The standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, a group of elected clergy and lay leaders, announced today that the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, is the designee for provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. Lee will begin serving as the provisional bishop designee on April 1, 2021. The convention at which the clergy and lay representatives of the diocese will vote on Lee’s nomination will be held shortly thereafter, at a date to be determined but likely in June 2021. Lee will conclude his ministry as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago at the end of this month.
“On behalf of the standing committee, I’d like to express our enthusiasm and readiness to work with Bishop Jeff Lee in this season of our common life together. His love for the Diocese of Milwaukee is evident when you talk with him, and his roots here among us are deep,” said the Rev. Scott Leannah, president of the standing committee. “His love for the gospel, dedication to the church and knowledge of congregational and diocesan ministry will be a blessing and gift for us during this time of transition and new life. We urge your prayerful support for Bishop Lee and his family as he concludes his ministry in the Diocese of Chicago. We ask you to do all you can to support him in the role of provisional bishop of the Diocese of Milwaukee. He comes to us at a pivotal time in our shared life and we are grateful for his ‘yes’; we believe it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
The Diocese of Milwaukee’s current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller, will retire on Dec. 31 after a terminal sabbatical. As stated above, Lee will begin his ministry with the Diocese of Milwaukee on April 1. He will work half time for a two-year term.
Lee was elected the twelfth bishop of the Diocese of Chicago in 2007 and was consecrated on Feb. 2, 2008. Lee is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Nashotah House Theological Seminary and served as a curate, canon to the ordinary and church developer in the Diocese of Northern Indiana and as rector of churches in Wisconsin and Washington before being elected bishop. He and his wife, Lisa Rogers Lee, have two children, Katherine and Jonathan. You may find Lee’s full bio here.
“I am delighted at the prospect of returning to ministry with the people of the Diocese of Milwaukee. More than 20 years since our time at St. Christopher’s, River Hills, Lisa and I still remember fondly the warm friendships and vital ministry we experienced in Wisconsin,” said Lee. “I am honored that the standing committee has asked me to stand for election as bishop provisional, and all the people of the diocese will be in my prayers between now and when I hope to join you in April.”
Between Jan. 1 and March 31, two assisting bishops will support and advise the standing committee in their role as the ecclesiastical authority for the Diocese of Milwaukee. The Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, bishop of Fond du Lac and provisional bishop of Eau Claire, will be the assisting bishop Jan. 1-Feb. 15 and the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore, retired, will be the assisting bishop Feb. 16-March 31. They will meet with the standing committee monthly and will be available for advice and pastoral care on an as-needed basis.