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Update from the Standing Committee: March 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

Our search for the next bishop of the Diocese of Milwaukee is underway. To date, a number of developments have taken place: 

  • The Search Committee and the Chaplain to the Search Committee have been named.
  • Our diocesan consultant, the Rev. Ann Hallisey, has been consulting with Standing Committee. She led the annual diocesan clergy conference at DeKoven Center this past January. She has conducted a training retreat for the Search Committee and continues to provide them with guidance, insight and a clear process to follow.
  • We have crafted a prayer to be offered by all in the diocese as we engage in this holy work*
  • We have worked with Bishop Miller as he engages in his ministry among us and also looks to a time of transition into retirement.
  • We are also involved in the normal ministry that the Standing Committee in any diocese is called to undertake.

What is next in the search process?

  • The Search Committee will extend the invitation to every parish in the diocese to engage in a listening session. These opportunities for dialog and reflection will also be offered to diocesan staff and others who are involved in a variety of ways in the life and mission of the diocese. These steps add time to the process of calling our next Bishop, but the information they will provide, the stories and insights they will generate, will give us valuable insight and information as we prepare a diocesan profile and engage in the search process.  The transition from the 11th to the 12th Bishop of Milwaukee provides us with a valuable, and important opportunity to do this work. Bishop White served our diocese for 19 years and Bishop Miller’s ministry among us will mark its 17th year this coming fall. As we prepare for a time of change and transition it makes sense to take stock of where we are, reflect on our common life and how we got here, and seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our next steps. A transition like the one we are now engaging is a rare moment in the life of a diocese and we are committed to using this time productively and strategically.
  • A diocesan profile will be created by the Search Committee that will give a hopeful and realistic description of our diocese for those who may wish to explore a call to serve as our next bishop.
  • We are creating a budget for the entire search process. We know that some of you have concerns about the amount of money we allocated for this search at our most recent diocesan convention. If you are concerned that $200,000 is a lot of money, you are right! Our aim is to come in under this amount. Many of the costs are just “what they are,” such as consultant fees (this will end up being around $10,000), and then the costs associated with airfare, lodging, psychological exams, background checks, retreat, tours of the diocese, etc. for the final pool of candidates. Also, there are costs associated with the special convention to elect a bishop and the consecration liturgy, etc. Our aim in all of this is to be careful, thoughtful stewards of the funds entrusted to us for this important task in our common life.

We hope this brief update can help to give you an idea of our progress and also answer questions you may be mulling over. If you have questions or comments about the search process, please feel free to reach out to the Standing Committee by emailing our President, Fr. Scott Leannah, at  . Fr. Leannah or another Standing Committee member will respond to your question in a timely manner.

Thank you and God bless you!

Your Standing Committee

* Gracious and loving God in whom we live and move and have our being:
We pray for your guidance and wisdom that we may faithfully follow your calling in our own lives and as we as the Diocese of Milwaukee discern the calling of our twelfth bishop. We give you thanks for the service of Bishop Steven Miller in the life of our diocese and for the blessings that marked his ministry among us. We also pray for his family during this time of transition. We pray for those whom you have called to serve on our Standing, Search, and Transition Committees, and we pray also for those who will respond to your call to enter into discernment with us to be our next bishop. Give us all listening and prayerful hearts for this most important task. This we ask in the name of the One who said, “Come, follow me.” Amen. 

Statement from Bishop Miller in response to the mass shooting at Molson Coors

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Dear Friends in Christ,

Although I am away on sabbatical, you and the people and communities we serve are very much on my mind. I write to today after yet another round of senseless tragedy at the Molson Coors complex in the Miller Valley. My heart breaks as I see the images of our beloved see city displayed on the television.

This is the 11th mass shooting in Wisconsin since 2004. Another in 2012 led to the founding of Bishop’s United against Gun Violence. Our work continues. In early April, I will travel to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress to plead for them to take action now to enact laws that over 80% of Americans support. The time is now!

When I learned of yesterday’s shooting I was immediately struck that this was the second mass shooting to occur on Ash Wednesday. Two years ago we watched in horror at the tragic shootings at Parkland High School. This year they occurred in Wisconsin as we were remembering our mortality and being marked with ashes in the sign of the cross. That so many lose their lives in such senseless acts of violence brings new poignancy to the prayer many of us will utter this Sunday in the Great Litany, “from dying suddenly and unprepared; Good Lord, deliver us.”

In this season of renewed devotion, I invite you to join me in intentional praying of our Lord’s Prayer thrice daily with special emphasis on the words, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As you pray these words, remember that you are an agent of God’s reign. God is calling each and every one of us as citizens of God’s kingdom to work, love, and give for its manifestation.

May God keep all of you safe in the palm of his hand.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller

Bishops United Against Gun Violence has also released a statement on the shooting. You can find that statement here.

A Lenten Message from Bishop Miller

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin to walk the way of Lent this year, I found myself drawn to the words of the first two verses of Hymn #142.

Lord, who throughout these forty days for us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with thee to mourn our sins and close by thee to stay
As thou with Satan didst contend and didst the victory win
O Give us strength in thee to fight in thee to concur sin.

I hear in these words an echo of our Presiding Bishop’s Invitation for Lent 2020: A Call to Prayer, Fasting and Repentance leading to action. I encourage you to read his letter and consider its invitation.

 I also hear in this hymn a reminder that Lent is not first and foremost about guilt but rather sanctification. Repentance is re-direction, re-minding, and re-training under the guidance of the Spirit. The purpose of Lenten observance is not seasonal holiness but participation in God’s process of making us more and more into the people we are destined to be. We pray for grace to fight and conquer sin in our lives so that we may know the truth the Apostle Paul sets forth in the Letter to the Romans that “in all things we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The lessons we learn in Lent are meant to carry through to the Easter Life. The lessons learned in the Lenten desert are to empower us for service to God, just as our Lord’s forty days in the desert prepared him for his public ministry.

My prayer is that this holy season will be for us all a season of renewed faith and devotion.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Steven A. Miller