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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Rev. Dcn. Patrick Rudolph will retire from active ordained ministry September 12, 2022, which is the 26th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate. He was ordained by Bishop Russell Jacobus in 1996 and assigned to serve at St. Paul's, Marinette where he had been a member.
A recipient of the Bishop's Cross in 1996, Dcn. Pat served as a member of the diocesan Finance Committee, Trustee, Executive Council, and Investment Committee. He had been treasurer at St. Paul's for 14 years and received the parish's Order of St. Paul in 2000. In addition to serving in a diaconal role at the altar of St. Paul's, Dcn. Pat was involved in a variety of community activities and boards. He was chaplain at local hospitals and in Florida as well serving in civic roles such as the Police and Fire Commission in Marinette.
"I am blessed in so many ways," Rudolph shared in a letter to Bishop Gunter, "and I know God will bless my retirement." While not actively serving as a deacon, he will continue to attend St. Paul's and serve as a hospital chaplain on a limited basis.
The Rev. Paul Feider retired from active ministry in 2016. He had served as Vicar of St. John's, New London and St. John's Shawano. After retirement he was chosen to be President of the board for a national healing organization, the Order of St. Luke, working for four years to help revitalize that organization. There has also been travel, talks and supporting other healing organizations.
Fr. Paul has two books. 2021's Healing Miracles in Acts of the Apostles highlights 18 miracles in Acts and includes stories of some happening today. Discussion questions are provided at the end of each chapter. This year's Where Do I Come From? My True Identity takes the reader on a spiritual journey working off reflections from the Gospel of John. It also includes discussion questions.
The Rev. Dcn. Michael Burg retired from active ordained ministry December 31, 2021. Received into the Episcopal Church in 1982, he previously was Lutheran and Roman Catholic. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop William Stevens in 1990 and had assigned to serve at Grace, Sheboygan since ordination until retirement.
In addition to serving in a diaconal role at the altar of Grace, Dcn. Mike was deeply involved in Hmong ministry. Working with Episcopal Migration Ministries, he helped resettle over 400 people from over 100 families. He was part of bringing Cursillo to the Diocese of Fond du Lac and served on many teams as a lay person and as a deacon.
When Grace's regular healing ministry started in 1992, Dcn. Mike was one of the ministry's leaders and continued to be involved over three decades. Most recently, he is a member of the Companion Diocese Task Force and had the honor of hosting Friar Fungayi for several days during their visit in 2018.
Dcn. Mike will continue to be involved at Grace, Sheboygan and in the diocese, but on a more informal basis.
The Rev. Dcn. Sandra Muinde retired from active ordained ministry May 7, 2022. 11 years earlier, she was ordained deacon and assigned to serve at Trinity, Oshkosh. Prior to ordination, she had been an active lay member there since 1969.
Dcn. Sandy is well known across the diocese. She served on the Executive Council and Standing Commission, been a General Convention deputy and served on numerous committees and commissions. She is a Cursillista and Bishop's Cross award recipient.
"This does not mean that I will no longer be a Deacon, it means I will step down from actively serving on a regular basis at Trinity." she shared in a letter to the parish. "I am not going anywhere. I will continue to be a regular communicant and assist with some ministries as needed and as I am able to do so."
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Canon John T. Splinter who died October 25, 2019. He was 78. He is survived by his wife Barbara.
John was a Wisconsin native who lived, worked and volunteered here his entire life. He graduated from UW-Madison and Nashotah House Seminary. He was ordained a priest on September 13, 1966, He served congregations in Racine, Greendale, Tomahawk, Antigo, Marshfield, Wausau and Oneida. After retirement in 1998 he served congregations in the Dioceses of Fond du Lac, Eau Claire and Milwaukee. In addition to being a parish priest, Fr. John was active at the diocesan level in a variety of capacities such as the Ecumenical Commission and Commission on Ministry. He was involved with Cursillo and served on its national board. He was installed as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral June 7, 2003. He is noted as a life-long lover of nature, the arts and education.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 409 E. Court St., Janesville with the Rt. Rev. Matthew A. Gunter and the Rev. Kathy Monson Lutes officiating. Visitation will be on Saturday from 1:00 PM until the time of the service at the church.
Memorials would be greatly appreciated if made to Friends of Aztalan State Park near John’s childhood home and where he volunteered in later years. Friends of Aztalan State Park Visitor Center Fund P.O. Box 855 Lake Mills, WI 53551 or www.AztalanFriends.org.
An obituary is available here.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Canon Barry Whenal who died May 29, 2019. He was 72. He is survived by his wife Barbara.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Barry received a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University and a Masters of Divinity from Episcopal Theological School. He was ordained a priest in December 9, 1972. He served parishes in the Diocese of Quincy in Illinois and all three Episcopal Dioceses in Wisconsin. He retired from active ministry in January 2004 having most recently served Intercession, Stevens Point and St. Olaf's, Amherst. After living for a time in the northwoods, Barry and Barb moved to Salisbury, North Carolina.
In addition to serving as a parish priest, Barry was active on the diocesan level in a variety of capacities including Secretary of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. He was installed as an honorary canon on September 16, 2008. He was also a recipient of the Bishop's Cross for his service to the Church.
Barry had a lifelong passion for learning. After his retirement he embarked on a journey to learn foreign languages and helping others to learn English.Memorials to celebrate and honor Barry's life have been established to support the English Language Learner's Program and checks may be made payable to Rowan County Literacy Council, PO Box 95, Salisbury, NC 28145.
A Burial Eucharist and Committal will be held Thursday, June 6, 2019 at St. Luke's, Salisbury. A full obituary is available here.
Give rest , O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Reverend Deacon Arthur Allen Good who died March 2, 2019. He was 90.
Art served in the United States Army stationed in Alaska during the Korean Conflict. He then moved to a rural farm in Fletcher, Ohio and began attending St. James Episcopal Church in Piqua, Ohio. Arthur and his wife Rose were members there for 50 years before relocating to the Green Bay area in 2003. A cradle Episcopalian, after retirement he was ordained to the Vocational Diaconate on October 26, 1996 in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. After moving to Wisconsin he served as a deacon with St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, De Pere. The funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, De Pere. Visitation will be from 12:00 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. at the church. Obituary here.
Give rest , O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
The Rev. Jim Conradt is now serving as Regular Supply Priest at St. John Episcopal Church, New London. Fr. Jim, a retired priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, will Celebrate the Holy Eucharist each Sunday, and on other occasions, and provide pastoral care to members of the congregation. St. John is seeking a new Vicar which you can read more about here.
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.
Prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of the Rev. Wayne Allen Robert Mionske who died April 30, 2018. He was 80.
Wayne received an M.Div. from Lutheran Theological School at Chicago, and M.Ed. from the University of Wisconsin, and completed coursework at Nashotah House. He served as a Pastor in the Lutheran Church in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan from 1963-1979. He was ordained to the priesthood August 6, 1982 and served St. Andrew's, Kenosha. He served as Vicar of Holy Trinity, Waupun from 1985 until retirement in 1998. He served as Editor of the Diocese of Fond du Lac paper from 1985-1999 and was an Associate of the Order of Julian of Norwich. As a retiree he served as a supply priest for congregations of the Diocese of Milwaukee where he lived.
His funeral was held May 11, 2018 and he is interred at Ridgewood Cemetery, Des Plaines, IL. Give rest , O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting. Obituary here.
For over two decades, the Rev. Canon Bill Johnston and Mrs. Bev Johnston served as Chaplains to the Retired Clergy of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Their service included staying in contact with retirees, which was performed through personal contact and cards, to serving as advocates when needed. They have "retired" from this service to retirees as of the end of 2017.
In March 2018, the RECAST group (Retired Episcopal Clergy at St. Thomas) honored them for their service. They were presented with a card and tickets to an Attic Theatre Production and the Attic Cabaret in August. Below is the the text that accompanied the card.
Dear Fr. Bill and Bev,
Thank you so much for your dedicated service to
the Retired Clergy of the Diocese of Fond du Lac
for the past MANY years.
We appreciated your dedication, your time
and the love you shared with so many.
We are grateful for the assistance and counsel
you provided in stressful times.
And thanks for the lovely get-togethers
you hosted—always the
“Host and Hostess with the mostest!”
Enjoy these tickets to Attic Theater
“Laughter on the 23rd Floor” on June 7th
and tickets to the Attic Cabaret
“Falling in Love with Rodgers and Hart.”
Let us know the date you would like to attend and
we will get the tickets. (August 1st through 4th).
Enjoy this time—another retirement of sorts?
“We really don’t think so.”
With love and gratitude,