A Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Monthly news & updates
February 2021
To say goodbye and thank you . . .

Dear Acacia Park family and friends,

As many of you already know, I have resigned my position as administrative assistant for the church. My last day of work was January 28th.
 
It is important to me that you know how much I have appreciated being able to get to know you both personally and professionally over the past five years and that it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and the church. Your friendship, support and kindness have truly meant the world to me. From the day-to-day operations of the church to the pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, chili cook-offs, book club discussions, and milestone celebrations, I have been so lucky to have been included as part of your church family over the years. I am and will always be forever grateful. Thank you!

The broad plan right now for Scott and me is to see our way safely out of this terrible pandemic that has caused so much grief, so much strife and so many deaths and when it is safe once again, to go see our children who are scattered across the country.
 
And when it is safe, I will look forward to seeing you around town—perhaps at the library, or in the grocery store, or when we’re out for a meal, or shopping at the mall. We’ll hug one another, laugh, and catch up as friends do. But until that time, please know that I wish you peace, joy and happiness, and I hope that you soon will begin to find your way out of pandemic and into a stronger, brighter future.
 
I especially want to send my thanks to the church council for their steadfast support and their efforts to keep me working during the pandemic and for allowing me this space to say goodbye to all of you. And many thanks as well to Pastor Meagan for her generous nature and creative spark during our time together.
 
And finally, I’d like to ask all of you to keep on inspiring readers and facilitating book access in the community by continuing to support the church’s Little Free Library. Please remember to bring books to share when you can. :)
 
With a grateful heart for my time at Acacia Park and for each and every one of you,

Dawn Olson Parent
From the Pastor's Desk . . .
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A year ago we started to make adaptations in worship because of a virus that was making people really sick. We didn’t know much about it in February 2020, just that people were getting really sick in China and some were dying and we were being warned to treat the flu season with extra precaution. So, we stopped shaking hands during sharing of the peace. Remember how odd that felt? Then, pretty fast, there were more changes needed and by the end of the month I was cleaning every surface in the building with Clorox wipes (which I was lucky to have before they were sold out) and talking with other pastors about other adaptations that should be made in the worship space to keep our elderly members safe. 

That was just a year ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago. We’ve made so many changes throughout the year, too many to really be fully aware of and now have become part of our normal. We are quite adaptable, and I am proud of us for all the changes we endured this year. We have yet another change taking place this month. Dawn, our administrative assistant of five years, is moving on from her position here at Acacia Park. She wrote a farewell letter above. We will miss Dawn. Yet, as we have with all the changes this year, we will adapt. The executive board met and offered James Mann, Patti Mann’s youngest child, the position on a temporary basis while James finishes college and the council works on an updated job description and they assess the needs of the congregation when we return to being fully operational in a few months.

As of right now, the synod nor the ELCA have guidelines or matrices for worshiping in person. As long as we are following state and county guidelines, we are able to make decisions that make the most sense for individual congregations. The council has not begun conversations on what our matrix will be for moving into in person worship, there are still too many unknowns. 
Right now, I am encouraging everyone who is able to sign up for the vaccine shot:
Sign up for the vaccine here:


** If you live or work in Chicago, use the Chicago link; if you live or work in Cook County use the Cook County link. If you
live in one and work in the other you can sign up for both (I got the info from Rep. LaPointe). **

Here's a list of currently active websites to monitor for appointment slots as more become available:


- Please note that other pharmacies will also soon go live with their vaccination sign up sites.

The state of Illinois also put out a vaccination site locator: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location

Chicago's COVID-19 vaccine website will be available here: https://covidcoach.chicago.gov/
 
The more of us that are vaccinated, then there are more options that are open to us for worship as we enter the Lent and Easter seasons. If you need assistance while using the online form, text me (773) 885-9686 and we can set up a time for me to walk you through the form. 

I am really excited for the near future when we will be able to gather together again, but as we have been warned, it could be a long cold winter before the hope of a post Covid life comes into reality. During this long cold winter, we will journey through Lent. I find it fitting that vaccines are being given out during Lent. Last year, during Lent we did a communion fast thinking we would be able to gather again during the Easter season to feast on the bread of life in celebration together. This year, we will not fast from communion because it is important that we experience the hope of the risen Christ each week as we journey to the cross during a long and dark winter. Yet, as we get our vaccines, as the winter warms up and as we inch our way toward Easter, this year we do so with hope on our hearts for not only God’s promises being fulfilled on Easter morning, but for the ability to worship together in person once again.

Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, Feb 17 with Ashes to Go/Drive by Ashes from 12:00-1:00 pm and 5:00-6:00 pm. You will receive ashes and a Lent gift bag to support self guided worship at home. On Wednesdays during the five weeks of Lent, a midweek Lenten worship service will be emailed. The service will include bible readings, prayers, and music. Lent is a time for self reflection and preparing our hearts for the Easter Promise of hope and grace freely given by a God who loves us so much God came to the earth in human form to not just teach us, but to be an example of hope spread throughout the world. May we hold onto this hope during the Lenten season.

Pastor Meagan
Message from the Treasurer
First and foremost, I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe. It has been a lonely and trying year for many, but HOPE is around the corner.  I cannot express just how grateful I am for each one of you. Thanks to your continued and additional donations throughout the year our little church is doing well from a financial perspective. Let’s dive into the numbers.

Our budget anticipated a nearly $34,000 shortfall. Thanks to your continued contributions, a generous donation from the Estate of Gail Olson, the Morgan Stanley fund performance, and reductions in spending we ended the year with a $9,700 shortfall. I cannot tell you just how remarkable that is. Thank you! Our Congregation is blessed.

Not only have we ended the year on this high note we have still been able to provide to our community during Covid via food drives (thank you Pastor), meal delivery on Thanksgiving (thank you Karen Lanners and New Life Church) and care packages for the Night Ministry program. There are more activities planned, so please stay tuned.

I want to thank Pastor Meagan for going above and beyond in 2020, we are fortunate to have you as our leader. Thankyou Karen Lanners for being a great leader and for moving us forward, you are remarkable. Thankyou Dawn Parent for keeping us organized and for helping us throughout the year, we will miss you.

A full financial report will be available when the Annual Meeting happens (postponed due to Covid). The church council is working off a tentative budget right now until it can be approved at the meeting. As always if you have any questions please contact me.

We do not know what the future holds but I wish you continued blessings and good health until we can meet again at a worship service in our building. Until then I look forward to seeing and/or hearing you on Zoom each Sunday morning. Please call other Congregation members to chat, they will be happy to hear from you and it really helps. Do you need any help or regular calls? If yes, please reach out to me or any Council member.

God’s Peace to you All.
Patti Mann, Treasurer
You may also mail your donation and/or your pledge form to:
Acacia Park Lutheran Church
4307 N Oriole Avenue
Norridge, IL 60706
Acacia Park Announcements
Long-time Acacia Park Lutheran Church member George Wyatt passed away in late January due to complications from pneumonia. George and Shar were at their winter home in Marco Island, Florida.

When in town, George was a dedicated usher at Sunday services and volunteered regularly to manage the sound board during worship. Shar will plan a memorial for George when she returns to Norridge in the spring.
Tuesday, February 16th
Zoom Book Club
We'll meet from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on Zoom (look for Zoom link below) to discuss The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.

From the publisher: This first novel in the widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors. You can purchase this book at Thrift Books.

Book Club will meet every other month on the third Tuesday via Zoom. If you'd like to secure your book and read ahead for April, the date and book selection are:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
From the ELCA
Seeds Monthly, January 2021

Watch: Church Together – Apart: Our Response to COVID-19. Thanks to your gifts to the COVID-19 Response Fund, the church has adapted its ministry to continue to serve those in need around the world. You can view the video here or donate at ELCA.org/covidresponse.
Zoom Links for the Month
To join our Zoom Self-Guided Communion Worship and Fellowship meeting on Sunday mornings beginning at 9:15 am, click on the link below, or copy and paste the link into your browser:


To dial in by your location (audio only):
  +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 847 5963 2088
Passcode: 554322

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To join our Zoom Bi-Monthly Book Club meeting on Tuesday, February 16th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, click on the link below, or copy and paste the link into your browser:


To dial in by your location (audio only):
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 872 8764 2749
Passcode: 648104

* * * * * * * * *

To join our Zoom Bible Study meeting on Tuesday, February 23rd from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, click on the link below, or copy and paste the link into your browser:


To dial in by your location (audio only):
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 816 2904 7347
Passcode: 330115
Prayer Requests
Please keep the following people in your prayers . . .
Bonnie Cousins
Katie Dupree
Linda Engler
Marion Engler
Frank Gondela
Dorothy Hauserman
Ruth Igoe
David & Ann Jones
Nancy & Bob Komada
Helen Lanners
Elsie Michelsen
Everly Ramirez
Nettie Richards
Ringelstein Family
Erv Siemers
Bonnie Wince
Sondra Wince
Shar and George Wyatt
. . . and essential workers, health care workers, police officers, correctional officers, and the more than 429,000 Americans lost to Covid-19.