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Putting Thanksgiving into Practice

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: 

(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:

Companion Diocese of newala


Diocese of Newala (our companion diocese)

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?

~Neil Radtke, member of All Saints' Cathedral, Milwaukee

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 ( 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.

Haiti Project

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 ( 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.

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.

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