By the Way
APRIL 2020
Pastor's Message
Rev. Richard E. Malmberg

April is here. Lent is waning. Spring is showing signs of new life. In my front yard, bulbs that were dormant over winter are beginning to send shoots out of the dirt. We are on the threshold of Easter. This is the season of new life and fresh hope. At the same time, we find ourselves in a dark, challenging moment in history. The worldwide COVID 19 pandemic is defining our daily lives. We live under a statewide Stay-at-Home Order. We are not used to this. Millions are working from home. Millions have lost their jobs or have been furloughed. Because of the critical importance of social distancing, we cannot stand less than six feet apart and we have been washing our hands with a sense of purpose like never before. We watch as numbers of infected and dead rise.

And yet, the human spirit remains indomitable. Neighbors are shopping for home-bound neighbors and delivering groceries to them. Though we cannot touch, we are staying in touch using the phone, internet and snail mail. In Italy, people sing together from their balconies. We with the rest of the world, are all in this together. Though we cannot gather in groups of more than ten, religious communities have not let that keep them from worshiping God together. Little Home Church is no exception. Since March 15, we have still gathered for worship. First, I streamed live on Facebook. We built on that spare beginning, recording music, readings, preaching and prayers and edited it together to approximate our usual worship. We are already planning for Holy Week and Easter. This is a work in progress, as are we all.

You probably know this will be my last Easter at Little Home Church. My pastorate will come to an end as this month. In mid-May I will begin serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ of Walpole, New Hampshire. This is my final By The Way message. But Life goes on. Life is constantly renewed, which is what we celebrate on Easter. As we are learning in the current crisis, we do not have to be in proximity to be together. We continue to belong to each other in one Body of Christ. The Communion of Saints unites all Christ’s disciples in all times and space, wherever we are, whenever we live. This is merely the end of a chapter. The future is unwritten.

Farewell and Godspeed,
Pastor Richard
What's Happening at Church...

Get involved and join a group, an event, or a LHC initiative.
Explore / Belong / Learn

Worship Service  - Sundays, 9:30 am - Tune-in to our YouTube Channel
Bible Study  - Wednesdays, 10 am - POSTPONED
Meditation Group - Thursdays, 9 - 10 am - POSTPONED
Queen of Hearts Raffle - POSTPONED
Men of LHC Monthly Breakfast - POSTPONED
Sisters in Spirit (SiS) General Meeting - POSTPONED
A Book & A Prayer Book Club  - Thursday, Apr. 16, 7 pm via conference call
Friday Night at the Movies - POSTPONED
BTW Deadline  - Wednesday, Apr. 22
Church Council Meeting - Tuesday, Apr. 28, 7 pm via conference call

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS  - Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 3 pm, 630.584.4013
Congregational Life
Keeping Connected
Well, what a time we are in! It's been great to see how everyone is stepping up to stay connected while using social distancing. Your Congregational Life Ministry has started the telephone tree and it is our goal to call every member and friend of LHC. So, if you see a phone number on your caller ID that you don't recognize—please listen to the voicemail—it could be one of us! We are just checking to see how you're doing with the stay-at-home situation and to make sure you know we're socially connected.

Besides our church office posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and our virtual worship services), emails have also been sent. If you haven't received an email, is it possible you changed your email address and we need to update the directory? Have you checked your Spam and/or Junk Mail folders? Or maybe you unsubscribed from emails in the past? If so, please let the office know so you can be added back into the mix.

There are a lot of ways to connect with each other, as a church and with God. Make sure your connections don't need repair!

Be blessed and stay healthy, 
Kathy Haben
Congregational Life Ministry, Chairperson

Larry D.
Music Notes
Virtual Worship
“Somehow, we have been fooled into thinking that song is entertainment, something we can do without, like dessert. But to give voice to what lives inside is what keeps all things possible. In truth, the minute we arrive we are born singing, though this is often mistaken for crying. Yet, without this deep reflex, the lungs won’t work and the lifelong exchange between inner and outer can’t begin. Such a simple secret: by letting things out, we also let things in. So, if you’re cut off, in pain, estranged, numb—sing! Let what is in out, and what is out in. Sing, and your life will continue.” Mark Nepo (from The Book of Awakening )

April 5 – Palm Sunday
We will have music and special emphasis on a message for the children.
April 9 – Maundy Thursday
The traditional Tenebrae readings read by members of the congregation interspersed with music and a guided communion in your homes.
April 12 – Easter
This will be Richard’s final sermon to us and we will have music to celebrate the resurrection.
April 19
A lay led service which most likely will focus on specific hymns, and explore their origins, along with inspirational readings.
April 26 – A Service of Release
Someone in the conference will lead us in a service that allows us to say goodbye to the Malmbergs and wish them well in their journey to New Hampshire and a new ministry.

Larry Dieffenbach,
Director of Music, Organist
Moderator's Report
Karen Kaluzsa
Dear LHC Members and Friends,
I’m so sorry that our last weeks with Pastor Richard and Jane have been upended by us having to stay home due to COVID-19, but I am happy to report that a search committee is already hard at work finding our next pastor. Barb Braulick, Jen Haseltine, Bob Kaska, Samantha Prang and Tim Shelton have stepped forward to serve on this important committee on our behalf.
At this month’s Council meeting (via conference call), we voted to use Pulpit Supply pastors in the interim to provide Sunday services and on-call pastoral counseling, while we search for a Designated Pastor. A Designated Pastor will join us for a set time, generally one to two years, and for a specific purpose (for example, revitalization of our congregation or implementing the goals of our New Beginnings process) to be determined by us in consultation with the UCC Fox Valley Association. Unlike an Interim Pastor, after the initial designated term the Designated Pastor will be eligible for our Settled Pastor position or for a renewed designated term. I will keep you posted as the search progresses, and if you have any questions in the meantime please let me know.
Elsewhere in this issue you will hear about the exciting online worship services being planned by our Worship and Spiritual Growth chair, Samantha Prang, along with Pastor Richard, Larry Dieffenbach and members of our choir. On Pastor Richard’s last Sunday with us, April 26, we hope to be joined by a pastor from the UCC Illinois Conference for a virtual Service of Release for Pastor Richard.
While we are apart, please continue to support Little Home Church. Although all of our planned fundraising has had to be postponed, we can still process your pledges and contributions sent to the church office. We also accept online payment via Venmo, PayPal and your bank’s online banking service. 
Stay well, and as much as possible, please stay home.
Warm regards,

Karen Kaluzsa
Joyful, Joyful Campaign
Remaining Joyful While Staying at Home
Greetings to everyone from the Joyful Team! We hope all in your circle are healthy and safe. Our team met virtually at the end of March and we are excited about next steps for the Joyful Campaign even as we all adjust to the new normal imposed upon us by the coronavirus pandemic.

We took a collective deep breath over the last few weeks. In our efforts to be your best stewards, the team has taken a hard look at our finances and plans. Consequently, we have determined that for this first phase we will only use cash on hand to attack the most essential maintenance, safety and functional needs, with additional focus on our streetscape —our ‘face’ in the community. 

Eighteen months into our campaign we have raised $1.5 M in pledges. We have approximately $445,000 on hand in the bank and we will spend up to $350,000 to accomplish as much as possible in this first phase. Projects fitting this description include the septic system, HVAC needs, the electrical upgrade, a useable, accessible bathroom in sanctuary/PH building, and reparations to the front façade of the sanctuary. 

We are not in a position to seek a loan at this time, although we are working on an application to the UCC Cornerstone fund, along with a grant application to the National Fund for Sacred Places. We are always open to suggestions about additional grants and funding sources. 

Speaking of funding sources, and as we move into this more active phase, it is important that we can anticipate and maintain our cash flow. Our regular pledge payments are key. I am working with our Financial Secretary Ann McLaughlin to provide more frequent updates about your pledge progress and our expenses. Please contact either of us if you have questions.

The Joyful Team remains committed to this campaign and the ultimate goal of creating a safe, functional, flexible, and beautiful church campus that is accessible to everyone. We have not abandoned our shared desire to restore and renovate our buildings as hoped. And yet, our pledge/gift total of $1.5 M requires us to scale our plans to match our ability to pay for the project. We are being fiscally responsible as we proceed deliberatively (with joy!), within the parameters set by our fundraising success.

We welcome your input and prayers.

Anne Bouchard
'Joyful, Joyful, We Restore Thee'
Capital Campaign Chair

Joyful Team:
Anne Bouchard, Chip Braulick, Greg Hege, Bob and Kathleen Kaska, Susannah Lesswing, Andrea Redmond, Susi Winquist, and Richard Malmberg, Pastor

Thank you for your generosity in this uncertain time.
None of us know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent us from having our normal Sunday worship in our beloved Little Home Church. This is where many of us start our week and make our contributions to help cover the church’s monthly expenses, which unfortunately, do not go away just because we are not gathering on Sunday mornings. Your support is vital and we need your weekly or monthly contributions.

We are still able to process your contributions when mailed to the church office and we also accept contributions via Venmo and PayPal . Please contact Lori Prang if you would like us to help automate your giving by initiating regular contributions from your checking account—our bank’s online banking services.

On another matter, although it is an important fundraising effort which was approved at the 'Janual' congregational meeting, we have decided to delay kicking off our annual Spring Campaign until things return to a more normal environment. We will still need to conduct the campaign to meet our budgetary commitments —hopefully it will be a Late Spring Campaign rather than an Early Summer Campaign.

May God keep you and your family safe and thank you for your continued support.

Pete Connolly
Stewardship Ministry Chair
Worship & Spiritual Growth

The COVID-19 global health crisis has pushed our WSG ministry way out of our comfort zone in thinking of ways to stay connected with our church members and friends and provide you all with a weekly worship service. We tried Facebook Live but many of you aren’t on social media. So we’re using the magic of technology, our iPhones and computers to provide worship via YouTube. Our first service was on March 29 and an email blast was sent out the day before with the link to the video. Our plan is to continue to provide a worship service each week and post it on YouTube for your viewing whenever your schedule permits. Larry hopes to provide different soloists each week so we will have the gift of music as well. You can check out the Little Home Church YouTube channel here!

I want to thank Pastor Richard, Larry Dieffenbach, Jen Haseltine, Lori Prang and Mike Prang for all their help in making this happen.
We look forward to the day when our lives can hopefully return to normal and we can all worship together again in our beloved sanctuary.

Warm Regards,
Samantha Prang
Worship & Spiritual Growth, Chair

A Book & A Prayer
Meets 3rd Thursday, 7 pm
NEXT MEETING is April 16 via either conference call or videoconferencing!

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere  was an instant New York Times Bestseller, voted Amazon's Best Novel of 2017, was the winner of the Goodreads Reader's Choice Award 2017, and named a best book of the year.

Little Fires Everywhere  explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak. It chronicles coming of age, with a burning house that sparks tensions within an all-too-perfect suburban community in a story that explores race identity and family secrets.

Consider joining the book group for discussion, fellowship and snacks! There is always room for one more. The group meets at church in the Parish Hall. Any questions, please contact Kathy Haben .

SiS Plant Sale!
Order the Leftovers

Thank you to everyone who ordered plants from the SiS (Sisters in Spirit) plant sale. Those plants will be available for pick up, Sat. May 2, from 1 to 3 pm. If you missed your opportunity don't worry... click here to see what's left and then let Anne Bouchard know what you'd like and she'll put it aside for you. SiS thanks your for your support and like you, looks forward to when we can all be together again.

Anne Bouchard
Face Shield Directions
For Extra Protection
Church member Christa Kentfield shares this idea with us for those who are interested in extra protection when our need to go out arises:

Using a sheet protector that you might have at home, cut it into 2 separate sheets, each 8 1/2 x 11" in size. Each sheet can be used as a face shield.

Hold it in from of your face by slipping it under a regular headband, or clip it onto your glasses using small binder clips.

You can wear it simultaneously with a face-mask over your mouth for added protection, and can wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe after each use.
Friday Night at the Movies

The Peanut Butter Falcon
The movie tells the story of a man with Down Syndrome who runs away from the residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Along the way he befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally. It's a real 'feel good' movie that will pleasantly surprise you!

Join us in the pastor's office...we'll bring the popcorn. The group also meets at 6 pm for dinner at Portillo's, Rt. 64, in St. Charles. We invite you to join us...!
The Queen of Hearts raffle was suspended due to the Coronavirus shut down, but we are not giving up. Until all restaurants were closed, the weekly raffle continued to gain momentum and increased sales occurred. We have over $3,400.00 in the pot! We want to thank all of you who have supported us over the last seven months, purchasing tickets and attending our weekly raffles at the Spotted Fox. Your contributions for the local charities LHC supports is one of many ways we serve others as disciples of Christ. We thank you! As soon as we are able and the church reopens along with the restaurants, we will resume the raffle. We miss everyone! 
Hopefully, our present epidemic will be over soon, and we pray fewer lives will be taken from us. Please join us in the following prayer as we face our present crisis. 

Most merciful and Triune God,
We come to you in our weakness.
We come to you in our fear.
We come to you with trust.
For you alone are our hope.
We place before you the disease present in our world.
We turn to you in our time of need.
Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into your eternal home.
Stabilize our communities.
Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts.
Fill us with confidence in your care.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.


Fundraising Committee

A Lovely 'Thank You'
With an Offering for LHC
Received in the church office mail this week:

"Our local UCC church has a new, newly ordained pastor who was feeling overwhelmed even before the coronavirus hit.

When it became apparent, we would not be worshipping together, she directed us to the website of a larger church in our area.

Week 1: We found the website and watched the sermon. (the whole service didn’t happen)

Week 2: Our daughter in West Chicago told us about your virtual service. We were able to print off the bulletin and really participate.

(Smiley face) We must have dozed off when the offering was taken. You’ll find ours enclosed.

Thanks again for your ministry.
Steve & Chris Tubbs"
(from Delmar, Iowa)
Being Helpful While Feeling Helpless:
Coronavirus and the Northern Illinois Food Bank
As we daily confront the dark and unsettling news about the spreading coronavirus pandemic, I have felt increasingly helpless. My sister and my mother are making masks, my daughter and husband continue their work at local hospitals, and I gave blood last week. And of course we are all praying. But nothing feels like enough.

And yet, I found an antidote to helplessness through a recent video message from the Northern Illinois Food Bank (Food Bank) informing me that the Food Bank has been identified as an essential business as defined by Executive Order 2020-10 pertaining to COVID-19 . By supporting the Food Bank now, perhaps we can feel more connected locally to the worldwide fight against COVID 19.

As you know, once each month our LHC offering includes non-perishable food and monetary donations for the Food Bank, and some of us have volunteered at the Geneva center, sorting, labeling and packing food. In lieu of the Easter Dinners we contribute each year, LHC recently asked for financial donations to the food pantry at Resurrection Catholic Church. The food pantry at Resurrection is one of the local agencies supported by the Food Bank.

Here are two options to combat helplessness by supporting our neighbors in need:

Donate— Financial donations of any size will help support the Food Bank’s operations during this time of increased need.  Every $1 donated helps provide $8 in groceries for our neighbors.  Make a gift online now. You can also mail your check made out to Northern Illinois Food Bank to 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, IL, 60134, as the office remains open. (Deposits of checks and mailing of acknowledgement letters may be delayed during this time.) All contributions are tax deductible.

Volunteer— Volunteers are more important than ever to help pack and distribute food. Because the Food Bank has been identified as an essential business and is able to continue operations during the “Shelter in Place” order for Illinois, the volunteer workforce is exempt from this order. The Food Bank has made modifications to all shifts to ensure that staff and volunteers are following the CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing. View any openings on the Food Bank calendar . All volunteers will be asked to sign the  Volunteer & Visitor Health Statement  upon arrival to the Center or at an offsite distribution. All volunteers registered for a shift will receive a letter stating their exemption status during the “Shelter in Place” order. Please email the Food Bank  Volunteer Team  or call (630)443-6910 for more information.

If spots are not available, their agency network (which includes the Resurrection pantry) needs support as well. If you are interested in  volunteering at a pantry in your community you may  search by zip code   and contact the location directly to inquire about opportunities. Additional information can be found at  here.

More than ever, we are truly all in this together.
Anne Bouchard

Flowers, Fellowship,
Ushers & Pulpit Associate
 With temporary suspension of our worship services we are tabling our need for ushers, flowers, fellowship, and pulpit associates. But don't you worry...we'll be bugging you to volunteer soon!

3d render_ digital illustration_ abstract colorful paper flowers_ quilling craft_ handmade festive decoration_ vivid floral background_ mint pink yellow
Happy April Birthdays!
Apr. 1 - Anne Bouchard
Apr. 2 - Kay Brynelsen, Alex Karwowski
Apr. 8 - Trevor DaRin
Apr. 12 - Gerry James
Apr. 14 - Joseph Sterner
Apr. 15 - Rik Alex
Apr. 17 - Cooper Hadfield
Apr. 20 - George Bouchard
Apr. 24 - Peg Schramuk
Love & Prayers
To those recently ill or hospitalized...
 Kathi Abell, Jeff Schramuk, Don Heinrich

Prayers for...
All those w orking in the medical field, first responders, grocery store employees and all those who are considered essential employees.
Birth Announcement
Congratulations to the Soukup Family on the birth of their daughter, Maizy Gail Soukup on February 19, 2020. Thank you, Grant and Ellen for sharing this beautiful photo...!
Church Leadership

Pastor   - Rev. Richard E. Malmberg
Pastor Emeritus  - Rev. Dr. Don Heinrich
Pastor Emeritus  - Rev. Ronald Purser
Director of Music/Organist  - Larry Dieffenbach
Office Manager  - Lori Prang
Custodian - Geraldine Fields

BTW Editors
Lori Prang and Kathleen Sullivan Kaska

Graphic Design
Kathleen Sullivan Kaska

Moderator  - Karen Kaluzsa
Moderator-elect  - Carol Berger
Stewardship  - Peter Connolly
Evangelism  - Mary Roach
Outreach  - Karissa James
Congregational Life  - Kathy Haben
Christian Education  - Nancy Schatzeder
Worship & Spiritual Growth  - Samantha Prang
Facilities  - Mark Lesswing
Members at Large  - Jen Haseltine and
Scott Johnson
Financial Treasurer  - Susi Winquist
Financial Secretary  - Ann McLaughlin
Clerk  - Kristen Thornton