The Episcopal Church of Christ the King and Holy Nativity is planning for the future! A capital campaign is underway to support an expansion of the parish’s Sturgeon Bay site, Christ the King, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Michigan Street. With the majority of funding secured, a contract has been signed with Keller Builders of Kaukauna.
Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2024, and work is expected to be completed before Labor Day. When finished, the church will be fully accessible to individuals with limited mobility. Highlights of the project include barrier-free access from the parking lot and sidewalks and a bright gathering space with accessible restroom.
The church’s signature red doors will be moved a bit closer to the street, still visible to travelers coming into town across the steel bridge. With this new space, the congregation intends to host more music concerts and other events to serve the entire community. The project culminates over a decade of planning and is a fitting tribute as the parish celebrates the 70th anniversary of the building of Christ the King.
For more information call the church office at 920-743-3286
The Rev. Dcn. Deborah Heckel has announced her plan to retire from ordained ministry effective December 1, 2023. She was ordained a deacon by Bishop Jacobus in August 2005. Heckel is currently serving at Holy Apostles, Oneida. Earlier this year, she shared her experiences there, during the annual Winter Talk conference which was held at the Oneida Conference Center.
In a letter to the people of Holy Apostles, she states, “I want you all to know I appreciate the support and love given me throughout my ministry…my prayer is for you all to continue the good work you are doing for the church and continue to nourish your spiritual life in Christ.”
The Rev. James Biegler has accepted a call the serve as Vicar at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church, Oneida. A 1975 graduate of Nashotah House, Biegler has served churches in the dioceses of New Jersey, Western Louisiana, Central Florida, and Dallas. He and his wife Lin, along with their two Tonkinese cats, retired (so to speak) to Wisconsin six years ago. Since being in the Diocese of Fond du Lac he has served a two-year extended supply in Suamico and most recently (since January) at Holy Apostles. He is a member of the Finance Committee, the Congregational Finance Review Team, and a former, Secretary of Convention and of the Diocese.
Known as the “Grandmother Church” of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Holy Apostles Church is a Mission congregation. Bishop Kemper laid the cornerstone of a wooden frame church for the Oneidas, Hobart Church, in 1838. where the first ordinations to the priesthood occurred in 1839. The Primary Council of the Diocese of Wisconsin in 1847 provided a seat of honor for Oneida Chief Daniel Bread. The current stone building was consecrated in 1887 and named Holy Apostles.
Cheryl Dobrzynski has been appointed to the UTO Board as the Province V Rep. The appointment term is 3 years with the possibility of serving a second term. She said that she was surprised by Bishop Matt’s call 5 years ago to be Diocesan UTO Coordinator and was equally surprised to receive this call. “I look forward to learning even more about UTO and sharing that with others”. She also stated that it is an exciting time to be on the Board as UTO adapts to changes in how things are done in a post Covid world.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rt. Rev. Russell Edward Jacobus who died October 24, 2023. He was 79. He is survived by his wife Jerrie, and adult children Penny, Beth and David.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 2nd at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 51 W. Division St., Fond du Lac, the Rt. Rev. Matt Gunter presiding. A visitation will precede the service from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Clergy are asked to vest (white stole) in Gulick/Trakel Hall by 10:30 a.m. and process.
Singers are invited to join a Diocesan Choir to remember Bishop Jacobus. Please be ready to rehearse at 9:00 am. Bring choral attire you normally wear in your congregation.
Clergy and laity may participate in the Bishop’s Psalm Vigil, a gathering to read from the Psalter in shifts while the bishop lies in repose at the Cathedral on Wednesday evening, November 1st, from 6:00 - 11:00 pm. Please reach out to Dean Patrick Perkins if interested or if you have questions, email@example.com.
While the Cathedral does not currently have the capacity to livestream the service, the Rev. David Simmons, Rector of Bishop Russ’ previous parish (St. Matthias, Waukesha) will livestream the service for us through the diocesan Facebook page at facebook.com/diofdl.
A reception will be held following the service at the Hotel Retlaw, One N. Main, Fond du Lac, since we anticipate attendance may exceed the parking near the Cathedral, please consider parking in the public ramp behind the hotel on levels 4-7, prior to the funeral and walk over to the Cathedral.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Diocese of Fond du Lac for the Jacobus Continuing Education Fund or the Cathedral of St. Paul for the livestream upgrade project.
Jacobus was born in Milwaukee on September 27, 1944. He was the youngest of three sons of Lester and Sarah Jacobus. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1967 and M.Div. from Nashotah House in 1970. Russ was ordained by Bishop Donald Hallock of Milwaukee to the diaconate on February 21, 1970 and to the priesthood August 22, 1970.
Jacobus was called to be curate at Trinity, Wauwatosa (1970-73). He then accepted the call to become vicar of Grace/Holy Innocents Mission in Hartland which one year later became parish with the name St. Anskar’s with Jacobus as the first rector. In 1980 he was called to be rector of St. Matthias, Waukesha where he served until his election as the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese Fond du Lac. During his ordained ministry in the Diocese of Milwaukee, Russ served as member of many committees and commissions, and was deputy to four consecutive General Conventions starting in 1982.
During “walkabouts” preceding his election, Jacobus was clear about the style he would adopt as a Bishop. He stated his nature was pastoral, not administrative, and if the diocese was looking for an administrator, it should look elsewhere. After being consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac on May 24, 1994, he was true to his word. His steady approach was to counsel those who needed help. As a primarily pastoral Bishop, it was difficult to deal with the few instances where there was clerical misconduct, but he did so courageously.
When Jacobus began his Episcopate, he wrote a Clarion article that said for the first year he would “just dust,” not make any major change. In the process of dusting, he found the diocese was in a perilous financial condition. As a smaller diocese with a significant town and county contingent, the budget was saddled with support for many missions, leaving few resources for diocesan programs, and without a large endowment. Over his episcopate, the bishop led missions to experiment with alternative styles of ministry, away from a historical model of a priest on a full-time basis for each congregation. He changed the investment philosophy of the Diocesan Common Trust, which at the end of his Episcopate more than doubled while generating increasing income to the diocesan budget and participants. Expense was reduced, endowment income increased, asking from congregations was reduced, leaving more funds at the local level to strengthen their financial positions in their communities. The diocese was more able to support congregations through a variety of ministries, support for common work, and programs including an annual vestry school.
One area Jacobus truly enjoyed was hosting gatherings for clergy and spouses. Along with Jerrie, a variety of venues and themes were seen. A “Mad Regals” dinner saw this group return to the renaissance. A paddle-boat cruise was supplemented by games, both on paper and announced over the loud-speaker. The bishop’s residence hosted both Christmas parties and summer picnics. He also enjoyed hosting dinners for his staff, both paid and volunteer.
The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church held a meeting in the diocese in 1999. As a part of the meeting, Bishop Jacobus presented to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold the famous “Fond du Lac Circus” photo of the consecration of Reginald Weller in 1900. Pictured is Tikhon who had been invited by Bishop Grafton and would become the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Griswold presented this picture to Patriarch Alexy II when he met with him in Moscow later that year.
Issues of sexuality tended to dominate conversations in churches during Jacobus’ episcopate. A particular lightning strike was General Convention 2003 approving an openly gay priest as Bishop of New Hampshire. This led several congregations to leave the Episcopal Church and align with other jurisdictions. One of the great dividends of Jacobus’ pastoral approach was the trust placed in him throughout the diocese and his well-expressed wish to maintain unity of focus on proclaiming the Gospel. In 2004, he made a pastoral visit to every cleric of the diocese during the season of Lent. There was no set agenda, just the opportunity to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee. Although there were substantial segments in the diocese who disagreed with this General Convention action, the bishop was able to accommodate many concerns and hold the Diocese of Fond du Lac together.
There were disappointments. One was the closing of Christ Church, Green Bay. The facility was magnificent, but its physical size combined with a need for much maintenance along with a diminishing membership, put extreme strain on remaining operational. Towards its end it existed with diocesan financial support and many initiatives for growth were tried. None could overcome the shifting demographics of a downtown church and the congregation voted to close. The silver lining was the premises were sold to another denomination providing significant funding to build a new building for the growing congregation of St. Paul’s, Suamico, funding support for ministry initiatives in the Green Bay area and adding principal to the diocesan endowment.
Over a number of decades, the three Wisconsin dioceses had held discussions about joining with no action. Toward the end of Jacobus’ Episcopate a feasibility study of forming a new diocese by junction with the Diocese of Eau Claire was made. Several teams outlined what a new diocese would look like in ministry and program and developing pros and cons. The proposition was voted on in 2011. The split was so close, that Bishop Jacobus felt it unwise to proceed and withheld his consent as allowed in the diocesan constitution.
Having been a youth leader and recognizing the importance of young people’s involvement in the Church, Jacobus supported youth work on a broad level. He hosted several dinners with young people considering ordination as well as participating in many diocesan youth events. A paid youth ministry position was added to the diocesan staff in 1999, even though it was a strain on the diocesan budget. He spent much time at the diocesan summer camp, and twice served as a chaperone for the triennial national Episcopal Youth Event.
When Jacobus retired in 2013, there were a number of areas of diocesan life that were improved from when he started. The financial condition of the diocese was solid with more program support to its congregations. Many committees and commissions were organized into a more efficient structure and able to act on their own initiative. One example is the Commission on Ministry holding a “Day of Discernment” for those considering entering the ordination process. The quality of the priesthood was enhanced and more effectively deployed, and wardens and vestry had a better understanding of their stewardship roles. Volunteers abounded throughout the diocese, performing functions that are done by paid professionals in a larger diocese. It is, as former Presiding Bishop Griswold said, “a small but active diocese”.
Following retirement, Russ and Jerrie spent much of their time travelling, often with friends, including a trip to Italy earlier this month. They also spent time with family, lavishing love on their twin granddaughters. Time spent at their home “up north” in Townsend often saw them as worshippers at St. Paul’s, Marinette and St. Augustine’s, Rhinelander. Bishop Jacobus never wanted to take supply ministry opportunities away from others, so was often called on to supply when others were not able to. With a heart for pastoral care, Russ served in two extended positions including St. Michael’s, Orlando, Florida and St. Francis in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.
The Trialogue Steering Committee expresses its gratitude to all who have participated in the discernment process by attending the summer’s Town Hall Meetings and the presentation by Bishop Sean Rowe in its latest letter found by clicking here.
Town Hall meetings were fruitful times of conversation about the proposed reunion, and due to engagement across the state, the FAQs page has been updated with new information and answers to your questions. Read the new FAQs by clicking here.
Thank you for your continued thoughtful commitment to our dioceses and God’s mission in Wisconsin.
St. John the Baptist, Wausau is hosting a Celebration of New Ministry with their new Rector, the Rev. Samuel Cripps, Thursday, October 19th at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome and invited to attend. The service marks the transition of ministry for the congregation and the priest as they live into a new relationship in serving the Gospel
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Menasha, has released the profile in the search for its next Rector. The profile is available at diofdl.org/neenahmenashasearch. where it may be downloaded as a PDF or read directly on the page. Other information regarding the Neenah/Menasha area is also noted.
Please keep the people of St. Thomas in your prayers as they continue to search for their next Rector.
Beloved Community (Intercession), Stevens Point is a congregation that has an active Campus Ministry. Coordinator, Cyndi Royer shared that they support students at UW Stevens Point through the Queer Resource Center, Multicultural Center, and Native American Center and that they plan to try to engage students monthly.
One of the first events planned is via the Queer Resource Center and Multicultural Center which will be hosting a Drag Loteria (think Bingo with a Latin vibe). The ministry team volunteers will be running the games, (handing out tickets, loteria cards and prizes) so that the students can participate in the games. The idea is to develop a relationship of love and acceptance. This event will be Friday, September 15th.
On September 28th, Beloved Community will open their doors so that the Native American Center may use their facilities to host the Orange Shirt Society-a not for profit organization that supports Indian Residential School Reconciliation and the inter-generational impact of Residential Schools while creating the concept of “every child matters”. The event will include speakers, drumming, cooking and rock painting.
If interested in supporting this ministry or helping at an event, reach out to the church office at (715) 341-3233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Glenn Kanestrom, Rector of St. Paul’s, Marinette shared that they are in a “season of celebrations that highlight who we are and what we do best-worship, music and great food.”
The “season” began August 25th when the congregation held a “Brats & Bluegrass” festival as an informal celebration of the anniversary and a time to “burn the mortgage” for the new wing completed in 2002. The official celebration for past and present parishioners is to be a formal dinner on Saturday October 7th at 6pm at the Little River Country Club. Wrapping up the celebration is a Choral Evensong presented by the St. Paul’s Choir on October 15th at 7:00 pm which will feature various pieces composed by a former parishioner. All are warmly invited to attend.
St. Paul’s was established as a mission congregation of the Diocese of Wisconsin in 1873. Services were led by a priest who periodically came to the area from Green Bay. Sadly, the two halls rented by the congregation burned down the following year. It was in 1881 that the cornerstone was laid for the new church on land donated by Isaac Stephenson. Again, tragedy struck in 1886 when the church was struck by lightning, destroying the spire and tower, and damaging the interior. St. Paul’s was reopened in 1887 and renovations were completed in 1912 when the original structure was enlarged and encased in brick and stucco in the English Gothic style. In 1965 a new parish hall was built which provided office space, Sunday School rooms and a larger gathering space. In 1994 a new quarter of a million-dollar Jaeckel tracker organ was installed, and the sanctuary rebuilt. In 2002 a new wing was completed to provide a beautiful entryway into the church and to meet ADA requirements. This year the church has successfully raised over $17,000 to install a new sound system to be completed in October.
Kanestrom notes, “Through all the changes that have come in our history, we’ve laid a solid spiritual foundation for many in our area. It’s marvelous to celebrate the fact that St. Paul’s has been a loving and vital congregation here in Marinette for many
It will be a double celebration weekend in Minocqua, October 14-15. All are welcome on Saturday, October 14th for a Celebration of New Ministry. This event is the occasion for the faithful people of St. Matthias to gather in mutual support of each other and to joyfully install their new rector, The Rev. Deb Woolsey. Sunday, October 15th is the 50th Anniversary of being an Episcopal presence in the Minocqua community. Learn more about their history by clicking here.
All are invited, Saturday, September 23rd from 10:00-2:00, to attend St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Women’s Ministry free fall retreat. The speaker is Mother Amy Heimerl, Vicar of Ascension Episcopal in Merrill and Chaplain to Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake School, a juvenile correction facility. She will discuss the struggles of incarcerated youth and what we can do to help them. Please join us! No registration is required. St. Anne’s Episcopal Church is located at 347 Libal St., De Pere, 54115. Lunch will be served. Questions? Please call the church office (920) 336-9571
Have you taken advantage of the opportunity to hear more about the proposal from the Trialogue Task Force by attending one of the Town Hall Meetings? If not, be sure to attend. If you prefer an in-person meeting there are several scheduled through out the month of September, including two within our diocese.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Sister Bay will host the Celebration of New Ministry with it’s new Rector, the Rev. Brit Frazier the evening of Tuesday, September 5th. All are welcome to attend. The service marks the transition of ministry for the congregation and the priest as they begin and honor their new connection serving the Gospel.
The Board of Trustees passed a resolution to present the report of the Trialogue Steering Committee to the people of the diocese for review and reflection. There are Town Hall meetings being held through the summer and fall to discuss the report and the proposal found by clicking here.
A Town Hall meetings schedule is here and you may register for one or more dates you wish to attend.
The Trialogue Steering Committee recently released additional information regarding the proposed reunion of the three Wisconsin dioceses. There is a plan to hold a series of Town Hall Meetings, in person and via Zoom, from July through October to discuss the proposal for reunion. Click here to see the list of meetings.
Visit episcopalwisconsin.info for the latest news and communications regarding the proposed reunion.
Seeking to be more proactive about reaching potential new members? Want to help visitors feel welcomed and loved? Looking to help your community invite a hurting world into God's abundant life and love?
All are invited by Trinity Episcopal Church, Oshkosh at 311
Division St. to find answers to these questions, Saturday, July 15th from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Click here to register and learn more. Lunch and snacks are provided. Donation to offset the cost of the food is requested.
Contact the church at email@example.com or (920) 231-2420 with questions.
A letter from the Trialogue Steering Committee just released shares that the Executive Councils in Milwaukee and Eau Claire and the Board of Trustees in Fond du Lac have each reviewed the report made to them and voted to take the next step in discernment regarding reunion of our dioceses. To read the complete letter please click here. “We give thanks that the Holy Spirit has brought us to this new season in our common life, and we look forward to continuing this journey together.”
For other news and information about the Trialogue please visit episcopalwisconsin.info
EYE is a gathering of youth ages 15-19 from around the world who assemble on a college campus to learn, laugh, and worship together, Jorden Karstetter (grade 9, St. Anne’s, De Pere) will be representing the Wisconsin delegation this year, along with Mthr. Portia Corbin (St. John’s, New London) & Amma Diane Murray (DIOFDL, retired) who are serving as chaperones for the trip.
The culture of EYE is like Summer Camp-a very large one of around 1500 people! Youth will meet and get to know people who share their Episcopal faith in all of its diversity.
We are delighted to share that serving on the Event Team is Erin Wolf (DIOFDL & DIOMIL), Youth Networking Coordinator.
EYE23 takes place July 4-8 at the University of Maryland – College Park. Please keep our delegation in prayer! For more information click here and visit eye.episcopalchurch.org/en. Facebook users can follow by clicking here.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Dr. Robert B. Meyer who died on Friday, June 2, 2023. He was 88. He is preceded in death by his wife Robin, who died in July 2020.
Meyer who had already earned a Ph. D in organic chemistry from Duke University, discerned a call to the priesthood in the late 1960’s and received an M. Div. from General Theological Seminary in 1971. He went on to serve churches in the Diocese of Quincy, West Missouri, and Fond du Lac.
In Fond du Lac, his parochial service included St. Mark’s, Waupaca, St. Olaf’s, Amherst, and Holy Nativity, Jacksonport as well as service to the Cursillo Secretariat.
To express condolences and view the complete obituary please click here or visit davisoswaldfh.com .
Twenty-five years ago, St. Peter’s, Sheboygan Falls experienced a fire in the much beloved shrine to Our Lady, which also nearly destroyed the building. After rebuilding, there has been a small but underutilized shrine in the same location as well as a chapel. Recently many spaces within the church were reassigned, resulting in the need for a new chapel space for weekday services. So, congregational member Rick LeMahieu built a new altar by repurposing a deconsecrated altar and set of pews. The new altar is now at home in the shrine space and all has been properly prepared, including a portrait of our Lady and a frontal from the former Blessed Sacrament Church, Green Bay. Bishop Matt consecrated the new altar soon after it was complete.
The first Mass utilizing the new altar was Thursday May 18th (Ascension). St. Peter’s begins Holy Day Masses and midweek services before Bible study this summer. Fr. Paul Coey shared, “It will provide for us a more intimate setting for smaller services and is a major return of our Marian piety.”
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”.