April 21, 2023
Dear People of God in the Episcopal Church in Wisconsin:
On Saturday, April 15, members of the Trialogue Steering Committee met at Beloved Community in Stevens Point to continue discerning the possibilities of reunion for our Wisconsin dioceses. Our day was infused with prayer, and we felt the Holy Spirit moving among us as we worked. At the end of our time together, we took a significant step toward the reunion of our dioceses, and we want to share that with you.
The Steering Committee has agreed to present a proposal for reunion to the appropriate governing bodies of each diocese—the Executive Councils in Milwaukee and Eau Claire, the Board of Trustees in Fond du Lac—in early June. This proposal will draw heavily on the work of the Structure, Finance, Culture and Mission, and Parish and Regional Engagement Task Forces of the Trialogue, which recently submitted their final reports to us and concluded their work. We are grateful to all of the people who have contributed their wisdom and hard work to those task forces over the last year.
Although we are still developing some details of the Steering Committee’s proposal for reunion, we can say that it will include a bishop and staff who would be dispersed throughout the state, rather than working in one central office. We propose that a new diocese rely on new geographic regions, yet to be delineated, to foster community and collaboration among congregations with the support of regional missioners. We envision a series of missional networks that will connect leaders and congregations with similar ministries and charisms. And we propose that, for the foreseeable future, our new diocese would have three cathedrals—one in Eau Claire, one in Fond du Lac, and one in Milwaukee.
We know that many of you are eager to know how a reunified diocese might work and what life in a statewide diocese might feel like. We believe that we will have more to share with you in June. If the governing bodies of each diocese agree to propose a reunification resolution to our diocesan conventions in October, we will spend the summer and early fall talking with Episcopalians across the state about our vision for a reunified diocese and the ways it can foster our participation in God’s mission. We anticipate hosting both Zoom and in-person gatherings to give people the flexibility to join conversations in ways that are comfortable and convenient for them.
We rejoice that we have come this far by faith, and we know that without the extraordinary efforts of the Trialogue’s task forces, our work would have been impossible. In the coming months, the Prayer and Discernment, Communications and Constitution and Canons Task Forces will continue their work, and we will work closely with them as we discern our way toward becoming a reunified Diocese of Wisconsin.
God is calling us forward into a new future for the Episcopal Church in Wisconsin, and by God’s grace, we will respond faithfully. Thank you for your support and your commitment to our beloved church and this journey of discernment.
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop, Diocese of Fond du Lac Bishop Provisional, Diocese of Milwaukee
Bishop Provisional, Diocese of Eau Claire
The Rev. Canon Kathleen Charles, Tim Donahue, The Rev. Canon Aaron Zook
Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Eau Claire
The Rev. Portia Corbin, Patricia Pfeifer, The Rev. Canon Wilson Roane
Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Fond du Lac
The Rev. Canon Scott Leannah, The Rev. Jana Troutman-Miller, John Vogel
Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Milwaukee
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