From Bishop Matt:
Dear Members of the Diocese of Fond du Lac,
I have been pleased with the way our congregations have continued to find ways to be the church despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. Clergy and lay leaders have found creative means of leading prayer worship while we are dispersed. Members have found ways of staying connected to one another. Congregations have proven agile in making sure their outreach ministries continue serving those in need. There is no denying the losses. Regular worship has been suspended. Events have been canceled or postponed. Still, God has remained faithful to his church and you have demonstrated a responding faithful resilience. I am confident you will continue to do so as long as this lasts in whatever ways it lasts.
We will also need to demonstrate that same creative faithful resilience with our Diocesan Summer Camp. Our Camp Director, Erin Wolf, and I have been in conversation and decided it would be unwise hold camp in the usual way. This is not an easy decision given how important we know camp is. Many of you know how much I personally love attending camp every year. But given the uncertainty of where things will be with the infection rate, the likelihood of ongoing restriction of some kind, and our own determination not to put our children, youth or staff at risk, this is the decision we need to make.
The good news is that just as our congregations have found creative ways to continue being the church differently, plans are being made to be camp differently. We can still provide opportunities for connecting with friends, learning more about following Jesus as members of the church, and having fun. I will let Erin tell you about those plans.
From Camp Director Erin Wolf:
The ever-evolving nature of our current pandemic has led us to make the decision that the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp will not happen at Camp Lakotah this summer. We know this decision will disappoint those who hold camp near and dear to their hearts. Our camping community continues to be held in prayer as we grieve the loss of a beloved opportunity to gather in-person. But there will be camp!
We are immensely blessed to have a volunteer staff who is willing to take this opportunity to connect our community in a transformative way with Camp @ Home. During our scheduled camp dates of June 7-21, we will offer times of online check-ins and provide for at-home camp activities. Camp staff will create videos showing how to do crafts or singing a song (and more) featured on the diocesan YouTube channel, viewable at your convenience. Camp @ Home won’t replicate the experience of gathering in-person, but God is with us wherever and however we come together, even in a digital space that is different from what we are accustomed to.
Above all, though, please pray. Pray for our friends at Camp Lakotah, for our staff, for graduating seniors and all our campers & families. These are difficult times we are living in, and God will continue to see us through!
Thank you all for your patience and prayers as we continue to navigate this uncharted territory. We hope you will consider joining us for the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp through Camp @ Home.
Grace and peace,
Erin Wolf (she/her/hers)
P.S. If conditions allow it, we hope to have an in-person Camp Day gathering at Camp Lakotah later this summer. We’d have time for a variety of camp activities that we all love including worship, games, crafts, and hopefully, gaga ball! More information will be shared as we continue to learn more about what we are able to safely offer camp families.
Q&A (Questions and Answers)
Q: What is Camp @ Home? What does that mean for me and/or my camper(s)?
A: Camp @ Home combines scheduled online gatherings via Zoom for campers & staff and @ home activities for campers. Online time gives opportunity to check-in and hang out; worship using the Daily Office; conversations on a topic in both large & small groups. @ home activities include doing camp activities @ home, like crafts, campfire with s'mores, and singing camp graces at mealtimes.
Q: What if I don’t have materials for activities or a Book of Common Prayer? How can I participate?
A: Register for Camp @ Home at diofdl.org/camp by Memorial Day (May 25) and we’ll send you a camp care package at no cost! It will include items like the online gathering schedule via Zoom, camp graces for mealtimes, printouts for worship, materials for some of the projects, and low- or no-cost camp activities to do at home.
Q: What if I don’t have reliable access to the internet? How can I participate?
A: Register for Camp @ Home at diofdl.org/camp (well, or call us at 920-830-8866 as you may not have internet access) by June 1 and tell us about this need. We will do all we can to get you connected either through another camp family nearby or a local congregation. And if that doesn’t work, you can still join the online times via phone and will still get the care package for @ home activities.
Q: Where do I find the current information on Camp @ Home?
A: Visit the summer camp webpage at diofdl.org/camp. We also send out updates via email and through diocesan social media. If you really need to know now, contact the Camp Director.
Q: What can I do to support camp at this time? How might I help?
A: Let’s count the ways you can help:
Q: How do I contact the Camp Director?
A: To contact Camp Director Erin “Erni” Wolf send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need to talk directly to Erin, call (920) 830-8866 and you can get connected.
From the Happening leadership: Following several months of discernment between Happening leadership, the Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, diocesan administrative staff, and the Bishop, the very difficult decision was made to cancel the upcoming Happening weekend in March. At this time, the Happening program will be put on, what we hope to be, a temporary hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience or hardship this may cause those wishing to participate as either candidates or staff. That said, we extend our deep gratitude for St. Anne’s, De Pere who had been planning to host, as well as to our leadership team (students & adults) for their willingness to serve and work through this process.
In light of this news, we’d like to remind families around the diocese that there are still upcoming opportunities available for students to get plugged in within the diocesan youth community. There will be a 30 Hour Famine event at St. Thomas, Menasha (open to grades 6-12 & adult leaders) Feb. 14-15, and there is no cost to attend. Those in grades 9-12 will also have the opportunity to represent their congregations, as well as the Diocese of Fond du Lac, at the 2020 Province V Youth Event at Bellwether Farm Camp & Conference Center in the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio Feb. 28-Mar. 1. Cost is $100/person, and the diocese will cover travel costs (sign up has been extended to Feb. 10). Finally, those in grades 9-12 are welcome to apply by Jan. 31 to be part of the diocesan delegation to the 2020 Episcopal Youth Event, July 6-12 (travel dates included) in Washington, D.C. EYE is a triennial gathering of Episcopal high school students from all over the world, and it is an incredible opportunity to see a bigger view of the church.
If there are any additional questions, please feel free to contact Erin Wolf at email@example.com. Please continue to keep those connected to Happening in your prayers, and please continue to pray for and support the youth of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
Faith @ Home is a weekly discipleship practice of Reading, Reflecting, and Responding to scripture in the context of community. Devotions are provided to use with friends or family to help individuals deepen their experience of faith experience from Monday-Saturday. Faith @ Home is a ministry of Forma and Forward Movement .
Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, Erin Wolf, is a contributing writer to Faith @ Home. She contributed to the "Adult and Elementary" pieces for "The Way of Love" posts. While these posts have been launched in Lent, it is a stand-alone series not tied to a specific part of the church calendar.
When visiting the site, you may sign up for a year-round weekly email to include four separate lectionary based reflections and prompts for families and friend groups.
Youth currently in grades 9, 10 and 11 are invited to apply to attend a Provincial Youth Event to be held March 8-10, 2019 at Waycross Camp and Conference Center in Indiana. The focus of the event is on leadership. This event will include folks from the dioceses of Province V, which are the diocese found in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and eastern Missiouri. The cost is $100 for the event with travel costs provided by the Diocese of Fond du Lac youth budget.
Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, Erin Wolf, notes that space is limited to FIVE students and ONE additional adult chaperone. If you our someone you know might have interest, please submit an application no later than Sunday, January 6, 2019. Those selected will be notified shortly thereafter with further information regarding registration and the weekend itself.
The application is found here.
Grace and peace: After prayerful discernment and conversation with Bishop Matt Gunter, the Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, and adult leadership concerning Happening and New Beginnings, a few new changes will be put into place starting in the 2017-2018 school year. At this time, Happening will become an annual FALL event for high school students (grades 9-12), and New Beginnings will become an annual SPRING event for Middle School students (grades 6-8).
There has been growing interest in both building up the New Beginnings program for middle school students as well as providing continued leadership opportunities for high school students. A large part of the New Beginnings program is designed to be run by those in grades 9-12 with both lay & ordained adults supervising and supporting. It is the hope of youth leaders within the diocese that this adjustment in the calendar will help build up and strengthen both programs.
If anyone has any questions regarding these changes to the youth ministry calendar, you may contact our Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, Erin Wolf, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to keep these ministries and all who minister within in prayer as they begin this new school year together.
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Episcopal Church in northeast Wisconsin, is pleased to announce the hiring of Erin Wolf as Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator (DYMC). The DYMC gives direction to and supervises the diocesan youth ministry program in a manner consistent with the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Wolf has been Interim in this position since June 2016 and will continue as Director of Youth Ministry at All Saints Episcopal Church, Appleton a position held since 2012.
“We interviewed strong candidates for the position,” Bishop Matt shared with the Executive Council, “but Erin’s strong skill set, background and experience made the decision easy for the committee. We look forward to her continuing to keep youth ministry strong in this diocese, as it has been for many, many years.” Committee members included Bishop Matt; Matthew Payne, Diocesan Administrator; CeCe Schertz, St. Thomas, Menasha; and the Rev. Amanda Sampey, St. James, Mosinee.
Wolf holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University and was a participant in the Religious Scholars Vocation Program. With over a decade of youth ministry leadership, she has served congregations in the Episcopal and Lutheran Church. A self-described “cradle Episcopalian” she has been a leader in Happening for High School Youth and served as counselor, musician, session director and camp director at the Diocesan Summer Camp.
“My interim has given me unique insight into the needs of individual congregations of the diocese,” Wolf shared with the interview committee, “as well as ideas for engaging youth within going forward.” The primary duty of the DYMC is to support, train and recruit volunteers for youth ministry activity, including appropriate screening. The secondary duty is to be “in charge” of diocesan youth ministry activity, events and programs, implementing them with the assistance of volunteers. The DYMC is responsible for assuring diocesan policies and procedures are observed.
Wolf begins the new position August 1, 2017.
Preparations are underway for a major event this summer: the national Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). The General Convention in 1982 voted to create a triennial event that allowed high school students (completed grades 9-12) and adults from all over the Episcopal Church come together for several days of worship and service. EYE 2017 will be held July 10-14, 2017 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK. Follow the hashtag #eye17 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for event updates.
Please keep this year's delegation from the Diocese of Fond du Lac in your prayers:
Students: Emma Armstrong (Trinity, Oshkosh), Sierra Edwards (St. Thomas, Menasha), Megan Gramins (St. Thomas, Menasha)
Adults: Amy Heimerl (Ascension, Merrill), Erin Wolf (All Saints, Appleton), Bishop Matt Gunter.