One Bread One Body September 23

News from St. Nicholas



You know of the disease called “sleeping sickness.”
There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.
Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming.
That is why you have to be careful.
As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference,
the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness,
of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning.
Your soul suffers if you live superficially. — Albert Schweitzer

Today is Participate! Sunday

What this means is that during our church school time at 10 a.m. we are going to invite children and adults to spend some time exploring ways to participate in our weekly worship. We’ll have brief introductions and training for these liturgical ministries:

  • Choir
  • Readers and intercessors (leading the prayers of the people)
  • Acolytes
  • Greeters
  • Altar guild
  • Gift-bearers (bringing the bread and wine to the altar)
  • Chalice-bearers (helping out with communion)

We hope everyone will pick at least one of these ways to become involved. Church works best – and is more fun — when we all help out.

In late October or early November, we’ll have another Participate Sunday – this one focused on mission and outreach.

Recovery Sunday is next Sunday, September 30

Our first Recovery Sunday – a time to celebrate the women and men who participate in the 12-step groups — and all in recovery – is coming up. Be sure to be there for adult ed as well as worship, as we’ll have special guest speakers. And especially importantly, join us for the picnic after the 11 a.m. liturgy, when we’ll meet and greet and feed the people whose lives we are celebrating. AND BRING FOOD for the picnic at noon!

Blessing of the Animals – and Pet Fair on October 7

Talk to your pet and let him or her know we’ve got a special day coming up. And we are going to break new ground, as the day will be extended to include not only the blessing at both liturgies, but also an Animal Fair from noon-2, featuring adoptables and more.

Labyrinth Walk

This Friday night, September 21, 7-9 p.m. If you’ve never walked the Labyrinth, come try it. It’s a great tool for meditation, a wonderful opportunity to s l o w d o w n. . . .

Any ideas for a logo?

OK. We’ve got ourselves a name. That’s a big step in identity formation. We know who we are. Now we want to begin communicating who we are to others – and one important tool in this communication is a LOGO. But we need your help. We’d like everyone in the parish to begin thinking – and praying about a symbol that might convey clearly who we are. You can sketch it if you want. Or if you feel artistically challenged, put it into words. You can give your ideas to Steve or anyone on the bishop’s committee. You also can email them to Thanks!

Building update

Following two good meetings last week, it appears that all systems are go – finally! – for our addition. While we had to make some significant compromises in several room sizes – my fault for asking in the first place only for the space I felt we needed (I should have added 10-15 per cent) – we are going to get a building that will make possible major growth for our parish. Our Diocese is putting a great deal of faith in us and I am confident we are going to reward that faith.

What will happen next is that the architect will come up with final drawings, and the builder will price out that plan to make sure it comes in at or below budget. Once the drawings are done, we will apply for a permit. If all continues to go well, we should be able to break ground before Christmas – and that would be a great present for everyone.

An Evening of Romance?

Picture yourself sitting at a dinner table with your loved one, spending that long awaited time set aside just for the two of you. A special sit-down dinner at the church with candle light, and special music for the evening. You will have conversation designed to foster deeper intimacy to bring you back to cherish your relationship. Interested? Please respond by clicking on this link to let us know if you’d be interested in an event like this.

Second Family Ministry

We have received a request from a family with five children for help with winter clothes. The clothing can be new or used if the items are clean and in good shape. This family has requested help previously from Holy Innocents and they now are turning to our combined congregation. Please be generous. Here is the information about these children.

Boy Age 8 Size 7-8 shirt, 9-10 pants
Girl Age 11 Size 9-10
Girl Age 12 Size 12 top, 12 slim pants
Boy Age 13 Size 14 or XL
Boy High School Size XXL

Our ad in Windy City Times is up

Our ad on the web site of Windy City Times, one of the gay newspapers for Chicago, is now up. You can see it by visiting Be sure to visit it and tell us what you think! When you click on the ad, it will take you into a special page on our web site. This present copy takes advantage of the nomination of Tracey Lind, a partnered lesbian, for bishop of Chicago, and is one of several ad copies we will run during the next 26 weeks.

We’ve agreed in the bishop’s committee to do some targeted advertising aimed at gay and lesbian people during this program year. We don’t know how successful we will be, but the advertising is relatively inexpensive, the vehicle (the Windy City Times web site) is readily available, and the campaign offers us an opportunity to develop our message and skills with one group and then transfer what we learn to our other target groups. Because our own web site is such an important part of our current evangelism, the web-to-web tie-in is nice. It also allows us to track the response to our ad.

Next year, once we have the building up and a place to put more kids, we are planning to target families with young children. That likely will be a significantly more expensive campaign.

Food pantry items we now need include…

Help replenish the food pantry by bringing one or more non-perishable items each Sunday and placing them on or beneath the table just inside the worship space. Items that we particularly need for the pantry are juice, sugar, laundry detergent, paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissue.

Bishop’s committee report

Minutes of September 12, 2007 meeting
Present:, Manny Borg, David Taylor, Pat Kalicki, Steve Martz, Karen Martin, Paul Brouillette
Absent: Mary Anne O’Rourke, Ethan Jewett

There were no official actions taken. The following topics were discussed –
The Blessing of the Animals
The Welcoming Team’s plan to make the first Sunday of each month “Celebration Sunday” and to encourage wider involvement in the Yummy Hour
The Nurturing Team’s work toward establishing a regular liturgy at the Asbury Court retirement community
The plans for the building addition

Team news
Generosity Team. Summary of Sunday, September 16, meeting.

We discussed the notion of growing into increased generosity. As a way to model increased communal generosity, we would like to ask that an outreach component be added to our operating budget. This would be somehow in direct proportion to our income as a community. It was noted that congregations that have strong outreach attract new members. We talked about moving even more fully away from insularity, in recognition that we are a part of something larger. One way to do this is to commit to being generous “outside our own four walls” with our assets. As a concrete sign of this, we decided to hold the Christmas candy sale, but to also give away the profits. This is a move away from arms holding what we have close to us and toward a stance of arms outstretched.

We also discussed timing of annual stewardship efforts. Arrived at the following:
Letter will be mailed on October 14 along with newly designed pledge form that provides opportunity to pledge time, abilities and money toward the mission and ministry of St. Nicholas. It was noted that gifts of time and abilities are just as important as gifts of money. Letter will consist of personal reflections about giving and generosity written by each member of the generosity team. Letter will not mention a monetary goal. Any stated goal will simply be to become even more generous as individuals and as a community. Rather than asking people to give to the budget, we will be asking people to pray about how they might be even more generous with their time, abilities and money. Members will be asked to bring their pledge form to church on commitment Sunday. On that day, instead of our usual collection procedure, members will bring their pledge forms and offerings to the altar. Those not able to be present that day will be encouraged to mail or bring their forms in before that date.

Action items:
a) Team members write a personal reflection
b) Coordinate communications about stewardship thru One Bread, One Body
c) Obtain a list of members from the database. This should include new members (but not first-time visitors—we discussed how shying away from seeking generosity from new members actually serves to alienate them from their new community rather than encourage them to live fully into it). Letters will be hand addressed and personally signed by team members by October 14.
d) Communicate with Welcoming Team about revised collection procedure on Commitment Sunday (November 18)

Following upon the mailed letter, members of St. Nicholas who are not on the generosity team will be invited to speak briefly at services (their remarks will be made available in the edition of One Bread, One Body email which follows their remarks). This serves as a strong symbol that the work of growing in generosity does not belong solely to the members of the team, but to the congregation as a whole.

Action items:
a) Decide which members we’ll ask to speak and assign dates
b) Communicate parameters to speakers (we want folks to share stories about their own experiences around being generous)

We also discussed the purpose of efforts at becoming transparent with our finances. While some members of the team saw the “numbers” as serving as a way for members to learn about where we stand and what we could use in terms of increased giving, others see it as a way of imaging our possibilities. Only when we know what we have, can we think in creative and life-giving ways about using what we have. We discussed the differences in models of “scarcity” and “abundance”.

Finally, Bob mentioned that they still have the guestbook from Holy Innocents. We would like to see contact made with persons who signed the HI guestbook. We would envision inviting them to St. Nicholas to give us a try.

Next meeting: Wednesday, September 26, 6:00 p.m.

Yummy Hour needs you

From the Welcoming Team:

Dear Parishioners of St. Nicholas,
We are seeking volunteers to help provide snacks for the social gatherings after both the 9 and 11 am liturgies. Cookies, cakes, sweet or savory, and simple is fine, too. Ideally, we ask if the same person(s) covers both the 9 and 11am gatherings. Set up of snacks, regular and decaf coffee and a pot of hot water for tea. Sugar, creamer, cups, napkins and stirs are in the cabinets in the Gathering Space while coffee and coffee pots are in the kitchen space. Let’s all get involved!

There is a sign up sheet in the church – AND you can sign up online by picking one of these available dates and times and emailing your choice to Manny:

Here’s the schedule to choose from:
September 23

September 30

October 7
9am Celebration Sunday…cake provided
11am Celebration Sunday…cake provided

October 14

October 21

October 28

November 4 – All Saints’ Sunday
9am Celebration Sunday…cake provided
11am Celebration Sunday…cake provided

November 11

November 18

November 25

December 2
9am Celebration Sunday…cake provided
11am Celebration Sunday….cake provided

December 9 – St. Nicholas Sunday

December 16

December 23

December 30

If you shop at Amazon…

…be sure to visit it through our web site and part of your purchase will go to our church, thanks to the work of Ginny Gibbs. Go to our web site at Click on more news and events, which will take you to the blog and then look around until you find and click the Amazon link.

Evangelism conference

I know February 8 and 9 seem a long way away. But I hope a half dozen or more of us will begin thinking about attending the “Magnetic Church Conference” being sponsored those days by our diocesan Evangelism Commission. It will help us learn to reach out more effectively to potential new members and to incorporate them more fully into our community.

The conference begins Friday evening and goes all day Saturday. The Friday session is less important for us, as it focuses on overcoming negative views of evangelism – something that is less an issue in our parish than in many others. Saturday will focus on communication, signage and facilities, and new member ministry. These should be helpful for all of us.

Registration is $40 per person, and the parish can pay for you if necessary. We can go for $35 each if we have a group of four or more and register by January 18, so please let Steve, Mary Anne, or Ethan know if you are

One bread, one body

Working in any bureaucracy can be frustrating, and church bureaucracies may be especially frustrating. Our work during the past several months on the building addition has been, frankly, exasperating at times. Imagine “Dilbert” from the comic strip in ecclesial drag. Or the television program “The Office” crossed with the vice-president’s office. I’ve purposely kept this process from you because I trusted that in the end we would work it out – and why spread the yuck and muck around?

So I am pleased – no, thrilled – to say we have finally worked it out and are moving forward. There’s a lot of talent involved in this project and we at last seem to have figured out how to use it collaboratively rather than competitively. At two meetings last week, we were able to agree on the footprint of the building addition and 98 per cent of the floor plan. Although it’s not perfect, or all we asked for and really could use, I am certain all of you will be pleased by it. I am.

Barring something completely unforeseen, we will break ground well before Christmas and have our building in place in time for the beginning of the 2008-09 program year. Fittingly, in 2009, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of both the congregations that make up our new congregation. What a celebration that is going to be!

We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then, but I think it is going to be fun work. Thanks to each of you for all you are doing. You are the reason this is happening, and the reason we will be able to serve far more people in the coming years. Let’s enjoy this building as it goes up – disruptions and all – and let’s especially enjoy the ministry it will make possible!

Lots of love,
— Steve

Our schedule this week

Sunday, September 23

Worship at 9 & 11 a.m.
AA meets at 7:30 p.m.


AA meets at noon
AA meets at 7 p.m.


AA meets at noon
AA meets at 7 p.m.


Bishop’s committee meets at 11 a.m.
AA meets at noon


AA meets at noon
GA meets at 7 p.m.


AA meets at noon


AA meets at 1 p.m.
AA meets at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 30

Worship at 9 & 11
Church School for children and adults; adult ed focuses on the 12 steps

[tags]Chicago, Episcopalian, Anglican, welcoming, church, fun, recovery, pet blessing, AA[/tags]

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