Greetings to you in the name of the Christ child, whose birth we joyfully anticipate in the coming season of Advent. I write this letter to you on behalf of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Milwaukee.
We want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the Haiti Project from our diocesan side of things. In January of 2020, the Standing Committee became the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese after the retirement of Bishop Miller. In the six months that we held that position, we took a close look at many of the ministries in our diocese in order to have a better understanding of how we could support the good work that each was doing. In our review of the Haiti Project, we found that this was an opportune time to evaluate how the Haiti Project functions, and in so doing we discerned that we would pause the work of the Haiti Project Steering Committee and employ the help of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, which is an organization that offers consultation and resources for groups who are looking toward change and spiritual growth. We have asked them to come alongside of us and help with some intentional decision-making as we discern what the missional outreach work of the Haiti Project should look like going forward into the future. That work continues and we hope to have some clear plans in the new year.
Though we paused the work of the Steering Committee, rest assured that we have not paused our commitment and support of our brothers and sisters in Jeannette. The Standing Committee has been in close contact with parish priest, Pere Moise and the school, and with Gregory Leger, our liaison at APSHA, a trusted third-party organization that serves as our financial agent in Haiti. The Health Committee continues to communicate closely with the clinic and their physician, Dr. Elie to address the health care needs of those they serve.
And throughout it all, the diocese has continued to send its committed financial support to those partners in Jeannette on a monthly basis. That financial support includes $9000 to the grades 4K-13 school and clinic support staff to be allocated at the discretion of the Priest in Charge, $1240 for Dr. Elie’s salary, and $500 for medical supplies. We also send additional funds that have been authorized or requested when needed.
We know how important the mission of the Haiti Project is to so many here in our dioceses of Milwaukee, Eau Claire and North Dakota, as well as other dioceses across the country, and we especially know how very important this mission is to the people of Jeannette who worship, teach, learn, and seek comfort and healing through the church, school and health clinic that we support.
As we once again enter into this season of giving, we ask that you continue to pray for all of the people of Haiti, especially those whose lives are touched by the work of the Haiti Project, and we hope that you will consider continuing your financial support of the good work of the Haiti Project which began 36 years ago and that we hope will continue far into the future.
Donations can be given online at the diocesan website. Once at the site, click on the red “Giving” button and you will be directed to a page where you will select the Haiti Project as the fund you are donating to. You may also send checks made out to the Haiti Project to the diocesan office address: Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, 804 E Juneau Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
The benefit to the people of Jeannette through the Haiti Project would not be what it is without all the hard work of its volunteers and the financial supporters who have given so much of themselves over the years. It is our prayer and our intention that that support continues on for years to come in ways that will continue the good work of the Kingdom of God with the dear people in Jeannette.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Jana Troutman-Miller
President, Standing Committee of the Diocese of Milwaukee
This week Bishop Jeff Lee encourages us to put our thanksgiving into practice by supporting the work of our diocesan, community, and Episcopal charitable organizations. Throughout the week, we will be highlighting some charities that are doing good work in the world.
By giving to others, we demonstrate that "we are participants in God's project in loving the world back to its truest self."
Episcopal Relief & Development
Why I give... Episcopal Relief & Development touches people's lives in so many different ways. Two programs I've worked with or supported are the U.S. Disaster Program and Gifts for Life. The U.S. Disaster Program provides on-scene relief and preparedness training for natural and manmade disasters in the United States. Gifts for Life can be buying a farm animal for a needy family, providing prenatal care for a woman who would otherwise go without, and many other gifts that are detailed in the Gifts for Life catalog. Buying in someone else's name can make a great Christmas gift for a person who is hard to buy for. I'm happy to support these programs because they make a real difference in people's lives and help them to help themselves. ~Bob Heindl, member of St. Luke's, Milwaukee (Bay View)
To donate to Episcopal Relief & Development: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/
(Note: gifts given through the end of the year will be matched up to $650,000!)
Hospitality Center in Racine, Wisconsin
Why I give ... My first encounter with the Hospitality Center was through my friend, Bert Mendoza, who was a dedicated volunteer at the center and brought the mission information to our congregation at St. John the Divine. I rode with him a couple of times to bring items to the church and found welcoming volunteers and staff who happily gave us a tour and talked about their vision. Before the pandemic, Fr. Seth Raymond visited our church a couple of times to talk about the mission and need.
When Pat Hoffman and I deliver our church members' items we don't get far from the car, struggling to carry heavy cartons when a young client or two would greet us, take the heavy items and help us get into the church. The smiles, warm greetings and thanks from all of the clients are in my heart and to know I can help by sharing what I have makes ME happy. ~ Connie Herrick, member of St. John the Divine, Burlington
Why I give ... A number of years ago, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Burlington became involved with supporting the Hospitality Center in Racine. We were really led there by Bert Mendoza, a parishioner who volunteered at the center. Bert shared the need and the gratitude that met our gifts and invited many of us to visit the Hospitality Center. Those visits along with the visits to St John’s by Kevin Stuart led me to a commitment to the mission of the center. The Hospitality Center is a place where everyone is treated with dignity and where the needs are deep and personal and often at the level of survival. Having said that, when I go there I meet regular people who are caught in a broken season of their lives but who still share generously of their humanity with a grace that does passeth all understanding. My connection is limited and my visits usually involve delivering donations from our church, but the spirit of the work being done and the people served is strong. ~Pat Hoffman, member of St. John the Divine, Burlington
To donate to the Hospitality Center: https://www.hospitality-center.org/
Companion Diocese of newala
Why I give... There are some topics that come to mind as to why I continue to be involved with Masasi/Newala...
Education: Many children now get a primary education; more are getting to secondary school. In the Rural Medical Aids School I taught in, one lad stole his position. When discovered he drew a two-year prison sentence. Education is valued!
Medical needs: Malnourished kids, handicapped individuals with thick callouses from “walking” on hands and knees, the blind being schooled, and a host of medical patients getting help.
And of course the strength and courage of the average citizen.
How could I do less when more is needed?
You can learn more about the projects in the Diocese of Newala here.
To give to Newala: Donations can be given online on our website (diomil.org). Once at the site, click on the red “Giving” button and you will be directed to a page where you will select Newala as the fund you are donating to.
Why I give ... I give to the Haiti Project because I understand it. Most people I know want to help people in severe distress in poor countries we don’t really know much about. Usually that means writing a check to a large international charity and hoping for the best. I do that, too. But the Haiti Project is small and supports an actual Episcopal school that has been up and running for decades. People in our diocese know people in their diocese, and we can trust we are helping children get sone education which gives them a chance to navigate the difficult circumstances of Haiti. ~ Lucy Cooper, member of St. Mark's, Milwaukee
To donate to the Haiti Project:
Donations may be given through our website (https://www.diomil.org/). Once at the site, click on the red “Giving” button and you will be directed to a page where you will select the Haiti Project as the fund you are donating to.
- 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.
- 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”).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Family activity: How to make and use an Advent wreath!
- 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.
- 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.
- Advent Music | From the Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary, “Waiting with Expectation and Hope: A Spotify Advent Playlist.”