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
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Marcus Cunningham who died August 25, 2018. He was 55.
Marcus received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and an M.Div. from The University of the South (Sewanee) School of Theology. After being ordained priest in 2006 he served congregations in Ohio and Kansas. He was Rector of Trinity, Oshkosh and then Rector of St. Peter, Ripon and St. Mary Chapel, Wautoma. He served as Chaplain for various police forces.
Marcus had a passion for woodworking, traveling, watching movies, grilling out, and had a gift of talking to people, including strangers, and making people laugh.
His funeral will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, September 1, 2018, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 217 Houston St., Ripon, WI, 54971. Bishop Matthew Gunter, assisted by Reverend Dr. Nicholas Myers, will preside. In lieu of flowers a memorial is being established in Father Marcus' name. Obituary here.
Give rest , O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
Violence: Prepare, Respond, and Regroup for Faith Communities
Thursday, September 20
The Wisconsin Faith Community Nurse Coalition is offering a one-day event to enhance knowledge and resources regarding violence both in the community and in the congregation. The conference will be held at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee. The morning will focus on bullying, domestic violence and physical violence including gun violence. The afternoon will concentrate on healing after events within the congregation. All will receive a certificate of participation and resources on these topics. Nurses will receive continuing nursing education credits. Multiple registrations from the same congregation will receive a $10 Visa card (per participant) after the conference.
Additional scholarships are available through Episcopal Health Ministries of $25 per participant for Episcopalians and those serving Episcopal congregations. Please contact Maryfran Crist FCN at firstname.lastname@example.org. Register here.
The St. John, New London's Order of St. Luke healing ministry is hosting a healing conference, "How to Live in the Power of Christ," September 22, 2018 from 8:30-3:00. Subtitles include: Praying in the Power of Christ's Faith; Living in the Power of Christ's Life; Healing in the Power of Christ's Love. Opportunity for healing prayer will also be offered.
The guest speaker is the Rev. Josh Acton, North American Director for the Order of St. Luke International Healing Ministry. He has been a pastor for 27 years at Anglican, Episcopal and Vineyard churches and is the spiritual leader for OSL.
Cost for attendance is $30, includes presentation, lunch and breaks. For more information about the healing ministry or to register, contact Jan Peskie 920-716-5757 or email@example.com. Register here.
Book Study Times
The Cathedral of St. Paul, Fond du Lac will host the Celebration of New Ministry with its new Dean, the Very Rev. Patrick Perkins on Saturday, September 29 (change from an earlier August date). The Rev. Ezgi Saribay Perkins will be installed as Canon Precentor. 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.
The Lake Winnebago parishes (Trinity, Oshkosh; St. Thomas, Menasha; All Saints, Appleton; Cathedral of St. Paul, Fond du Lac) are coming together for an evening of food, fellowship and worship at Praise in the Park. Anyone is welcome to join in! Gather Shelter #1 in Rainbow Park (on the Fox River), Oshkosh on Sunday, August 12 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include testimonials about the recent mission trip to Puerto Rico.
Julie Hendrix, a member of St. Thomas, Menasha, will attend Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin. She is discerning a call to the priesthood. The Diocese of Fond du Lac provides $7,500 for each of her three years of study primarily from the budget of the diocese with some support from other endowments restricted for seminarian support. Your prayers for her and her husband, Steve, and their three children, Daniel, Susana, and John, are encouraged. Here are some comments from Julie as she begins this journey.
I am thrilled to announce that I will be attending Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin beginning in late August. I will be living there for 3 years while I complete my Masters of Divinity program.
When I first visited Nashotah in November 2017, I felt a call to attend there – the classes, the worship, everything about it spoke to me. As many know, Nashotah House was founded in 1841 and is Wisconsin’s oldest school of higher learning. I will be one of 14 new residential students this year. Nashotah House currently has about 90 students total, both residential and online.
I am extremely grateful for my extensive church family – they have guided and supported me every step along this journey – I am beyond grateful for their continuous love: St. Thomas parish, my Bible study, Double Portion, my Circles of Light (both 1st and 2nd!), my wonderful friends from church camp (a long time ago!), Happening, and Cursillo. Each and every person has been a guidepost for me.
After graduation, God willing, I plan to return to the Diocese of Fond du Lac where I will continue this journey with this wonderful church community we have in our diocese. I ask for your continued prayers both for me and my family as we begin this new adventure.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac is seeking an experienced Administrative Assistant to complete an assortment of administrative tasks including processing financial transactions. Successful candidates will have excellent service skills and must be efficient while working with minimal supervision. The ability to multi-task with attention to detail is essential. The ideal candidate is resourceful, is an organized problem solver and who has a working knowledge of the church. This is a part-time, salaried paid diocesan staff position eligible for benefits.
The Administrative Assistant will perform administrative procedures, manage information flow, process financial transactions and other occasional duties. A complete position description is available here.
Screening is performed by Qualified Staffing in Appleton. Cover letters and resumes may be sent to Jeani Reiter (firstname.lastname@example.org) for review. Interviews for the position begin August 6 and continue until the position is filled. Additional questions may be directed to Matthew P. Payne, Lay Canon for Administration at (920) 830-8866.
It’s Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the 7th day of the General Convention. It’s hot outside (95º and getting hotter) and cold inside (the AC is cranking). Meanwhile, on the convention floor, there are moments of deep inspiration and times of stress. Of course, there is some boredom mixed with technical troubles as well. Some deputations (not us of course) are having trouble with the voting devices. Did I mention that this is the 7th day?
Today started with the deep inspiration. 52 years ago, the Episcopal Church expelled the Diocese of Cuba from our Church. We are acknowledging our mistake and (at their request) bringing them back. The Bishop of Cuba was welcomed back by the House of Bishops yesterday, and our House of Deputies followed suit today. Both decisions were loudly unanimous. I’m including a picture of the Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio of Cuba and several of her people as they came into the House of Deputies and were seated.
Another moment that brought some tears to some eyes was the presentation by the Reverend John Floberg, one of our clergy who stood with the “Water Protectors” at Standing Rock. He brought the Episcopal Church flag that had flown with so many others at the camp. It was so saturated with the smoke from their campfires that is was almost like incense. As soon as he finished his remarks, President Gay Jennings had Father Floberg escorted to the dais so that she could present him with the House of Deputies medal.
In business, the House approved a resolution to keep a high level of funding in place for our ongoing work in racial reconciliation. We also got our first look at the three year budget. We will have a lot of work ahead of us to make those two things work together.
As for the plans for a new revision of the Book of Common Prayer, everyone got something to be happy about and more to be disappointed in. That’s just how a community makes the big decisions, I guess. There will be a task force to work on this, but it will definitely not have a million-dollar budget.
It’s been a lot of work and a lot of reward. We will have a lot to talk about when we get home. Plan to be a one of the listening sessions we have planned in the diocese.
David Annis is a member of St. Anne, De Pere. To learn more about our General Convention Deputies, visit diofdl.org/gc.
My morning began with no light in the shower. I’m a bit slow of mind and body in the morning, but immediately I switched to what I call “1972 Kenya mode” no time for complaining, just get going!
I did an abbreviated Morning Prayer, then met my sister, Chris, for breakfast at 7:30. She lives in San Antonio, but works in Austin. We ate, laughed, cried and prayed together for almost 2 hours. I’m fortunate to not be on a committee!
I arrived at the convention center in time to attend the Bishops Against Gun Violence gathering. Today we prayed for Children shooting children. The Bishops have been giving out 96 crosses each day, the number of people killed on an average day in our country.
On to the third joint session of House of Bishops and Deputies as we focused on the Care of Creation.
Archbishop Thabo Makgabo from South Africa spoke of Seeing and Feeling and the need to educate, advocate and change our thinking about climate change.- to See it, Feel it and Do something!
Sr. Helena from the Community of the Holy Spirit in New York led us in a spirited exercise to to the music of a Cameroon tune with the lyrics, Love, love, love our planet; Love God’s holy earth, Alleluia!
Then we heard an emotional sharing by Bernadette Demientieff, who is a Gwich’in from Ft Yukon, Alaska. Her story of what has happened to her homeland, animals and land was heartbreaking. There is only 5% left of their land not subject to oil. I was left with how serious their issues are. Indigenous Rights Are Human Rights and let us not get weary because our labors are not in vain!
Our third speaker was Rev. Stephanie Johnson, who combines her passion as a former environmental consultant with her ministry as a priest in Connecticut to advocate for environmental laws, being a prophetic witness for those who will come after.
The highlights of our legislative session this afternoon were passage of resolutions to support Trans and non binary individuals and for individuals to be able to change their names in church records.
Worship today was also centered on the Care of Creation. Each day’s worship has been a highlight of my day.
I am Blessed.
The Rev. Sandy Muinde is Deacon assigned to Trinity, Oshkosh. To learn more about our General Convention Deputies, visit diofdl.org/gc.