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Wisconsin’s Episcopal dioceses merge
Community Brief

MONROE — Wisconsin’s three Episcopal dioceses voted to merge to form one statewide diocese.

The vote May 4 during a special convention of the Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Eau Claire dioceses approved creating — more accurately, recreating — the Diocese of Wisconsin, which was first formed in 1847.

The votes from Milwaukee and Eau Claire diocesan priests and laypeople were nearly unanimous, according to Episcopal News Service. The Fond du Lac diocese also approved with 88% of clergy and 76% of laity voting for the merger.

The reunited diocese has about 11,000 baptized members and 101 congregations, including, now in the Milwaukee diocese, Trinity in Platteville, Trinity in Mineral Point, St. Andrew’s in Monroe, Holy Trinity in Prairie du Chien, and St. Barnabas in Richland Center.

Rev. Matthew Gunter, bishop of the Fond du Lac diocese, will serve as bishop of the new diocese. The Eau Claire bishop, Rev. William Jay Lambert, retired in 2020. The Milwaukee bishop, Rev. Steven Miller, retired in 2021. Gunter has been the Eau Claire diocese’s provisional bishop since 2021. The Milwaukee diocese has been run by a standing committee after the retirement of its provisional bishop, former Diocese of Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee, in 2023. 

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention must approve the merger. The convention will be held in Louisville June 25-28. The combined diocese will have its convention in Stevens Point in October.

The Fond du Lac diocese split off from the Diocese of Wisconsin in 1875 because of population growth in northeastern Wisconsin. The Diocese of Wisconsin changed its name to the Diocese of Wisconsin in 1886. The Diocese of Eau Claire formed in 1928 after population growth in northwestern Wisconsin.