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

Hello Everyone,

     I want to share a story with you, if I can. Rhys, Damian and I have been working to clear
the overgrowth from the Durning Memorial, at the corner of the parking lot and circle drive. It is and was a mess. The overgrowth of grapevines, weeds and sapling trees choked out the beauty of what had initially been planted there. Sometimes that kind of thing happens in our lives too, as individuals, as a country and even our world—in the way we forget to pay attention or neglect people and the environment around us. The garden was literally dying, choked off by the weeds. It is a metaphor for our own world, I think.

      We, as a nation and all around our world, humanity has been choking on too many weeds—stuff that doesn’t belong for the well-being of the earth and it’s creatures, including all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the truth of that into such high relief that we can no longer ignore the mess we’re living in that consists of a long-embedded overgrowth of systemic racism, enormous economic disparity between the rich and poor, the lack of affordable healthcare for most of us—all unhealthy overgrowth that has crept up and has been choking the life out too many of us.

     In order for things to get better a certain amount deconstruction, e.g., destruction must occur. This is the hard part, and it is labor-intensive: How much do we tear out and get rid of in order to begin again, how and what do we put in place of that which is/was choking the life out of us? This is difficult work, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. Work we really can’t do alone.

     Mr. Rogers offered good advice for when we are confused and afraid, he said, “Look for the helpers.”

       In the case of our garden, there have been a couple of them. Damian Richards, pictured with his mask under his chin, and Rhys Prall, (of whom I have no photo—but he’s always helping behind the scenes) and Mary Short and Kris Borre who’ve cleared and planted in the front of the church have volunteered to help in replanting. And I have helped with the garden too. Today the guys at Askeland Tree Service did some amazing work as well high up in the trees where we couldn’t reach. 
     And, of course, our primary Helper, brother, Friend, Redeemer and Companion always, Jesus, who is ever at our side helping us clear away whatever is blocking God’s sunlight to help us and the whole Creation thrive as God intends. The Spirit guides, encourages and keeps us on-task.

     Our world is being changed, has been changed---deconstruction of what was---is occurring all around us, the unhelpful overgrowth choking out God’s Garden is being cleared away. It is challenging and scary at times, and requires hard work and focused attention on our part. I hope the renewed garden for the Durning Memorial may be for you a sign of hope that out of the midst of what may seem only to be waste, destruction and collapse may come new life and unexpected beauty through Christ Jesus.  
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 and 10:30 AM
Coffee Chat following each service
(Zoom Video or Audio)
Sundays (Outside 10:30 AM service on Sept.6th)


Sunday, September 6, we will have an Outdoor Holy Eucharist for the 10:30 AM service on the steps in front of the Sanctuary. We will practice social distancing protocols (masks and distancing), and individual Holy Communion will be offered. We will not have a Zoom setup, but all are welcome to come be here. (The 8AM service remains a Zoom Liturgy of the Word.)

Members are welcome to see the efforts of our garden helpers, it shows activity to the neighborhood, and is an outreach to the community as well.
September, 2020

To My Dear St. Paul’s Family,

I pray that you and your loved ones are staying well. At the August vestry meeting, we discussed preparations for re-opening St. Paul’s for in-person worship. The Diocese of Chicago has established guidelines for re-opening. I had considered attempting to provide a “Cliff Notes” version in this letter but as I reviewed the document, I was concerned that I would either over-simplify the requirements or overwhelm you all with the details. (Or, just plain get it all wrong!)  Please go to the Diocese of Chicago website and review the guidelines.

As you review the guidelines, you will see that there are several steps that must be followed, beginning with creating an action plan that must be approved by the Diocese before we offer any worship services in our sanctuary. There are protocols for preparing, cleaning & disinfecting all common spaces. We must also have a plan for ongoing cleaning & sanitizing between services and at the end of the day.

Everything must be cleared out of the pews: hymn books, prayer books, pens & pencils, info cards, etc. Worship bulletins must be single-use and we must have a plan in place for proper disposal. Worship bulletins must also include detailed instructions regarding safety procedures. Seating must be clearly marked to maintain social distancing. We must also have a plan for maintaining appropriate distance in the sacristy and the vesting area.

We must have clearly visible signage regarding face coverings, hand washing, physical distancing and non-contact greetings. Signage regarding the use of bathrooms (one person at a time) must be in place and we must have cleaning supplies available for sanitizing the bathrooms after each use. Clearly marked signs regarding entering and exiting the church and the maximum seating capacity must also be in place.

We must establish procedures for celebrating the Eucharist and distributing communion. Live singing is not allowed, but we can have instrumental music (except for wind instruments). We must also plan to continue offering remote or online services for members that are not comfortable joining in-person worship.

We must also have procedures in place to address potential problems such as: visitors who refuse to wear face coverings; what to do when we have reached maximum seating capacity; and how to inform the congregation if a member or visitor becomes infected with COVID-19. Training will need to be provided regarding re-opening procedures to clergy, staff, and volunteers – especially greeters, altar guild members, and readers.

I am not one to try to reinvent the wheel, so I looked online for churches in our Diocese that have started offering in-person worship services. There are 3 that are in close proximity: St. Mark’s in Barrington Hills; Calvary in Batavia; and Grace in Freeport. It might be helpful to take field trips to these churches to see how they have put their re-opening plans into practice. Reservations may be required, so anyone wanting to join one of these in-person services should plan to notify the presider or parish office in advance.

As I prepared this letter, there were moments when I felt a sense of loss. I long for the opportunity to sing with the choir in-person and get out in the aisle and hug you all during the passing of the peace! But, greater than that sense of loss is the joyful hope that we will be together again in our sanctuary. Whatever restrictions we must follow will be worth it to be seated in the pews of St. Paul’s and celebrating the Eucharist with you - Halleluja! 

In Faith and Hope,

Senior Warden
September 4, 2020

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of St. Paul’s,

Last month Mother Barbara asked me to continue the conversation about “the budget”.  As many of you know, we are facing a large financial deficit ($47k). The PPP of $27k is welcomed, but it is temporary. 

Given it is the Vestry’s fiduciary responsibility, I’ve been reading articles from the Episcopal church about best practices in church finance.  One constant theme is “communication”. It is a way of telling our story. Our treasurer provides a monthly financial report to the vestry and the parish every month, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. So, I’d like to take you behind the scenes. 

I’ve been very impressed with our vestry [Mother Barbara, Maureen (Sr. Warden), Rebecca (Clerk), Bill, Terry, Donna and Jacob]. Our conversations about line item accounts, authorization of expenses, and an assortment of budget questions have been revealing, insightful, and informative. Furthermore, request for expenditures focus on: does it contribute to our mission?, how essential it is?, what line-item(s) will cover the expense?, and is it sustainable? Thanks to our Treasurer, Rick, who is always willing to tackle our budget questions.

Since passing the 2020 budget in March, one unexpected budgetary item that was considered included Realm Accounting Software. This software is already in use by a number of Episcopal churches. We are excited by the possibilities.

The vestry approved the Realm Accounting Software ($40/month), which would allow our treasurer to:
·     manage staff payroll,
·     automatically post deposits from contributions
·     organize finances by fund
·     record great details
·     track income and expenses efficiently
·     pay bills and write checks

Some of the expenses are not part of the church’s operating budget, such as, the music fund that supports an NIU student; New Hope’s Back to School Bash that provides backpacks with supplies to youngsters, and the Mutt Strut that provides funds to Tails Humane Society, and let’s not forget the St. Paul’s community (vegetable and flower) garden. Interesting enough, these funds are in line with our outreach objectives. On behalf of the vestry, I would like to thank all parishioners who found a way to support these worthy events/accounts. Your continued generosity during these difficult times is noteworthy. 

Finally, through the persistence of a few energetic church-folks we were able to secure $12,978.85 in incentives from ComEd Energy Efficiency Program supported by Green Sky Consulting to be completed within a sixty-day time frame. Also, St. Paul’s received a savings of 50% off the monthly Comcast bill (March 15th-July 15th) for a retroactive savings of $471.35, and we are continuing to request this discount by calling Comcast monthly until we are completely back in the sanctuary and building. On behalf of the vestry, I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all the individuals involved.

While these may seem like small steps in the shadow of a $47k deficit, we are developing responsible habits and asking good questions. More forthcoming.

What questions might you have? Please share them with members of the vestry. We look forward to hearing from you.


Junior Warden
Music Ministries
choirs easter 2019
September is always an exciting month as children (and adults) start a new school year. And at church this means a new program year. Even though the pandemic is a factor in "how" we have choir (gathering, rehearsing, singing, sharing in worship), I'm confident in our choir members and our parish, that we will continue to learn to adapt, using non traditional ways, create some new artistic musical experiences, get even better at singing and sharing with each other, and the greater community, and return with a deeper joy!

Yes, it is very sad, but important to radically accept, the "no singing" and "no humming" in our worship services. A difficult and challenging decision from our Bishop, Jeffrey Lee, for our Chicago Diocese. The positive outlook of this includes our commitment to care for each other, keep each other safe, and our community safe.

Be mindfully hopeful because we are not only expanding our repertoire of worship, we will eventually return to recreate our known artistic and spiritual experiences, in gathering and worship. The Episcopal church has the best of all in music in part because it is steeped in tradition having the early classic music and liturgy, as well as being the more progressive in faith as it embraces the rich diversity of musical genre and people. And, we have an awesome multi-generational choir! Their gifts of time and talent as well as their individual and collective spirts continue to add to the strength of St. Paul's.

I continue to watch and engage in webinars and zoom meetings related to singing, and music in general for worship and community arts. I hope you enjoy our adult choir (video below) in rehearsal, singing so beautifully, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God" #711 in our 1982 Hymnal. Let's plan on singing this together as a congregation in one of our upcoming fall worship services.
All (yes, all of you) are Invited to join
in our first fall Choir Rehearsal and Zoom
Chats that resume Thursday, September 17th

JULY 18, 2020

To cover our July bills (as well as August and September), I took $50,000 from the Endowment Fund this month. We took in $5714 in pledges in June; we have collected about 75% of our 2020 pledge income so far, even though the year is only half over. As of July 17, our bank balance stood at $21,316. We spent $19,571 in June, about 48% of our annual budget. Nothing seems unusual about June’s spending to me.
We are still paying all of our workers except Brittany Altepeter (nursery worker) their full salaries, equal to what we paid in February before the onset of covid-related restrictions. Brittany sent us a letter of

I sent out statements covering the first half of 2020 to everyone who contributed during the past quarter. I also checked the details of our bank statement against the list of invoices and payments, to be sure everything matched. I have done nothing so far about the PPP loan; I just put this statement in here so it doesn’t get forgotten.

As of the end of June, the Music Fund contained $254, and the Discretionary Fund has $294 in it. We transferred $5288 to the Endowment Fund; as of now all money donated to the Endowment Fund has been deposited into that fund’s account at Edward Jones. We also paid $250 to the Yale (Berkeley)
Divinity School, our annual Seminary Supplement. We also sent $90 to the Salvation Army Food Pantry. I am trying to keep that account up to date, as there is a great need for the Food Pantry these days.

Donna DeOlivera has been very helpful in exploring our high electric bill. At her behest, an energy efficiency consultant recommended by ComEd visited us. He noted that our 8 furnace fans were running constantly, and we had some high wattage bulbs that were always on. We have attempted to fix these things. He has also recommended some new lighting, which I have discussed in a separate memo.

Our bookkeeper Sheila has volunteered to help me update the account system we use, once tax season ended. (Income taxes were due on July 15.) I look forward to modifying our current system to make it as transparent yet accurate as possible.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Johns,
On Sunday afternoon, September 6, Adeline Grace Russell will be welcomed into the Family of God at St. Paul's.

Adeline Grace is the daughter of Bobby and Colleen Russell, granddaughter of Robert and Peggy Russell, and great granddaughter of Joan Graham.
Godparents are Emily and Daniel Russell.

Have you ever wondered about the stained glass window on the south side of the Sanctuary? This window was placed in memory of Rita Anderson's son. She said she was inspired by the memorial to Christopher Anderson on the north wall.

We will feature more of the memorials on the property of St. Paul's in coming Proclaimers.
Walk the path of love with one of the warmest, most beloved spiritual leaders of our time, and learn how to put faith into action.

As the descendant of slaves and the son of a civil rights activist, Bishop Michael Curry’s life illustrates massive changes in our times. Much of the world met Bishop Curry when he delivered his sermon on the redemptive power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. Here, he expands on his message of hope in an inspirational road map for living the way of love, illuminated with moving lessons from his own life. Through the prism of his faith, ancestry, and personal journey, Love Is the Way shows us how America came this far and, more important, how to go a whole lot further.

The way of love is essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God. This book will lead readers to discover the gifts they need in order to live the way of love: deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity.

You can preorder at Cokesbury for less.
The Rector's Discretionary Fund Collection

First Sunday of the month
September 6, 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 September
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 September are mostly limited to on line gatherings. Please check our website
for what is offered.
September Birthdays and Anniversaries


9/7                Bill Cummings
9/7                Peggy Russell
9/15               Brenda Leonard
9/15              Robert Russell
9/17               Olivia Meyers
9/18              Lorraine Langer
9/24              Elizabeth George
9/25              Pat Brown
9/26              Peggy Newby
9/27              Jamie Stubblefield
9/28              Vince McMahon
9/29              Jennie Cummings


9/4          Bill/Jennie Cummings
9/11             Jamie/Julie Stubblefield
We are in "Phase 4" now of the state recommendations for Covid 19 practices, and hopefully will continue to "Phase 5". I will be in the parish office mornings on Tuesdays through Fridays. Thanks for your patience. - Susan
In the Gardens

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