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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.