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Bishop Jeffrey Lee Is Provisional Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee

At a Special Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee held this morning, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee was approved as the provisional bishop for a period of two years by clergy and lay deputies of the diocese. The convention was held remotely via Zoom and livestreamed to the diocesan YouTube channel. The Special Convention was called by the Standing Committee of the diocese, a group of elected clergy and lay leaders. The Standing Committee has been serving as the ecclesiastical authority for the diocese since January 1, 2021, when the Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller resigned as the 11th diocesan bishop after serving the diocese for 17 years.


 
Bishop Lee comes to the diocese after serving as the 12th bishop diocesan for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, a position that he held from 2008 until his retirement at the end of 2020. In his introduction of Bishop Lee to the Special Convention, Fr. Scott Leannah, president of the Standing Committee, noted that during his time in Chicago, Bishop Lee helped to bring about cultural and structural change. Leannah also described Lee as, “a recognized leader in the national church, an innovator, teacher, and a man with the heart of a shepherd” and further said that “we are blessed to have him walk with us during this time in our common life.”
 
In his remarks to the convention, Bishop Lee thanked the clergy and lay deputies for entrusting him with the oversight of the diocese. He noted that he will endeavor to be a good steward of their trust, and “I will willingly and to the best of my abilities exercise the oversight you have asked me to hold for you.” He went on to say, “This Church of ours does not belong to us. It does not belong to the rector, it does not belong to the vestry, it does not belong to the altar guild, it does not belong to the feeding ministry team, it does not belong to the bishop. This Church belongs to God alone, and so do we.” Lee noted challenges that are before the Church at this time, and said, “infinitely stronger than any of those things is the love of God.”
 
Bishop Lee began serving the Diocese of Milwaukee on April 1, 2021, as the provisional bishop-elect.


A recording of the Special Convention can be found here.

Executive Council Approves Two Full-Time Diocesan Staff Positions

Executive Council Approves Two Full-Time Diocesan Staff Positions

At the request of Bishop Jeff Lee and the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Executive Council voted to fund two full-time diocesan staff positions. One of the positions is a new diocesan position of Canon for Ministries, and the other position is an expansion of the Canon for Finance and Administration from three-quarters time to full-time.

The Canon for Ministries will be responsible for overseeing the clergy search processes in the diocese, working with clergy and vestries to develop congregation mission and vitality, caring pastorally for clergy, and providing counsel and advice to the bishop.

Bishop Lee has appointed the Rev. Scott Leannah to the position of Canon for Ministries. Fr. Scott will begin his ministry with the diocese on July 1, 2021. Through the end of the calendar year, he will work for the diocese half-time and continue to serve as rector of St. Thomas of Canterbury in Greendale half-time.

Scott Leannah has lived his life in Wisconsin. He was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic  Archdiocese of Milwaukee where he served from 1993-2003. In 2003, he was received as a priest of The Episcopal Church, and he served as priest of St. Mary’s in Dousman from 2003-2018. In 2018, he began serving as rector of St. Thomas of Canterbury. A full biography of Scott can be found at the bottom of this announcement.

Scott is delighted to accept this position. "I love my job,” Scott says, "and I am still amazed that I get to do this work for a living!" Scott brings with him to this position a passion for parish life, a desire to support lay leaders and fellow clergy, and a love for the Diocese of Milwaukee. “Over the 17 years I've served in the Diocese of Milwaukee, I've come to love this life we share together in the lower third of Wisconsin a great deal. I will seek to love and serve in the name of Jesus. We have a very compelling way of being the Body of Christ, and while there is struggle and uncertainty right now, there is also abundant joy, vitality and hope. In this role, I will be available to listen, accompany, and equip, and I will seek to do that in a spirit of gratitude, with respect, clarity and humility. My goal is to be of service to laity and clergy alike, and to work with Bishop Jeff Lee to foster a new culture, a new way of being church in our diocesan life.”

The other position is an expansion of the Canon for Finance and Administration from three-quarters time to full-time. The Rev. Dr. Kevin Huddleston began serving as Canon for Finance and Administration last September. Canon Huddleston’s primary responsibilities are as Chief Operating Officer for the diocese, overseeing and implementing diocesan policies, managing the financial resources of the diocese, and providing counsel and advice to the bishop. A biography of Kevin can be found at the bottom of this announcement.

“Moving to full-time will allow me to continue to update our systems and processes so that we can be a better resource for the parishes of the diocese,” says Canon Huddleston. “One of my goals is to leverage the resources of the diocese to become more user-friendly and be viewed as adding value to the ministry of each parish.”

“I’m grateful to the diocesan Finance Committee and the Executive Council for making it possible to enhance and add these positions,” says Bishop Jeff Lee. “Supporting our congregations is the main job of the bishop’s office and with the relatively short time I will serve as Provisional Bishop, I want to make sure that we’re equipped for that work as soon as possible. In adding Scott Leannah to the staff, together with Kevin Huddleston, we will have two key positions filled by people with existing relationships throughout the diocese and awareness of the opportunities and challenges before us. Our purpose is to serve the needs of the diocese as we all live out our baptismal promise to follow Christ.”

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee began serving as provisional bishop designee on April 1, 2021. The Convention to elect Bishop Lee as the provisional bishop for a two-year term will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2021.


About the Rev. Scott Leannah

Fr. Scott Leannah grew up in Sheboygan and has lived his life in Wisconsin. He received a BA from Marquette University in 1988 and completed his Master of Divinity Degree at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, in 1993. He was ordained a transitional deacon on September 26, 1992, and a priest on May 22, 1993. Scott served as a priest in the Roman Catholic 

 

Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1993-2002. Along with parish work, he was the Coordinator of Ministry to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the archdiocese and he ministered in English, Sign Language and Spanish.

Scott was received as a priest in The Episcopal Church on November 13, 2003, by the Rt. Rev. Steven Miller. He began his ministry in our diocese in December of 2003, serving at St. Mary's Parish in Dousman until June 2018. During Scott's time at St. Mary's, a new parish church was built and the parish experienced significant growth. Scott began his ministry with St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish in Greendale in July 2018. He has also served as president of the Standing Committee since October 2017.

Scott married Gina Kuemmel on July 29, 2006, and he is so profoundly grateful to travel through life with her. Scott and Gina have a 15-year-old daughter, Mia, a student at Pius High School in Milwaukee. Scott, Gina and Mia share life with two dogs, Rosie and Lucy. Scott enjoys hiking, camping, riding his bicycle as well as his Harley, and he and his friend John will go on their 35th annual wilderness canoe trip this coming September.

 About Canon Kevin Huddleston

The Reverend Dr. Kevin D. Huddleston is a native of Rockford, Illinois. He received a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Milligan College, an M.Div. in Old Testament and Preaching from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and a D.Min. in Preaching from A.C.T.S through Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

Fr. Kevin was ordained at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas in 1988. He served as the priest in charge of Youth, Program Director and priest in charge of Mission and Outreach at St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas, Texas. Fr. Kevin has served on the Finance Committee for the Amistad Mission, Bolivia and the Finance Committee for the Jubilee Center, an outreach ministry of St. Michael’s, Dallas, TX. He is experienced in working with large budgets and organizing systems for efficiency and effectiveness. He was appointed by Bishop Steven Miller as Canon for Finance and Administration in September of last year. Kevin also serves as rector at Holy Communion Episcopal Church in Lake Geneva.

Fr. Kevin is married to Gaye Lynn, a realtor at Shorewest Realtors in Lake Geneva. He has three adult children: the Rev. Nathan is Canon for Youth and Young Adults at the Cathedral of St. Philip’s, Atlanta, and married to Katherine; Reade, Master Distiller at Headframe Spirits in Butte, Montana; and Anna, who is currently studying to be a nurse.

Lenten Resources for Home Use

Lent will begin this next week with Ash Wednesday on February 17.  We've compiled several resources for you that are especially well-suited for at-home use this year. 

Life Transformed – The Way of Love in Lent

The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death; then, we rise in hope to life transformed. This Lent, communities are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life. Together, we will reflect anew on the loving actions of God as recounted in the Easter Vigil readings. Together, we will walk through the depths of salvation history into the fullness of redemption. 

Click here to access an Adult Forum curriculum, a Quiet Day curriculum, calendars and posters. 

Living Well Through Lent 2021: Listening with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind

Designed for use as an individual reflection or for group study, this Living Compass resource is a daily devotional that provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of Lent, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Easter. Available in both print and electronic editions here. A free downloadable facilitator guide for group use is also available. To learn more or to order, visit: https://www.livingcompass.org/lent

Lent Madness 2021

Lent Madness, the Lenten activity that allows you to get to know some amazing people who have come before us in the faith, begins Thursday, February 18. Thirty-two saints are placed in a tournament-style single-elimination bracket. Download the bracket, sign up for email updates and learn more by visiting https://www.lentmadness.org/.

You can also fill out a bracket online on this Lent Madness fan site: https://www.playlentmadness.com/.

Reflections on the Stations of the Cross 

Episcopal Migration Ministries offers an audio compilation of its Reflections on the Stations of the Cross. This resource is appropriate for prayer at home and in congregations. The audio compilation features the liturgy of the Way of the Cross from the Book of Occasional Services, alongside meditations on each station. Thank you for praying with us. If you’d like to follow along, you may request the Reflections booklet here

You can also sign up to receive daily devotions from Episcopal Migration Ministries. They will be sent to your email daily. 

Journey to the Cross with d365

The d365 devotions are written by ministers, professors, students, teachers, missionaries, denominational leaders, and others who work with and care for students. These devotions are available year-round, but they offer a special Journey to the Cross series from Ash Wednesday through Easter.

 

Lent at Home Benedictine Practice

The Diocese of Northern Michigan created a Lent at Home booklet in the style of Benedictine Prayer, with adaptations of two of the “lesser hours” said during the day in the Benedictine tradition: Terce (said around 9:00 a.m.) and None (said around 3:00 p.m.).

Care for the Creation Ideas

Fast from Single-Use Plastics

Challenge yourself to turn from the sin of damaging God’s planet and work to preserve the earth. Green Anglicans offers several challenges to help you learn where you can make sacrifices and improve our attempt to protect and nurture Mother Earth through actions such as fasting from single-use plastics and carbons or reducing our food waste. Find more information and calendars with activities and actions here.

Track your Carbon Footprint

Another way you can develop more mindfulness about how your lifestyle and choices that you make impact the environment this Lent is to track your carbon footprint. The Carbon Tracker from The Episcopal Church is a web-based application that helps individuals, households, congregations, and even dioceses to measure their carbon footprint and take steps to shrink it to fit a sustainable life.  Click here for access to the carbon tracker.

 

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