Vital Congregations. Prayer and Worship. Missionary Church. These are the three areas of focus for the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac in being a people of God’s mercy and delight. “Our ministry together is rich in both hope and possibility,” Bishop Matt Gunter wrote to congregations launching the first Annual Bishop’s Appeal in Easter. The invitation is for the people “join me in supporting work that helps us live Jesus' way of love.”
The Annual Bishop's Appeal (diofdl.org/appeal) is an opportunity for members and friends of the diocese to support its work in providing for vitality in congregations. Support can also be given to initiatives that will transform lives. Developed by the diocesan Executive Council and approved by the Diocesan Convention, it is intended to give people in the pews an avenue to give directly to the broader church. Bishop Matt consults with church leaders each year to determine two or three areas for the appeal with a goal of supporting diocesan mission and ministry beyond regular budgetary processes.
“I find the three areas of the 2019 appeal exciting,” Bishop Matt shared in a recent interview. “They reflect ways for us to be on offense as I talked about in a Pastoral Address.”
The first area of the appeal is Vital Congregations. “We can do more,” Gunter noted, “to help congregations be as vital as possible.” Contributions are for supporting ongoing clergy and lay leadership development as well as diocesan initiatives like the current Faithful Innovations.
A second area of the appeal is Prayer and Worship. “If you haven't heard yet, the Presiding Bishop visits us in October,” Gunter reminded. “We can be great hosts for all who come to hear his particular message of the Way of Love.” While the Executive Council has made a financial commitment to assure the Way of Love Revival will happen, additional funds will make it the best as it can be. Hosting an event for 500-800 people is a big undertaking with significant expenses related to rental of the Expo Center, staging, lighting, sound, a tent, renting tables and chairs rental, and of course, a lunch. Contributions are for underwriting the costs of the revival, so it will be open to the public at no cost, including a free lunch!
The final area of the appeal is Missionary Church. “We can help our companion diocese in two ways,” Gunter said. “Recovery efforts after Cyclone Idai, and help transforming the lives of people in a way to help them thrive.” Zimbabwe has numerous political, economic and social challenges. Industry, social services, and other sectors have collapsed resulting in high unemployment. University graduates and other skilled people are unable to get jobs because the jobs are not there. Most people have resorted to vending to sustain their families.
The Diocese of Masvingo has developed ways of intervening to mitigate the situation, cognizant of our Lord's instruction in Matthew 25:40. Bishop Godfrey has specifically requested assistance for the Transfiguration Skills Training Center. The Center imparts skills to young men and women who can then start their own projects, improving their livelihoods. Skills taught are in chicken rearing, piggery, market gardening and maize production. Embarking on these projects builds a sense of self-reliance and hope for positive change and self-worth. The projects enable participation in both church and society through survival skills provision.
Vital Congregations. Prayer and Worship. Missionary Church. These are the areas of the appeal. Contributions may be made and used in all three areas or designated for one or two of the areas. To give, visit diofdl.org/appeal. The appeal runs through the end of Pentecost.
“There are lots of good things going on in the Diocese of Fond du Lac already,” Bishop Matt concluded. “This is an opportunity to build on that goodness.”
The borders of Zimbabwe are more than 100 miles from the Indian Ocean, but that didn’t stop the damaging effects of Cyclone Idai on the people and places of the Diocese of Masvingo. Masvingo is in a companion relationship with the Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Episcopal Church in northeast Wisconsin. Eastern parts of the Masvingo diocese, along with areas of their sister Diocese of Manicaland, were impacted.
Many have asked how they support the recovery efforts related to the damage. The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe includes Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe, whose chair is Bishop Godfrey of the Diocese of Masvingo. Funds received by this agency will be used to assist victims of Cyclone Idai and support affected households.
International donations are hard to make and each one includes wire transfer fees. For this reason, the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac will collect funds for the Cyclone Idai Recovery Fund. Individuals may give online at diofdl.org or send a check to the Diocesan Office with Idai in the memo line. Congregations are encouraged to hold a special collection for Cyclone Idai Recovery and send collected funds to the Diocesan Office. The total collected with be announced when our guests from the Diocese of Masvingo are visiting the end of May.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac is in a companion diocese relationship with the Diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe. We recently received a report on the work of the Mothers' Union there and thought we'd share it.
We look forward to welcoming our guests from Masvingo the end of May.
Compiled by: Thompson Matthias Maduba, Diocesan Development Officer
FUNDRAISING AND OUTREACH
The Mothers’ Union as one of the Guilds within the Diocese are a very strong force to reckon with. The Anglican Diocese of Masvingo and many a family unit and institutions of different natures have benefitted from the generosity and hard work of the Mothers’ Union. In line with the virtuous qualities of a woman spoken of in Proverbs 31v10-31, the Mothers’ Union fundraise on a large scale through design and sale of a variety of Mothers’ Union material and other Guilds under the Mothers’ Union like St. Agnes Guild for the girls and St. Veronica Guild for the single mothers; such items like t-shirts, shawls, scarfs, jerseys, bags, guild books & cards, bibles, hymn books, MU pins and medals, hats and umbrella. Fundraising is the major source of income for the Mothers’ Union. They also assist financially in building churches, rectories and clinics. They paid money to Buhera Rural District Council for St Stephen Murambinda Church’s rates to enable construction of the rectory to proceed. St Martin Masasa was appreciated for hosting Lady Day in 2018 with 20 x 50kgs bags of cement for rectory construction as well.
They built and fully furnished a maternity home at Daramombe Mission Clinic (one of our key Missions in the Diocese). The Maternity home was officially opened by the Minister from the Ministry of Health and Child Care in 2010 and it is the first maternity home to be built in Chikomba District within our Diocese. The Mothers’ Union used funds got from their fundraising activities to build this special facility. The Mothers’ Union have also assisted in enabling availability of clean water facilities including the drilling of the borehole and installing the solar power system to pump the water, 5000 litre water tank and stand at St. Michael’s Mambo Mission in Buhera and bought a 5000 litre plastic water tank and stand for Holy Cross Manyene, in Chikomba District under the Diocese of Masvingo. Buhera is very arid and water for consumption is a huge challenge because it hardly receive any meaningful rains. Last year the Buhera area was hit by cholera due to lack of clean sources of water. The Mothers’ Union has plans to drill more boreholes for the communities in Buhera, if funds permit.
Through their outreach activities a lot of lives have been touched and transformed; of those in Masvingo Remand Prison, Chiredzi Prison, Mutimurefu Prison, Chiredzi General Hospital, Masvingo General Hospital, including the various Old People’s Homes and Orphanages in Masvingo and beyond. The less privileged are also addressed whenever the Mothers’ Union holds the Lady Day Celebrations. The Mothers’ Union has three students who graduated last year from tertiary institutions (2 from Great Zimbabwe University and 1 from Masvingo Polytechnic College) whom they were paying fees for. Currently they have 24 students including 2 university students they are paying fees for using funds got from fundraising activities. They have plans to buy residential stands and build houses for rentals so that their fundraising efforts are boosted and their outreach expands further too.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac will welcome visitors from its Companion Diocese of Masvingo from May 29 - June 6, 2019. The visit will include a celebration of Companion Diocese Sunday on June 2.
Those visiting will be Bishop Godfrey Tawonezwi, his wife Albertina Tawonezwi, and the Rev. Fungayi Nyandoro, Friar of The Community of Holy Transfiguration. The Companion Diocese Task Force is planning a number of opportunities for members of the diocese to meet those from Masvingo. More details to come
As we approach Thanksgiving, we are thankful for support shown by members of the diocese in two areas of outreach. The United Thank Offering will receive $378.33 collected in the blue UTO boxes on delegates' tables at our Diocesan Convention. These funds will be distributed through the UTO granting process. Learn more about UTO here.
The Diocese of Masvingo, our companion diocese, has received $2,669.06 collected from across the diocese. $1,144.75 was collected at the Diocesan Convention Eucharist and $1,524.31 was received from congregations' Companion Diocese Sunday this past May. Those congregations are Trinity, Oshkosh; St. Augustine, Rhinelander; St. Peter, Ripon; Grace, Sheboygan; St. Peter, Sheboygan Falls; St. John, Wausau. Thank you to all who support outreach across the diocese. Learn more here.
The Companion Diocese Committee of the Diocese of Fond du Lac is pleased to announce plans for a visit from our brothers and sisters in Christ from our Companion Diocese of Masvingo. God willing and government agencies consenting, four members of that diocese will visit northeast Wisconsin around the time of our Diocesan Convention, October 20. Initial plans include visiting around the diocese, giving everyone a chance to meet with them. Details and plans will be share when they are finalized. Learn more about the relationship at diofdl.org/masvingo.