September 29, 2016,

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

We may be a small diocese, but it seems we are doing some things right! Nearly all the dioceses throughout the Episcopal Church declined in this past reporting year of 2015. We grew by 1.6%. Why are we different? Answering that question may not be possible, but there are advantages in our being small. As a small diocese we have the opportunity to function as a family. This means we sense a special belonging to each other, and as family we can listen and learn as we share.

After years of enduring conventions of larger dioceses, the Diocese of Eau Claire Convention is a breath of fresh air to me. Yes, we hold elections, pass a budget, and consider resolutions, but it is our gathering as family that really matters. When we can sit together and learn what works or doesn’t in our respective congregations, a trust develops that isn’t as easy in large dioceses.

This year the Reverend Canon Ernie Bennett will be sharing through wonderful stories his understanding of living into the wholeness of Jesus in our parishes. Later we will have an extended time of small group sharing and conversation as family. I believe we will spend time evaluating where we are living into the wholeness of Jesus and where we have shortcomings. By naming strengths and deficiencies, we can give emphasis to what works and seek alternatives to what doesn’t. After the November 11-12 Convention I hope your delegates will discuss what they have learned with you. As a result new ideas will percolate in your congregations leading to experimentation and a delightful walking with the Holy Spirit.

I ask that every congregation send a full delegation to this year’s Convention in Superior. I believe it will be a meaningful and joyful time. Pray for us gathered as family and celebrate with us as we learn from each other! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,

W. Jay Lambert
VI Bishop of Eau Claire