The Communications Task Force has issued its first letter, Trialogue Reunion Goals and Opportunities.
“The job of our taskforce is to regularly update the clergy and parishioners about the Trialogue process,” the task force wrote. “Our goal is to keep you informed about how the reunion conversation is progressing and the steps taken along the way. There will be many opportunities for your input and questions as we proceed. This is a work in progress and we value all participation and input.”
The letter concludes with a prayer written by the Prayer and Discernment Task Force:
Almighty God, we come before you asking grace and wisdom for all who are called to discern your mission for the church in Wisconsin. May we listen to one another in humility and always seek your will. We pray in the name of Jesus, the head of the church. Amen.
Recognizing a need for coordination between the people of each diocese, the Steering Committee and the Task Forces of the trialogue, the Steering Committee is considering engaging a Project Manager who will keep things moving forward logistically and allowing those doing the work to use their resources on the content of the discussions.
"It is vital that our time be spent not on coordinating meetings but talking about how we can best be about facing the changing landscape in a society which is becoming increasingly secular and whose commitment to the church is no longer a given" Bishop Jeff Lee of Milwaukee shared during a recent interview with one prospect. "Having someone alongside of us who has experience in these processes can only enhance our abilities to be about better engaging the hope we have in Jesus Christ" one Steering Committee member added.
The primary meeting of all Task Forces will be held on April 7. It is anticipated that a Project Manager will be engaged by that time.
To the Members of the Dioceses of Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, and Milwaukee
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. We hope most of you have heard by now that the three Episcopal dioceses of Wisconsin have entered conversation about the possibility of returning to our roots and reuniting back into one diocese. In the 21st century, the church faces a changing landscape; our society is becoming increasingly secular and commitment to the church is no longer a given.
The Trialogue Steering Committee met January 26 via Zoom. There was much discussion about the forming of Task Forces. Each diocese had identified folks who would be able to service on the Task Forces. Steering Committee members will act as liaisons to the Task Forces as they begin to work within their specific areas.
There was discussion about what the goal and timeframe will be. It is hoped that there will be a proposal for reunion to present to the conventions on October 21, 2023. Meeting that goal is dependent on members of each diocese having a general understanding of what that proposal is. It was clear that if we are not ready by 2023 to make a proposal, then we will keep doing the work. It was also noted that 2023 would not be the end of the process, but really the beginning. Having a timeframe is important to have a sense of urgency to keep the work moving forward.
At the urging of the Steering Committee, the two bishops of the three dioceses will work together to prepare a statement on the trialogue with a focus on the goal of common mission. It is hoped to help get “pew sitters” to pay attention to the trialogue.
When the Diocese of Wisconsin was formed in 1847, Bishop Jackson Kemper lived out the missionary spirit of the Church. He did so while working in a field rife with possibility and being God’s witness “in the wilderness.”
There is a type of wilderness today, and not one of geography. The world has changed, but will the church in this place? Can we form ourselves to be relevant? Can we use the resources God has provided to support the work of the Episcopal Church through local congregations?
Three Episcopal dioceses share a heritage of nearly 200 years after the Oneida brought the Episcopal Church to Wisconsin. Ministry and congregations were developed under the leadership of Bishop Jackson Kemper as missionary and diocesan bishop. More recently, the three dioceses worked cooperatively by co-hosting conferences, clergy gatherings and several other events.