[Episcopal News Service] The Trialogue Steering Committee that is studying the possibility of a reunion of the three Episcopal dioceses in Wisconsin announced on June 14 that the governing bodies of the three dioceses have voted to place a reunion resolution before each diocese’s convention in October. If all three conventions approve, a special joint convention after Easter in 2024 will vote again, before reunion is presented to General Convention in June 2024 for final action.
The committee is made up of clergy and lay leaders from the dioceses of Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Eau Claire.
The following is the text of the committee’s letter:
We are writing to share good news! In the last several days, the Executive Councils in Milwaukee and Eau Claire and the Board of Trustees in Fond du Lac have each reviewed the report we made to them and voted to take the next step in our discernment regarding reunion of our dioceses. We give thanks that the Holy Spirit has brought us to this new season in our common life, and we look forward to continuing this journey together.
Here is the current timeline:
- As the next step in our ongoing discernment, each diocesan convention will consider a resolution on the question of reunion on October 21.
- If each convention votes in October to proceed with reunion, we would spend the next six months finalizing a plan, prepared in accordance with Episcopal Church Canon I.10.6, to present to a special joint convention of our dioceses in Eastertide 2024.
- If each diocese votes for reunion at the Eastertide special convention, we would ask for the consent of the wider church at General Convention in late June 2024. As soon as that consent is granted by both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, we would officially be one diocese.
Between now and October, we need to hear from you, the people of our dioceses, with your feedback, hopes, and concerns about reunion. So that we have plenty of time to talk together, we plan to send you, by the end of June:
- An updated copy of our report, incorporating the feedback we received from each governing body.
- A schedule of summer and early fall meetings and gatherings, in person and online, that will allow us all to talk together about our report and the possibilities for reunion.
- Answers to some frequently asked questions. We hope that if you have questions you would like to have answered in this document, you will email them to us at email@example.com.
While we are preparing these materials for you, we ask you to continue praying for this process and for all the people of the Episcopal Church throughout Wisconsin, and to think about the ways that reunion might help us participate more fully in God’s mission. Recently Bishop Matthew Gunter of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire shared this reflection with us, and we would like to share it with you as a way to answer the question of why we may be called to reunion:
The world is changing and changing significantly. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but the church needs to adapt, not just to continue existing, but to be better able to be about the mission and ministry to which God is calling us in the 21st century. The world needs good news. We can be a church that confidently lives and bears witness to the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ even as, with due humility, we listen to and learn from our neighbors. We can form committed followers of Jesus, equipping them with the spiritual resources to engage the challenges of life in our times. We can be a diocese and congregations engaged in our communities, participating in the ministry of reconciliation, restoration, and repair. Together we can become a mission-driven diocese shaped by the persevering spirit of the Oneida people and the missionary spirit of Jackson Kemper, organized to engage the changes, challenges, and opportunities before us.
Thank you for your prayers, your questions, and your faithful response to this invitation to discern our future together.