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 history of the Good Friday Offering starts in 1922 when, in the aftermath of World War I, The Episcopal Church sought to create new relationships with and among the Christians of the Middle East. From these initial efforts which focused on a combination of relief work and the improvement of ecumenical and Anglican relations, the Good Friday Offering was created.
"The Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac has supported this effort for many decades," Bishop Matt Gunter shared. "I call on every congregation to participate to support or brothers and sisters in Christ."
Information about the Good Friday Offering, including resources (bulletins and poster), stories and where to send collections may be found at episcopalchurch.org/good-friday-offering. The bishops, priests, and people of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East thank you very much for your support as we come together in the One Body of Christ, strengthening our faith by living the Good News.
St. Luke Episcopal Church, Sister Bay is collecting food and other items in February to donate to the Door of Life Church’s 24/7 Free Pantry. Each week items collected are delivered and the shelves stocked. The pantry is open to everyone and while many may not see it, northern Door County has a significant number of people and families struggling to make ends meet. The pantry helps to stretch food aid and allows the dignity of remaining anonymous to those who use it. There is also a need for paper goods and personal care items along with a freezer for frozen items and meats.
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.
Ron Alexander, a member of St. John Episcopal Church in Wausau, noted growth from participation in a recent summit addressing the opiod crisis. "As a person of faith, the recent Recovery Summit-Road to Recovery was impactful" Ron noted, "because it allowed me to live out my Baptismal Covenant, especially: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself; and to focus on the Cursillo goal of involvement in Apostolic action."
Over 100 people attended the summit in Wausau November 8, 2017. Learning objectives included the impact of addiction and the hope of recovery for individuals, families and communities, reflected in a documentary titled, Straight Forward:The truth about Addiction. Best practices around the state were presented by those leading efforts to build communities supportive of recovery. These efforts include recovery coaching (which Ron is involved in), sober living, transitional employment, social supports, sense of purpose and more.
Speakers included a clinical substance abuse counselor, vocational learning coordinator, a public health educator and a local attorney who serves as a guardian ad litem for youth. Funding for the summit came partially from the Outreach Fund of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Other partners included the Northwoods Coalition (of over 50 entities from 34 counties) and the Greenheck Foundation.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Episcopal Church in northeast Wisconsin, recently donated almost $15,000 to four agencies that address the opioid epidemic, refugee crisis, and natural disasters domestically and internationally. Recipients are recommended by the Deacon Council and approved by the Executive Council who release funds from its Outreach Reserve.
Episcopal Relief and Development received support to respond to recent U.S. disasters and to meet global needs (episcopalrelief.org). World Relief was selected to assist their efforts in addressing the refugee crisis (worldrelief.org). A local gift to Marathon County (Wisconsin) AOD Partnership Council provides support for a November summit to address the Opioid Crisis (aodpartnership.org). Another local gift has been made to Koinonia Residential Treatment Center in Rhinelander (koinoniaocs.net) that will assist them in providing substance abuse treatment.
Since 2004, the Diocese has donated $120,000 to a number of agencies, programs and opportunities, locally and around the world, that are beyond diocesan structures with the intent to give outside of ourselves to the greater glory of God. Past recipients have included disaster relief in the United States and around the world, medical needs in underdeveloped countries, program support for struggling ministries, just to name a few.