Episcopal Wisconsin Trialogue

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October 9, 2023


Dear People of God in the Episcopal Church in Wisconsin:


In the last several months, nearly 400 people have attended Zoom and in-person town hall meetings to learn more about the proposal for the reunion of our dioceses. We are grateful to everyone who has come to a meeting, visited the Trialogue website, and participated in our discernment about reunion in any way.


In late September, we also hosted Bishop Sean Rowe of the Dioceses of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania for a presentation and discussion titled “Change for the Sake of the Gospel.” If you were not able to attend, we hope that you will watch the video on YouTube to hear more about Bishop Rowe’s experience in leading change and his reflections on the opportunities our proposed reunion might offer.  


The town hall meetings have been opportunities for fruitful discussion and input about the proposal for reunion; the process of discernment that has led us to this point; and how the people of our dioceses understand God’s mission in Wisconsin. As our diocesan conventions draw near, we have prepared a new set of frequently asked questions to share with you some of what we have heard at these meetings and offer new information and answers. You can find these new FAQs on the Trialogue website.


If you have attended a town hall meeting, you likely know that the proposal for reunion has been greeted, in large measure, positively. We are grateful for everyone who has offered comments, questions, and criticisms to improve our thinking and strengthen this roadmap for the proposed Diocese of Wisconsin.


But no matter what you think about the proposal for reunion, we want to emphasize what Bishop Rowe expressed so well in his presentation: it isn’t perfect, and we may well find that some of it won’t work. That isn’t because the Steering Committee, the Task Forces, and all of the other leaders involved in the Trialogue process over the last two years have missed the mark. It is because we are contemplating significant, adaptive change in the way the Episcopal Church in Wisconsin responds to God’s mission, and that requires us to create a place to start. The proposal is just that—our starting line.


If our conventions vote next spring to reunite, our new diocese will allow us to free up money and human capacity so that we have the space to experiment with new ways of doing ministry, learn from our successes and failures, and try again. The proposal for reunion gives us a place to begin experimenting and innovating—not a final goal or ideal vision of our new diocese.


In October, clergy and lay delegates or deputies will not be asked to vote on the proposal for reunion. Instead, our conventions will vote on this resolution, which affirms our ongoing discernment and asks for the creation of a joint agreement of union (defined in Canon I.10.6).

That document will be considered by a special joint convention in Eastertide and will have to be approved by a total of six votes—one in the clergy order and one in the lay order in each of our three dioceses. The Steering Committee prays that our dioceses will take this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move forward together, but no one except the people of each diocese, gathered in convention, can make reunion happen.


If, on October 21, our three dioceses vote to continue the conversation, we will take the next six months to continue preparing the joint agreement of union, building on the work that the Constitution and Canons Task Force has already done to create a flexible governance structure. That foundational document has been designed to allow our new governing bodies, which would be initially populated with members of our dioceses’ existing governance bodies, to be nimble in responding to ministerial and financial needs. Between now and the Eastertide joint convention, we will also refine the proposal for reunion so that our new diocese has a place to start that reflects the potential for new and innovative ministry about which so many people have expressed enthusiasm.


As we prepare for the final vote, we will also plan another series of meetings and gatherings, both in person and virtual, so that we can gather across diocesan lines to discern and discuss reunion together. To move forward together, we will need ideas, involvement, and participation from even more people across our dioceses.


As we prepare for our diocesan conventions, we invite you to join us in praying this prayer written by the Trialogue Prayer and Discernment Task Force:



It is Your voice that calls each of us

To play our part in the story of Your Church in Wisconsin, 

For You have made us for Your purpose of revealing love

In a challenging time and in a divided world.

As our three dioceses move forward to become one,

Continuing to seek your will for us,

Enlighten our hearts to know what things we ought to do.

Enlighten our minds to know what things we need to leave behind.

Enlighten our spirits to embrace a future none but You know.

Give us peace, give us courage, give us hope.

And give us perseverance to make the steps necessary to 

Continue to follow Your lead. Amen.

Thank you, as always, for your commitment to our dioceses and to God’s mission in Wisconsin.


The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter

Bishop, Diocese of Fond du Lac

Bishop Provisional, Diocese of Eau Claire

Assisting Bishop, Diocese of Milwaukee

The Rev. Canon Kathleen Charles, Tim Donahue, The Rev. Canon Aaron Zook

Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Eau Claire

The Rev. Portia Corbin, Patricia Pfeifer, The Rev. Canon Wilson Roane

Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Fond du Lac

The Rev. Canon Scott Leannah, The Rev. Dave Mowers, The Rev. Jana Troutman-Miller, John N. Vogel

Trialogue Steering Committee members, Diocese of Milwaukee

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