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


 
November 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
    
We’ve just had our first snowfall of the year and Blue Ash tree in the rectory backyard has fully shed her leaves (though the Maple has not.) 

Thanksgiving is not far off.  Actually, hopefully—it is never far off from any of us, whatever season of the year.  This coming holiday will be different, won’t it? As it comes to us in this strange and disquieting season which the clergy of the Diocese have dubbed “Covidtide.” 

    I’d like to share with you something that has happened to me within the past twenty-four hours which made me smile and give thanks. Last evening I logged on to The Episcopal Church website, checking out stewardship resources and particularly an office called “TENS,” an acronym for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship.

     Before I could access their resources, however, I found that I’d have to pay subscription dues--$100 no less, for a parish the size of St. Paul’s. So I put it on my personal credit card.

    Within the hour, I received an email response from a woman named Elizabeth Honeycutt who works part-time for TENS telling me that the Diocese of Chicago has paid the subscription fee for all its parishes, and immediately refunded the $100.  “Wow,” I thought, impressed by her service and that the Diocese has used parish apportionment funds to directly support parishes in such a helpful way. (By the way, your individual pledges in support of St. Paul’s helps to support our apportionment payment annually.) She also included the user name and password with which to access our TENS account---user name: Ipeter; password: four10.

    I almost missed it!   This is when I smiled, after looking up the citation which I now pass on to you for your consideration in this stewardship season:  "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." May it be so for all of us.
    
Faithfully,
Barbara+
STEWARDSHIP 2021
“For I know the plans
I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you
and not to harm you,
plans to give you
hope and a future.” 
 Jeremiah 29:11


Your Vestry is especially hard at work right now to establish a budget that is responsive to our need for living within our means (pledged support) and to financial transparency in reporting to all of you (not just the vestry) in the months ahead. Please watch for the Stewardship Letter and Pledge Form that will be arriving in your email inbox and in your regular mailbox. You can respond to either.
A SERVICE OF HEALING AND WELLNESS
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will lead a live-streamed prayer service from Washington National Cathedral, Holding on to Hope: A National Service for Healing and Wholeness, on All Saints Sunday, November 1, at 4:00-5:30 p.m. EST. (3:00-4:30 p.m. CST). In the midst of pandemic, racial reckoning, and a historic election, the live-streamed service will gather Americans for prayer, song, lament, hope, and a call to love God and neighbor. 

In addition to Bishop Curry’s sermon, the service will include reflections from Father James Martin, a noted Roman Catholic commentator on American life and values, and Valarie Kaur, an inspiring Sikh author, filmmaker and civil rights attorney. The gathering will be officiated by Washington’s Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith, and Reverend Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop.

Prayers for the nation will come from leaders like Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFY), Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rabbi Shoshana Conover of Temple Sholom, Chicago, and Shane Claiborne, speaker, activist, and best-selling author. Music from The Coro de la Cathedral of Christ Church Cathedral-Indianapolis and Washington National Cathedral will help to lift and open hearts.

A live prayer hotline in English and Spanish will be open during the service, staffed by Episcopal clergy and chaplains, in partnership with TryTank at Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary. The hotline will be open from from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST from November 1 to November 5. 
WEEKLY DEVOTIONS
Book Discussion, 5 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)
Tuesdays

Compline, 7 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)
Fridays

Liturgy of the Word and Prayers, 8 AM
Holy Eucharist Rite II or Liturgy of the Word, 10:30 AM
Both services on Zoom
Zoom Coffee Chat following each service
Sundays

FROM THE SENIOR WARDEN
November, 2020

To My Dear St. Paul’s Family,

I pray that you and your loved ones are staying well. The month of November is the start of the holiday season. Our celebrations will be different this year out of necessity. The recent resurgence of the COVID-19 virus reminds us that any “plans” we make may need to be thrown out the window on a moment’s notice! Regardless, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day will all arrive on schedule. It will be up to us to celebrate them in meaningful ways.

November also heralds the start of “church budget season”. The vestry has had serious discussions about the budget, the projected deficit, and ways to bring our spending in line with our receipts. There are no easy answers as we have a fairly lean budget. Looking ahead to 2021, our goal is to begin to close the gap between our expenses and receipts. Please keep us in your prayers as we work through this process.

Budget season is also Stewardship season. You will be receiving a Stewardship Campaign letter soon. Please prayerfully consider increasing your pledge, if possible, to help us close the gap between expenses and receipts in 2021.

The pledge request form invites you to provide input regarding the ministries and mission of St. Paul’s. How can St. Paul’s have a greater impact in your life and in the life of our community? Do you have program ideas you’d like to share? How can we increase our visibility in the community?

Kristen Borre gave a wonderful presentation to the vestry at its October meeting about St. Paul’s beautiful grounds and the potential to meet community needs. Our part of town is a food desert - would St. Paul’s allow DeKalb County Community Gardens to use some of our land for a garden? Did you know we have a natural amphitheater right outside our door? Can it be adapted for outdoor worship services and community events? These ideas are exciting examples of ways we can put our resources to work for the benefit of the community.

Our congregation has much to be thankful for: a lovely worship space and Fellowship Hall, our impressive outdoor space, and the hearts and hands of our faithful members. Working together, and with God’s help, we can thrive and grow. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.


In Faith and Hope,

Maureen
Senior Warden
FROM THE JUNIOR WARDEN
November, 2020

Greetings brothers and sisters of St. Paul’s,
Boo!

We begin the holiday season. No doubt, it will look and feel a little different this year. Some might say, it gives us an opportunity to think creatively and, perhaps, start new traditions. Others may mourn the old traditions. However, you move forward in these Covid-times, I pray that you see God’s light and fundamentally believe that somehow, we will all get through this.

Last month, the Vestry was busy: 1) working on the mutual ministry review and 2) engaging in a financial retreat. So I want to highlight the incredible work of your vestry.

THE MUTUAL REVIEW
The vestry set aside some time on a Saturday to review the Rector, wardens, clerk, vestry members, and treasurer. Although the appraisal was a bit tricky given the pandemic, the exercise was good given it emphasized and reminded us of our unique role & responsibilities, as well as, our obligations.

A FINANCIAL RETREAT
The vestry also set aside some time last Saturday for a two-hour retreat to learn the basics of church finances. Dr. Timothy O’Brien, a professor at North Park and director of The Academy of Church Leadership, led the discussion. He provided a wealth of information and reinforced our financial
responsibilities and oversight based on the Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs.
Dr. O’Brien briefly touched upon:

Financial Management - Budgeting is the allocation of the church‘s resources, in accordance with a plan, ie, objectives and goals. The church budget is one of the most effective tools available for the proper stewardship of the church’s assets.

Internal Controls – This is designed to set up an accounting system that determines the accounting system, how many bank accounts are needed, who signs checks, who should deposit weekly receipts and how, etc.

Bookkeeping - The accounting year for all Episcopal congregations and dioceses is January 1 through December 31, according to the Canons.

Taxes and the Episcopal Church – Reinforces timely and accurate compliance with all applicable Federal and State tax laws.

Clergy Discretionary Funds - The Episcopal Church has developed these guidelines for these designated funds.

Audit Guidelines for Congregations - The primary purpose of an audit is to assure that financial statements are fairly stated.

Insurance – This simply states that the building should be adequately insured. Further, our treasurer should be bonded.

Parochial Reports – We are reminded of our responsibility to accurately complete the Parochial Report.
At the end-of-the day, the take-home message for both the vestry and parish is simply: “ASK QUESTIONS”. All questions are important! What is your question?

I am so thankful for the engagement of our vestry (including our Rector and Treasurer). You can take comfort knowing your vestry is incredibly involved in heart and mind.

Peace,

Gretchen
Junior Warden
Music Ministries
choirs easter 2019
With All Saints Sunday at our doorstep, I'm reminded of our living Saints here at St. Paul's, all of you, and I of course think of all the awesome volunteer and paid musicians.

I am, and I imagine you are also, very, very sad for one of our own, Jan Bach (one of my favorite Basses), recently in hospice, and as I finish editing this, I found out he passed away this afternoon. His two daughter's, Eva Englehard and Dawn Bach are managing a page on the Caring Bridge website for Jan. Anyone can join in to read. The choir was going to try and have a "music zoom chat" with Jan but with his decline in health, we were not able to.

In lieu of a music zoom with Jan, I've put together a "musical" slide show for Jan and the choir. The music in the background is performed by the St. Paul's choirs. I have many other pictures of Jan participating in church activities and worship services that I'm happy to share at another time. For now, I hope you enjoy the "Moments of Joy and Peace with Jan Bach" (revised) video.

The choir rehearsal/meeting chats via zoom will resume on Thursdays, November 5th and 19th, so if you like, come join us. We are resuming our recording projects with the goals to include hymns and anthems when possible, for streaming (pre-recorded) during upcoming worship services.
TREASURER'S REPORT
October 17, 2020


As of October 14, our bank balance stood at $57,218.54.  We spent $18,260 in September.  In total we have spent $183,856 in 2020, about 71% of our annual budget.  We took in $5914 in pledges in September; we have collected about 87% of our expected pledge income so far.  As a point of reference, the end of September is 75% of the way through the year.  The third quarter giving statements are ready and will be sent out in the next few days.

As of September 30, the Endowment Fund value stood at $2,163,451.44.  Five percent of the 12 month average is $104,623.  I moved $30,000 from the Endowment Fund to our General Fund in early October; we have now taken $100,000 from the Endowment Fund this year.  The Edward Jones Building Fund has $16,435 in it.  Our Apache stock holdings were valued at $96.41 on August 31.

As of the end of August, the Music Fund contained $54, and the Discretionary Fund has $723 in it.  

There have been some changes in how the PPP loan forgiveness application needs to be made, but I am waiting for word from Heartland Bank as to when and how to begin this process. 

Since we have started having in-person services, we are occasionally getting anonymous cash donations.  I am putting them into the Discretionary Fund.

I have sent emails to nine potential auditors, eight from the list provided by the Diocese and one to the person Donna found.  Only one person got back to me with an actual offer; the rest either failed to respond or said they didn’t do that kind of work. Robert Zeman at Selden Fox, Ltd of Oak Brook looked at the material I sent him and gave me an estimate of $2500-3000 to perform the required audit.  For reference, our 2014 external audit cost $500.  I have also sent a query to St. Peter’s about who does their audits—no reply so far.

I need to report something negative.  In early August, Several members of the congregation donated $300 to be sent to New Hope Baptist Ministry for use in purchasing backpacks for their Back To School Bash.  Through an oversight on my part, the money didn’t get sent on time, and when I realized this, I sent New Hope a check with a note saying they should either save it for next year’s event or use it for another charitable purpose.  I got some negative feedback about this, saying that I should have consulted with the vestry first.  In the future I will do this, but I need to tell you that I necessarily have to exercise my independent judgement at times.  

Another event of note: we received what seemed to be an anonymous donation to be used “wherever it was most needed”.  However, our very able Assistant Treasurer Pat Brown recognized the probable source, and I confirmed with the donor that this donation was in fact a pledge.

I have a new version of the budget spreadsheet that I hope makes it easier to comprehend.  There are several tabs with different levels of detail.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Johns,
Treasurer
THE GARDEN IS STILL GROWING



While the temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter, the church garden continues to produce! This week we harvested beets, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, collards and kale. The produce was delivered to the food pantry at New Hope Baptist Church. We welcomed Jocelyn back to the garden! It is almost time to put the garden to bed,yet, we still have some cool weather crops to harvest. This garden season has yielded a great amount of fresh produce to share with our neighboring community and has been a blessing to both those we serve and to all the gardeners.

Submitted by Rebecca Smith
DIOCESAN CONVENTION
Hello My St. Paul's Friends,

Our church convention is coming up next month and our new bishop will be elected. As one of your delegates at convention, I am open to hearing your thoughts and input as you would like to share. Prayers would be appreciated too. I am studying the bios of the four candidates along with their videos. See the link below.

I feel that I am voting for our parish and it is important to me to hear you. The convention is via Zoom this year. I've been your delegate for many years and participated in meet the candidate events for our retiring Bishop Jeffrey Lee.


My contact information can be found in the church directory or by contacting the church.

Prayerfully,
>Jennie Cummings
SALVATION ARMY
THANKSGIVING MEAL DRIVE
The Salvation Army is once again asking local churches to help with its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. They are expecting to serve 800 families in our community this holiday season. Each family will be given everything they need for traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, St. Paul's will not be collecting food for the Thanksgiving meal drive. Instead, we are encourage everyone that wants to support the Thankgiving Food Drive to send monetary donations directly to the Salvation Army, 830 Grove St., DeKalb, 60115. The cost per meal is $30, but any amount will be appreciated. Include "Community Thanksgiving Meal" on the memo line of your check.

If you have any questions, please contact Maureen Gerrity at mtgbcm@yahoo.com or 815-895-8084. Thank you!
HOLIDAY ASSISTANCE FOR THE SITZES-PIPER FAMILY
We would like to brighten Thanksgiving & Christmas for Gail & Lonnie Piper and their family this year. In the past, St. Paul’s has ordered Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner for them from Hy-Vee, and provided Christmas gifts for the family. Each holiday meal is $89.99 plus tax (8 servings).
Thanksgiving is late this year (Nov. 26), so I am suggesting a combined Holiday Assistance drive for the Sitzes-Piper family. Donations should be made out to St. Paul’s and “Sitzes-Piper Holidays” should be noted on the memo line. We hope to provide Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner once again this year. Any extra amount received will be used to purchase gift cards for the family for Christmas.

If you have any questions, please contact Maureen Gerrity at mtgbcm@yahoo.com or 815-895-8084. 
TIME CHANGE
The time change from Daylight Savings to Standard time occurs Saturday night, October 31st. Be sure to have your clocks "fall back" one hour.
THANK YOU AND BEST WISHES
TO OUR LONG TIME NURSERY ATTENDANTS
Julie Rogers has faithfully supervised St. Paul's nursery for many years on Sundays and Holidays and many extra days. Many children have happily played in the nursery under Julie's loving care and she carefully watched out that the area was clean and safe and stocked with safe toys and healthy treats. With the COVID19 shutdowns we have suspended our nursery and Julie has decided to retire from St. Paul's. We wish her and her husband Bob well with many thanks.
Brittany Altepeter, daughter of Freyja Rasmuissen Johns, has been in St. Paul's nursery watching our children for many years. Last June she resigned to plan her wedding and was happily married this September. You can find her now as Brittany Chatsfield. We wish her and Nick many happy married years in their new life together.
12TH ANNUAL PET BLESSING
COVID19 trimmed our celebration this year on October 4th, but a sunny afternoon brought out a number of people in our community to bring and bless precious pets, including one who was brought in memory. Mother Barbara presided over the brief service.
The Rector's Discretionary Fund Collection

First Sunday of the month
November 1, 2020

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

While there are no gatherings at church,
please remember donations can be mailed.
Food Pantry Collections for November
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).
Activities & Events


Activities for November are mostly limited to on line gatherings. Please check our website www.stpaulsdekalb.org
for what is offered.
November Birthdays and Anniversaries


Birthdays

11/3              Clifford Cleland
11/3              Jennifer Sitzes
11/6              Sandra Lee
11/8              Liam Stubblefield
11/10            Kathleen Johnson
11/11            Jacqueline Mounts
11/13            Lori Judkins
11/23            Dean Judkins



Anniversaries

11/12/10     Lonnie and 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