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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, December 17, 2018 - 1:30pm - 3:00pm ESTHER Communications Committee First Congregational UCC Church, Appleton/West Conference Room
Monday, December 17, 2018 - 5:00pm ESTHER Finance Committee First Congregational UCC Church, Appleton/Upper Lounge
Thursday, January 3, 2019 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm ESTHER Executive Meeting ESTHER Office, Neenah
Monday, January 7, 2019 - 6:00pm ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force St. Mark's Lutheran, Neenah
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 4:00pm Oshkosh ESTHER B'nai Israel, Oshkosh

Become a Monthly Sustainer: Our Work Takes Time …

Bringing justice and equi­ty to our society will not happen overnight, or even in a year or two.

We have to main­tain our effort over the long haul, and that requires a de­pen­dable fi­nan­cial base. Monthly Sustain­ers pro­vide fund­ing we can count on for the long run … through automatic month­ly con­tri­bu­tions (of $10 or more) from their check­ing or savings account.

We invite you to become a Monthly Sustainer of ESTHER. Just download this form, fill it out, and mail it to ESTHER, PO Box 784, Neenah, WI 54957.

Thank you!

Shared Sanctuary Ministry Fund - Call for Contributions

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ESTHER is pleased to bring attention to a recent letter from two ESTHER member congregations: The Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Winnebago Worship Group, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker). These congregations have both gone on record in declaring that they will house those threatened with deportation should the need arise. Their letter says, in part:

The Winnebago Worship Group, Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) and the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are the two congregations in the Fox Cities that have declared themselves to be Sanctuary Congregations. While no individuals are currently living in sanctuary, many in our community are relying on us to provide support in other ways …[including] showing up in the wake of immigration raids and providing financial support for legal services and a range of household needs. We are running out of money to do this critical work.

2018 Banquet Sets New Record

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Leonard Pitts, Jr., speaking with banquet guest Sharyn GawlickMore than 350 people—a record!—gathered at Liberty Hall in Kimberly on Sunday evening, November 4, for ESTHER’s 15th annual banquet. The room was full, and overflowed with an amazing spirit. During the program, ESTHER recognized Lisa Hanneman for her Individual Leadership in prison reform work, focusing on medication reform at the Outagamie County Jail (story here). Mayor Tim Hanna and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Karen Nelson accepted the Community Leadership award for bringing the national Dignity & Respect Campaign to Appleton (story here).

Keynote speaker Leonard Pitts, Jr., in a powerful and personal talk covering racism, immigration, the #MeToo movement, and our hope for change, challenged us to act, but first to listen. The Appleton Post-Crescent covered the event in a story you can find here.

And there’s more….

2018 ESTHER Leadership Award: Lisa Hanneman

Lisa HannemanThe 2018 Individual Leadership Award was presented to Lisa at our 15th Annual Banquet on November 4, 2018.

Lisa’s involvement with ESTHER in 2016 came out of a deep tragedy in her life. Her son Nathan died from a brain tumor. While he was terminally ill and in the state criminal justice system and county jail, his terminal cancer diagnosis was not fully acknowledged, in spite of Lisa’s repeated petitions. He was improperly given his anti-seizure and chemotherapy medications. He died shortly after being released from jail. Lisa has turned her grief into advocacy. Though hesitant at first to accept the formal role of chair of the ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force, and she has excelled in it.…

2018 ESTHER Leadership Award: Dignity & Respect Appleton

Appleton Diversity and Inclusion Director Karen Nelson and Mayor Tim HannaWith the launch of its Dignity & Respect Campaign on January 16, 2018, the City of Appleton became the 101st city in the country, and the first in Wisconsin, to participate in this nationwide program. ESTHER has chosen this campaign to receive its Community Leadership Award for 2018, recognizing both Mayor Tim Hanna and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Karen Nelson for their imagination, leadership and sustainedDignity & Respect Campaign Appleton Logo support to build a community that celebrates inclusion of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The City of Appleton is the 101st municipality in the country, and the first in Wisconsin, to participate in this nationwide program, which brings new focus to the city’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion….

Introducing Melissa Ludin, EXPO Fox Valley Organizer

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Melissa LudinEXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing, a project of WISDOM), under the leadership of previously imprisoned women and men, works to end mass incarceration, eliminate all forms of structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restore formerly incarcerated people to full participation in the life of our communities.

Melissa Ludin is the new EXPO organizer in the Fox Cities. She works closely with ESTHER and its Prison Reform Task Force, as well as providing state-wide support. Here is how Melissa describes herself and her work:

I have been a leader and a board member of the organization since May 2016. As a formerly incarcerated woman, I lead with an unrelenting passion for criminal justice reform and reentry peer support…. My goal is to build trust and provide support, a mission I am still pursuing.

Madison Action Day 2019

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 9:00am - 3:00pm
Madison Masonic Temple, 301 Wisconsin Ave, Madison

Save the Date!

More than 1,000 people, from affiliates of the WISDOM network and many others, will gather in Madison on March 26, 2019, to learn about issues in the proposed state budget, meet with legislators and administration officials, and advocate for a state government and policies that reflect the humane values we hold. Join us!

Buses will be transporting people to the event. Save the date now, and stay tuned for details about transportation and schedule.

Help spread the word! Download and share the attached flyer.

Follow Madison Action Day 2019 on Facebook.