News & Messages

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.

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.