A Rich Past and a Vibrant Future

Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church in La Crosse, WI. We're glad you're here.

welcome back to christ church
We wish you a blessed advent!!


note from senior warden 

Note from Senior Warden-
Thanks to everyone who have been so patient and understanding regarding the need to close the church to all activities this past week.
Thankfully Father Nick is recovering at home from his breakthrough case of COVID.  I am grateful for those who shared results of their COVID testing and blessed they have been negative. 
Tim Donahue (Jr Warden) and I have discussed the re-opening of church and have determined re-opening will be at the 8am service on Sunday November 28th.  This is Advent 1 Sunday and we are joyfully announcing the return of our choir at the 10:30 am service.
Father Nick will be conducting both services that Sunday as he will have been released by his physician the Friday prior.  We do appreciate the prayers for Father Nick and continuing prayers for a full recovery.  He will be masked throughout the service as before and will not remain in the back of the church for departure greetings, please understand his desire to somewhat separate from us and us from him during these COVID times.
I am happy to announce Father Mike has found an apartment and is planning to move soon.  He has been working diligently on getting this accomplished.  Thank you to everyone who helped him to look by sending your apartment recommendations for him.
Please attend “virtually” services for Thanksgiving and Father Nick has incorporated a Thanksgiving message he would like us all to hear.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and God’s blessings.

Greetings from our new rector! 

 from fr. mike mcelwee


Dear friends,


There is still about a month and a half before I formally join you, but I am very excited about moving to La Crosse and joining the community at Christ Church. I have already met some of you, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone else. In the meantime, here is a little about me.


I have lived most of my life in Wisconsin. I was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Wauwatosa, about a mile north of State Fair Park. My brother, sister, and I all went to the Wauwatosa Public Schools. I am the oldest of the three. My brother, Matt, is a rheumatologist at the University of New Mexico Medical Center in Albuquerque. His wife is currently doing her psychiatry residency there as well. My sister, Megan, and her husband, Josh, live in Portland, Oregon with their two children, Lily and Sam. She is a social worker by background and has been a stay-at-home mom (all the more important during the pandemic). Josh is a nephrologist.


My parents are both retired and are now living in Menomonee Falls. My dad grew up in Milwaukee. My mom is from San Francisco but moved to Milwaukee to work as a social worker. My dad was a suburban school district administrator, retired, and then was a professor at Mt. Mary College for a few years before retiring again.


Prior to entering seminary, I was a social worker for almost 20 years. I worked in aging and long-term care, almost always in home care settings. I went to college at UW-Eau Claire, where I studied social work and Spanish. I worked for two years in Milwaukee before moving to St. Louis to study for an MSW at Washington University. After one summer in St. Louis, I realized that Missouri summers and I do not get along, and I moved back to Wisconsin after graduation. I lived and worked in Racine for a few years for the same agency I worked for previously, moved back to Milwaukee, and then took a position in the home care program at the Milwaukee VA.


I grew up as a Roman Catholic. For a long time, I had felt a calling to ordained ministry, but I was not ready to take that step. When I moved back from St. Louis, I started a discernment process with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and also considered various religious communities. I eventually joined the Society of the Divine Savior, a community based in Milwaukee. However, I soon realized I was not called to that type of community life. I also realized that I no longer felt at home in the Roman Catholic church. I started attending services at All Saints Cathedral, and was received as an Episcopalian about two years later. I still felt that call to ministry, though. I went through the discernment process and moved to Austin for seminary. The Diocese of Milwaukee called me back to Wisconsin after graduation and placed me at Holy Cross in the Dells.


When I was growing up, my family periodically took road trips to visit relatives out west. This gave me a love of travel and of seeing new places. I also enjoy walking, hiking, and reading. I play the violin (more-or-less) but haven’t been able to do that much since starting seminary. I played in the orchestra at UW Eau Claire and with a couple of community groups in Milwaukee.


That’s a brief introduction. I look forward to more chances for us to get to know each other as we discern together what God is calling Christ Church to do. 


In Christ’s love, 

Fr. Mike


weekly meditation:

 from the rev. anne seddon

 Psalm 61, A:

Hear my cry, O God, and listen to my prayer.

I call upon you from the ends of the earth with heaviness in my heart; set me upon the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

I will dwell in your house forever; I will take refuge under the cover of your wings.

For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have granted me the heritage of those who fear your Name.

Add length of days to the king's life; let his years extend over many generations.

Let him sit enthroned before God for ever; bid love and faithfulness watch over him.

So will I always sing the praise of your Name, and day by day I will fulfill my vows.



Someone very dear to me recently told me that when he prays psalm 61, he hears the voice of a man yearning to be closer to God. Indeed, this is a longing in the human heart that is as ancient as the psalms and as modern as this very moment. It is a desire to be at peace in His loving care. And as we approach the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, this feeling grows stronger and stronger within us.


As I ponder this, I realize that the psalmist shares two special ways for fulfilling this desire. Two ways to help me draw nearer to God during this time of Advent. First, is to draw nearer to the community of the faithful (vs 4) so that I may come to know Him through journeying with other people who also seek Him while growing in hope, faith and love. And I know that the psalmist is right because by the simple act of sharing my faith with another, I have felt myself grow in hope and love. It multiplies exponentially!


Second, we need to sing His praises from day to day (vs 8). Focusing my attention on praising Him somehow brings me into His presence in a unique and powerful way. I stand before Him face to face and 'see' His glory. I am transfixed and transformed.


Two seemingly simple actions: being with His people and raising my voice in praise and thanksgiving! These two will help my longing heart come closer to the God who loves me. These two will help me find a path to walk on and a balm to soothe my yearning soul.




Lord, at this time of waiting and anticipation, please allow me to experience what you are asking me to be open to in this world, in this place, with this community of people. Give me a sense of calmness and awareness to heed your directives as we come to the remembrance of your coming as the Messiah to this broken and tired world. Bring us into the new time of anticipation as we await your coming again in great glory. We ask this in your Name. AMEN.

important reopening information:

 please read our august mask update:

Due to the rise of Covid-19 cases in La Crosse County and new recommendations to wear face masks indoors (even by vaccinated) people. Christ Episcopal church's Vestry voted to re-implement the requirement to wear face masks during services. Our goal is to protect every member and guest as best as possible. Thank you.

Sunday Services have resumed at both 8 AM and 10:30 AM.

Please continue to wear your masks, use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing in the pew, and follow the direction of Ushers, Vestry, or Clergy for receiving communion, other worship activities, and fellowship. We want to keep everyone safe, and ensure that our worship together is a blessing!!      


We look forward to seeing your masked face soon!!

Also, please share your prayer requests with timleedonahue@gmail.com 

Just because we can't be together doesn't mean we can't pray together! 


Prayer for Sundays:

"In union, O Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I desire to offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the earnest wish that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. AMEN"

Online Devotional Resources Available 

Church Publishing Incorporated is making a PDF version of the Book of Common Prayer (online), and other free resources for devotional use.

More here


Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church






At Christ Episcopal Church, we are a congregation whose mission is to know Christ and to make Him known to others. We are a welcoming congregation. You may be a cradle Episcopalian, a non-believer or somewhere in between. We are an inclusive community which supports all lifestyle choices. We want to be your loving home where you are nourished and grow in God’s love. We want to accompany you on a journey which deepens your faith, grounds you spiritually and surrounds you with loving acceptance. When we share the peace of our Lord - we mean it! Children eagerly scamper to share the peace with parents in the choir, while acolytes light from the altar to greet family in the pews. Our peace may take a while longer than you’re used to as we warmly greet each other in Christ’s name.

We are located in the heart of downtown and actively partner with the Salvation Army, New Horizons Shelter (from abuse), United Campus Ministries and Coulee Council on Recovery to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and the greater La Crosse Community. We minister daily to those living on the margins of society seeking acceptance, spiritual guidance, financial assistance and hope in a world where they seek to find their place in God’s plan.

Hospitality, outreach, and education are all part of our mission within and beyond our congregation. We minister to our members and visitors alike. We bring Communion, blessings, anointing, guidance and counseling to members within our parish as well as those who cannot come to church due to age, illness, or disability. We honor those with special worship needs, certified service animals are welcome. We are committed to our children, seniors and all those in between.



                                                                                                Annual Blessing of the Pets (link to La Crosse Tribune Article)


Our church members include a broad cross section of society. La Crosse hosts two world class hospitals highly rated by the U.S. World News and Reports. We also host three colleges; vast recreational, hunting and fishing opportunities; plus a thriving art and music scene. All these are situated within two miles of our front door. Click here to learn more about our amazing city and community.

We are one of 19 parishes of the Diocese of Eau Claire. We’re members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, part of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America who reside and worship in North and Western counties of Wisconsin.