A letter from The Rt. Rev. Dr. Ed Leidel, Jr., Bishop Provisional of Eau Claire told of the surprising development:
3:30 pm, Wednesday afternoon, November 2, 2011
My dear friends of the Diocese of Eau Claire,
Just 30 minutes ago, I had a phone call from Bishop Jacobus of the Diocese of Fond du Lac that can best be described as surprising. He informed me that he had the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fond du Lac recount the ballots from last Saturday’s vote on junctioning and found that the ballots had been mistakenly reported. The clergy did vote in favor of junctioning; but the report, I was told, on the lay vote was mistakenly reversed. The laity in Fond du Lac apparently voted against junctioning 53 to 51 according to the Standing Committee’s recount.
All of which is to say that the overall vote in the two clergy and two lay orders was three: for, and one: against; so the resolution to junction has failed.
The Diocese of Eau Claire had a Special Convention to take their vote, and since the believed passing of the merger, have been hard at work in preparation for their Convention this weekend. The focus dramatically now shifts again, but Bishop Leidel remains positive:
As I said to the Special Convention last week on October 22nd, “However the vote turns out I will be right on board believing it to be God’s will and the two Diocese’s will to proceed in the vote’s direction.” So I am in the process of rewinding my heart, brain and will back to that moment.
Option one is the option to remain the Diocese of Eau Claire in name only. Option (two) calls us to continue to transform ourselves into becoming a new, lean and bold kind of Diocese for the twenty first century. This is a challenging opportunity for us to continue to transform the way we do Diocese – to live into becoming a truly sustainable, life giving, flexible, simplified, and mission – oriented Diocese for a world that has drastically changed.
My last fifteen months with you has shown me just how truly possible this will be to do. You have worked with me as your part time bishop and we have thrived. Financially we have become solvent. Structurally we have streamlined. In Spirit we have grown confident and trusting. In the visioning work that we did earlier this year, you discerned at our town meeting – convocation gatherings that you wanted to be a L.I.F.E. – giving Diocese. I want to remind you of the narrative that we developed as we continued to look at a future where we remain “small and alive:”