by Chris Eggert-Rosenthal, Senior Warden
On April 28-30, the second-ever Province V “Big Provincial Gathering” (BPG) took place in South Bend, Indiana. Cheryl Dobrzynski, Mother Merdyth Albright, and I (Chris Eggert-Rosenthal) attended this exciting and educational event.
Our Big Provincial Gathering, which takes place every two years, brings together Episcopalians from throughout our region for fellowship, worship, and collaboration on projects across diocesan boundaries. Province V is comprised of the Midwestern dioceses of the Episcopal Church (Chicago, Eastern Michigan, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Indianapolis, Michigan, Milwaukee, Missouri, Northern Indiana, Northern Michigan, Ohio, Southern Ohio, Springfield, and Western Michigan).
Thursday, April 28 was devoted to different, day-long training sessions on these topics: Civil Discourse & Advocacy, Intergenerational Efforts in our Churches, Addressing Suicide in our Ministries, and Teaching Children about Anti-Racism and Messy Church. On Friday morning and all day Saturday, there were numerous shorter workshops on topics too numerous to mention here, but they included Dismantling Racism, Creating Historical Archives within Congregations, Creation Care, Lay-Led Congregations, and Campus Ministries. There were also meals together (breakfast, lunch & dinner), an energizing Eucharist, and even a dance party on Friday evening!
There will be another Big Provincial Gathering two years from now, in 2024, so give thought to attending the next one.
And in the meantime, you can participate in the ongoing work of Province V by joining one or more of our Provincial Networks, which meet monthly over Zoom and which address some of the same subjects that were covered in the BPG workshops. All are welcome. Becoming Beloved community is an action item and there are opportunities. Also consider your own current local activities to Love One Another.
I’m including a list of Province V Networks, and more information is available online www.provincev.org . There is also a Province V Facebook page for additional information. You can also talk to me, Senior Warden Chris Eggert-Rosenthal, in person, on the phone, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I represent the Diocese of Fond du Lac on the Province V Executive Board.
PROVINCE V Networks
convener: Cheryl Gray, Ohio
board liaison: Edie Wakevainen, Michigan
convener: Newland Smith, Chicago
board liaison: TBD
convener: Charles Zaucha, Chicago
board liaison: Laura Jackson, Chicago
convener: Catherine Duffy, Southern Ohio
board liaison: Rick Stanitis, Northern Michigan
convener: Susie Shaefer, Michigan;
Intergenerational / All-Ages Worship
Convener: Miranda Hassett, Milwaukee
board liaison: TBD
convener: Tammy Prather, Milwaukee
board liaison: Matthew Buterbaugh, Milwaukee and Jan Goossens, Springfield
conveners: Silvia Huth, Michigan and Jack Lloyd, Chicago
board representative: Lesley MacKellar, Indianapolis
Ministry in Resort Communities
convener: Dave Penniman, Western Michigan
board liaison: Katie Forsyth, Eastern Michigan
Prison / Jail Ministry
conveners: Marcia Ledford, Michigan and Jim Warnock, (Northern Indiana)
bishop: Doug Sparks, Northern Indiana
board liaison: Christopher Hillak, Northern Indiana
convener: Debbi Rhodes
convener: Kathy Mank, Southern Ohio
board liaison: Betty Bowersox, Missouri
coordinator: McKenzie Knill, Eastern and Western Michigan
board liaison: Joel Turmo, Western Michigan
Young Adult / Campus Ministry
interim coordinator: Stacy Alan, Chicago
board liaison: Rick Stanitis, Northern Michigan
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” ~Ecclesiastes 3. 3-8 (New Living Translation)
This seems to be an appropriate way to start our Annual Report. This past year we have continued to struggle with many seasons all present in our world this past year. COVID still remains with us, yet we have found new ways to be together and sustain our faith. We can now meet in person and share the Bread of Life in person. We can also participate in real time via the internet. Experiencing the Love of God together, separated by distance but not Spirit.
“For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I will be right there among them” ~Matthew 18.20
All the St James activities are open to all. Worship at St James is alive and thriving. Membership is not a participation requirement for any of our opportunities, other than elected leadership.
The pandemic may have changed how we share God’s Word, but share it, we do. Our congregation changes with the times as well. We have lost people and we have welcomed new people; this is another season that we embrace. We continue to change with the world. We managed to stay in touch many ways. For the Advent/Christmas season we had a cookie event that provided cookies to all households in our congregation along with an information packet. The success was heightened by a community event –packing the cookies (samples may have been taken… quality control is always a good thing).
The Seasons of the world have also seen physical changes in our church building. After the new roof and gutter installation at the end of 2020 into early 2021, much work was needed to restore the beauty of the water-damaged Sanctuary wall. Murray Sim, Dave Haefke, Steve Thuss, and Pat Hanson spent time and love working on stripping and replacing plaster and painting. This work will continue in 2022 in the Chapel.
Our community service and outreach continued with support of Painting Pathways Clubhouse, our participation in the Salvation Army adopt-a-family program, and Meals On Wheels. As COVID continues to lessen, we hope to have more opportunities. We also serve the community by making our building available for outside groups: PFLAG of Manitowoc County and the Girl Scouts use our space regularly. The congregation is also welcome to reserve out Fellowship Hall and/or Kitchen—talk to Amma Diane.
Time and talents are offered frequently. People from our congregation provided, rides, food, and other services for each other. We all have something to share. And we all have times we have a need—do not hesitate to let your church family know. Contact Amma Diane or the Wardens and we’ll help coordinate getting your need met. Some more examples of sharing: Liz Foster has overseen the calling tree providing calls to members; Donna Franz does our card ministry recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, and other life events. Nick Doszkewycz is our representative on the Manitowoc Ecumenical Ministry Group.
Beloved Community: thought, words, and certainly deeds. We strive to understand and embrace our differences, and to realize we have more similarities. We are charged with seeing the disparities within our community and working to promote understanding and the common elements that unite all people. We can work address these issues as a group, but each one of us is charged to Walk in Love and live this day-by-day. Each time we make a small step it adds up to our goal of reaching the destination of peace.
Our world continues to face pandemics, racially motivated murders, political differences, and wars. Yes, there are challenges. We meet these challenges with prayer, walking in love, reaching out to others, sharing our thoughts respectfully, and caring for each other.
We have learned and grown with the times, as well, as we have served as your wardens this past year. Your prayers have helped us to move forward and kept us focused on this work. We look forward to many new seasons of growth and change.
Yours in Christ,
Chris Dee Eggert-Rosenthal, Senior Warden & Mary Green, Junior Warden
As I was reflecting on 2021, I realized that we were indeed graced by the Holy Spirit as we continued to learn what it means to be followers of Jesus in the times and place we find ourselves.
At St James, we have always tried to look at the world around us and see where the Spirit is moving and how can we join in that movement. We try to see where and who are the people who will help us grow deeper in our own spirituality while living in and with a very changing world. 2021 was an amazing year with so many people being involved in the life and ministry of St James, it is hard to know where to begin.
We've had a dedicated crew of volunteers and professionals continuing to make building repairs and upgrades to our facility inside and out. Our technology team has grown and our use and understanding of technology and how it can help us spread the good news and love of Jesus continues to grow. We have had people connecting for fellowship, study, book club, prayer, and more both virtually and in person as we've been able. We have had community groups continue or come back to using our facility and we have continued to work outside of our walls by participating in volunteer opportunities and community learning and action opportunities. We collected a whole lot of food for Peter's Pantry during Advent, and we sponsored a family at Christmas through the Salvation Army. Our prayer shawl ministry is busy, and we are blessing people with the fruits of their labors.
Our worship and ministries have taken on some new forms. We updated our constitution to better reflect where we are as a community today. We have seen changes within the people who call St James 'home" and in some of the people who are doing the work. I believe that each change brings both happiness and the possibility of a sense of sadness and we have been mindful of that for the most part. The best part of what I see happening is that we, as individuals, have taken on some new forms as well. People are working together and seeing how much more can be done when we work as a community. We are seeing the variety of gifts we can all bring, rather than our limitations. We are also looking to the horizon with the thoughts of "how can we". Nowadays, I rarely, if ever hear "we can't..." or "that's not how we've done..." There is an energy and a vitality that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit in our midst and for that and all of you who join me on this journey, I give thanks.
Amma Diane+, Rector