awarded the Bishop’s Cross in 2022.
He was ordained Deacon in 1994 and Priest in 1996. He served congregations in the Diocese of Central New York. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri; a Master’s in Counseling and Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature.
In a letter to the people of St. Thomas, he shared “Even in retirement, we are all a part of God’s Kingdom, so there will be ministry of some type in my future. I just don’t know yet what that will be.” In retirement he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Cindy, as well as his children, grandchildren and his mother.
Bishop Shares Teaching
The 2022 Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac adopted Resolution 2022-03 regarding the church’s teaching on abortion.
RESOLVED, that the 148th Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac request the Bishop Diocesan, our Chief Teacher as expressed in the consecration service of the Book of Common Prayer, to provide a series of teachings and theological reflections on the issue of abortion to the members of this diocese over the next six months, and be it further; Resolved, that such series include consideration of Episcopal Church General Convention resolutions addressing the issue as they recognize the theological, moral, legal, personal and societal complexity involved, and be it further; Resolved, that such series provide an avenue for members of this diocese to respond, either publicly or privately, and be it further; Resolved, that through the Advance Reports to the 149th Diocesan Convention, the Bishop Diocesan provide a summary of the series including what was heard from those who may have responded.
Bishop Matt is posting a series of teachings on the subject, beginning with resolutions passed by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church over several decades. The series is being posted over the next weeks on the bishop’s blog, ‘An Odd Work of Grace’, for study, comments, or questions.
Visit anoddworkofgrace.blogspot or click here
Trialogue Video Message from Bishop Matt
You are invited to view Bishop Matt Gunter’s latest message about the Trialogue discussion among the Episcopal dioceses in Wisconsin. The conversation is about discernment to better enable us to be the church God is calling us to be.
St. Luke’s, Sister Bay calls Frazier as Rector
The Rev. Brit B. Frazier has accepted a call to serve as Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. Frazier has Wisconsin roots in the Milwaukee area and spent summers in Sister Bay.
“I am delighted to be returning home to Wisconsin to serve Christ alongside you.” She is married to Mark- who she met at church in Los Angeles “ask him to tell you the story” she shared, “it’s a good one.” Mark is a gifted handyman, carpenter, and actor. Frazier obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and a Master’s in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Ordained a priest in 2019, Frazier is currently Associate Rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Philadelphia.
The people of St. Luke’s have been seeking a rector since the retirement of Mthr. Barb Sajna in 2021 and have been served by the Rev. Frank Maxwell as interim rector. They are excited about the “promise of a wonderful new chapter at St. Luke’s!” Mthr. Brit's first Sunday will be April 16th.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church is a parish church of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. In 1994 they began with services held at Scandia Village senior living campus then became a mission in 1999 and a parish in 2007. Located near the intersection of Highways 57 and 42 in Sister Bay, St. Luke’s has a commitment that all people, regardless of circumstance, are welcomed and accepted as the love of Christ gives unity in diversity while seeking to share that love with others.
Bishop Gunter's Christmas Message
From time immemorial people have gathered around campfires, fireplaces, and stoves for warmth and light. And the fire has been the center of community, whether of family, friends, or strangers crossing paths on the way. Before central heating, the hearth was the heart of any home.
One of my favorite paintings of the Nativity is ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’ long attributed to Rembrandt, but now thought to be by one of his students. In the painting, Jesus, lying in the manger, glows with warmth and light. Mary and Joseph are illuminated as they kneel near the holy Baby. Shepherds and others are gathered around Jesus as if drawing near to a fire to escape the gloomy cold of night.
Whether or not Jesus actually glowed with light and warmth, the painting points to the understanding that Jesus is the light of the Truth and the warmth of the Love at the heart of everything. He is the fire in the equation of reality enfleshed to reveal the truth of who we are and who we are meant to be as beings created in the image of God. He embodied the love that is lived within the Holy Trinity from eternity.
On Christmas, the manger became the hearth of the world bearing the light and love of God into this cold and gloomy world. There is goodness and beauty in the world for sure. And in each of us. But there is also the gloom of ignorance, dishonesty, prejudice, and greed. There is the coldness of selfishness, division, meanness, and violence. Increasingly, we are disconnected, isolated, anxious, fearful, and lonely. At Christmas we are reminded that One has come to invite us to gather together out of the gloomy cold and draw near the Fire that he is to be enlightened and warmed by his truth and love.
In the coming year, may our congregations glow with the light and love of Jesus. May each member bear that light and love into the anxious, lonely, divided world around us. May we better see others in the light of God’s love. May we especially bear that love to those who the world pushes into the shadows. Maybe part of our vocation as disciples of Jesus in these times is to be connectors – to remind ourselves and others of the truth that we belong to one another and to engage with others regardless of affinity or agreement. By doing so, we can take the light and warmth we have experienced from the Hearth to the hearts of those we encounter.
Diocesan Office to hire Human Resources Manager
The Diocese of Fond du Lac is hiring a Human Resources Manager to provide human resources support for clergy and lay employees of diocesan congregations in compensation and benefits. This is a salaried part-time position.
The manager will administer insurance (medical, dental, short- and long-term disability, group term life) and pension (defined benefit, defined contribution and voluntary contribution) benefits through the Church Pension Group. The manager will handle hiring processes for clergy and lay employees and conduct orientation. Assistance is also provided to congregations and clergy in transition from active service to retirement. Complete details are provided in the position description.
To apply, submit a cover letter of interest with resume by December 31, 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be acknowledged. Questions are to be directed to Matthew Payne at (920) 830-8866.