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Celebrating ten years of building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice

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
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 5:00pm ESTHER Executive Committee LOCATION and TIME CHANGE First United Methodist, Neenah-Menasha, 108 W. Doty Ave. Neenah ESTHER OFFICE
Monday, February 2, 2015 - 5:30pm TiP 11 X 15 Task Force St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 7:00pm World Interfaith Harmony Week event in the Fox Valley St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah
Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 4:30pm ESTHER Leadership Board First Congregational UCC, Appleton Riverside Room Downstairs
Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 12:00pm ESTHER Leadership Board Retreat Day Location To Be Announced

World Interfaith Harmony Week 2015

Interfaith harmony wheelSupporters of interfaith harmony in the Fox Valley are gathering on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 PM at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week with an hour to pray, share and plan together. All are welcome!

Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley Joins ESTHER

Sikh Temple signESTHER welcomes the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley as a new faith-community member. Sikism is a monotheistic, South Asian religion originating in 15th-16th-century India in the region near the present-day India-Pakistan border. The Menasha-based temple is led by Priest Bhagwant Singh Balli and Dr. Kamaljit Paul, president of the Board of Trustees. Sunday services at the temple are open to everyone (with heads covered, out of respect) and are usually followed by a meal.

Reform Now: Solitary Confinement

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Title screen of solitary confinement videoOn October 1, 2014, members of WISDOM, Wisconsin’s statewide network of faith-based social justice organizations, gathered on the Capitol steps in Madison for an extraordinary event calling attention to the abusive overuse of solitary confinement in Wisconsin’s prisons, including practices that most of the world considers torture. (Click on the image to view Tim Coursen's video of this event.)

ESTHER's 2015 Officers Announced

At the December meeting of ESTHER’s Leadership Board on December 11, officers for 2015 were elected.

  • President - Father Joe Mattern (newly elected): Father Joe has been an active suppporter of ESTHER for many years, especially through his work with immigration and Casa Esther in Omro
  • Vice President - Mamadou Coulibaly (continuing): Mamadou represents the Fox Valley Islamic Society on our board. Both he and the Society are strong supporters of ESTHER.
  • Secretary - Connie Kanitz (newly elected): A long-time supporter of ESTHER, Connie belongs to the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She recently attended Gamaliel's week-long leadership training program.
  • Treasurer - Paul Siket (continuing): Paul is a member of First United Methodist Church, Appleton, and begins his second year on the ESTHER board.

Board members expressed their gratitude to retiring president Penny Robinson, Appleton, and retiring secretary Mary Gage, Menasha, for their two years of dedicated service and effective leadership on behalf of ESTHER.

Tenth Anniversary Banquet a Great Success!

Sr. Helen Prejean speaking at ESTHER's 10th anniversary banquetWhat an evening! More than 300 people (a record attendance) gathered at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton on December 7 to celebrate ESTHER’s ten years of growth and victories. People who had been active in ESTHER for many of those years spoke of our successes in promoting social justice, and Sister Helen Prejean inspired us with the story of her journey of faith and commitment in fighting against the death penalty. Master of Ceremonies Roger Bertschausen shared his 14 favorite things about ESTHER, and Fr. Joseph Mattern and friends dedicated their jazz piece to Sister Helen, who is from New Orleans. Warm ESTHER thanks to all who joined us to mark our first ten years!

Immigration Changes Offer Hope

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We are thankful for the first steps taken by our President to address the broken immigration system. Many families will remain united and find relief from some of their suffering, including those in the Fox Valley, as a result of this policy change.

While many have been discouraged by Congress's failure to act, we find hope in the courageous action taken by President Obama.

Comprehensive reform is still needed, and we continue to look to Congress to bring forward a solution, which a majority of Americans continue to call for.

Watch an except from the announcement here.

Sister Helen Prejean on How to Pronounce Her Name

Sister Helen Prejean, the keynote speaker at ESTHER's Tenth Anniversary Banquet on December 7, has a sense of humor!

Rather than listen to endless mispronunciations of her last name, the author of "Dead Man Walking" has taken matters into her own hands and recorded a video in which she clarifies the matter.

We hope you enjoy it!

Tickets to the ESTHER banquet, where you can meet and hear Sister Helen first-hand, are available online here.

10th Annual ESTHER Banquet Featuring Sr. Helen Prejean

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Join us as we celebrate a Decade of Justice at ESTHER's 10th annual banquet!

Sunday, December 7th - 5:00 PM

Radisson Paper Valley (333 W College Ave), Appleton

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online here

We are very excited to have Sister Helen Prejean as the keynote speaker for our gathering!  Nobel Peace Prize nominee, most prominently known as the author of the book Dead Man Walking, also adapted into a movie and opera. She is steadfast in her fight for fair treatment of those incarcerated and her stance against the death penalty. Sr. Helen sparks the national dialogue on capital punishment and compassionate treatment of prisoners. She engages the faith community to take action.

Meal options include pistachio crusted mahi mahi, roasted sirloin, and vegetable stir fry (vegan/gluten-free).

Download a copy of the flyer for printing here.


Make poverty a priority when you vote!

torn worn shoesPeople of faith called to respond to the scandal of poverty. Sign the letter!

About 60 faith leaders recently participated in the ESTHER-sponsored Poverty Summit and were shocked to learn that in Wisconsin the fastest growing and largest group of poor are children. One in ten of us lives in poverty, according to a presentation by Ken Taylor of Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

ESTHER calls upon all people to read and sign a letter composed by 100 Wisconsin faith leaders: Faithful Citizenship. Read Faithful Citizenship here. For instructions on how to add your signature, send email to You'll receive an auto-reply with a link and instructions.

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