Mars Hill Proclaimer
St. Paul's Episcopal Church January Newsletter 2020
Mthr Barbara
From The Reverend
Barbara A. T. Wilson

Epiphany, 1/5/2020|St. Paul’s, DeKalb
    I wonder what they saw in the sky that first night? What was it that got them thinking?  What was it that motivated them to pack and begin a journey to who knows where?  Something had been revealed to them.  But what was it? Was it in the sky, in their mind, in their heart?

    We don’t have much historical information about these wise men and their journey. The writer of Matthew’s gospel says they came from the East. Some have speculated they were from ancient Persia, where Iran is now.  We like to think that there were three of them but Matthew doesn’t say that and the number has varied throughout the church’s history; 2, 3, 4, 8, even 12.   Maybe because three gifts are mentioned—gold, for royalty; frankincense for high priesthood; and myrrh, for anointing the human body for burial. By tradition, we call the wisemen Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar but those names didn’t come about until the seventh century.

    And what about “the star?” It has been viewed as a supernatural phenomenon, just a regular star, a comet, or sometimes as a conjunction or grouping of planets. The important thing is that the wisemen were gentiles---this Jewish infant is revealed to be ruler over Gentiles, so this epiphany gift is for all of us—Gentile and Jew.

    The anonymity and vague historical information serves as a reminder that this story, this Epiphany journey, is not just the wise men’s journey; it is everyone’s journey. The truth of sacred scripture is never limited to or contained only in the past.

    I don’t know what was in the sky, what they saw, that first night. I don’t know what was in their minds; what they thought, asked, or talked about. I don’t know what was in their hearts; what they felt, dreamed, or longed for.

    But I am pretty sure that there have been times when we each have experienced Epiphany; times when the darkness of our night sky has been lit brightly; times when our hearts have been enlightened. Those times have revealed to us a life and world larger than before. They have been moments that gave us the courage to travel beyond the borders and boundaries that usually circumscribe our lives. Epiphanies are those times when something calls us, moves us, to a new place and we see the face of God in a new way---so human that it almost seems ordinary, maybe too ordinary to believe.
That’s what happened to the wise men. They began to see and hear the stories of their lives. Something stirred within them and they began to wonder, to imagine, that their lives were part of a much larger story. Could it be that the one who created life, who hung the stars in the sky, noticed them, knew them, lived within them, and was calling them?

    Could it be that the light they saw in the sky was a reflection of the divine light that burned within them, that burns within each one of us?

    To seriously consider these questions is to begin the journey. That journey took the wise men to the house where they found the answer to their questions in the arms of his mother, Mary. We may travel a different route than the wise men did but the answer is the same.

    I’ve shared this with a few of you before, but I have an Epiphany story that involves all of you, which I’d like to share. First a little background. It’s 2018, and I have, in my own mind—officially retired. Tired of healthcare for profit and hospital politics after 18 years, I’d quit my job as director of a large department of professional chaplains and volunteers. Lynne had a good position as a hospice chaplain in a well-respected nonprofit organization and was soon to be promoted to a fulltime position. 

     At the same time, I was enjoying my third year in a half-time position as Interim Rector at St. Augustine’s, Benton Harbor.  

  Together, we’d enjoyed success with a capital campaign and the installation of a very nice elevator and a much-needed new conference room on the lower level. The membership was growing, not fast, but steadily. It is one of the few racially integrated parishes in the Diocese of Western MI, and has lots of kids. I intended to stay there as long they wanted me to.

    All in all, things were better than okay. I’d given up on interviewing for fulltime parish positions after being interviewed for three days in a lovely resort town in northern MI---and told finally, as someone in a same-sex marriage, that I was never considered to be a serious candidate, thanks anyway.  That Search Committee was doing what the Bishop’s Office asked them to do by interviewing me. Disappointed and feeling used and angry, I quit looking.

    Still, every so often—because we have family here—I’d check the list of open positions in the Diocese of Chicago. Our home in Michigan was only 3.5 hours away from the grandkids, and we liked our house and setting very much.  Still, we thought, it didn’t hurt to look and daydream about possibilities. Sometime that summer, we saw this position for a fulltime rector posted. I confess that I was surprised and distressed in about equal measure to be invited to come to DeKalb.

    Remembering the fiasco that was the last time I interviewed, I was reluctant risk making myself and my family vulnerable to another inquiring Search Committee.

     I decided to call Mr. Dowen, the committee chair, apologize and withdraw my application. It was a good decision, and I was relieved to be able to put the idea behind me for about 24 hours.

    Then, in prayer, something unexpected and unusual was revealed to me. The prayer-dream or vision---was as if a star—like the one the wise men followed---snagged my attention, moving away until it hovered over what felt like St. Paul’s---not an image of the church building or anything like that—just a powerfully felt sense of you all, even before I met you.  The star rested here.  I questioned it---who knew if this was in the sky or in my mind or in my heart? It was inviting us to pack and begin a journey to who knew where? God has not often been so direct in my life—but clearly said, this is your destination if you are open to it.  Doubtful, we went ahead with the interview, willing to withdraw, ready to call it off at any time we felt challenged because of our relationship. 

    All the way along the way, this was proven to be the right move, the destination God hoped for us here and I believe God has seen us through in spite of many obstacles and painful misunderstandings through our first year together. Who knows what’s next? Where will God lead us—now? Just because God leads you someplace doesn’t mean everything is going to be easy or “just right.” Remember, the wise men had that run in with Herod, and decided not to do as Herod said, so they went home by another way. It seems where God is moving, there is always some kind of trouble, some “Herod” ready to try to stop things. It is a new year, full of new possibilities and promise, and sure—more hard work to come. But I believe we—together--are on a path shown us by God.

     Yes. God notices us, knows us, lives within us, and calls us. God is continually revealing Godself in and through humanity, in these very lives, in the flesh.

    Maybe it was the day you bathed your first grandchild and saw the beauty of creation and the love of the Creator.

    Or that day you said, “I love you” and knew that it was about more than just romance or physical attraction. Perhaps it was the moment you really believed your life was sacred, holy, and acceptable to God.

   Maybe it was the time you kept vigil at the beside of one who was dying and seemingly from out of nowhere, you experienced joy in the certainty that death is not the end.

    These are the stories of our lives, epiphanies that forever change who we are, how we live, and the roads we travel. They are moments of ordinary everyday life in which divinity is revealed in humanity and we see God’s glory face to face.

Yours in Christ,
St. Paul's
Epiphany Party

Sunday, January 5th, 11:45 AM

Fun fellowship
and good food!

Friday, January 10, 7 PM 
Please join us for an evening
of prayer, meditation, and music!

Join us for a meditative candlelit gathering that is simple, beautiful, and more about praying and listening with the whole self than with the mind only. By singing together simple chants, those participating in the way of Taizé are invited to enter into prayer and attention to the sacred. Taizé, an ecumenical community in France, has long been committed to promoting and praying for reconciliation, peace, and unity. 
A Note From Barbara+
    A surprised and very grateful “thank you” to everyone at St. Paul’s for the generous Christmas gift or “Purse” as it is called, that we received on Christmas Eve. Wow! You are kind and generous beyond measure, and we are so grateful to have found our place here among you.
   Also, a year into my time as your priest, the question still comes up about how best to address me: As Rev. Barbara or Mother Barbara, when neither of these feel very comfortable to you? Let me very sincerely suggest that you simply call me by my baptismal name, i.e., the name given to me at my baptism at St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church, in Dearborn, MI which of course is, Barbara.  
   The most truly important aspect of my identity is my belonging to Christ and to you, my Christian siblings, through the sacrament of Holy Baptism in which we share. Ordination is a sacred charge, honor and privilege to serve which in no way changes or essentially enhances my primary identity as one baptized into Christ. It cannot get any better than that! So please, just call me by my baptismal name and I’ll just keep on calling you by yours.
From the Sr. Warden

To My Dear St. Paul’s Family,

As I look back on 2019, I am so grateful for each of you. You put your whole selves into our worship services, fellowship events, study groups and community outreach. There are many “behind the scenes” saints tending to our building and grounds, our beautiful worship space, and all that is needed for our daily life together.

Our faith family lost cherished members this year and we miss them deeply. They will forever be in our hearts. We have also welcomed new members to our parish family. It has been a pleasure getting to know them. Their presence has opened new pathways on our spiritual journey. 
As we begin a new year, I look forward to our deepening relationships with each other and with God. I am grateful for your open hearts and minds, and the blessing of your friendship. May the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen and inspire us all in the New Year!

In Faith and Hope,
Maureen Gerrity   
Music Ministries
Thank you to all the singers and instrumentalists,
for the beautiful music you prepared and shared at
Taizé, Advent Lessons & Carols, and Christmas Eve!
Mysteries of Taizé: Join us for a new and exciting class at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb, on Sundays, 12:15-1:30 PM on Jan 12, 26, and Feb 2, 2020. All are welcome!

Reverend Barbara A.T. Wilson will offer a class on the overall mysticism of the Taizé experience, exploring how candles, silent meditation, prayers, readings, and song work together to support both an individual and corporate meditative experience that has the ability to soothe our busy lives.

All St. Paul’s Readers.   

When:  Friday JANUARY 24, at 6:30 P.M. 

What:  Discussion of Chapter Five: "A Complicated God " by Jack Miles from  The Changing Face of God , edited by Frederick Schmidt (2000)

Where:  home of Mary Short,
3032 Fairway Oaks Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115
ALL  are welcome to join the discussion surrounding how we think about God
On the third Wednesday of each month there is an Episcopal Service of Holy Communion in the OakCrest Chapel. Mother Barbara Wilson of St. Paul's and Father Georges Jalouf of St. Peter's conduct this service on alternate months. On January 22nd, Father Georges will be officiating.
The 182nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of Chicago was  held Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23 at the Westin Chicago Lombard. More than 700 clergy, delegates, visitors, exhibitors and children attended the annual gathering and business meeting of the diocese.

On Friday, the diocese voted with enthusiastic applause  to receive  Grace Church, New Lenox  as a parish of the diocese and heard from keynote speakers Casper Ter Keuile and Angie Thurston of  Sacred Design Lab  about secular meaning-making communities and how the church might work alongside these communities. Here is a video of Angie and Casper's keynote address.

On Saturday, November 23, Bishop Lee preached this sermon at t he 182nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of Chicago. It was his final annual convention Eucharist as bishop; he will retire in August 2020. View the text of the  sermon online .
The Rector's Discretionary Fund Collection

First Sunday of the month, January 5, 2020

Donations allow us to assist people in need in our community.
Food Pantry Collections
I n December, donations included 129 food items and 441 diapers. Year to date, donations total 7641 items.

Thank you, from Vince and Pat McMahon

Sunday, January 12th, is the next collection date, but you can bring items throughout the month .
Dear Friends
Since Marv and I met, we have had many great adventures on our journey. We have always believed that God was a partner in our marriage, and we should listen and follow as much as we are able. So, we have accepted the changes to which we believe He has called us.

In trying to follow His lead, our lives have changed and been touched by so many others, a blessing for which we are extremely grateful. He has led us into some interesting and challenging situations, highs and lows, and twists and turns. He has knocked us down and raised us up. As I have warned our daughters-in-law, life as a Kombrink can be a roller coaster ride, never knowing for certain what is around the next turn.

In our later years, we feel we are being called, once again, to a new and exciting change…a brand new adventure and one, honestly, I never expected. This change will unite us with family down south, a son and daughter-in-law and grandsons we have rarely seen over the last 12 years. We are looking forward with great joy to being more present in their lives.

As we go through the process of selling our house, finding a new home, downsizing, etc., we will keep you posted. Please keep us in your prayers for a successful and stress-free transition on this next step in our journey together. 

You will remain in our hearts and in our prayers!

Pam Kombrink
Heading Here
Dear Members of St. Paul's,

Thank you so much for the Christmas gift card and for the support you have given me this year. I cherish the opportunities to help the people of St. Paul's.

Activities & Events

1/1 Wednesday
1:30 PM New Year's Day Party

1/5 Sunday Epiphany     
8:00 AM and 10:30 AM Services 
Rectors Discretionary Fund
11:30 AM Epiphany Party

1/9 Thursday
No Choir Rehearsals

1/10 Friday
7:00 PM "An Evening of Taize"

1/12 Sunday Baptism of Our Lord
8:00 AM and 10:30 AM Services
Food Pantry Donations
9:30 AM Kids Hope Meeting
12:15 PM "Mysteries of Taize" Class

1/13 Monday
6:00 PM Endowment Comm. Meeting

1/15 Wednesday     
2:00 PM Service at OakCrest 

1/16 Thursday
6:00 PM Children's Choir
7:00 PM Adult/Youth Choir  

1/19 Sunday 2nd Epiphany    
8:00 AM and 10:30 AM Services 
12:00 PM Vestry Meeting

1/23 Thursday
6:00 PM Children's Choir
7:00 PM Adult/Youth Choir  
1/24 Friday
6:30 PM Book Club

1/26 Sunday 3rd Epiphany
8:00 AM and 10:30 AM Services 
Healing Liturgy
12:15 PM "Mysteries of Taize" Class

1/30 Thursday
6:00 PM Children's Choir
7:00 PM Adult/Youth Choir  
January Birthdays & Anniversaries
January Anniversaries

1/28 Al and Peggy Newby
January Birthdays

1/8               Donna de Oliviera
1/6               Luke Stubblefield
1/10             Lynn Roberts
1/11             Mikaili Little
1/15             Janice Larson
1/24             Lynne Jacobson
1/25             Rebecca Smith
1/28             Jane DeGolier


Budget Information

Annual Meeting
St. Paul's Episcopal Church Contact Information
900 Normal Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115 
Parish Office: (815) 756-4888 
The Rev. Barbara A.T Wilson, Rector