Mars Hill Proclaimer
St. Paul's Episcopal Church March Newsletter 2021
Dear Friends,

 This month marks the one-year anniversary of having closed our sanctuary to gathering together to break bread together and to “sing the Lord’s” song(s).    And if you’ll forgive me for pushing the analogy a little far--ours has, because of COVID—become a “strange land” to us. (Psalm 137:4) And we’re not yet through with it though we may be relatively soon as more and more of us are able to get the vaccine.

    At the same time we’ve readied the sanctuary with hand sanitizer stations, safe-distancing seats in the pews and signs calling for everyone to wear masks upon entry, whether you’d had the vaccine or not—if only in solidarity with those who haven’t. The only issue holding things up now is how to enforce mask-wearing by those who appear at our doors. We need to have a plan in place to obtain approval from the Bishop’s Office in order to reopen.

    Which makes me wonder if we should wait until everyone is vaccinated before we return to the sanctuary? What do you think about this individually? Please let me or your vestry hear from you!

    Meanwhile, I’m improving steadily from my knee-replacement surgery and looking forward to getting back to being with you fully. Spending as I have lots of time online, a week ago I enjoyed a YouTube clip of our Bishop-Elect Paula Clark in a “zoom” conversation with the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas in which they talked about where the Church is now in relation to the world. One thing they said that stands out in my mind is that “the Church is aspirational.” Not in-spirational so much as as-pirational. And we are certainly part of that—we aspire to opening our doors and sharing in worship together again as soon as possible.  And, even more, we aspire to fulfill Christ’s intention and aspiration for each one of us. As St. Paul describes it,

"You show that you are a letter from Christ . . . written not with ink
but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone
but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Corinthians 3:3
May it be so for all of us.

BTW, here's a gift for those of you who like useful apps for your smartphone and also like our Book of Common Prayer or would like very ready, on-the-go very easy access to the Lectionary. On your phone, go to the App Store, and in the search bar type in Venite.App and get it. It is designed by a first-year Yale Divinity School student Greg Taylor III, who codes for the fun of it and who had a long train commute and wanted to be able to read Morning Prayer and the Psalms, and other things--like the Lectionary. It is excellent, and it is free. There you go.
As reported at the Annual Meeting, the Re-entry Team continues to work on meeting Diocesan requirements for returning to our worship spaces. 

Where we are (the physical plan):
·     Signs on entry doors stating masks are required
·     Masks are available at several locations throughout our buildings
·     Pews are taped off to indicate non-seating areas
·     Hand sanitizer units are in place throughout the building & individual bottles are available
·     Markings for the floor to remind us to stay distanced are being finalized
·     Looking at required signage to print off from IDPH, CDC, and DCHD websites
·     All Books of Common Prayer and Hymnals have been removed from pews

Where we’re going (the written plan):
·     Mthr Barbara has asked that the team move forward during her recovery by looking at the guidelines and writing responses to the directives (the “what will you do if” questions)
·     The team is currently reviewing these guidelines and directives and will formulate a draft plan
·     We have no firm date for when re-entry might be possible

Submitted by Peg Newby for the Re-entry Team of Mthr Barbara, Lucinda Brunner, Bill Cummings, Maureen Gerrity, and Lorraine Langer
We have the palms for Palm Sunday and are prayerfully planning for the Holy Week. Possibly we will be able to distribute palms in person or through deliveries. There will be services planned on Zoom throughout the week.

Watch for more news.
March, 2021

Greetings brothers and sisters of St. Paul’s,

Wow what a difference a year makes. A year ago, I had just finished presenting at a professional meeting in Chicago and was beginning a question-and-answer session when the moderator announced that the Cook County Health Department closed our conference.  
I was so grateful to return to DeKalb. Little did I know I would be spending most of the next 12 months there. I was reminded how beautiful DeKalb is in the spring, and the summer, and the fall, and the winter. I got a chance to get to know my neighbors a little bit better on my regular walks through the ‘hood’. Further, I appreciated the kindness of total strangers knocking on my door with a delivery of essential goods. Relative to work, I was fortunate to be teaching remotely (online), so I did not miss a beat as the positivity rates began its uphill climb.

During this year of uncertainty, I realized how important it was to find some semblance of a routine, and Sundays with St. Paul’s worship service helped to keep me centered. I can’t thank Mother Barbara, Lorraine Langer, Hannah Buckle, Tyrique McNeal, Kathleen Johnson, Lynne Jacobson, Susan King, Peggy Newby, and Jocelyn Prall enough; they found a way to pivot and make this (worship service) happen. In turn, we found a way to safely connect with Zoom not only for worship services, but also for parish gatherings and meetings (vestry meetings, book club, lectionary study, choir chats, etc.). 
Initially, there was a steep learning curve for all of us, given that our traditional way of gathering and worshiping was transformed from an in-person to an on-line venue. This meant that all of us needed to learn how to use a new software application, as well as navigate an assortment of personal digital devices, all while having different internet speeds. Yet, we found a way to share and engage in worship while seeing each other in real-time (I love seeing people’s faces instead of their backs : ) with the Zoom application.  
My brothers and sisters of St. Paul, BRAVO, you showed incredible spunk and resilience as you pivoted and continued Sunday services during the pandemic. For those, who will be returning to face-to-face service, know that we miss you, lots!
In closing, I will do my best to be a good steward and serve our church to the best of my ability. Further, I think it is really important to listen. So, as we move forward, I am very sincere when I say that I am always open for a differing point of view and/or conversation. Text and email are the best ways to reach me. My contact information is: 
EMAIL: CELL PHONE:  815-751-0663
Are there any comments? questions?  

Senior Warden
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

While we hunker down as a result of this deep winter freeze and the beauty (to some) of the snow I pray this finds you well and hopeful about 2021. I am humbled to have been asked to be the Junior Warden and it is my sincerest intent to continue the good work already in progress. The most obvious task being St Paul's desire to prayerfully and with great intent discern our mission as a member of the Community. How best do we fulfill God's purpose for us during this time in our country. 2020 was such a watershed year in so many ways that we have no option but to respond. Together we can achieve much. So I will be hoping to connect with each of you to glean what resonates with your vision and how you see us fulfilling our purpose.

Additionally, I will be responsible for ensuring the safety of our building and it's maintenance. So again I will be working with those of you who have been working behind the scenes to keep St Pauls looking great and staying in great shape. 

I look forward to learning from Mother Barbara; Gretchen and the rest of the vestry during this year. Please feel free to reach out to me with concerns and I will do my best to address them.

Prayerfully Submitted,

Junior Warden 
Below is a list of activities and groups that have been of interest to the congregation in the past. Think about them, and let me know what you would like to continue. And let us know if you have suggestions for new ones, too!

You can email me at or send your ideas to the parish office (

Lucinda Brunner
Daylight Saving Time Starts: Sunday, March 14, 2021. Clocks are turned forward one hour from 2 am to 3 am. (or set your clocks the night before!)
Book Discussion, 5 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)
Alternating Thursdays and Fridays
March 5th, 11th, 19th, 24th

Thursday Choir Chats via zoom resume March 25th.

Liturgy of the Word and Prayer
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
Both services on Zoom
Zoom Coffee Chat following each service

Next Meeting: March 21st, 12:00 PM

I need to start this report out with a couple of personal items. First, my family is undergoing a series of serious illnesses and deaths, some at close hand, and this is affecting my ability to get to your questions as quickly or efficiently as I might otherwise do. I apologize for this.

The second item concerns the timing of vestry meetings. I am retired, but many of my family and friends work or are in school. The only time they have off is the weekend, and having a vestry meeting at 1 PM on a Saturday effectively kills any other activities for that day. Because of this, I will be unable to attend some Saturday meetings this year. However, I will submit written treasurer’s reports, and I will be able to answer your questions by email.

Now, on to business.

As of February 19, our bank balance stood at $59,467.81. We spent $24,665.71 from our General Fund in January, plus an additional $2055.47 from the revolving and pass-through funds. We have spent $24,665.71 in 2021, about 9.8% of our annual budget. We took in $17,778 in pledges and contributions from regular attendees in January. We have collected 16.5% of our expected pledge income so far this year.

As of January 29, the Endowment Fund value stood at $2,372,224.73. Five percent of the 12 month average is $107,092. The Edward Jones Building Fund has $16,435 in it. Our Apache stock holdings were valued at $87.13 on November 30.

As of the end of December, the Music Fund contained -$146.07, and the Discretionary Fund has -$2.30 in it. Both of these funds received donations in early February and currently have a positive balance.

Our 2020 PPP loan was completely forgiven; this occurred just after I submitted the Treasurer’s report in January. We are applying for a “second draw” PPP loan at present. I just got word (today) that we can expect a distribution of $27,000 on February 22.

As I am sure you have noticed, it has snowed a lot recently. We got a bill from Marc’s Lawn service for $2392.50, covering snow removal on January 17, 26, 27, 31 and February 4, 7, and 8 (7 separate events). I am sure we will have another large bill next month too. The parking lot and sidewalks have been kept very clear. But, our snow removal budget has been badly over-spent this year.

I have looked at the 2020 W-2 forms, and at the tax records. Although I haven’t checked the numbers in detail yet, nothing is wildly amiss as far as I can tell. 

The diocesan Parochial Report is due March 1. I will work on the treasurer’s part of it next week, but this report is something the wardens are responsible for.

I am starting to include the Capital Fund in the budget report, but it is still a work in progress

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Johns,
A big shout out to all our choir members [Roy Mason, Tyrique McNeal, Jacob Maas, Rick Johns, Freyja Rasmussen-Johns, Linda Lorbach, Kris Borre, Donna de Oliveira, Jocelyn Prall, Maureen Gerrity, Luke Stubblefield, Ava Stubblefield, Liam Stubblefield] and all of our instrumentalists [Kathleen Johnson, Hannah Buckle, Lynne Jacobson]! Missing your beautiful voices and music in real time! 
Hope you enjoy these special Lenten choral anthems from the St. Paul's choirs previously recorded CD Albums. Click on the links below.
Join Our Choir Chat via Zoom on Thursday, March 25th at 7:00 PM
Palm Sunday anthem to lift your spirits.
In the spirit of being welcoming and supportive, the church of St. Paul’s - DeKalb has the opportunity to contribute to our Bishop-elect Paula Clark’s ministry by making a donation.  This gift will provide for the acquisition of new vestments and other symbols of the Office of the Bishop.  
Donations should be mailed to the church by March 25th.  Please make your check out to St. Paul’s, and note “Bishop’s Ordination” in the memo line.   Please contact Gretchen Schlabach via email: gaschlabach@ or cell phone: 815-751-0663, if you have any questions.
Thank you very much!
Gretchen Schlabach, Warden
Lucinda Brunner, Warden
Bishop Elect Clark Featured in Video
As part of its Absalom Jones commemoration, the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri created a video of Black Episcopal bishops, including Bishop-elect Paula Clark, reading Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise." The bishop-elect called it "two and one-half minutes of inspiration and hope."
We have had one meeting to make a general plan for the garden. 

We have received seeds from Blains once again, including pole beans, bush beans, squash, tomatoes, summer squash, onions, kale, lettuces, herbs, spinach, and peppers. We will be purchasing seeds for more varieties of tomatoes and peppers, collards, beets and looking for seed potatoes to plant. 
We will be starting seedlings for transplants during the next weeks and planning our beds. We have decided not to grow brussels sprouts as they take up much room and we need to wait a long time to harvest. Instead we will grow more collards and kale. We hope to begin to see the ground and start preparing beds on or before April 1.

All are welcome to help, gardeners and non-gardeners alike; we have plenty of opportunities for all. Also, we plan to donate to local food and provide fresh organic produce for parishioners interested.

Looks like Spring is right around the corner!🌷

Kris Borre and Rebecca Smith
Living Well Through Lent 2021 includes reflections from: Martha Bourlakis, Robbin Brent, Randall Curtis, Donald Fishburne, Jan Kwiatkowski, Heidi Kim, Malcolm McLaurin, Craig Phillips, Lisa Saunders, Scott Stoner, and Dawna Wall.

While the print version sold out quickly, you can sign up to receive email devotionals. You will receive forty-seven daily emails, one for each day of Lent, plus Easter. The emails will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. If at any point you no longer want to receive the emails, you can unsubscribe at any time.

To receive the daily email devotional from Living Compass, you can sign up here.
We've are nearly finished with CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters. Then we'll continue with the Great Divorce, Lewis' creative take on heaven and hell and conclude with his Mere Christianity. Zoom meetings are held on alternating Thursdays and Fridays at 5:00 PM.

Jennie Cummings suggested everyone who needs a copy go to the website where Screwtape Letters is offered free as an audible book for listening, and the others may be as well. I hope to see you there!

God's Grace and Peace to all of you,
For those living in the area, DeKalb County Health Department now has an email list for which you can sign up to receive weekly updates on vaccine distribution. Please click here if you are a DeKalb County resident:

Other counties have similiar websites:

Thanks to Kris Borre for forwarding this information to us.
Yes, we will have offering envelopes available again. They have been ordered and should be sent out in time to begin using in April. These envelopes can be directly mailed with a stamp without having to be placed in a separate envelope.
Food Pantry Collections
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.
St. Paul's has been sending in financial donations that have been made to the church (see the Treasurer's Report).
The Rector's
Discretionary Fund Collection

Donations allow us to assist people in need
in our community.

While there are no gatherings at church,
please remember donations can be mailed at any time.
March Birthdays and Anniversaries


3/6                Jimmy Russell
3/8                Emily Russell
3/9                Jane Nenonen
3/10              Danny Russell
3/11              Julie Stubblefield
3/27              Jackie Dickow
3/27              Mary Lincoln
3/28              Gail Piper

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