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Christmas Message from Bishop Miller 2019

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O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Dear Friends in Christ,

At Christmas we celebrate that the prayer of longing quoted above has been answered in the incarnation of Jesus, son of Mary, Son of God, the Word made flesh. We gather again to hear the story we know so well and to hear the angelic proclamation, “To you this day is born a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” Luke records that, at the delivery of this news to the shepherds, a multitude of heavenly host praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”

As believers, we know that Jesus is the author and source of all peace, the peace of God which passes all human understanding. As the apostle Paul writes, “He is our peace who has made us one and broken down the dividing wall of hostility.” What God has done in Christ has broken down all barriers, all divisions, and united us to God the Father, to one another, and to all humanity as brothers and sisters made in the image of God.

The call to us this Christmas is to be agents of God’s unity to a world that has not fully lived into God’s reality. As we make our communion this Christmas, let it be for us truly a coming into union with God and God’s purpose for our life — to be the extension of his Incarnation as the body of Christ, the Church.

Wishing you every Christmas blessing, I am,

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller
Bishop of Milwaukee

Bishop Miller's Message on the Planned Student Walkout

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The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 RSV)

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we gather this Sunday, we will hear these words from the prophet Isaiah. As we hear them, I want you to know that these words are being fulfilled not by little children but by youth across our state who have planned a walkout on December 13 to call legislators to act on safe and sensible gun laws that 80% of our citizens favor. Just like they did with March for Our Lives and 50 Miles More, young people are making their voices heard.

Here are two statements by local students in a recent CBS 58 news report:

“We’re supposed to learn the wonders of reading, literature, math and science, you’re not supposed to be worrying about am I going to turn this corner and is someone going to shoot my best friend in the head?”

“They’re (students) looking for exits rather than focusing on class and that’s not how we should be operating as student.”

Let us listen to our youth. Let us support their efforts and join our voices with theirs in calling for our legislature to act.

Yours in the fulfillment of God’s word,

The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller
Bishop

Bishop Steven A. Miller to Retire

Dear Friends in Christ,

Some years ago when Cindy and I were replacing the roof on our home in Racine, one of our neighbors came by and asked if there was a problem with the roof or was it “just time.” We responded it was “just time.” This phrase has now become part of our family vocabulary. That conversation came to me as I prepared to write this letter to you.

After over thirty-five years of ordained ministry and almost sixteen years as your bishop, it has become clear to me that it is time for me to retire and pass the crozier on to the 12th bishop of Milwaukee. Last night, the Standing Committee, Chancellor and I met with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley of the Office of Pastoral Development to inform them of my intention to retire in November of 2020 and to begin the process of electing the next bishop of this Diocese.

I have felt a multitude of emotions as I considered these plans, but gratitude for our work and life together in my 16 years as your bishop is first and foremost. I have loved being your bishop and serving Christ with and among you. Our diocese has made a distinctive commitment to forming young persons for ordained ministry and giving them the opportunity to lead, as evidenced by the fact that we have the second-youngest average age of priests in the Episcopal Church. Moreover, thanks to the joint venture with LZ Developers at St. Francis House, our campus ministries at UW-Madison and around the Diocese are on a sure financial footing.

We have also reformed the way that we as a diocese come together to do the work that God has given us to do. Our governance is more representative and transparent than ever, and by making some difficult choices, we’ve lowered the percentage that parishes pay into the diocesan budget and the percentage of the diocesan budget that comes from these assessments. And through some difficult years in the life of our church, our diocese has remained united—not of one mind on all the issues of the day, but united in Christ nonetheless.

With my impending retirement, you have an opportunity, from a position of stability, to face the future. I pray that God will bless you with wisdom and courage, and that the Holy Spirit will lead you in discerning the role our diocese is called to play in the lives of our members, our communities and our church.

In the months I have remaining with you, Cindy, the girls and I hope to have the opportunity to say good-bye to many of you in person. Please be assured that you are in my prayers and that I will carry you all in my heart wherever God calls me to go.

Yours in Christ,

 The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller
11th Bishop of Milwaukee

PDF of Bishop Miller's letter

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