The Bishop’s Cross is intended to honor those who have provided outstanding service to the Episcopal Church, especially on the diocesan and congregational levels. Established in 1997 as a diocesan award, it is presented at the Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
Bishop Matt Gunter was pleased to award two Bishop's Crosses at the 2022 convention. The first was awarded to Marianne Chaudoir, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Oshkosh. The second was awarded to Fr. Ralph Osborne, Rector of St. Thomas, Menasha.
Marianne Chaudoir recently retired as Organist of Trinity Episcopal Church, Oshkosh after serving 38 years. She volunteered in several capacities at Trinity and served as diocesan ERD Coordinator. She was the organist at the Bishop Matt's consecration. The Bishop's comments from the presentation are below.
Fr. Ralph Osborne is Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Menasha. In addition to providing pastoral care and leadership in the congregation, he has been active in the diocese on a number of committees and as a General Convention deputy. The Bishop's comments from the presentation are below.
Presentation to Marianne Chaudoir
On Sunday, April 24th of this year, Marianne Chaudoir retired as Music Director at Trinity, having dedicated 38 years to serving God and the church in the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Marianne’s wealth of musical knowledge and her own deeply held faith defined her work at Trinity, where, at various times, she led the adult choir, a children's choir, and coordinated the annual children's Christmas Pageant. In the greater Diocese, Marianne served on numerous occasions as the organist for the Diocesan Chrism Mass, the Diocesan Eucharistic Festival, and Diocesan Conventions. She was especially honored to serve as organist for the Ordination and Consecration as the Eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.
Through music, Marianne opened the doors of Trinity Episcopal Church to Northeast Wisconsin. She brought a host of guest musicians spanning an array of musical styles, from the UW Stevens Point Jazz Quintet, to recorder consorts playing medieval and Renaissance music, to instrumental and vocal soloists. Marianne helped launch the annual Advent Organ Recital Series held at the downtown area Oshkosh churches. As founding accompanist for Oshkosh Chamber Singers, she helped bring about the first Lessons & Carols service at Trinity in 1990, and a cherished, annual community tradition, now in its 32nd year, was born.
In her own Christian discipleship, Marianne is a graduate of the Education for Ministry Program (EfM). She lives her faith openly as a Daughter of the King and a member of Trinity’s chapter of ECW. She actively supports Episcopal Relief & Development, and has served as the Diocesan representative to ERD’s national convention multiple times. Marianne has coordinated Trinity’s Angel Tree, our parish’s Advent outreach effort providing holiday gifts, food, and supplies to families in need identified by the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh. For many years, she has been a Crew Chief for Trinity’s Loaves & Fishes program, offering meals to the hungry and homeless in Oshkosh. Marianne avidly supported Trinity’s participation in the Diocesan-wide Epiphany Giving Campaign for 2022, providing cows for our companion Diocese of Masvingo.
Currently, Marianne is a member of Trinity’s Good Neighbor Team working with First Presbyterian Church, Oshkosh, and World Relief of the Fox Valley for the resettlement of a Congolese refugee family to Oshkosh. Members of the Good Neighbor Team have led donation drives for household supplies, food items, clothing, and furniture and been active in the daily lives of the refugee family. On the Tuesday following Labor Day, Marianne personally took the family’s teenaged son to school on his first day as a student at North High School in Oshkosh.
For her faithful service to God, her congregation, to the diocese, I present the 2022 Bishop’s Cross to Marianne Chaudoir.
Presentation to Ralph Osborne
The Bishop’s Cross is given to clergy and laity who have been recommended to me because of their outstanding service not only within their congregation but within the Diocese as well.
On Valentine’s Day in 2010, Fr. Ralph Osborne sang the opening lines to his first sermon at St. Thomas in Menasha. The people of St. Thomas, the surrounding communities, and the Diocese of Fond du Lac, have been singing his praises ever since, even when he pretends to be a Chicago Bears fan.
On a national and diocesan level, Fr. Ralph has served as a deputy to General Convention numerous times, while also being elected to several diocesan positions such as Executive Council, Standing Committee, and has served as the Intake Officer for the diocese since 2011.
He also co-chaired The Way of Love Revival in 2019, an event we all remember and still speak of fondly.
Fr. Ralph has an innate ability listen. His time spent as a mental health professional and counselor before his ordination offers those to whom he listens, the rarest treat of his full pastoral and undivided attention. Whether it’s sitting with a person from the community as they eat a free meal from the Double Portion Ministry that St. Thomas hosts, or spending time with a family as they share stories about a deceased loved one, or tirelessly mentoring an associate priest and secretary who give him endless opportunities to practice patience, Fr. Ralph takes the time to listen.
He has offered pastoral guidance to bishops, priest, deacons, and lay persons . . . literally walking with them through both the difficult and joyous times in their professional, pastoral, and personal lives.
Teaching both his congregation at St. Thomas and anyone else who has ears to listen, he lives out the truth of the following statement: “The meaning of any communication is determined by the response it gets.” As in, go ahead and say what you mean. But if people are upset with you as a result, you need to figure out a better way to communicate so that you can be heard. In today’s contentious climate Fr. Ralph has always sought live into the Way of Jesus by patient, careful listening and finding ways to say what needs saying in ways that can be heard, often through his disarming humor.
Personally, I have cherished Fr. Ralph’s friendship and wise counsel.
For his faithful service to his congregation, to his bishop, to the diocese, and to God’s Church, I present the 2022 Bishop’s Cross to Fr. Ralph Osborne.