In September 2022, the Wisconsin Trialogue Task Force on Structure released a six-page white paper to address the overarching questions in its charge: What is the purpose of congregations within a diocese, and how do they relate to each other? What is the purpose of bishops and what infrastructure best supports our work and life together? And, what are the structures needed for the church in the 21st century?
A Process Reflection from the Structure Task Force
The structure committee’s early discussions revolved around a single question: what infrastructure would a unified diocese in Wisconsin need to accomplish its mission if the proposed reunion is approved by all three dioceses? Although “building an office” is the goal, structural decisions often come relatively late in a process. Imagine a person who was asked what structure was needed to cross a large body of water. The structure could be a boat, but it might also be a bridge. It could even be a helicopter. All three “structures” will convey a person over the water, but the reason for the water crossing will determine which structure is best for the purpose. A person traveling cross country by car will want a bridge. A person hoping to spend a pleasant afternoon might elect to paddle a canoe, and a person in urgent need of medical care will be grateful for a life flight.
A brief litany to open and close meetings in the Trialogue dioceses.
We gather together in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish the task(s) set before us. May we come together with humble hearts and ears to listen to the words being given to us by Jesus, the head of the church.
A Litany for Discernment from the Prayer and Discernment Task Force.
I. Voices 1 and 2
1. God for us, we call you Father, Mother, Creator, Lord
2. God alongside us, we call you Jesus, Savior, Brother, Friend
1. God within us, we call you Holy Spirit, Restorer, Inspiration, Sustainer
2. You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things
1. Even us and even me
2. Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness
1. We can only see who you are in what is
2. We ask for such perfect seeing--
1. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
(Adapted from a meditation by Richard Rohr)[i]
Greetings in the name of Christ!
As clergy from all three Episcopal dioceses in Wisconsin gathered earlier this week for worship, reflection, and discernment, the Holy Spirit was moving, creating deep bonds of relationship and trust. We do not where the Trialogue, the conversation that this taking place about the future of the Episcopal Church in Wisconsin will take us, but already it has been a blessing to many.