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

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This morning, I drove our “sheppie” to the vet for a routine procedure under darkening skies and within myself a pretty dark mood about recent political events, heavy with concern for the future—or, given my mood, the lack thereof. And prayer wasn’t helping. 

   Sitting in my car in the parking lot, feeling irritable and sour, waiting for my turn to take Sophie to the door, I couldn’t help but observe one of the staff bring out a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog puppy to her family. Bernese Mountain Dogs hail back more than 2,000 years in Switzerland where they were brought by Roman troops and are sort of rare. He or she was so well behaved for a such a youngster, s/he completely filled the attention of my mind and heart with her loveliness, her puppy-ness.
  The pup was taken to the car parked next to mine, and my car, not unlike my mind as we had arrived---was full of noise, the furious barking of a dog with nothing else to do. Finally, Sophie’d had her procedure and was back in the car, where both dogs had finally stopped barking as I began to back our car out to leave. Just as I was doing that, I glanced at the Bernese puppy’s car just in time to see a tiny human foot, tiny toes waving in a ray of sunlight from the open the backseat window. It was an ordinary but holy extraordinary moment of finally seeing, being in the present moment of reality—which is the only reality there ever is—the one we are experiencing right now. And those baby toes! And that puppy! I thank God that I finally woke up from my dark mood focused on past and future events long enough to experience beautiful reality, easily missed. 

  In a week or so, I’ll be leading an introductory course in Benedictine Spirituality and Mindfulness meditation, which, if practiced, can help one to experience present reality apart from our misgivings about either the past or the future. Present reality is Christ’s gift to us, of trusting and taking in Christ’s peace. 

   Here’s an outline of the four-session course, attached. I hope you’ll join us. 
We will continue the tradition of the outdoor Pet Blessing on the front lawn on Sunday, October 4th, observing social distancing for pets and owners.

If the weather is inclement, we'll change to "Drive By" blessings.

We will also offer Zoom blessings for pets at each service on October 4th. See the article in the Midweek for more information.
Book Discussion, 5 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)

Compline, 7 PM
(Zoom Video or Audio)

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

Liturgy of the Word and Prayers, 8 AM
Holy Eucharist Rite II, 10:30 AM
Both services on Zoom
Zoom Coffee Chat following each service
Sundays (Outside 10:30 AM service if weather permits)

We had two outside celebrations of the Holy Eucharist in September, one on Thursday, September 17th and one on Sunday, September 27th. We now have the capability of streaming the service on Zoom, which gives flexibility to those who can't attend in person. We'll continue to schedule the 10:30 AM service outside through October as the weather permits, but we can Zoom inside or outside now. Social Distancing is observed and communion is offered in prepackaged servings.

The 8:00 AM service will continue to be a Liturgy of the Word on Zoom.

Members are welcome to come and see the efforts of our garden helpers, and gathering outside shows activity to the neighborhood while being an outreach to the community as well.
October, 2020

To My Dear St. Paul’s Family,

I pray that you and your loved ones are staying well. I am delighted that we have begun offering outdoor worship services at St. Paul’s. I participated in the 10:30 am service September 27 via Zoom. Even though I wasn’t physically present, it felt so good to see our parish family worshiping our Lord and Savior and celebrating Holy Eucharist in person!!  I am so grateful to Mother Barbara, Lorraine Langer, Peg Newby, Susan King, and all the other saints in our midst who helped make this possible.

I am happy to report that we have also started working on the “checklist” to get our sanctuary ready for worship. The Diocese has a variety of resources available to assist congregations as they work toward re-opening. The highest priority is keeping our members, clergy, and staff safe.  We have also consulted priests from parishes that are already conducting services in their buildings. Their insights have been very helpful. As we put our plans into action we will most likely need to make adjustments as we discover what works and what doesn’t, but I am sure we will be able to keep moving forward.

There may also be “pauses” after we have our procedures in place due to regional COVID-19 setbacks. Please don’t lose heart during those periods. Once we have met the Diocesan requirements for re-opening and have resumed services in the sanctuary, we will be in a very good position to pick up where we left off after regional restrictions are lifted. We will continue to offer Zoom access to worship services so that all of our members have the opportunity to participate each week regardless of the current COVID “climate”. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Mother Barbara if you have suggestions, questions or concerns. 

In Faith and Hope,

Senior Warden
October, 2020

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of St. Paul’s,

Earlier in the year, before COVID, I had the pleasure of attending a Zoom webinar with Mother Barbara, Pat Brown, and Rick Johns. It was presented by Dr. Timothy O’Brien, a professor at North Park, who serves as director of The Academy of Church Leadership a newly formed initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment. The mission of the academy is to provide formal academic education and professional development programs for pastoral leaders in all areas of church administration and leadership. Relative to healthy church finances, Dr. O’Brien’s webinar stressed many ideas. I’d like to speak briefly about his point on transparency. 

Dr. O’Brien professes that transparency is being honest when no one is looking and is foundational to good stewardship. Interestingly, he states that it is closely related to problem solving because having a clear idea of the problem is the first step toward solving them. 

Relative to this notion transparency and problem solving, the vestry engages in this activity when we review the monthly budget sheet. The vestry appreciates our Treasurer’s efforts to bring to our attention areas of budget concerns by using the color red. Typically, those areas of concerns relate to overspending. There may be innocuous reasons for overspending. Specifically, some examples that the vestry has reviewed this year include:

  • bills from the 2019 calendar year being payed it the 2020 calendar year because our church uses a cash basis as opposed to an accrual basis of accounting. 
  • additional WiFi and cleaning expenses because we didn’t anticipate a pandemic. 

My point is that this transparency on our budget sheet, our vestry’s attentiveness in asking good questions, and our Treasurer’s interest in providing prompt and accurate information encourages transparency and enables all of us to be good stewards. 

Dr. O’Brien concluded that the more people that are engaged in church finances, the easier it is to be transparent. Further, he states, “Answering questions whether they are from the vestry or the congregation in a private or public setting is the key to the transparency”. 

In closing, I am excited that Mother Barbara has arranged a Zoom meeting with Dr. O’Brien and our vestry in the next couple of weeks. The presentation will be on church finances. I’m looking forward to his presentation. 

What are your questions?


Junior Warden
Music Ministries
Traditionally, the liturgical season of Pentecost offers many hymns and anthems that give us mindful reasons to be thankful and hopeful. And being in the seventh month of a pandemic I find myself hearing and singing along with our choirs past musical offerings like the anthem “We Will Praise You” by Andreas Hammerschmidt (see below).

The Choirs began rehearsal/meeting chats via zoom in September and will continue to meet every two weeks (October 8th, 22nd and November 5th, 19th) for the next two months. We will resume our recording projects with the goals to include hymns and anthems for streaming (pre-recorded) during upcoming worship services (through zoom and live in the sanctuary).
Transitions in Worship and Music at St. Paul's

In the spirit of positive and effective transitions, I thought you might like to know what is going on behind the scenes, or more appropriately what is going into our current preparation and process of virtual worship services?

The art of zooming (like Zen: The art of motorcycle maintenance, The art of music , etc.) will undoubtedly be a best seller if/when someone writes it. Though many people have mixed feelings about zoom, it is the only affordable platform that can bring the community together somewhat reliably, and will continue to be a life line for many people. Some positive comments people have shared are that you can see each-other’s faces (in church we mostly see each other’s hairdos) and can hear the liturgy (priest, readers) much better than they can in the church. Being mindful that the pandemic has its own timeline and process it will undoubtedly stave a longer course, let’s consider the exciting possibilities of virtual worship (zoom, facebook live, youtube live, and recordings) going forward.

As we continue to transition over the next months and year, Bishop Jeffrey Lee encourages our diocesan parishes to continue with some form of on-line worship going forward. In-person is important and essential. We afford our-selves the opportunity to maintain, further enhance, and grow our worship experiences and congregation’s membership through both in-person and online worship.

Example of our virtual work and worship schedule:

Pre-Worship at St. Paul’s 

  • Liturgy planning from staff (music, readings, etc.)
  • Liturgy communications from staff (Susan emails/bulletins/snail mail) 
  • Musicians pre-record music (preludes, postludes, hymns, etc.)
  • Mthr. Barbara researches, cogitates, prays, and writes her sermon
  • Mthr. Barbara drafts and sends out zoom invitation
  • CoHost (Lorraine/Hannah) text message parishioner’s not using email

Sunday morning worship via Zoom for 8:00/10:30 AM services
Mid-March to Mid-September

  • Host/Liturgist and Co-Hosts set up sacred space for zoom services
  • Co-Hosts set up recording equipment off site (Lorraine and Hannah)
  • Host/Liturgist (Barbara/Lynne) recording from rectory 
  • Co-Hosts available before, during, after zoom for technical assistance
  • All Hosts stay on for parishioners to have Coffee Zoom Chat 

Sunday morning worship via St. Paul’s for 8:00/10:30 AM services
Front Steps/Sanctuary and via live Zoom Mid-September to Present

  • Host (Barbara), Co-Hosts (Lorraine, Hannah, Tyrique), Altar Guild (Peg) set up altar, etc., for zoom services in the Sanctuary and/or Front Lawn
  • Co-Hosts set up recording equipment on site (Lorraine, Hannah, Tyrique)
  • Host/Liturgist (Barbara/Lynne) recording from rectory or Sanctuary
  • Organist (Kathleen) and Pianist (Hannah) on site to assist and play live
  • DirMusic (Lorraine) and Bass (Tyrique) on site to assist with technology
  • Co-Hosts available before, during, after zoom for technical assistance
  • All Hosts stay on for parishioners to have Coffee Zoom Chat 

Post Service

  • Host (Mthr Barbara) sends CoHost (Lorraine) video recordings to edit via iMovie, upload to post and publish on You Tube, FaceBook
  • Update church website, add sermon via You Tube link (Lorraine)
  • Add sermon via YouTube to weekly Email blast (Susan)
September 19, 2020

As of September 18, our bank balance stood at $41,678.47. We spent $21,524 in August. In total we have spent $165,675 in 2020, about 64% of our annual budget. We took in $4970 in pledges in August; we have collected about 84% of our 2020 pledge income so far.

As of August 31, the Endowment Fund value stood at $2,244,723.41. Five percent of the 12 month average is $104,171. The Edward Jones Building Fund has $16,435 in it.

As of the end of August, the Music Fund contained $154, and the Discretionary Fund has $838 in it. 

We are still paying all of our workers: Mthr. Barbara, Susan, Lorraine, Hannah, Kathleen, Ellie (cleaning), but we are no longer paying the nursery workers.

I have contacted the bank concerning forgiveness for our PPP loan. They told me the loan period has been extended until December, that there was nothing we needed to do about it yet, and that they would contact me when we needed to work on it. 

I have contacted a possible auditor: Joe Martin, who works for Brian Zabel and Associates, in Morris IL. I haven’t heard back from him yet. He was recommended by Donna. 

I have been spending a lot of time checking the details of our bank statement against the list of invoices and payments, to be sure everything matched. This has resulted in a somewhat altered budget spreadsheet. I am quite sure the overall numbers match the bank statement, but there are still a few details about account assignments that I need to work out with Sheila. I am also hoping to update the account numbering system, the order in which the accounts are listed, and the overall appearance of the spreadsheet. 

I want to point out that we have several thousand dollars in our Building Fund, donated by the late Joan Graham, for the purpose of new vestments or perhaps other uses by the Altar Guild. 

In the past we have given $250 to the TAILS animal shelter as a corporate sponsor of their annual Mutt Strut. Last month the vestry approved $150 for this purpose. When contacted about this, TAILS told us that $250 was the minimum level necessary for corporate sponsorship. On hearing this, one of our parishioners contributed the remaining $100 so we can continue to be corporate sponsors.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Johns,
Don't forget about the 52nd Lobster Boil! Rick Johns is ready and willing to start up the next Lobster Boil next spring - we'll assess what is needed for Covid19 awareness in March next year, but let's be thinking about it!
Yellow wax beans are beginning and we have had two pickings. Beautiful peppers and Brussels sprouts await maturing. Our tall sunflower has bowed its head to the weight of the seeds and we will be cutting it soon, as we do not want it to reseed. Beets are coming on again in a few weeks. And a few carrots are still growing. Squashes are revived by the precious week of rain that we had. 

The fall garden is precious thing. You can feel and see the coming of the cool months and the garden’s surrender to the season’s end and the end of its productivity this year. We are grateful for the life of plants that nourish us and provide for for our neighbors. Now we turn to the work of our new fall garden season anticipating the winter rest for our soils. 

Come visit our garden and enjoy its messy productiveness. It is a joy to work along side of Rebecca, Brad, Jocelyn, and Linda to grow this small patch of delicious vegetables and fruit. 

Our church garden is providing fall produce for food pantry deliveries! The collards and kale are plentiful. There are more beets in the way. We have had fall lettuce and broccoli. We are still seeing a few zucchini and yellow squash. The tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers have slowed down with the end of the long summer days. The cool weather will bring more greens and Brussels Sprouts.

Have you ever wondered about the stained glass window that hangs by the narthex? This window is a reproduction of one of the windows from the previous church building on Second Street in DeKalb. A member of St Paul's had it made using pieces of an old window as patterns.

We will feature more of the memorials on the property of St. Paul's in coming Proclaimers.
After considerable study and consultation, the Diocese of Chicago intends to offer 65 E. Huron, the diocesan headquarters in downtown Chicago , for sale in the next few months. The proceeds from the sale of the property would be placed in a fund that would function like an endowment and be governed by the Bishop and Trustees. 

Resources for Voting Faithfully
In his September 18 "Word to the Church," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry  reminds us that voting is an act of moral agency and encourages us to bring our Episcopal values to the polls.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) member organizations, including the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Sanctuary Diocese Task Force, are mobilizing to register and encourage people to vote in the November election. The Sanctuary Diocese Task Force is also recruiting congregations to participate in this effort.
Congregations can participate by text banking, phone banking, or volunteering with one of ICIRR's partner organizations. Training will be provided. Learn more on the diocesan website.
The Rector's Discretionary Fund Collection

First Sunday of the month
October 4, 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 October
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 October are mostly limited to on line gatherings. Please check our website
for what is offered.
October Birthdays and Anniversaries


10/3              Richard Dowen
10/10            Lonnie Piper
10/10            Debi Meyers
10/11            Jordan Meyers
10/12            Henry Leonard
10/19            Linda Lorbach
10/21            Rhys Prall


10/11.     Doug/Lynn Roberts
Thank you to Mary Short and helper Damien for making the front of St. Paul's look inviting and lovely for the neighborhood and for our outdoor events!
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