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Building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice since 2004

Upcoming Events

Please join us for any of these upcoming ESTHER events!

  • To learn more about a particular event, click on its title
  • To see the complete ESTHER calendar, click on More at the bottom left of the listing
Monday, April 6, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force ZOOM Meeting ZOOM
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 4:00pm
Oshkosh ESTHER ZOOM Meeting ZOOM
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Religious Leaders Caucus ZOOM Meeting ZOOM
Friday, April 10, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Weekly Climate Strike - Fox Cities Houdini Plaza, 111 W College Ave, Appleton
Friday, April 17, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Weekly Climate Strike - Fox Cities Houdini Plaza, 111 W College Ave, Appleton

Cancelled - Forum For School Board Candidates (Appleton Area School District)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 6:30pm
Facebook Live

Due to the governor’s newly announced shut-in policy, this program has been canceled, and LWV does not expect to be doing any programs or forums for the foreseeable future.

This forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Appleton, will be conducted without an audience, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. It will be live-streamed on the LWV Appleton Facebook page: Members of the community are invited to submit questions in advance (March 23) for presentation to the candidates.

For more information, see the flier prepared by LWV-Appleton.

Appleton, WI, Community Care and Mutual Aid Signup

Appleton, WI Community Mutual Aid Signup FormAs our community increasingly adopts self-isolation to control the spread of the coronavirus, a number people from the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist fellowship (an ESTHER faith community) and other community leaders1 are gathering information about people in the Appleton area who:

  1. Can provide assistance to fellow community members, or
  2. May need assistance.

ESTHER is pleased to help spread the word about this project and supports wholeheartedly the effort to build up our community’s resilience in the face of this significant challenge.

To participate visit this online form and enter your information.

To contact the organizers, send them an email at

Click “Read more” below for more information.

Plan Now for Important Wisconsin Election on April 7

Wisconsin 2020 ElectionHow important is the April 7 election?

Judge for yourself. It includes the presidential primary, the state Supreme Court, and local races, such as mayor, city council, county board, school board candidates, and a statewide referendum on victim rights.


What can you do?

  1. Make sure you’re registered to vote (there are several ways to do this, including on-line methods and registering at the polls on election day). Note that the deadline for online registration has been extended to March 30.
  2. Inform yourself about the candidates and issues (some links below)
  3. Request an Absentee Ballot (a preferred voting method during this time of COVID-19)
  4. Vote, either by absentee ballot or by visiting the polls on Election Day, April 7, 2020, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Click “Read more” below for all the details!


The ESTHER board gathered on March 12 for what will probably be its last in-person meeting for several months. These meetings always start with an opening reflection intended to help members keep their focus on ESTHER’s larger purpose and not get lost in “administrivia.” We are pleased to share with you now what ESTHER President Gary Crevier shared with the board at that time. We hope it may be of help to you in these times as chaos spreads and the temptation to worry climbs.

When our approach to life comes from an attitude of being scared, without hope, we fail to see the sacredness of creation and everything in the cosmos. That includes you and me.

Notice that the only difference between the words sacred and scared is the interchanged positions of the letters c and a, sacred/scared.

I would suggest that a in the word sacred stands for awesomeness, awareness, acceptance and art-filled presence in all of us, creation, the cosmos; and the c in the word scared stands for cowardliness, contempt and a cynical outlook on life.

So what if now, given the presence of the COVID-19 illness, we “flip the script,” so to speak, and live our lives more as sacred and filled with hope, instead of being scared? Let’s do what we can to confront this crisis, like self-distancing, touching of elbows rather than shaking of hands, sneezing into our elbows or simply avoiding crowds. Regardless of the outcome, it's the right thing to do.

May you be richly blessed in patience and hope during these uncertain times.

RVP Needs You!

Posted in

Empower (MyRVP) logoESTHER is looking for leaders to participate in our Relational Voting Program.

What’s Relational Voting? Research has shown that people are more likely to vote if they have a relationship with someone who is encouraging them to do so.

It is easy to participate in the program, which requires only three simple steps:

  1. Download the “Empower (MyRVP)” app to your smart phone (Apple or Android). Then, register yourself to the Empower network (using your phone number or email address) and enter the code word “WISDOM.”
  2. Choose 20 names from the contact list on your phone and add them to the list in your Empower app
  3. Commit to contacting these people from time to time to remind them to vote in upcoming elections.

You are the only person who will ever contact these people about voting-related matters. Talking prompts will be sent to you to remind you to contact those on your list and suggest topics.

If you have questions, please reach out to Bill Van Lopik (

By participating in this program, you could possibly earn money for ESTHER as well as yourself. We have funding to pay up to 40 people $50 each if they follow through on this simple program.

Weekly Climate Strike - Fox Cities

Friday, March 20, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday, March 27, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday, April 3, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday, April 10, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday, April 17, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Houdini Plaza, 111 W College Ave, Appleton

Strike With Us

Climate Strike rallies continue on Fridays through April 17 at Houdini Plaza in Appleton.

Sponsored by Youth Climate Activists Fox Valley and Youth Climate Action Team of Wisconsin

“We are climate striking every Friday to raise awareness about the climate crisis. By doing this we are putting pressure on our state government and Appleton City Hall to take action. We demonstrate at Houdini Plaza from 5-7pm. Everyone is welcome, everyone is needed.”

Click here to visit event page on Facebook

The Difference between Social Justice and Charity

“ESTHER works for social justice,
but it is not a charitable organization.”

What does that mean? What is the difference between social justice work and charity work?

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world. - Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyThe famous Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” gives us a fine example of charity work. In the carol, King Wenceslas looks out of his window on a cold winter’s night and sees a poor man “gathering winter fuel.” The king and his page set out “through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather” to take food to the poor man. Along the way, the page becomes cold and tired, but he is revived by walking in the king’s footsteps in the snow, because “heat was in the very sod where the saint had printed.” That is to say that the king is a saint because he is so charitable. The song ends with the admonition, “Therefore, Christian men be sure, wealth or rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.”

Icon of King (Saint) WenceslasThis is a story of charity at its best, but the social justice worker says, “Wait a minute. This is all very well, but why should this man be so poor that he can eat only if the king happens to decide to help him? Why should some people starve while others live comfortably? A society in which some people starve while others live comfortably is oppressive. It is unjust, and we should work to make it more just.”

That is the difference between charity and social justice work. Charity helps people in need, but it does not question the justice of the social system we live in. Social justice work aims to change the system. There will always be a need for charity, but, to the social justice worker, it should not be a substitute for a just society, and we have a responsibility to make our society as just as possible.

ESTHER’s members work in a number of ways to make our society as just as possible. To learn more about how you can participate in ESTHER’s work, visit our web site at

Pandemic: A Poem

This poem by Lynn Ungar came to our attention recently. It offers thoughtful words and a true perspective for these harried, fearful times. We hope you find in it comfort and challenge for today, tomorrow and the days to come.


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now, 
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those

Cancelled: Fair Maps and Census 2020

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Monday, March 16, 2020 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Copper Rock Coffee Co, 210 W College Ave, Appleton

Due to the current coronavirus situation and the need for social distancing, this program is cancelled. The League will reschedule a livestream program on the US Census soon and communicate the date/time and how to access the livestream once the details are available.

stylized images of many people of diverse dress, color, etc.On March 16, LWV-Appleton will host a program on the 2020 Census and Fair Maps (not women's history as previously announced).

A representative of the Outagamie County Complete Count Committee will talk about the upcoming census and local efforts to ensure a complete count.

Also, former Wisconsin Representative Penny Bernard-Schaber will speak about gerrymandering and fair maps. Penny served 3 terms representing the 57th district which includes southern Appleton and parts of Menasha. She will be talking about how gerrymandering has changed our local districts, how it impacts municipal clerks, and the partisan roadblocks it creates in Wisconsin. Penny is also leading the 8th Congressional District Fair Maps Coalition, which is working towards a non-partisan redistricting process following the 2020 Census.LWV - League of Women Voters of Appleton

Mark your calendars to come and learn more, and bring your questions!

LWV reminds attendees that Copper Rock is providing the venue at no charge, so please buy food and beverages to enjoy throughout the meeting! Come early if you want to order food—the program will begin promptly with LWV announcements at 5:25.