November 26, 2020

Weekly Connection
Dear friends,

Happy Thanksgiving! Earlier this week on our midday prayer I felt compelled to give thanks for Thanksgiving holidays past and future. Of course this year, and today in particular, will have some wonderful new memories, but the strangeness of it might be a good reminder of the blessings we have each experienced in years past, and it might also help us to reflect on those celebrations yet to come.
I want to invite you to join me for a brief time of Thanksgiving Day Prayer today at noon over Zoom. You can click here  or on the image to take you directly to the Zoom room or enter meeting ID 571 092 483 in Zoom.

I hope that you’ve had a chance to participate a little bit in our 30 Days of Giving Thanks prompts. They’ve been a great way to be reflecting on gratitude throughout the month. Whether you’ve been participating all month, I want to invite and encourage you to take some time today and look at the list of prompts and have a conversation about one or more of them with someone, perhaps around your table or over Zoom or FaceTime. Sometimes we need some help and encouragement from those we love. If you join us for prayer at noon, we'll have a chance to stick around after and discuss together.

Gratitude can be hard when we’re living in a difficult world. But, I also think that God’s invitation to us is to give thanks, not for our present condition, but for God’s presence in our lives - even now. We give thanks to the God who promises us deliverance and who encourages us to find rest in the Divine arms. If you’re having trouble finding that rest, that makes sense, too. The mystery of God’s presence is that sometimes it is difficult to feel and experience it when we need it most. Be encouraged, know that God is with you, and know also that you are being uplifted in prayer. I give thanks today for each of you.

Pastor Erik

P.S. Advent begins on Sunday! Watch for a special Advent Connection in your email on Sunday afternoon with details about all of our Advent happenings in the church. Also, as you’ll see above, the Alternative Giving Online Fair is officially starting on Sunday, but if you click here you can get all of your Christmas shopping done early by making contributions to mission organizations in honor of your loved ones! 
Watch our Worship Services Live
Sunday morning @ 9:30 a.m.

No matter where you may be in the world, you can feel close to PCWS!
Every Sunday morning, at 9:00 a.m., our Stephen Ministers are going to be praying for our congregation. You’re invited to join in when you can, listen to the prayer, and prepare for worship. Click here for more information and the Zoom link. 
Would you like to dig a little deeper into the Sunday scripture lessons? Join with others on Wednesday afternoons at 2 p.m. (click here for the link) for spited discussion about the upcoming scripture lesson. All are welcome!
Mid Day Prayers

Looking for calm in the middle of the day? Everyone is welcome to attend, Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, when it fits your schedule! These sessions take place over Zoom and you can click here for all the details
Early Risers
New Session Begins December 3

During the four Thursdays in Advent (which starts on Sunday, November 29) we will be reading the book Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season by Heidi Haverkamp. Heidi Haverkamp lives right here in Chicago.
The group will begin on December 3 and continue for 4 weeks.

For more info and the Zoom link, click here!
Surviving the Holidays

We’d like to let you know about a new program at PCWS - GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays seminar. If you have suffered a loss, please consider attending or pass on the information to someone who may benefit by coming. 

The seminar features practical suggestions and reassurance through video interviews with counselors, grief experts, and other people who have experienced the holidays after their loved one’s death. Topics to be discussed include dealing with hard-hitting emotions, what to do about traditions, how to survive social events, and where to find comfort and strength. 

GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays will be held via Zoom and hosted by members of PCWS:

Tuesday, December 8, 2:00 pm

Those who attend will receive a Survival Guide filled with practical tips, encouraging words, journaling ideas, and exercises for daily help through the holiday season. 

For more information and to Register for a session visit our GriefShare webpage, or by emailing Michelle Hennessy.
Gratitude is an important spiritual discipline— especially during challenging times. It reminds us to slow down and notice the blessings in our lives. 

This November, we invite you to join us for 30 days of giving thanks! Daily prompts will be posted to Facebook and Instagram to inspire your journaling, prayer, meditation, doodling or photography. If you don’t use social media, you can also view the prompts on our webpage!

You can view all the posts, even if you don't use Social Media, by clicking on this link
Let's Fill the can and Support Second Baptist Church of La Grange Food Pantry

Thanks to all who have accepted the challenge and have helped to fill the baskets for the food pantry at 2nd Baptist Church in LaGrange! Our regular Monday morning delivery has helped to make a greater impact on the community that 2nd Baptist serves. Please continue to remember our neighbors who struggle with hunger and, as you are doing your grocery shopping, consider adding a couple extra items for the pantry. Food items can be dropped off Sunday mornings or any time during the week in the can near the entrance from the parking lot.
Donating Gently Used Winter Coats for Children and Adults

PCWS has traditionally collected gently used winter coats for children and adults.  Due to the coronavirus this year, all coats must be dry cleaned before they can be accepted at Margaret’s Village.  If you have dry cleaned winter coats you wish to donate for Maria and Believe Family Shelters, contact Janet Andersen to arrange pick-up.

We are offering an alternative solution this holiday season.  There are 34 CD One Price Cleaner locations in the Chicago area who are accepting donations of gently used children, teen, and adult winter coats through Monday November 30th. Coats can be donated 24/7 via CD One's express drop-off windows.  CD One will clean all coats and deliver them for distribution in time for winter through The Auxiliary of the Infant Welfare Society. For more info or to find the nearest store, visit

Margaret's Village won't receive coats through this distribution, however, others in need will receive a clean warm coat!
Our siblings at Nueva Paz Presbyterian Church in Cuba 
Our men & women serving our country in the Armed Services 
The people of Syria, and especially the relatives of PCWS’ Interfaith Women’s Book Group 
First responders, nurses, doctors, and others providing care to others
Ann, friend of Joyce & Herb Smyers
Betty Anderson
Betty Toft 
Bob LeMay, friend of Kay Kelly 
Brent Young, son-in-law of Larry & Becky Glasscock 
David Bebb Jones
Family and friends of Wayne Filar, Candice Mares’ cousin
George Bruser, uncle of Donna Kanak & Diane Bonner
Holly Oliver, daughter of Mary Kae Headland 
The family of Inez Martinez, friend of the Merrifield family 
Jan Fortina
Jessie DeFano, niece of Michelle Hennessy
John Kregg
Joshua Haberkorn, grandson of Shirley Pine
Julie Garino
Kathleen Kircher 
Laura Gertsmeier
Laura Querry, daughter of Becky & Larry Glascock
Marc Goldstein, friend of Carol Ulreich 
Mary Jo Blough
Mary Jo Long
Mary Kate Miller, step-mother of Julie Garino 
Mary, dear friend of Bruce Geary 
Michael De Vries 
Michael, friend of Jane Norman 
Nate & Joann Dardick, friends of Laurie Merrifield 
Norb Mirlenbrink, Uncle of Lori Carsten 
Pat McTiernan, friend of Phyllis DiFrancesco 
Pat White, friend of Becky Glasscock 
Paulette Erickson, friend of Carol Ulreich 
Peggy Mirlenbrink, aunt of Lori Carsten 
Peter Wilkie 
Phil Kasik 
Ruth Kaduke, niece of Herb & Joyce Smyers 
Shannon Cavanaugh, niece of Phyllis DiFrancesco
Steve, friend of McMahon Family
Teri Tuffner, aunt of Candice Mares 
Terry Moore, friend of Mike Pelton
Theresa Ybanez, great niece of Laura Fruit 
Parents of Tiffany Sellman  
Wendy Montague, friend of Candice Mares
Prayers for Val Blough and for the Blough family and Val’s family on the death of Val’s father, Marshall Alaynick, earlier this week.
Stephen Ministers Are Available

We are a congregation that prays with one another and for one another. You are encouraged to pray for the concerns on this prayer list even though you may not know the details. Our Stephen Ministers are praying as well. If you would like to have a Stephen Minister pray for you or with you (over the telephone, FaceTime or ZOOM), please reach out to Joyce Rodos, the Stephen Ministry leader.
Celebrating Birthdays:
11/27  Alex Hanson
11/27  Jack Wennerstrum
11/28  Loretta Gratias-Bremer
11/28  Ron Adams
12/1 John McDonald
12/1 Michelle Stroh
l12/3 Katie Diebel
12/4 Joyce Schneiderbauer
12/5 Aleisha Sinele
Thank you for your ongoing support of our ministries, particularly during this uncertain time. 
Make a difference this holiday. Shop for gifts at to generate donations for Presbyterian Church Of Western Springs
PCWS Office Closed

The PCWS office remains closed for the immediate future. Our office staff are still working remotely and on a limited basis. If you need immediate assistance, please email Pastor Erik or leave a message for him on his church extension which he checks regularly, or call his cell. Staff is checking the U.S. Mail daily. The mailbox is a locking box, so please feel comfortable dropping off correspondence directly (including contributions).