Pledge Drive 2022 To Begin Soon

Our 2022 Annual Pledge Drive has begun. Forms have been distributed. Now, the process of discernment begins. Let us ask ourselves how best we can aid and assist our church. Every pledge is meaningful. Every pledge is appreciated. Every pledge is necessary and needed.

The financial contributions of each and every member of our church community allows us to continue our ministries, to keep our Episcopal red doors open and provide ministry, mission and worship.

Pray and ponder how we can each make a profound difference. If we’ve pledged in the past, perhaps increasing this year’s amount by ten or twenty dollars a month. If we have not pledged in the past, perhaps this is the year we start. The more pledging members, the easier it is for us to prepare our budget. Without a workable and feasible budget, well then, we are unable to provide for our church family and welcome all who call our
St. Nicholas Church “home.”

Certainly, we do not wish to place anyone in a position of hardship. We understand all too well that for some, financial assistance would indeed be difficult. Sharing of one’s time and talent is just as important. Consider how we can help and assist, by volunteering at church. There’s always something to do.

We ask that pledge forms be returned to church by December 20th. Certainly, late pledges will be honored. Together, we will continue to be the kind of church where all are welcomed and wanted; the kind of church that moves forward and onward, with joyful worship and communal pride.

Please, if there are questions or concerns, do not hesitate in contacting me for additional information. Email me by clicking here. I am here, for my church family.

Thank you, one and all, for your continued support, generosity and consideration. God bless us, one and all.

Fr. Manny
Vicar: St. Nicholas Episcopal Church

To donate securely online to St. Nicholas, please click the image below:

The Last of Autumn’s Majesty and Wonder

Fall Leaves
The days of autumn are slowly fading as winter is just itching to make her presence felt. Oh, there is still much to enjoy in this beautiful season. There are maple trees that are ablaze in color. I love the contrast of trees; some with bare branches while a neighboring tree fights ferociously to hold on to what leaves she has left. The sunsets seem to be so much more dramatic. Let’s not overlook the sunrises which not just usher in the new day but awaken the soul and spirit to breathe in deep and prepare for what is yet to be. Squirrels are scurrying about, burying their winter and spring supplies, to keep themselves fed. There is a great deal going on…if we just take a moment and take it in.
I was up and out of the house for my early morning run/walk, per usual. The sun was slumbering, just barely peaking over the eastern horizon. The air was not what one would say “crisp,” but cool enough. There was an intense silence; a quiet that almost convinced me I ought to be back home, in bed, with the covers pulled high over my head. No thank you. There is a unique joy being up and out so early. It’s like the day is all mine and I’m selfishly going to keep it to myself.
Yes, there was silence, but that was broken in a very particular manner. I turned toward the north and there, in the slowly brightening sky, the first of the geese formations making their yearly pilgrimage to their “holy land,” that being warmer climates far to the south. These amazing creatures, blessed with such instinct trek thousands of miles each autumn, escaping the Union and settling somewhere deep in the Confederacy. There’s no war, aside from all these winged visitors trying desperately to find a place to nest and bear their young. Enough room for so many can be a problem. Yet, they all manage to find their place and make a home for themselves. Yes. It is amazing and a wonder.
I continued my gaze up at this natural phenomenon until they were well beyond my view, though I could still hear their distinctive “honk honk” for a bit longer. Oddly, I was left with a saddened feeling. I’m not sure why, but as they ventured south, I felt badly. ‘What will become of them?’ I thought to myself. Strange, I admit, but nature often times leaves us asking questions as to how and why things happen as they do. And with our questioning is born a number of emotional responses.
Nature provides us but a glimpse into the grandeur and glory of the Creator; the One who fashioned and molded all things. God put the “wheels in motion.” The universe came into being. Crawling, creeping, flying and swimming creatures took to the land, the sky and the seas. Humankind was fashioned in the very image of the Creator. Breath was blown into our lungs. Our eyes slowly and with some effort were opened and a beautiful world awaited our discovery. And in our discoveries began the quest of questioning, of wondering, of pondering the mysteries of the Universe. Questioning leads to wisdom. Wisdom is rather lonely without the companionship of sharing and caring with others what we know and what we hold sacred.
And to think, all this reflecting was born of an early morning foray out into the darkness of predawn, in the company of a flock of geese. These geese did not know it, but they were sharing their “wisdom” with this one, solo being, who took in their wonder and was left in awe.
My friends, I encourage us all to take a little time and take in the last of autumn’s majesty and wonder. Pick up one of those deep, red leaves and trace its lines and curves. Pick up some pine cones, take them home and ‘bake them’ in low heat for about thirty minutes. Let them cool down, place in a wooden bowl, admire their simple beauty and let them remind us of whence they came. Come winter, be sure to engage in the beauty of all that snow and wind and remember, it’s all for us, to savor, to ponder and to find joy in it all.

Father Manny: A Day In The Life (of an #Episcopal priest)

A Day in the Life…
Busse Woods November 2009

Wednesday morning, 6:05am, it is still quite dark out. A thick fog had settled upon the northwest suburbs muting the autumn colors and muffling the sounds of nature. All was still; the trees were motionless. Even the birds were nowhere to be seen. Traffic was heavy headed eastbound. Not much to do but endure the bumper to bumper situation, remain patient and, well, pray. I do quite a bit of praying while I drive. It’s not a testament to my driving skills, but rather a practice in which I’ve engaged for as long as I’ve been driving. Praying brings a palpable peace upon me that is far too pleasurable to ignore or do without. So, I pray. More heavy traffic. More prayer.

St. Alexius Hospital is just off to the left. I park at the farthest spot from the front door. I like to walk and quite frankly, my car is safer parked farthest away. I ask the front desk receptionist how to get to the ICU. She points to the elevator and says get off on the 3rd floor and turn left. I find and opt for the stairs and walk the 3 flights, turn left and locate room 364. I see Erlene in the hallway, talking to the doctor. She and I embrace and talk about how Vernon is doing and how she’s coping. After donning a blue cover-all and gloves, I go in to see Vernon. He’s not too responsive: he has tubes here, there, seemingly everywhere. I hold his hand and gently stroke his head with my other hand. He tries to talk, but his breathing tube prevents any audibility. No problem, I share with him that the community is praying for him and for Erlene, that we all miss him and wish him to return to us happy and healthy. Despite the tubes, his smile can not be denied nor missed. It is contagious. Erlene smiles, I smile and I have to think that even God is smiling with us at that very moment. And why not? We are His children and God loves us with such intensity.

I say my goodbyes to Vernon and Erlene and begin the drive to Elk Grove.

Vernon and Erlene

(Little did I know that this would be my last visit with Vernon. I will treasure the time spent with him and always remember his most infectious smile. Rest in Eternal Peace, my dear friend.)

Barrington Road is clearing up by now. After all, it’s after 10am and the morning rush has pretty much ended. I turn left on Schaumburg Road, past a series of strip malls, schools and churches. A quick right on Meachem to Biesterfield Road, over and across Rt. 53, past Alexian Brothers Medical Center, the Village City Hall and Police Station, veer left to Jewel and pull up behind the store. I ring the buzzer once, twice and three times. Finally, an employee opens up and announces he has “some stuff” for us this week. 8 full boxes of canned goods and staples I carefully load into my car. The cans and bottles rattle up against one another and I fear something will break and spill onto my fresh and neat car seats. Fear not. All went well and nothing broke, spilled or was the cause of all my earlier prayers going out the window with any utterance of disappointment or anger. Went in through the back door of the church, unlocked the sacristy and greeted Jim who was unpacking all the bread and pastry he had picked up earlier that morning at Panera’s. I took the large cart, down the ramp out the back door and carefully sidled up next to my car. Unloaded all the cases and heaved the cart into the church, up the ramp and into the Pantry Room. We unloaded the boxes and began to stock the shelves with the bounty made gift to us. The bare shelves had life again and the pantry guests would have some selections from which to choose. How wonderful.


Back into the church, I prepare for the weekend Services by getting the chalices ready, cutting the altar bread into halves, one set into the freezer again and the other set into the fridge for use this weekend. Printed the Stewardship inserts that will go into the Worship Programs once they are ready. Music books are straightened out, the chairs in the church are lined up in order and the funereal candles we used for All Saints Day were lugged back into the storage room. Checked the Book of the Gospels to be sure the proper passage is readied. The phone rang three times, solicitors, a neighboring church inquiring where we purchase our altar wine and some one asking about our food pantry requirements. Haven’t had any breakfast but I’m not hungry. I could, however, use a cup of coffee. I brew a fresh pot, pour myself a cup and take it outside with me as I walk around the church. All looks so nice, so clean and well kept. I smile and again I consider the chances that God is smiling along with me. And why not?

It’s just after 3pm and already several pantry guests have gathered. In fact, they’ve been at the church since 1pm. They are invited in where coffee and pastry await. They have been huddled at the table in the Gathering Space, talking, laughing, sharing recipes and stories. It is a community; a gathering of friends who meet up every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, compliments of the Holy Innocents Food Pantry at St. Nicholas Church. I look at their faces, those happy and grateful faces and my heart is full with joy and peace. I smile. I know that God is smiling with me right then. And why not?

Bob Kalicki and Gary Lackey have arrived by now. We share some stories and chit-chat about this and that. I fill Bob in on what’s going on, about the food we received from Jewel and that all the bread and pastry Panera’s gave us is all ready, packaged and available to whomever desires it. I say my goodbyes to the Pantry Team and to the guests, I grab a couple bottled waters from the fridge, make sure the sacristy is locked up and all is as it should be. I get into my car which is rather hot and stuffy. Here it is, November 4th and it feels like it’s mid-September. I love it. How much longer are we to be blessed with these rather late, Indian Summer style days? ‘Embrace and savor them while we can,’ I say to myself. Next week, we could have snow. What bliss.

I drive the 2 miles to Eunice’s home where she awaits my arrival. As I walk up the drive, a rather friendly squirrel carefully and cautiously crawls over to me. I keep calling him over and he responds. Darn it, no food to give. He nibbles at my shoe, looks up and scampers off. A little touch of nature right at my feet. I knock and walk in, give Eunice a hug and sit myself down in the wing back chair which is my traditional place. We talk, laugh and laugh some more. It’s what Eunice and I do when we get together. I bring her up to speed on what’s happening at St. Nicholas. No, not gossip, but actual concerned conversations. We talked about Vernon, about how Nancy Allan is doing, about how beautiful the gardens look again in large thanks to Connie Nicholson, Marilyn Brown and Bob Kalicki, too. We talked like a family would talk about each other…with love and care. And after the conversations, we pause and prepare for Holy Communion. I offer a prayer and share Jesus with Eunice. We are silent for a moment. Then, we pray the words our Lord and Savior taught us…”Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” I bid my farewell, give Eunice another big hug and find my way to my car. Fortunately, the two bottles of water are still cool to the touch. I’ll need them as I know traffic headed north will be heavy this time of the day.

Fall Leaves
It’s 5:30 pm, the sun is preparing for its descent and the sky is a brilliant reddish, orange. It’s autumn’s beauty on display. The birds that were absent earlier this morning are everywhere. My car windows are down and I can hear them overhead. I see a line of geese headed south in their classic “V” formation. It’s wonderful. I’m at a red light watching the traffic pass by, watching the birds begin their migratory journey, squinting into that setting sun…and I smile. Yes, God is smiling, too. And why not?