One Bread, One Body October 8

News from Holy Innocents & St. Nicholas

Blessing of the Animals at Holy Innocents today. Join us at the 9 liturgy – and bring a pet. Remember, too, that if you don’t have a live pet, you can bring a stuffed animal.

Ice Cream Sundae at St. Nicholas today after church. Bring your favorite topping to share.

Wednesday spirituality series began wonderfully on October 4, with 18 people in attendance. I hope you will be one of those attending this Wednesday, October 11 at St. Nicholas. We begin with a meal at 6 p.m. At 6:45, we begin the program, at 7:45 we end with Compline (Night Prayer) and everyone is out the door by 8. The program works intergenerationally, and children are welcome.

The theme for the series in “Engaging Your Spiritual Autobiography,” and it is lots of fun. There’s a mix of small group exercises and large group discussions. Each session will stand on its own, so if you can’t make one session, you’ll be fine at the next. This coming Wednesday – October 11 — I’ve asked participants to bring their favorite hymn, scripture passage, poem, painting, aria – whatever it is that inspires you and helps you feel close to God. You can bring it physically – or in your imagination; either
way is fine.

I’ve also adjusted the schedule. Instead of running for eight weeks, we’ll go for six. The first four will give you tools to write your own spiritual autobiography – if you choose. In the final two we will write the spiritual autobiographies of each parish.

St. Nicholas is at 1072 Ridge Avenue in Elk Grove Village, 847.439.2067.

November is Women in Ministry Month at both St. Nicholas and Holy Innocents. All liturgical roles will be taken by women that month. This is timed to coincide with the installation of the Episcopal Church’s first woman presiding bishop.

Diocesan Convention is coming. The Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, to be held Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, provides an opportunity for fellowship and learning. In addition to clergy, delegates and alternates, we’ve paid for several additional guest registrations to be used by parishioners. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact Pat D’Aprix at 224-625-5101 (daytime) or 312-215-3618 (evening) or send an e-mail to You can
find complete information on the diocesan website at

Past St. Nicholas attendees have most enjoyed the workshops — there are three sessions: Friday 9:00-10:15, 10:30-11:45 and Saturday 8:30-10:15 – and the main liturgy on Saturday morning.

The 42 workshop topics include:

* “Companions in Transformation: The Blessing of Global Mission”

* “Small Groups for Spiritual Formation and Guidance”

* “Faith Alive, a weekend parish renewal for the entire family based on our Baptismal Commitment”

St. Nicholas Giving Opportunity Our adopted family from Clearmont School needs peanut butter and jelly for fall lunches. Our second adopted family from Grove Junior High needs breakfast foods. And we also are collecting Halloween costumes for several families.

Joint Bishop’s Committee meeting. The bishops’ committees of both parishes will meet jointly on Sunday, October 29, from noon to 4 p.m. This will be the first in an ongoing series of meetings in which we will explore how we might develop from our two different communities a single community that is a vital center of the gospel. By this, I mean a community committed to its own communal and personal transformation as well as to transforming lives of those outside its walls through mission.

One Bread, One Body – week 8 reflections. I met this past week with Randall Warren, the diocesan staff member who serves as our liaison, and Jarrett Kerbel, who is co-chair of the Congregations Commission for the diocese. They were both encouraged to hear the strong commitment to mission and ministry in both parishes, pleased that members of both congregations are beginning to connect in meaningful ways, and impressed at the strong turnout for our Wednesday Spirituality series.

This is one of many conversations we will all be having. Indeed, Randall and Jarrett both are looking forward to attending a joint meeting of the two bishop’s committees in the not-too-distant future and working with us to develop a new future.

What was most exciting to me is that I came away from the meeting convinced — for the first time in my 11 years out here — that diocesan leadership is fully committed to creative thinking and planning for truly effective ministry in our Northwest suburbs. I feel certain the days of our small congregations struggling alone to survive and do modest ministry are ending. This is Good, Good News!

What Jarrett and Randall would like to do in the long run is plant a new church somewhere in the Northwest suburbs. The first step in that process will be to bring Holy Innocents and St. Nicholas together in one building. There we will create from our two smaller congregations one much more vital congregation able to meet the needs of its members more effectively and to engage in significant ministry outside its walls. In time, we will provide support – and, I hope, some funding – for the new plant.

Our part will not be easy, but we will have help. Saying goodbye to two buildings will be especially hard. I say two because I believe that both of our congregations will lose their building. One will lose its building through closure, and the other through accommodating furnishings and the spirituality of the parish whose building closes. It will take a lot of love for one another to do this well, understanding there is both loss and gain – but I think we are up to it.

Here’s my image for the first step: we are going to light a unity candle. Most of you are familiar with these, for they have become popular at many weddings. It’s three candles – one for the individual life that each of the spouse brings, and one for the new marriage. The beauty of the unity candles is that the middle one – the marriage – is lit from the fire of the two individual candles, and all three candles burn brightly together.

That is my goal for what we are about to do. I want the candle that is Holy Innocents and the candle that is St. Nicholas to continue to burn brightly. Let’s bring all that is wonderful about each congregation to this holy union, and then from their individual fires, light a new candle to burn between us.

I am so grateful to each one of you for being willing to play with fire! To the people of Holy Innocents: I especially love your courage and hope, and your willingness to welcome me, pretty much a stranger, so kindly and graciously. To the people of St. Nicholas: I am particularly grateful for you patience and openness to this new endeavor, which I know came upon you rather suddenly and surprisingly.

I know there will be tears ahead, but I believe there also will be joy. We are an Easter people, and I trust that a year or two from now, we all will be warmer for doing this – and so will the people whose lives we will together transform through the light of Christ burning in us. Blessings,– Steve

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