News & Messages

Ten Resources for Advent 2021

  1. TryTank and the monks of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist are producing a new resource aimed particularly at smaller congregations. That said, any congregation can use it and we have also paired it with an adult forum curriculum. From Christ the King Sunday to Christmas Day, they have six sermons each about 12 minutes long. They are based on the Sunday lectionary. The sermons will be available on the web and can be played as a sermon during the service. Find more information here
  2. This Advent season Living Compass is offering a daily email devotional, Living Well Through Advent 2021: Practicing Patience With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind. The devotional includes reflections from Robbin Brent, Steven Charleston, Jan Kwiatkowski, Jason Lavann, Amy Sander Montanez, Lisa Senuta, and Scott Stoner. The emails will begin on Sunday, November 28, 2021. You can sign up to receive the devotions on their website: Living Well Through Advent — Living Compass (scroll down to where it says “enroll to receive each day’s reading via a daily email”).
  3. Advent Unbound: A Companion to Pádraig Ó Tuama’s “Poetry Unbound” | In this Advent devotional, we let scripture and “Poetry Unbound” (a podcast from the Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama) be our guides, together pointing us toward weekly practices that can help deepen and enrich our experience of the season – a perfect way to prepare for the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas day.
  4. Close to Home from A Sanctified Art | This daily devotional follows the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C) through Epiphany. Each day offers something new: commentary, poetry, visual art, hymns, journaling, and Sabbath prompts. As you walk through these prompts and readings day by day, may you be comforted by the One who dwells intimately with us.  
  5. Advent Calendar Templates 2021 | Praying in Color Using an Advent calendar is my favorite way to pay attention and pray during the four weeks of Advent. Unlike the store-bought versions, my calendars have no doors, just blank spaces for the days of Advent. Each day I fill one space with a prayer or meditation– in words, doodles, and color. The daily practice of drawing on the calendar gives me a creative and simple way to immerse myself in the Advent experience and to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The accumulation of daily doodlings forms a colorful tapestry and a record of my spiritual journey for the weeks leading up to Christmas. This practice feels prayerful and playful. No artistic skill is necessary! 
  6. Journeying the Way of Love Advent Calendar 2021 is free from The Episcopal Church via download. It is particularly good for older children, teens, and adults. There are prompts for reflection and potentially discussion together. Examples include setting a timer for three minutes and repeating the prayer “Here I am, God” until the time is up; taking a different route to work, school, or play and noticing what you encounter differently; and considering what part of gathering for worship fills your heart with hope. This pairs well with other Way of Love resources like the Advent Curriculum here and is available in English, Spanish, and French.
  7. Family activity: How to make and use an Advent wreath!
  8. In the Advent Toolkit from Episcopal Relief and Development, there are DIY projects for families and communities that will take you from Advent to Christmas and through Epiphany. You will find DIY wreath ideas with prayers and reflections, DIY creche ideas, and information about St. Nicholas.
  9. For the eighth year in a row, #AdventWord will gather prayers via a global, online advent calendar. Forward Movement, the new home of AdventWord, will offer 28 daily meditations and images during this holy season beginning Sunday, November 28. Gathering a worldwide community, #AdventWord provides a daily meditation, visual image, and invites your personal reflections via social media to share your own Advent journey. 
  10. Advent Music | From the Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary, “Waiting with Expectation and Hope: A Spotify Advent Playlist.”

Episcopal Dioceses Hold Initial Trialogue

Leaders from the Episcopal dioceses of Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Eau Claire have unanimously agreed to pursue reunion. This idea has been talked about since the 1970s. It was agreed that now is the time to explore the option. A reunion would incorporate the three dioceses back to the one from which they were formed. Other paths could be followed, but pursuing reunion first provides clarity of purpose. It is understood doing so now is following opportunity rather than responding to necessity.

This agreement was made during the initial trialogue meeting on September 29, 2021. The trialogue explores how the three Wisconsin dioceses might work together to serve the mission of the Episcopal Church. Conversation focused on congregations, specifically how the diocese might better equip them to share the Gospel and serve Christ in their communities. There was enthusiastic discussion seeking new ideas and dreams of what could be developed for the 21st century and beyond. One participant noted, “whether we want change or not, change is upon us.”

Pursuing reunion will involve a variety of voices to develop a common understanding. The focus is first on describing the ministry, then imagining how to form it in the shape of one diocese. The initial leadership group, selected by each diocesan Executive Council, is planning a second meeting with an outside advisor. Together they will seek the best way to engage lay and ordained members of each diocese in conversation.

The initial trialogue participants are the Rev. Canon Kathleen Charles, Tim Donahue, the Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, the Rev. Canon Aaron Zook (Diocese of Eau Claire), the Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, Matthew Payne, Pat Pfeifer, the Rev. Canon Wilson Roane (Diocese of Fond du Lac), The Rev. Canon Scott Leannah, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee, the Rev. Jana Troutman-Miller, John Vogel (Diocese of Milwaukee).

The prayers of the Church and its members are asked to support this process.

Media Contact: Matthew P. Payne, , (920) 830-8866.

New Chaplain at St. Francis House Announced

Just as the students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison students are beginning classes, we are excited to announce the next chaplain for the St. Francis House Episcopal Student Center (SFH). Working together with Ministry Architects and with the consultation of Bishop Jeff Lee, the St. Francis House board has hired the Rev. Roberta A. (Bobbi) Kraft to serve as Chaplain and Missioner for Young Adults. Mother Bobbi will begin her ministry in mid-October.

Fr. Scott Leannah, Canon for Ministries for the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, explained about the search process noting, “The St. Francis House Board has engaged in a thoughtful, prayerful process, utilizing the skills and gifts of a church consulting organization, Ministry Architects. They have laid the groundwork for a vision of campus ministry rooted at UW–Madison. Their search for a new leader to help inspire, guide and shepherd this ministry led them to the Rev. Bobbi Kraft. 

About Mother Bobbi
The Rev. Roberta A. (Bobbi) Kraft is a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and is a 2018 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). Mother Bobbi is currently the vicar of Saint Barnabas the Encourager Episcopal Church in Suamico, Wisconsin, having previously served at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas. While in Waco, Mother Bobbi (aka, Rev B, Mama Kraft) assisted the Episcopal Student Center for Baylor University having previously served as chaplain to undergraduate students at Georgetown University during her time at seminary. Mother Bobbi holds additional training in spiritual direction, marriage preparation and counseling, and active bystander training.

Prior to answering the call to ministry, Mother Bobbi worked in the financial industry where she was grants officer for two foundations and an assistant vice president for two banks, including one in Madison, Wisconsin. During the thirteen years she lived in Madison with her family previously, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Upper Iowa University. In addition to her master’s in divinity from VTS, she obtained a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior degree from Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc.

Mother Bobbi is the proud mother of two adult daughters and is pleased to have instilled in them the value of pilgrimage during extensive travels throughout the US and Europe. On her own, she has traveled to the Mediterranean and Middle East, including Jerusalem, several times and in 2017 served as a missionary to Kurdish and Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq. In her leisure time, Mother Bobbi enjoys art museums, puzzles, geocaching, and is an avid knitter. 

Mother Bobbi is passionate about empowering others, especially young adults, to engage in faith conversations and is always ready to consider where God is leading! She looks forward to returning to and living in Madison this fall. She noted, “It’s important to me to provide safe spaces for collegiate, non-collegiate, and post-collegiate young adults to explore and grow in their relationship with God in order to become faithful leaders in their families, their workplaces, the Church, and our world.”

St. Francis House board member Fr. Andy Jones stated, “The Rev. Bobbi Kraft brings a lifetime of related experience and a clear passion for Campus Ministry to her role as the full-time Chaplain and Missioner for Young Adults at St. Francis House, the Episcopal Student Ministry at the UW–Madison. The SFH Board is delighted that she has accepted the call to serve, and is incredibly excited at the possibilities and potential as we continue to build this ministry together!”

“I am so excited to begin serving the Church as St. Francis House Chaplain and Young Adult Missioner for the Diocese of Milwaukee,” Kraft expressed. “Since the earliest days of ministry discernment, the Holy Spirit has ‘haunted’ me related to ministry with young adults. It’s amazing to see the many ways in which the Spirit has continued to prepare me through the years in order to return to Madison, a city I already know and love, to do just that.”

Fr. Leannah concluded by expressing, “We are grateful for her presence among us, we look forward to getting to know her, and we pray for many blessings on this new beginning.”

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