…and in conclusion to the election… 

The world continues to revolve. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The sky remains suspended above us and the firm earth remains under foot. In spite of the drama of the previous week, we continue to live our lives because that is what we must do. The alternative is far, less inviting.

Any election will result in half of the populace pleased while the other half is left disappointed. Last week’s presidential election was no different. We had all been subjected to the campaigning for the past 19 months. Blessedly, it has come to an end, the campaigning that is. Now, the real work of re-bridging a divided and cautious nation begins.

What is our role in this major reconstruction project? My dear friends, we all have a role and a responsibility in the task of taking away the negativity and visceral bitterness and replacing them with optimism, hope and cooperation. What has been torn down must be made erect again. What has been painted as unacceptable must be touched with the colors of acceptance; a virtual rainbow of acceptance of all people as equal, nothing more and nothing less will do and securing the rights of all people and letting be the laws that secure marriage rights for all people. Rather than hope for failure of the newly elected, let us work toward success. Because what is at stake is far more important than the current hurt feelings, anger and disappointment.

Quite frankly, Wednesday, Nov. 9 was a dark day for me and many of us. It’s not as if we haven’t had setbacks in the past. This particular event, this most memorable of elections seemed to hurt just a bit more intensely. Than, like the sunbeam that made its way from under and above the curtains, I remembered how elated I was when, then Senator Barack Obama won the presidency back in 2008 and how half the nation rejoiced while the other half were left to ponder what went wrong. I remembered how I felt. The happiness, while so wonderful gave way to the mundane nature of ‘day to day’ life. I suspect president-elect Obama felt euphoric and triumphant at the time. Yet, once the reality of life and the mountain-high duties and inevitable obstacles were realized, I suspect that happiness was sobered with cold and harsh reality.

This is what I suspect president-elect Trump is going to encounter. High as a kite right now, he will, in due time, come to better understand and appreciate the magnitude of his responsibilities and obligations. He, too will face obstacles, more so than anticipated I suspect. The happiness of half the nation will wane while the bitterness and disappointment of the other half will pass. This is our time to join forces: the blue and the red, the formerly disappointed and euphoric, liberals and conservatives, gay and straight, young and old, city and suburban, the soccer moms and the construction workers, Latino, Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist and agnostic..this is the time for us to come together and do what must be done. Let’s not spend time building a wall, figuratively or literally. Rather, let us invest in our greatest and most precious of assets…US. We are a resilient lot, are we not? We shall overcome because that is what we do. While it will take time, pride and disappointment must be checked at the door, sleeves will be rolled up and to work we shall go.

I’m feeling better, thank you. That Wednesday morning after I made my way to the E.G.V. Jewel and picked up two car loads of donated items, (hey, how much can I possibly load into my little Prius?) I took to some repair jobs at the church. There were several projects that needed attention. So, I paid said attention, repaired, cleaned things up and felt useful, successful and accomplished! That’s the point, my beloved family of St. Nicholas. We must be engaged in actions that benefit others. And if we feel good about the work we do, so be it. Some of us have made the cognitive and deliberate choice to become members of the ACLU.

Wonderful move. Others will dedicate time to charitable causes, volunteering to help house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and lift up those who have been laid low. Beautiful. Let’s make sure we talk to our children, our students and to one another. Let us not be silent with our reservations and fears as well as our hopes, our willingness to remain strong and our determination to “hold our newly elected feet to the fire” to ensure equality for all. May I also suggest we make a point in being present at the worship, attending our weekend Liturgy and taking an active role in the life of our church, our St. Nicholas? There’s room for us all and there’s plenty of work to be done. As we rebuild the morale of our nation we can also and just as importantly go about fortifying and giving the attention our church so deserves.

Congratulations, Mr. Trump and Gov. Pence. May you lead us well, fairly, without prejudice nor favoritism to others. Our country needs healing and the world awaits to see just how you and the nation conducts ourselves. 



Father Manny150

Father Manny: The Generosity Of Being St Nicholas

What does one do when it’s 2:05 in the morning, you can’t sleep, you’ve already read for an hour and are still pretty much wide awake? You watch television in the hopes it will make you sleepy enough to get the rest you desire and need.

So, I ventured downstairs, quietly and carefully descending the stairs in the darkness and silence of the early, morning stillness. Wrapping myself in a blanket, switched on the television and selected one of the PBS stations. A telecast on the Egyptian art of mummification of animals had just started. Immediately, I was captured. Rather than my eyelids getting heavy, I was drawn into the program, fascinated and intrigued. I had read some about this ancient art, this ritual, but this particular program enlightened me to facts both new and wondrous.

Ancient Egypt had many gods. The people prayed to the gods and goddesses for particular favors they desired. To Ma’at, the goddess of moral and physical law they would pray for guidance and direction regarding disputes and disagreements. To Ra, the god of the sun, they’d pray for light, guidance direction and to dispel the darkness. To Horas, the king of the gods, the people would pray for their pharaoh’s protection and success. There were other gods and goddesses who represented virtually all aspect of human life. The people wanted more; they desired to have a more “direct connection” with their deities. In order to provide such desired intimacy between god and humankind, the concept of offerings to the gods was created. The “farming” of animals, namely dogs and cats by the millions was established. These animals would be offered to the gods and mummified. Within the layers of cloth wrappings, coins, jewelry and other such trinkets were placed as offerings and tithing to the gods, so the gods would grant special favors and blessings to those who prayed to them.

Am I glad that we Christians never adopted such behavior and practice, you know, providing offerings to our God. Oh wait, I think we did and we still do. Sure, we don’t place our offerings, our gifts, our pledges inside a mummified pet nor do we burn our offerings as an oblation to our God and Creator. When we use incense, it is meant to be pleasing to God as it rises upwards to the heavens. We have become a much more sophisticated society, thank you very much. First of all, we are monotheistic: we believe in One True and Eternal God, Three Beings in One…Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such, we worship our God with our participation and reception of the Sacraments, in the Holy Eucharist on weekends, feasts, holy days and special Church Seasons and occasions. We glorify the Lord our God with acts of mercy and kindness, with our visits to the home-bound and hospitalized, with active involvement in our community of faith. As 21st Century Christians and members of this Episcopal community of faith, we share our time, our talent and our treasure for God’s greater glory and the continued establishment, growth and spreading of the Good News of Christ.

Rummage Sale Volunteers

Rummage Sale Volunteers Generously Donated Time And Elbow Grease

At St. Nicholas, we are blessed with a wealth of generosity: so many who give in so many ways. A few weeks back as I was walked toward the church and there was Connie Nicholson hard at work in the gardens, planting mums and arranging things just so. This is a marvelous way of giving back to the Church and it finds favor by all who pass our way and take in the beauty of our gardens. The Williams Family, LeWayne, Earl and Eason were hard at work on Halloween day, scrubbing the bathrooms till they sparkled and vacuuming the carpets cleaner than clean. Bob Kalicki, Jeff Westerheide and Gary Lackey (who is not a member of this community) continue to make sure the Food Pantry is ready and waiting for our guests. The choir rehearses on Wednesday nights with Mary Fletcher-Gomez leading and directing. Cyndi DeBock makes sure the worship programs are set for our use on the weekend with Pat Kalicki and Tameica Williams contributing their wisdom and insight to the cause. The Order of St. Luke provides us healing and anointing on a monthly basis and now shares this sacred gift with the good people of Asbury Court. Jennifer Brundige, Tess Setchell, Ray Malecek and Bob Kalicki oversee our finances. Hank Mandziara tends to the building and grounds, checking things over and making sure all is as it should be. Douglas VanHouten, with watchful and skillful eye gets News From Nick set to mail out each week without fail.

There are those who share their faith with Varied Voices once a month. Tony Begonja and Hal Stratton share their musical gifts with us on various Saturdays at our 4:30 Liturgy. Val Gruenwald leads our young people and children in Formation. Connie Nicholas leads us in Bible Study and Steve Gruenwald shares his special gifts in our Contemporary Conversations and Issues once a month. So many others are lectors at our weekend Liturgies, proclaiming Sacred Scripture as the Living Word of God that it truly is. The Support Groups contribute their fair share in helping to sustain our church financially as well as mowing the lawns and taking care of the snow on weekends, too. The Bishop’s Committee, Building Committee, Outreach Committee, Liturgy Team and Altar Guild are all hard at work doing what is needed to ensure our future be bright and enduring. And there are others who pledge, contribute, tithe and provide as they can, when they can and as they can. All of us, each and every one of us is a blessing to this church and in turn, we are a blessing to one another. Forgive me if I have overlooked anyone. Truly, my desire and intent is to mention all of us, whether directly or indirectly, because we are all part of the body of Christ, that which makes this church alive, breathing and growing. My immense thanks to each and every one of us who contributes so much, so often and so lovingly.

No my friends, there are no mummies here. No burnt offerings to any deity whatsoever. No secret passageways that leads to any hidden chamber or anteroom. Rather, there is a living and breathing entity at 1072 Ridge Avenue that bears witness to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of David…our God and the Son, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit, all of whom we worship, give praise and thank for Their presence, Their love and Their gifts which are eternal and ever-lasting.



Father Manny150

Mystery and Murder Gala with Rodriguez Dance Theatre Oct. 11 (corrected date!)


Presented by:

The Rodriguez Dance Theatre


St. Nicholas Episcopal Church

Friday, October 11, 2013
Red Carpet and Cash Bar at 6:30 PM
Elegant Small Plates, Live Music and Mystery at 7:30 PM

St. Nick’s Lisette Rodriguez and Rodriguez Dance Theatre (RDT) are kicking off their seventh season with their first significant fundraising event, to be held at St. Nicholas on Friday, October 11, 2013. All members of our community are invited to share in a rollicking, 1920s themed “evening of dancing and murder”.

Board Member Bob DeHaven explains that Dance to Death will be RDT’s first Gala event. “It has been great fun for me to see Lisette’s company grow, just in the two years that I have been on the board. The company members keep challenging themselves, and Lisette keeps raising the bar of both physical and artistic expectation. Although the main goal of a fundraiser is to increase our revenue to keep strengthening the company, it has been equally important to provide a great evening at a good value. We are still developing our audience and our reputation in the community. This event is intended to showcase the company’s talent, in the midst of a great evening. Our goal is to provide the best in food and entertainment for a donation that is equal to or less than what you might spend on an elegant night out. As we discussed the event with the company, everyone was eager to make it a party that anyone would love to attend.”

The mystery was written for RDT by Alesha Claveria, a freelance author and playwright who splits her time between L.A. and Washington D.C. Created for RDT, the storyline is about Lisette’s fictitious Grandmother Rose turning 100 years old, and begins like this:

“The wealthy Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village is abuzz with excitement. All the most upper crust citizens are gathering for the event of the year, a party no guest will forget! Rose Rodriguez, venerated founder of the world famous Rodriguez Dance Theatre, is turning 100 years old. Her family and friends are throwing Grandmother Rose a 1920s themed birthday party. After all, that’s when the old woman first rose to international dancing acclaim, during “The Roaring 20s” – era of speakeasies, short skirts, and bootlegged hooch. So in honor of Grandmother Rose’s contribution to the world of dance, the dancers in her company are bringing the 1920s roaring back with performances, dance lessons for guests, food and drinks. Guests can watch flapper girls tear up the floor, learn to dance the Charleston, and enjoy a little bootlegged hooch themselves! Anyone who’s anyone will be there to honor the famous Grandmother Rose as she turns one hundred. But, as it turns out, old Rose may have a surprise of her own! And when someone is found dead at the party, guests will have to wonder who, if anyone, will make it out alive. Murder wasn’t part of the evening’s scheduled entertainment . . . was it?

RSVP now for an evening of dancing and murder! Dress as you would for an elegant night out. ‘Roaring 20s’ garb not required, though it would be fun!”

Invitations may be found at the welcome table and reservations may be made online at www.rodriguezdancetheatre.com or by mail. For more information, call 630-310-7304 or ask Bob or Lisette.

Edited to correct the date and time, the webmistress regrets the error and will do the Charleston as penance for the next hour.