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

Dear Ones,

Even our strongest locks cannot keep out an idea whose time has come.  And there he is, Jesus, the Resurrected One—the best idea to come from the mind and heart of God.  He comes in among his friends as they cower in fear behind locked doors.  He does not chastise them for their fear.  Instead, he offers them his peace.

     He shows them himself, his hands, his side---wounded and healing.  Healing, at least, for them if they have the heart to truly see him and come to understand what he means.  Then he says again, “Peace be with you.”  And he breathes the Holy Spirit on them and gives them the power and authority to forgive.

     He is showing us how to live. This is how it’s done:  Open the doors of your mind. Your wounds can be signs of peace; don’t be afraid to let others see you. Take a deep breath. Forgive. Repeat as needed.

     Our once peaceful world is in tumult.  The pandemic has compelled us to leave our beloved church buildings to “shelter in place,” for fear of contagion, our cities are in an uproar as people have turned out into the streets regardless of Covid-19 contagion to protest the murder of George Floyd and countless other black and brown people in our communities.  Perhaps that peacefulness we once enjoyed wasn’t Christ’s peace at all.  Perhaps it was a kind of complacency about the ongoing degradation of our natural environment and the ongoing destruction of climate change.  Perhaps it was a kind of blindness about the rampant racism in America and in our communities.  Christ offers us true peace.  His own peace.  God’s peace.

      In his Pentecost message, +Jeff Lee said, "The peace Jesus gives us is nothing like the world's peace.  It's more like fortitude, it's the energy of deathless love at work in us now, in our hearts. The Spirit has been poured out into us, and we are sent now to be the hands of Jesus--maybe wounded ourselves, but hands of love and healing and peace, and never has the world needed it more."

     Take a deep breath. Forgive. Repeat as needed.  And go out into the world to be the hands of Jesus. Don’t hide your wounds, rather, let them be signs of peace.

     Let this be a prayer practice, a way-of-life practice, again and again and again. And again. Acknowledge one another’s wounds. Be the hands of Jesus. Breathe peace. Forgive.

Book Discussion, 10:00 AM
(Zoom Video or Audio)

Lectionary Bible Study , 7 PM (Zoom Video or Audio) - Wednesdays

Compline , 7 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio) -

Parish Check In , 1 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)

Liturgy of the Word and Prayers , 9 AM
(Zoom Video or Audio)
May 29, 2020

To My Dear St. Paul’s Family,
Our State and communities are on the verge of reopening – something we’ve looked forward to ever since the “shelter in place” order took effect. Our region meets the criteria for Phase 3, but each day the number of confirmed cases of the virus has increased. We can expect this trend to continue at a faster rate as the general public becomes more active.

The Diocese of Chicago has established guidelines for reopening our churches. The safety of our members is the highest priority. The guidelines are quite detailed as to preparing our worship spaces for use, including removing all B.O.C.’s and Hymnals, designating seating for social distancing, and deep cleaning and sanitizing the entire building. While each congregation will be able to decide when to restart in-person worship, the Diocese cautions us all to take our time and proceed with care.

I believe this is sound advice. When a new gadget or product first appears on the market, my consumer strategy is to wait until the glitches have been discovered and fixed before jumping on the bandwagon. As we plan for reopening for in-person worship, I think it would be wise to “hang back” and learn from the experiences of the wider church community. I am especially concerned that the “trade off” for the State’s reopening will be a significant surge in cases of the virus. I think it would be prudent to wait until after that surge to hold in-person worship services. Above all else, it is our responsibility to keep our members safe. It is my heartfelt prayer that you and your families are staying well.  

In Faith & Hope,

Senior Warden
May 31, 2020

Greetings brothers and sisters of St. Paul’s,

A couple of weeks ago, Mother Barbara asked the wardens if we would attend a Zoom lecture that focused on 5 leadership intervention points during a crisis. The key takeaways were promoting: 1) safety, 2) calming, 3) self and collective efficacy, 4) connectedness, and 5) hope.  I’d like to briefly touch upon each point and relate it to St. Paul’s amid this viral crisis. 

1) SAFETY:   While following the guidelines in the document, “Returning to Our Churches: A Framework & A Plan”, by Bishop Lee and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago content/uploads/2020/05/Chicago_Reopening_Plan_RV6.pdf , I look forward to working with you to develop simple and clear guidelines relative to reentry into our church building, “possibly in July” with one main objective: to keep everyone safe.  
2) CALMING:   Mother Barbara, our directors of music, tech assistants, organist, choir, fellowship leaders, office staff, treasurers, and your vestry have been working in big and little ways to keep St. Paul’s the comforting consistency of faithful togetherness.  For example, through Zoom St. Paul’s regularly offers weekly:  Sun  Worship Service/Coffee Hour,  Tues  Book Club,  Wed  Lectionary Readings,  Thurs  2 Choir chat meetings,  Fri  Compline Service, and  Sat  Parish Check-Ins, as well as, monthly  Sat  vestry meetings. Thanks to everyone, who is involved in these aforementioned events. Not only is it wonderful to see you, these activities foster calm, indeed, as they reinforce routine and encourage community.

3)  SELF & COLLECTIVE EFFICACY  - Efficacy is having confidence in one’s self and community’s ability, respectively, to perform a specific task in a specific situation. I have observed and can say with conviction that we, as the St. Paul’s parish, are resilient and committed to step up-to-the plate during these uncertain times to address specific tasks to sustain our faithful community.

4)  CONNECTEDNESS  – While I appreciate and greatly enjoy our weekly activities as a way to stay connected with one another, will you please join me in reaching out to those, who we haven’t seen in a while?  Simply a check-in to see how they are doing, can go a long way, as you know.  

5)  HOPE  – With regular prayer and creative reimagining of “what can be” for our St. Paul’s community, I am incredibly confident that together we will arrive at a new normal post COVID, and it will be extraordinarily beautiful and beyond our wildest imagination.  

During this time, I am reminded of a song sang by our children’s choir not too long ago:   I am the church, YOU are the church, WE are the church, together……

Sometimes we just need to hear it from the mouth of babes, right?

Junior Warden
Music Ministries

The Adult/Youth and Children's Choirs,
and our Instrumentalists, will continue to share special music
for the season of Pentecost throughout the summer,
in hopes to bring you some moments of peace and hopefulness! 
The Choirs   are doing well and continue to stay active while engaged in weekly zoom choir chats and are preparing music for streaming and worship services.

During our zoom choir chat meetings,  we check in with each other, share our adventures during the week much like most of you (walking, cooking, cleaning, working, talking with family and friends, etc.). We are exploring ways to adapt to the new norm for singing during Covid-19, using this time to learn (vocal and musical skills). We also talk about what music we are listening to during the week (while singing along), and how much we are missing what used to be our normal lives, and for many of us, our worship services while sharing our voices in the rich Episcopal traditions. Additionally, we are also keeping our spirts up by setting some musical structure and goals, such as working individually on hymns and anthems to record.

The choirs and instrumentalists are working on some virtual choir and music projects for streaming over the internet  via our Church Website, YouTube, Sound Cloud, etc. We are still setting up a few people with the tools and skills to engage technically, while others have begun participating. We are adapting to the ‘stay at home safety for all’, and with both some mindful sadness, and hopeful spirit, we are embracing new ways to challenge our skills and gifts, in creating soulful music through song. 

Creating a virtual choir?! Wait till you all see and hear how wonderful they sound!  Here is how we are creating St. Paul’s multi-generational virtual choirs and other music projects: While listening from their computer or iPad, with a headset on, or earbuds in, and then using a second device (smart phone), each person individually records themselves, singing along with a vocal line and accompaniment that Hannah has recorded. Creating a new recording of just their voice. After creating a track from their recording of themselves, they send that via email or text to the music directors, who (will) then bring all the tracks together, make edits, etc., and voila, a new song or anthem is created, that is essentially now a new virtual anthem, created by our new virtual choir (Mp3, Quicktime, iMovie). Like any new skill or product, it does take time to learn, get comfortable. Our hope is that with time, practice and mastery, our choirs will come to enjoy the process, and new anthem performances, with their new found skills and gifts, sharing in worship and fellowship.

Where will you get to hear the St. Paul’s new virtual music creations?  In a way, you can get a sample right now during our Sunday morning Liturgy of the Word and Prayer, worship services. We are streaming in prelude and postludes from both Kathleen Johnson, Organist, and Hannah Buckle, Assistant Director of Music and Pianist. 

You can hear and see the choirs sing choral anthems by going to our church’s websites music page, YouTube channel, Sound Cloud site, and often on Facebook. 

Hannah Buckle, Assistant Director
of Music and Pianist/Accompanist

Kathleen Johnson, Organist
St. Paul’s Music Fund

In support of our choirs and greater community, we want to continue to bring in students and artists to assist and further enhance our worship and other services. 

The Music Fund (800-114), started in 2016, is not a part of the annual operating budget. With monies from the choir’s first CD, along with the generous donations of several past and current parishioners, the music fund was able to pay for and support some wonderful musicians, such as the NIU student brass quintet, a Celtic bag piper, several substitute pianists, and several NIU student singers. 

The student singers have served several purposes. For example, they give our core group of volunteer singers a peace of mind when needing to be away, provide the opportunity to readily explore and sing new anthems and service music, enhance our choir’s site reading skills, and add support of encouragement to vocally sing out, and much more. In turn, St. Paul’s offers an opportunity for these artists/students to engage and grow professionally, earn money to subsidize their education, build their resume, and equally important, we offer them a home away from home. Finally, St. Paul’s contributes to the greater community through engagement.

Today we have one paid student/artist, a bass section leader, Tyrique McNeal. His salary is supported by the music fund, and at this moment, the music fund’s balance is $29.93. Tyrique, an NIU junior/senior continues to attend Sunday morning services, Thursday evening choir Zoom chats, record the bass part for our virtual choir (music) projects while collaborating with the music staff.

We reach out to you to ask, if you are able, to consider contributing to the music fund. Even if you are not able to contribute financially, please know how much we appreciate your non-monetary support such as a smile and/or a thank you when the choirs and musicians have shared their offerings of song and music.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Lorraine Langer, Director of Music
Hannah Buckle, Assistant Director of Music
The Reverend Barbara A. T. Wilson, Rector
Dear Friends at St. Paul’s:

One of the gifts God has given to us is music; there is music even in the heavens, or so we have been told. But we haven’t had to have special instruments to enjoy — to experience — the music of St. Paul’s. Through the years, our music has helped me know that God is good, that God loves beauty and wishes only for beauty and fellowship (a kind of music among people). So, of course, I miss our music now and perhaps you do too.

But I know that our music team continues to experiment to try to bring music back to us under our current conditions. Therefore, Cliff and I wish to help our music program, even and perhaps especially, now. We have contributed to it with music-designated funds — just what we can — and we urge you to do so, also. 

We’re all holding together at St. Paul’s, and our music program helps us do so. I enjoy the music Lorraine provides for us on our website. I look forward to hearing the music as we zoom together and even possibly as we sing together again, on zoom. Lorraine and Hannah and Lynne and the choir are working on it. Let’s contribute to their efforts in this challenging time. I urge you to donate to our music program.

In peace, Marilyn Cleland
Dear Friends in Christ,

   Our ministry of music and song is our outreach offering to the community as well as to our own members. Our recent Taize experience is proof of that, and our inclusion of NIU voice students is an ongoing part of it. Lynne and I are making a contribution to the Music Fund which supports this outreach, and I hope you will too.  It's an important aspect of who we are. 
Please help if you can.
A Note about Church Communications & Technology

As tasked by Mthr. Barbara and the vestry, I’ve been working on multiple projects related to zoom, online streaming, you-tube, and daily website updates. With Hannah Buckle’s assistance, we are working on a new church website design.

Lorraine Langer, Director of Music 
May 15, 2020

We have enough money in the bank to easily cover our May bills.  In April we took $20,000 from the Endowment Fund.  Also, we received a $27,000 forgivable loan from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which is part of the federal government’s covid virus response.  Also, we received an unusually large amount of pledge payments in April, partly due to a few people fulfilling their annual pledges all at once.  

As of today, our bank balance stood at $54,753.

We spend $22,746 in April.  We have spent 33.0% of our annual budget, which is right on target, since we are 1/3 of the way through 2020.  Our expenses in April were a bit higher than in March, as several quarterly bills fell due this month. 

 We are still paying all of our workers their full salaries, equal to what we paid in February before the onset of covid-related restrictions.

The $27,000 PPP loan will be forgiven if we use at least 75% of it for salaries between now and July 8. It only covers our salaried employees: Mother Barbara, Susan, and Lorraine, as well as the 3 nursery workers.  It does not cover “independent contractors” who receive an annual 1099 form instead of a W-2: Hannah, Elly (who does our cleaning), and Tyrique. The rest of the money needs to be used for utilities.  I am not sure yet whether rectory utilities count for this purpose.  Any money not used for these purposes will need to be returned as of December 8, 2020 or it will accrue a 1% annual interest rate.  

My only real concerns are on our advertising and Taize expenses, which have been significantly higher than we budgeted for.  I am a bit surprised that the church’s electric bill hasn’t gone down much—I am keeping my eye on this.  The Discretionary Fund is also in need of some contributions. 

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Johns,
If you would like to begin giving through the Realm system, here are instructions .

If you would like my help in setting things up, please email me (Rick Johns) at . You can also text or call me at 815-217-4849.
Yesterday (May 21st) was very busy and we missed those not able to be there. 

Mother Barbara gathered those there and we blessed our flower beds and grounds and then moved to bless the vegetable garden and raspberry patch. 

Brad and Rebecca planted lettuces and pole beans.Brad erected and amazing poke system for a support and Rebecca string netting on it. The same system will be in place for cucumbers this year. We also decided on a place for the potatoes at the front left of the garden effectively using the space where straw was stored. 

Jocelyn planted one bed area of collards and the other ties still need to be put in. Jocelyn and I untangled and assembled the wire tomato supports, placed them and planted a selection of tomatoes grown by Rebecca, Jocelyn and Kris. We also have homegrown peppers to plant soon.   Our leftover plants will be donated to DCCG or food pantries or home gardeners. We need more new tomato supports to finish the bed and to get marigolds and herbs planted.  

Mary Short planted 5 new red rose bushes ear our main front door so drive by and see how pretty they are! 

It was wonderful to see beets, kale, and radishes up and growing!! The broccoli and Brussels sprouts are looking good to as are our raspberries. 

We have today and tomorrow to get some more planting and garden work done before more rain sets in. Let us all know if and when you can come today or tomorrow to help out! Invite your friends too! We need all the help we can get now! Your work is greatly appreciated! 

Mary says she will be there tomorrow morning to plant the perennials I dug from my garden for our flower beds. If you have home garden perennials you can share for our beds, please volunteer them!we have several spots to fill. 

Grow well! 

Kris Borre
Fellowship has certainly taken on a new face. No longer are we sitting next to each other at coffee hour, going out for fellowship dinners, and enjoying events in our building. Our outreach projects are also on hold. When do we see these things happening again?? In the meantime, I think we have done an admirable job of doing fellowship at a distance. Our Low Sunday virtual brunch was fun. The Saturday afternoon Zoom gatherings provide us a time to see each other’s faces and share information. The Sunday morning worship time gives us another chance to be in fellowship. I am thankful that Mother Barbara is coordinating these events. Of course, there are parishioners who aren’t able or comfortable doing computer meetings. I encourage us to keep in touch by phone or snail mail. I am so grateful for my St. Paul’s family, and look forward to our next contact, whatever form that may take. 

Peg Newby
Returning to Our Churches: A Framework and a Plan
Bishop Jeff Lee shares phased guidelines for re-opening churches

After weeks of consultation with diocesan leaders and other dioceses across the Episcopal Church, Bishop Jeff Lee today shared the Diocese of Chicago's plan for re-opening our churches with clergy leaders via Zoom . The guidelines are based in large measure on meeting public health criteria spelled out in Restore Illinois, the state's five-phase plan to guide its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I am profoundly grateful for the creativity, the faithfulness, and the flexibility I see in churches all across this diocese. In online worship, in adaptive changes in ministries to those in need, in extraordinary attention to pastoral care and the tending of our communal life -- I see and celebrate a church that is alive and well. I encourage us to continue these practices," Lee said. 

The plan emphasizes that re-opening churches at this time is not mandatory and that clergy and lay leaders must work together to determine what is appropriate for their context. Included in the materials is the link to an online verification checklist to be completed and submitted to the bishop's office before re-entering the church building.

"The health and safety of the members of this diocese, our leaders and our employees remain our primary concern. Take your time as a community in working through these guidelines and proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you," Lee said. 

View the guidelines for re-entry online in  English  and  Spanish .
On Sundays, it is important to listen in to our Bishops, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and our own Bishop Jeff Lee. We will put links to their sermons on our webpage each week.
When Zoom “crashed” on Sunday morning, May 17, I was doubly disappointed.  Because there could be no church service, we missed out on both the service and the fellowship of being with each other.  But also because one of the appointed scriptures for that day was Acts 17: 22-31.  This is the scripture where Paul stood in front of the Areopagus (Mars Hill) and told the Athenians that he could see how extremely religious they were in every way.  The passage goes on to say that the God who made the world and everything in it doesn’t live in shrines made by human hands.  

Especially now, this scripture is comforting to me in many ways.  Whenever I hear or think of this passage, I remember Eva Leonard, who was the editor of the Mars Hill Proclaimer for a long, long time.  I miss Eva.  I miss so many others, too.  It is comforting to read scriptures that remind us they lived and were an important part of our lives.  It is also comforting to be told that we are being the church even when we are not in the actual building.  It’s harder, of course.  And very different.  If the most I can do right now is stay in fellowship with as many of you as possible, that is good enough.  When we can venture back to our building, I hope to do what I can to be helpful within the confines of what’s right for me and my family.  While coffee hours and potluck dinners are still in our distant future, we can remember our gatherings with friends present and past.  And smile.

Peg Newby
Best Wishes!
Brittany Altepeter has been caring for the children in St. Paul's nursery and has been part of St. Paul's family since 2010. She is now planning her married life and leaving to begin her new adventures. Brittany is the daughter of Freya Rasmussen-Johns.

We wish all the best for Brittany and her husband to be.
The Rector's Discretionary Fund Collection

First Sunday of the month
June 7, 2020

Donations allow us to assist people in need in our community. We would like to collect gift cards that could be used for basic necessities and groceries this month.

While there are no gatherings at church,
please remember donations can be mailed.
Food Pantry Collections for June
As The Salvation Army responds to the Coronavirus,  financial donations  are the most helpful. We are able to obtain food and supplies at a better cost in bulk, and they help us support businesses. If you're interested in making in-kind donations of non-perishable foods and supplies, please call 888-369-1349 to make arrangements.
Activities & Events

Activities for June are limited to on line gatherings. Please check our website
for what is offered.
June Birthdays and Anniversaries


6/7                Sean Sitzes
6/12              Mary Short
6/23              Colin Prall
6/28              Kenneth Sitzes
6/30              Theodore & Everett


6/6                Deb/Jordan Meyers
6/13              Bobby/Colleen Russell
6/22       Vince/Pat McMahon
6/27        Cliff/Marilyn Cleland
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