News & Messages

Prayer Vigil for Peace Livestream

All Saints' Cathedral, the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, will hold a 24-hour Prayer Vigil for Peace in Our Nation, beginning at 11:00 a.m., on Tuesday, January 19. It will end at 11:00 a.m. on Inauguration Day, Wednesday, January 20.
Prayers for the day will be offered each hour, on the hour. A service of Evening Prayer will also be offered at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday; Compline at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday; Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday; and a Mass for Peace, at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

Tags: prayer, nation

A Pastoral Directive On Ash Wednesday

January 15, 2021

A Pastoral Directive On Ash Wednesday

As the churches of the Diocese of Milwaukee plan for the commemoration of Ash Wednesday on February 17, the Standing Committee offers the following pastoral directive to the clergy and churches of the diocese. 

All churches are encouraged to observe Ash Wednesday in a manner consistent with the previously published Way Forward Guidelines for worship. While we will not be able to gather in large groups this year, the guidelines do allow for in-person imposition of ashes and reception of Holy Communion both indoors and outdoors by one individual or household at a time (see this link for the relevant guideline that applies). Please notify the Way Forward Taskforce at if you would like approval to offer these sorts of gatherings for your parishes.

In addition, clergy are reminded that imposing ashes in the traditional manner is a relatively covid-safe activity so long as all other Way Forward Guidelines are followed and social distancing is maintained except for the moment of imposition. Imposing ashes can be considered safer in terms of the virus than the sharing of Holy Communion because no participants remove a mask. Like all activities, being outdoors further minimizes the risk of virus spread, but parishes may elect to use their buildings for the sake of warmth. 

With this directive, we are also issuing two changes to existing diocesan liturgical policy.

First, if the clergy and people desire to share Holy Communion as a part of an Ash Wednesday liturgy, they may use the service Communion Under Special Circumstances (BCP pp. 397-99) and distribute the Sacrament from the reserve. The rubrics for that service clearly state that it is to be "[used] with those who for reasonable cause cannot be present at a public celebration of the Eucharist," which, in our estimation, is all of us during this season. In addition, effective immediately, this service may be used on any occasion parishes wish to distribute Holy Communion: a live-streamed or recorded video of a service of Holy Communion is no longer required before distribution of communion in this manner. Of course, if a parish wishes to present a livestreamed or recorded service for Holy Communion and offer in-person distribution, they may still do so. 

Second, the Standing Committee wishes to explicitly bless clergy of the Diocese of Milwaukee using liturgies which disconnect the imposition of ashes from the remainder of the proper liturgy for Ash Wednesday. Some versions of these liturgies have become better known as Ashes to Go. While clergy participating in this sort of liturgy are urged to do so in covid-safe ways and according to the Way Forward guidelines, the Standing Committee wishes to clearly state that all clergy of the diocese may offer these liturgies without fear of reprisal from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese.

We wish you every grace and mercy for the observance of a blessed Lent. 

The Standing Committee
Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee

The Rev. Scott Leannah, President
Ms. Margaret Done
Ms. Celia Fine
The Rev. Andrew Jones
The Rev. Dave Mowers
Ms. Tammy Prather
The Rev. Jana Troutman-Miller
Mr. Marcus White
Mr. Mark Ehrmann, Esq., Chancellor

A Prayer from the Standing Committee

We encourage the people of our diocese to pray for our nation on this day when we are plagued with much discord and violence. Pray for the safety of our elected officials, those protecting them, and the innocent bystanders at our nation's capital, and to soften the hearts of those who would incite terror in order to make their voices heard. 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for Our Country, BCP 820)

~The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee

Tags: prayer, nation, bcp

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