The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, has been nominated by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Eau Claire to become its Provisional Bishop, pending the election at the Diocese of Eau Claire’s diocesan convention in November 2020. He is the only nominee following Eau Claire’s discussion with its four neighboring dioceses. The nomination was made with the assent of the Standing Committee and Executive Council of the Diocese of Fond du Lac and Bishop Gunter has accepted the nomination.
The leadership of both dioceses have begun discussion of specific details for the continuation of Gunter as Bishop of Fond du Lac while serving as Provisional Bishop of Eau Claire. The arrangement of a diocesan Bishop serving as Provisional Bishop of a neighboring diocese is not unknown in the Episcopal Church. Planning will involve both dioceses to provide for a healthy balance for Bishop Gunter while serving the Episcopal needs of the Dioceses of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire.
It is appropriate to acknowledge that over the past 50 years, the dioceses have engaged in conversation and action about shared ministry, including the possibility of junctioning in 2011. It is important to note that while Bishop Gunter will serve both dioceses concurrently, the nomination is made independent of such discussion. Rather, it is made following an intentional transition process developed by the Diocese of Eau Claire, anticipating the retirement of the Rt. Rev. William Jay Lambert, III in November. This does not preclude the possibility that such discussions may occur in the future, but it should be understood that each diocese will remain fully separate, yet continue to walk alongside one another in spreading the Gospel as we have for more than 90 years.
“It is my hope and prayer,” Bishop Gunter shared, “that as a bishop of the Church, I am able to guide and lead each diocese in a way that will strengthen the mission and ministry of the Church in living out the Good News. How each diocese does this will be different, but the goal of spreading the Gospel is the same.”
Additional details will be communicated as they are determined.