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.
Diocesan Office Staff Changes Announced
During a December meeting of the Board of Trustees, The Rt. Rev. Matt Gunter, Bishop of Fond du Lac, announced a plan to reorganize the diocesan staff effective January 1, 2023. “The catalyst to change,” Gunter remarked, “was a request of our current Lay Canon of Administration, Matthew Payne, to move into a half-time position to allow him time to follow other interests.” Payne has worked for the diocese for 23. Gunter shared his “appreciation of Matthew’s desire to continue to serve the diocese, especially as we consider possible reunion with the other Episcopal dioceses of Wisconsin.”
Three new positions will be initiated, and the current ones phased out. An Office Administrator will serve as advisor to the bishop and leadership in areas of administration, events, information management and communication. Current administrative assistant Lisa Baltes has been offered this full-time, executive level position and has accepted. A Business Administrator will serve as advisor to the bishop and leadership in areas of finance, property, and business procedure. Payne has been offered this half-time position and accepted. In addition, Payne has agreed to serve as transition consultant during the change period.
A Human Resources Manager is to be hired, who will provide human resources support for clergy and lay employees of the diocese and congregations in the areas of compensation and benefits. This quarter-time position will be advertised within the diocese. The expectation is the position will be filled by the end of January. Anyone interested in applying should click here.
Clergy and lay leaders may be speaking with different people in in different areas, but little disruption in regular diocesan operations is anticipated. The changes are within the adopted budget and provide a benefit of expanding knowledge and procedures among additional people.
Clergy Minimum Compensation Released
The Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac has approved the 2023 Clergy Minimum Compensation and Benefits schedule which provides an 8.0% increase to the minimum base. The schedule sets minimum compensation for clergy working an a full-time basis with a scale for those in church provided housing and providing their own housing. The level of compensation increases with the years of credited service. Congregations with clergy working less than full-time are encouraged to provide compensation on a proportional basis.
"In looking at the various criteria, not the least of which is trying to keep pace with inflation, the Finance Committee recommended an 8% increase," Jeanine Limberger, Diocesan Treasurer shared with the board. "It should be noted a congregations who is above the minimum may adjust compensation as they see fit. There is not requirement to increase it by 8%. It is only the minimum base that increases 8%"
Information used by the Finance Committee recommendation includes key compensation information such as poverty guidelines, Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and national Episcopal clergy compensation reported by the Church Pension Fund. Based on the best information available, clergy of the diocese receive adequate compensation, although slightly below the national median.
Download the schedule here.
Murray Announces Retirement
The Rev. Diane Murray has announced retirement from active ministry as a priest as of December 31, 2022. She has been rector of St. James, Manitowoc since 2009. As a member of St. Peter's, Sheboygan Falls, she discerned a call to ordination and was ordained deacon in 1998. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Marian College and a Master of Leadership and Organizational Development (concentration in Christian leadership) from Lakeland College, Sheboygan.
As a deacon she was active in the local community and diocese, especially with youth. She was diocesan youth ministries coordinator 2006-2012, worked with the Hands of Christ Deaf Ministry and was active in Cursillo. She has served in numerous diocesan elected positions and just ended a term as President of the Standing Committee.
Ordained a priest in 2009, Murray accepted a call to serve as rector of St. James, Manitowoc on a part-time basis. As a bi-vocational cleric, Murray continued her secular work in management roles at Bemis Manufacturing Company and currently with Sargento Foods. She will continue to work with Sargento. Amma Diane plans to do supply work around the diocese and participate in diocesan events and activities.
Companion Diocese Bishop Consecrated and Enthroned
On November 27, 2022, the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe, companion diocese of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, Consecrated and Enthroned the Second Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo, Bishop Osiward Mapika.
Regretfully the Diocese of Fond du Lac was unable to send a representative to be physically present, but prayers were offered across the diocese and our spirit was with them.
More videos and images are on Facebook, but not public so require a Facebook account to view.
Episcopal Dioceses Announce Cooperative Ministry
The Episcopal Dioceses of Fond du Lac and Milwaukee are pleased to announce a new cooperative ministry to provide a joint summer camp and youth ministry resource person for diocesan congregations. Each diocese has a strong heritage of ministry with youth, including camping, having pursued a variety of models, approaches and methods over the past decades.
“For many years, there has been conversation about coming together for camp,” Bishop Matt Gunter of Fond du Lac notes. “The positive comments about this idea has grown, especially these past two years. I’ve heard from youth and adults, clergy and laity, campers and staff, asking why we aren’t doing camp together” Bishop Jeff Lee of Milwaukee also heard similar comments. Fond du Lac summer camp sessions in 2021 and 2022 included campers and staff from the Dioceses of Eau Claire and Milwaukee.
“In addition to camp, several diocesan leaders recognized a need for a youth ministry resource person to be available for congregations to reach out to for support, guidance and direction,” noted Matthew Payne, Lay Canon for Administration for Fond du Lac. “After we had conversation with diocesan leaders, it became clear that one proposal which encompassed both areas was feasible in terms of time and financial resources.”
That proposal was to create a position of Youth Networking Coordinator (YNC). This full-time position would have two key components – summer camp director and coordinator for networking youth ministries. This integrated approach would see camp as a foundation for a year-round networking resource person to build connections and relationships to expand networking with congregations. Each diocese had youth staff funding in their 2023 budgets whose combination allows implementing the full proposal. A Steering Committee, with members from each diocese selected for camp or youth work experience, will provide oversight to the ministry venture.
Camp sessions will be held over three weeks in June 2023 at Waypost Camp, east of Wausau, Wisconsin. Having been the site of the Fond du Lac camp for the past two years, its facilities have proved amazingly suited to the program. Waypost is owned and operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Working with a Christian camp allows for collaboration unavailable from secular facilities. Because The Episcopal Church is in full communion with the ELCA, there is also an ecumenical benefit. Recognizing the driving distances involved for some, consideration will be made to coordinate carpooling or transportation service from the Milwaukee area.
Youth networking will involve building relationships with diocesan and congregational leaders and offering support and assistance to those engaged in youth ministry. The coordinator will be aware of and informed of ministry resources, programs, and church-wide networks in youth ministry. The coordinator will also directly engage each year with at least 1/3 of congregations in each diocese over a 3-year cycle. This may be an in-person visit but may be through in-depth Zoom or other connections.
Bishop Gunter and Bishop Lee readily recognized a person who was qualified, skilled, and experienced in both camp management and youth ministry and already employed by Fond du Lac and have hired Erin Wolf as Youth Networking Coordinator starting January 1, 2023. Wolf has been diocesan youth ministry coordinator and camp director since 2016 and director of youth ministry at All Saints, Appleton since 2012. She has served congregations in Episcopal and ELCA congregations for nearly two decades. Because relational work is an important part of the YNC, Bishop Lee and Bishop Gunter noted she has been actively involved in youth ministry and camp in both dioceses, both as a youth and adult. Wolf holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University and has been involved in youth ministry networks in the Episcopal Church on the provincial and national level. She is also a musician and songwriter.
“As another sign of our deepening cooperation with Episcopalians across the State of Wisconsin, I am delighted we will share in supporting Erin Wolf’s expanded role as Youth Networking Coordinator,” Bishop Jeff Lee of Milwaukee shared. “She brings a wealth of experience to this work, and I am confident that youth and adults will benefit from her leadership. Welcome, Erin!”
Look for additional information about camp and networking opportunities in January 2023.
Kellogg Scholarship Available
St. John's Episcopal Church, Wisconsin Rapids is pleased to announce the availability of the Mary Elizabeth Kellogg Memorial Scholarship Fund to students from St. John's and the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Scholarship awards are up to $1,500 to students who meet the eligibility requirements and selection criteria. The applicant must be a member of an Episcopal Church and accepted or awaiting acceptance for full-time enrollment at an accredited college, university, or technical college.
An informational sheet is available here. The 2022-2023 scholarship application period begins on December 15 and ends January 26 , 2023. Application is made through an online application process.
Mary Elizabeth Kellogg was the daughter of James and Jessica Kellogg, members of St. John's. She died at the age of 12 of bulbar polio, and was the first polio death of 1955 for Wood County. In her memory, Mary's parents established this memorial scholarship as well as the Butterfly Garden at the Wisconsin Rapids Zoo.
St. John's is excited to make this opportunity available to Episcopal students in trying to fulfill the intentions of the donor to support the education of the members of St. John's and the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
Bicentennial Service Video Available
A service of celebration for 200 years of The Episcopal Church in Wisconsin was held on Saturday, October 29 at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Oneida, Wisconsin. The eucharistic service included historical presentations, greetings from the Presiding Bishop and Oneida Tribe, sermon by Bishop Jeff Lee, and an offering of the Te Deum in the Oneida Language.
It was 1822 when The Episcopal Church officially entered what would become Wisconsin. It arrived with members of the Oneida tribe who took up residence near Duck Creek, near Green Bay, following removal from their New York homelands. Some were members of an Episcopal mission in New York. The Oneida continued worshipping in the Episcopal tradition on land which now is home to Holy Apostles Episcopal Church.