St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Wisconsin Rapids, has released the profile in the search for for its next Rector. The profile is available at diofdl.org/wisconsinrapidssearch where it may be downloaded as a PDF or read directly on the page. Additional information about Wisconsin Rapids is also available.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Episcopal Church in northeast Wisconsin, is pleased to announce the appointment of Cheryl Dobrzynski as Diocesan Coordinator of the United Thank Offering (UTO). The Diocesan Coordinator is charged to promote UTO activities in the diocese and encourage and support them in each diocesan congregation.
UTO is a ministry of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Individuals are invited to embrace and deepen a personal daily spiritual discipline of gratitude. Notice the good things that happen each day, give thanks to God for those blessings and make an offering for each blessing using a UTO Blue Box. UTO is entrusted to receive the offerings, and to distribute the 100% of what is collected to support innovative mission and ministry throughout the Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
“We look forward to Cheryl’s working with congregations to raise awareness of UTO,” Bishop Matt Gunter shared. “Our goal is to have 100% of our congregations participating in UTO. How? Contact Cheryl, of course.” Dobrzynski follows Carol Feller-Gottard, who served in this volunteer position for over a decade.
Cheryl is a long-time member of St. Peter Episcopal Church, Sheboygan Falls, serving as Senior Warden, vestry member, Altar Guild and coordinator of a local monthly meal program. She is on the Cursillo Secretariat, enrolled in EfM (Education for Ministry), been a delegate to diocesan conventions, and was deputy to General Convention 2018.
For information on the United Thank Offering, visit diofdl.org/uto.
The Trustees of the Diocese of Fond du Lac are charged by diocesan canon to assure that all properties of the diocese are adequately insured. Currently, that adequacy is insurance that meets or exceeds the basic coverage provided by the Church Insurance Company, a part of the Episcopal Church's Church Pension Group. Currently, all congregations are participants on the master policy with Church Insurance held by the diocese.
At its September 22, 2018 meeting, the Trustees approved adding Church Insurance's Direct Repair Program (DRP) to the diocesan master policy and so applies to all participating congregations. The DRP provides access to a third party administrator to help a congregation in managing an insurance claim, especially claims that are significant. The DRP will reduce the number of people involved in the claim while providing additional resources for complex claims. It also helps in finding qualified contractors by using a pre-screened network. Because of the anticipated savings from this program, participants received a 3% reduction in their premiums.
No action is necessary to implement the DRP. If (or when) a congregation makes a claim to Church Insurance, they will begin the process with the DRP provider, Alacrity Services, when it is needed. If you have questions, please contact the Diocesan Office.
St. Paul Episcopal Church has installed a wheelchair lift to allow folks to access their basement for events. A project in the works for a few years, funds raised along with a loan from the Trustees of the Diocese of Fond du Lac allowed construction to start April 10, 2018. A blessing and dedication of the lift was held July 29, 2018. A capital campaign to repay the loan called “We Lift them to the Lord” has begun. The Vestry has asked the congregation to pledge an inch or more, with each inch equaling $250. The lift travels 112 inches from the first floor to the lower level, so 112 inches x $250 = $28,000 (the amount of the loan). 66 inches have been pledged so far.
If you might be interested in pledging an inch, contact the St. Paul office at 920-892-4894.
The retired clergy of the Diocese of Fond du Lac and their spouses gathered for a luncheon at St. Mark Episcopal Church, Waupaca on Wednesday, September 5. The weather prevented meeting in St. Mark's prayer garden, but the rain did not dampen the spirits of those gather. Bishop Matt and Leslie Gunter also attended to join in a time of fellowship. The clergy and spouses were served a wonderful lunch by parishioners of St. Mark's, led by Pat Pfeiffer and assisted by LaDonna Sonntag, Joana Smocke, and June Sharstroff. This gathering was organized by Fr. Jim and Pastor Mary Trainor who serve as the Chaplains to the Retired clergy.
On Prayer Book Revision
One question before General Convention this summer was whether it is time to revise our Book of Common Prayer. The bigger question was, if we revised it, how extensive or comprehensive should revision be? The answer coming out of convention was a cautious “yes” to a process for some revision, but “no” to comprehensive or substantive revision. Since there seems to be some confusion, I offer a few thoughts about what this means.
Prayer book revision is not unusual. The Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer, first ratified in 1789, has been revised may times – in 1892, 1928, and 1979. The 1892 and 1928 revisions were relatively minor. The 1979 revision was quite comprehensive and substantive. Each generation, it seems, takes a fresh look at whether the current version conveys the eternal truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and enables the church to articulate its worship of the one, holy, and undivided Trinity, as clearly and fully as possible in contemporary language.
The resolution passed at General Convention (A068 Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer) “memorialized” the current 1979 Book of Common Prayer which I take to mean that it is the standard prayer book going forward and we will not be replacing it soon. If at some point we produce a new prayer book, it will look and feel very much like the one we are using.
Even so, there is need to find ways in our common worship to be more inclusive. That means avoiding using “man” and masculine pronouns when we are referring to people - men and women. Though many of us grew up with this literary convention, that understanding is increasingly not the case. For many, the language has become jarring and distracting to worship.
What is theologically trickier is determining more “expansive” language for our common worship. That means finding ways to speak of and to God in language that does not always imply God is somehow “male”. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is a fundamental Christian name for God we will continue to use, and we will not do away with all masculine language for God we have received from the Bible. But both the Bible and the Christian tradition provides a rich variety of names and images for God - some inanimate, some feminine. There are theologically responsible ways to incorporate some of these names and images to enrich our common worship. We have already experienced this inclusivity in recent years without revising the prayer book. General Convention authorized resources like Enriching Our Worship, containing inclusive and expansive Eucharistic liturgies, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Some diocesan congregations have been using these liturgies on occasion.
I share the sentiment of the first Bishop of Fond du Lac, John Henry Hobart Brown, who said this about revision of the Book of Common Prayer:
What General Convention proposed is neither a “stiff conservatism” nor radical revision leading to a “rude shock”. So with my approval, some of our diocesan congregations will be using some new liturgies over the next months and years as we enter into this process of discerning what kind of revisions are helpful. If yours is a congregation using these liturgies, your input about your experience will be a valuable contribution to the church’s discernment as we adapt our worship to the requirements of the present age.
Under the Mercy,
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter
Bishop of Fond du Lac