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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 right of the listing
Monday, December 12, 2016 - 1:30pm ESTHER Communications Committee First Congregational UCC, Appleton Upper Lounge
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 6:30pm Immigration Task Force Fox Valley UU Fellowship, Appleton
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 8:30pm EXPO Fox Cities First Congregational UCC, Appleton Chapel
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 11:00am - 12:30pm Religious Leaders Caucus First United Methodist Church, Neenah
Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 6:00pm Forum on Corrections - ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force and JOSHUA West Side Moravian Church, Green Bay

Chili Cook-Off - December 17 - 10:00-12:00 - City Center Plaza, Appleton

Chili Cook-OffFox Valley Chili Lovers Take Notice!

ESTHER is having a chili cook-off to tickle your taste buds and raise funds for ESTHER! It will be held in conjunction with the ADI Winter Market at City Center Mall in Appleton on Saturday, December 17, 2016.

We are currently enlisting up to ten teams ($20 entry fee), which will be judged by attendees who will each get a spoon to taste the team entries ($5 for the spoon) and a ballot to vote for their favorite chili. The team with the most votes will win a $100 gift certificate to Antojitos Mexicanos!

All of the expenses are being contributed by the Appleton law firm of Peterson, Berk & Cross and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, so all of the proceeds will go to support the good work of ESTHER.

Getting Smart on Crime

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Learn about evidence-based practices in criminal justice.

Judge John Des JardinsMonday, December 5, 2016, 6:00 pm
Free admission; open to the public
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
140 South Green Bay Road
Neenah, WI

Come hear Circuit Court Judge John Des Jardins and Criminal Justice Treatment Services Director Bernie Vetrone explain Outagamie County’s Smart on Crime Initiative, one of only 25 such projects in the nation.

ESTHER Board Adopts Statement of Witness

<h2>This is a time that tries our souls</h2>
This Is a Time that Tries Our Souls….

In the light of concerns about the climate of religious and racial prejudice and harrassment growing out of the Presidential election, the ESTHER Leadershp Board has decided to adopt and publicize a statement of witness focusing on community, justice, and hope.

We invite you to read the statement and to consider whether it is something you can affirm also. If so,  we hope you will add your name (or sign anonymously) using the links available in the full story, found by clicking 'Read more'.

2016 Community Leader Award: Norys Piña

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Norys Pina

ESTHER awards its 2016 Community Award for an individual to Norys Piña for her work to improve the quality of life for immigrants throughout our community. She passionately educates immigrants about their rights and has formed a group, Unidos por un Futuro Mejor, to work for systemic change in our community, state, and nation. Her passion rises from her own story and that of those around her.

Norys advocated for driver’s cards for undocumented immigrants and quickly drew together funding and people to fill three buses to participate in a statewide “A Day Without Latinos” demonstration at the state capitol on February 18, 2016. She has been active in ESTHER’s Latino Simulations and Voices of Hope theatre productions. Most recently, Norys has organized a community-wide Latino Voter Engagement campaign.

When asked what sustains her work in ensuring rights for immigrants, Norys says, “I find hope and strength to keep fighting in the faces of my kids, in the stories of my friends, in the lives of all good people who deserve the opportunity to use their full potential, in the humanity in each of us crying out for equity. Just the thought of not fighting for our rights and keep silent scares me more than anything else.”

2016 Community Leader Award: Fit Oshkosh, Inc.

Fit Oshkosh Logo

In its 2016 Community Award for organizations, ESTHER honors the work of Fit Oshkosh, Inc., led by Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracey Robertson. Fit’s mission is to increase the racial literacy of the residents of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and beyond through workshops, training, consulting, advocacy and research. A few highlights of the work of Fit Oshkosh include hosting Color-Brave films and book-reads like the “I’m Not Racist. Am I?” documentary and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. Fit has quickly become the resource for anti-racism work in the Valley and beyond.

Its Color-Brave Lending Library has more than 150 free games, books and movies for both kids and adults that deepen insights on race. Since its 2014 inception, Fit Oshkosh has trained nearly 3,000 people in settings including local government, educational institutions, faith groups, and non- and for-profit businesses. ESTHER thanks Fit Oshkosh Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracey Robertson, its program supporters, and its trained volunteers for their invaluable efforts in making our community a place where race matters to all citizens and where all people—no matter what their racial identity—truly “Fit” in.

Statement from ESTHER Religious Leaders Caucus

The ESTHER Religious Leaders Caucus met this morning, November 9, and agreed to issue the following statement regarding the anger, fear, tension and division that many people are feeling in light of our national elections:

Since ESTHER’s founding 12 years ago, we have been, and we intend to continue to be people of faith united by our passion for justice, commitment to community and a practice of hope. We stand together understanding that our lives and destinies are intertwined. We are committed to transforming our community by dissolving boundaries of race, creed, social and economic divides. We build power and act together, drawing courage and inspiration from our faith. We believe that God has called us to live, speak, and act courageously in accordance with our faith beliefs.

Introducing ESTHER's new organizer, Bill Van Lopik

Bill Van LopikESTHER's Leadership Board is proud to announce that Bill Van Lopik has been named our new Lead Organizer. Bill brings both vision and experience to his work with ESTHER. And, in the words of Fr. Joe Mattern, president of ESTHER, his “passion and commitment to doing justice for the poor promises to make a huge impact in the Fox Valley.”

We invite you to read Bill's own words explaining why this new work excites him and how he plans to approach being ESTHER's lead organizer:

… I have been so impressed with the history, mission and members of ESTHER who are committed to social justice and making our community an accepting place to live for all people. This is a movement that I am excited to be a part of and one that I feel that I can contribute to in a positive and substantive way. I come to this position with many experiences in my life that….

Building a Better Community Discussion - OSHKOSH - Potluck Supper

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm
St. Andrew Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1100 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh

Friends and family enjoying a meal togetherYou are invited to further explore Your Faith, Your Values, and What You’re Willing To Stand For. This is the third and concluding session of community discussions during 2016, led by ESTHER. (You’ll enjoy the event whether or not you were able to attend earlier sessions.)

Bring a dish to pass, and share dinner with the diverse Oshkosh community as we explore the many facets of individual beliefs.


  • How does your faith manifest itself in your actions?
  • How do your values inform your choices?
  • What actions do you choose to grow yourself?
  • What responsibility do you have to family, friends, congregation and community?

For more information, contact Pastor Jewell at 920-235-6616

ESTHER's 12th Annual Banquet - November 13, 2016

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12th Anniversary Banquet: Speaking Truth to Power

Andy HallDee J. Hall

  • Sunday, November 13th - 5:00 PM
  • The Grand Meridian (2621 N. Oneida St.), Appleton
  • Keynote speakers: Dee J. Hall and Andy Hall, co-founders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and

Join us for fellowship, a great silent auction, joyous music, a delicious meal, well deserved awards, and an altogether wonderful celebration.

Click here to download the banquet flyer.

Register Now

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