The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Wausau has announced the resignation of the Rev. Copeland Johnston as their Rector. Bishop Matt Gunter noted in a letter to the congregation he had been been involved with Fr. Copeland, vestry, and members of St. John’s for several months, but "it grieves me that we have not found fruitful ways to resolve the differences." The Rev. Barb Sajna, who has recently retired, will serve as a Regular Supply Priest with other clergy in the area assisting with pastoral care.
When the Monk Gardens in Wausau was vandalized this past summer, some younger parishioners of St. John the Baptist, Wausau took action. Together with friends, they organized an art and bake sale in the parish courtyard and raised over $1,000 for Monk Gardens. St. John's courtyard is near downtown, and hosts many events so is well known in the community.
This outreach event sparked an idea for Fr. Copeland Johnston, Rector of St. John's He has announced a plan to continue to support goodwill efforts with a “Noisy Bucket." On the first Sunday of each month, loose change will be collected in buckets by the children of the church. Reminders will ask folks to bring change from dressers, car cup holders, pockets, and sofa cushions on that Sunday. After a reasonable amount has been collected, the children will direct where the money will go in the community.
Perhaps your congregation might want to start your own "Noisy Bucket"?
Erik Evenson is a Seminarian from the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac. His sponsoring congregation is St. John the Baptist, Wausau. He recently sent this letter to update the diocese about his seminarian experience. Please keep Erik and our other seminarians in your prayers.
Dear Diocese of Fond du Lac,
It’s the start of my middler year here at Seminary of the Southwest. We miss being with all of you back in the Diocese of Fond du Lac but are happy the process is moving forward. We are just getting out of the hot summer temperatures here is Austin. During August we had a string of 20 days that the temperatures were over 100 degrees. The positive of that is that I am loosing weight. I have almost 80 pounds lost since I left for Seminary last year. Amy is doing well with her job she works as the marketing and creative manager for Diamondback branding. And our wonder pup Gus is a positive member of the community (our cook saves scraps for Gus, and he is officially allowed in the buildings on campus.
This semester my study load is very big, the positive of that is that I am very interested in my course work so it is not a burden. I am taking the following classes:
My field parish work officially began. I will be robed and serving at the altar each Sunday. My supervisor said this is the best way to get comfortable behind the altar. I am really looking forward to this part of my formation. The school aspect is of course important, but the field parish (and participating in CPE) is where the rubber meets the road. My work study this year is in the Library I try and pick up as many shifts as they let me to help make ends meet.
I look forward to getting to see you at the Diocesan Convention in October. I will be flying back to attend convention and preach at St John's.
Thank you all so much for all your help guidance and prayers. I/we could not do this without you and you mean the world to us.
Take Care and God Bless from Austin
Yours in Christ
If you would like to provide financial support for Erik, you may send a check payable to Seminary of the Southwest, 501 East 32nd, Austin, TX 78705 with "Erik Evenson" in the memo and a note to add it to his educational expenses account.
St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Wausau will host the Celebration of New Ministry with its new Rector, the Rev. Copeland Johnston at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2019. 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.
Over $20,000 raised as part of the diocesan Annual Bishop's Appeal has been entrusted to a companion diocese. The Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac in northeast Wisconsin and the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe started a companion diocese relationship in 2016. This relationship expands understanding of one another, nurtures friendships, and proclaims the Good News of the Gospel in local communities and cultural contexts. Each diocese prays regularly for the other since the relationship began. In June this year, three members of Masvingo visited the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
The Annual Bishop’s Appeal offers opportunity to support the work the diocese by providing resources for leadership, vitality, and through initiatives that transform lives. The 2019 missionary church portion of the appeal was designated for the Diocese of Masvingo. To date $20,334.12 has been raised, more than doubling a $10,000 goal.
"Let me make special mention of two of our congregations," Bishop Matthew Gunter shared. "St. John the Baptist in Wausau, sent a gift collected from members of the congregation of over $10,000. The women of St. John's sent an additional donation for the work of the Mother's Union in Zimbabwe."
"St. Luke's in Sister Bay," Bishop Gunter continued, "sent a donation for the Mother's Union as well. Nearly 100 individual gifts have been received toward this goal of the appeal. What a blessing it is to share what God has provided."
The funds will support Masvingo's Transfiguration Skills Training Center and aid Cyclone Idai recovery efforts. The center is a diocesan project that impacts the community. It imparts skills to youth to start projects and improve their livelihoods through chicken rearing, piggery, market gardening and maize production.
The Annual Bishop's Appeal continues to receive contributions. To give, visit diofdl.org/appeal.
The Rev. Copeland D. Johnston has accepted a call to serve as Rector at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Wausau. Currently he is an academic at the University of Utah and often serves St. Mary's, Provo, Utah. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Seabury Western Theological Seminary. Ordained in the Diocese of Utah to the diaconate in October 2018, Johnston will be ordained to the Priesthood April 27, 2019.
Johnston is an instructor in the Peace & Conflict Studies program and curriculum administrator for other interdisciplinary programs that include Religious Studies. He has experience in elder care, family law, urban youth ministry, and liturgy and music (including singing tenor in the Utah Opera). He has served in urban, suburban and rural churches, worked in cathedrals and small chapels. He has worshiped in parishes which use incense at every Solemn High Mass and in mission churches where Morning Prayer is the primary service.
The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist has served the Wausau area since 1858. It is a worshiping community of about 175 baptized members. Located in downtown Wausau, it has a strong presence in the community and works with other downtown churches on issues related to social justice and outreach, and developing the shared elements of faith.
“St. John's is a strong, vibrant and active congregation of the diocese," Bishop Matthew Gunter shared. "With the gifts that [Fr.] Johnston brings to share, the parish will be able to do even more in spreading the Gospel and sharing God's love."
Johnston will move to Wausau with his spouse, Andrew, and their two Airedale Terriers. His first Sunday is expected to be Trinity Sunday, June 16.
Learn more about St. John the Baptist at stjohnswausau.org.
Erik Evenson, a member of St. John, Wausau, will attend the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He is discerning a call to the priesthood. The Diocese of Fond du Lac provides $7,500 for each of his three years of study from the Fey Endowment for Seminarians. Your prayers for he and his wife, Amy, are encouraged. Here are some comments from Erik as he begins this journey.
I am happy to announce that I will be attending the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX beginning in August and will be living there for three years while I complete my Masters of Divinity program.
We first visited SSW in November 2017, and immediately felt at home in the city and among the other seminarians. In fact, the first day we were there, my wife, Amy, told me that this was the place for us and I wholeheartedly agreed. Seminary of the Southwest is relatively small (around 130 students) and an emphasis is put on building relationships among seminarians and the community which we serve.
In addition to my MDiv coursework, I also plan to take additional coursework in the Chaplaincy program in order to build my skills for ministry within hospice/nursing home settings, as well as with at-risk youth.
We are extremely grateful for the encouragement and support we’ve received from both our parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Fond du Lac. The scholarships I received will go a long way toward helping my family offset the expenses that come with going to graduate school and relocating to another state. As you can imagine, the cost is substantial. We are still asking for donations to help us offset moving expenses, health insurance, and going down to one income. Our donation page can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/help-erik-with-seminary
After graduation, we are excited to return to the Diocese of Fond du Lac and for to continue my spiritual journey among our family and friends. You can follow along on our family adventures on our blog at: awisconsiniteintexas.wordpress.com.
The Rev. David Klutterman, Rector of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Wausau, has announced plans to retire effective the end of February 2018. He has served St. John since 1996. He previously served St. James, Mosinee, St. Jame, Manitowoc, St. Matthias, Minocqua and St. Mary of the Snows, Eagle River. Read his letter to the congregation 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 Episcopal Church Women of St. John the Baptist in Wausau is holding their Annual Cookie Sale. They have been baking and selling cookies as a fundraiser since 1938. These are homemade, all butter cookies for $15 dollars per box (approximately one pound of cookies). All proceeds go to charity! The order deadline is December 1st with pick-up from 12noon-6pm at St. John's on Saturday, December 5th. To order your cookies, call Ginny at 715-359-9152.