December 25, 2005

One Person Can Make A Difference

When disaster strikes, we often think "there's nothing I can do about that," other than perhaps to make a donation to some existing charity group.

However, creative thinking makes it possible for one person to really make a difference:

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Richard Berger of West Seattle felt that he had to do something for the people of Pakistan, struggling to survive after a massive earthquake, with winter coming on and no shelter:

Berger, a former gallery owner, drove to the flagship REI store and bought several blankets. He took them home, tore at them, set them on fire, stood out in wind and rain with them wrapped over a T-shirt.

Then he called the manufacturer of the most durable blanket, and they found a way to bring the $5.50 blankets down to $1 each. Berger asked Mercy Corps, a relief agency, if it would distribute the blankets in Pakistan. And he e-mailed 250 friends, asking for donations. DHL heard about it, and shipped some for free. As of Tuesday, he had raised more than $100,000 to send about 110,000 blankets to Pakistan.

"I had no idea this would work. There's a tremendous number of caring people that, given the opportunity to respond, will step in.

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December 11, 2005

Christmas Bags for the Hungry

Our food drive was a success! After church today several teams drove around the neighborhood picking up grocery bags filled with non-perishable food. We are very happy with the response and hope to continue to run food drives like this one in the future.

We distributed bags last Sunday in the neighborhood around the church, and returned today to pick up the loaded bags. Thank you to everyone who participated by distributing bags, donating food, or picking up!

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December 10, 2005

Christmas Bag Pickup Tomorrow!

largeadventaltar copy.jpg
Tomorrow we return to pick up grocery bags for the hungry! Last Sunday we distributed 75 bags to our neighbors around the church. We hope for a good return, so if we left a bag on your porch, please leave it out for us to pick up tomorrow morning by about 11:30am-12:30pm or so. If you are worried about freezing temperatures, you may either bring it to the church tomorrow, next Sunday, or Christmas Eve. We will be out in the neighborhood for about an hour picking up bags.

Advent, the season of the church year leading up to Christmas, is a busy time for everyone. There's shopping, wrapping, writing cards, cooking, and visiting to be done, and very little time to do it in. There often seems to be little time left over for the needy, the hungry, or even ourselves.

This Advent season, do something for others, and for yourself. Take time out from your busy schedule to do something good.

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December 05, 2005

Christmas Bags For The Hungry

Yesterday, members and visitors to Holy Innocents dropped off 75 grocery bags with shopping lists at the doors of homes in the neighborhood surrounding the church. Attached to the bags were shopping lists and an invitation to Christmas Eve services. The shopping lists read:

Please help us gather food for the hungry and the working poor in the Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg area. Shop for the hungry, and place food and toiletries in this bag. Put it out at your front door Sunday, December 11 by 1130am. We will pick up bags that day.

If you are unable to leave a bag out for pick up, you are welcome to bring it to the church the following Sunday, or on Christmas Eve.

Particularly needed:
• Canned Corn
• Canned Fruit
• Ramen Noodles
• Canned Meats
• Hot Cocoa Mix
• Boxed Potatoes
• Jello & Pudding Mixes
• Chunky Soups
• Tuna (canned and “ready to eat” packages
• Toothpaste
• Bars of Soap, sample sizes of toiletries, etc.
• Chili (boxed or canned)

Also useful for people with limited cooking facilities:
• Crackers or other flatbreads, rice cakes
• Dried fruits and nuts, trail mix
• Juice boxes
• Canned or evaporated or ultra-pasteurized milk
• Mini-boxes of cereal (the “makes its own bowl” kind)
• Plastic flatware/napkins

Thank you for helping to feed the hungry!

We will return to pick up bags next Sunday, and hope that our neighbors will leave the bags out on their front porches so that we may quickly pick up the donated items.

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November 17, 2005

PADS: What We Can Do

Journeys from PADS to HOPE - Assisting the Homeless

Faith Community Sites: October 1 through April 30
Next training dates available:

12/01– Our Savior's Lutheran

1/09– St. Alphonsus
1/10– Prince of Peace
1/12– All Saints

2/15– Prince of Peace

Addresses for training:

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
1234 N. Arlington Heights Rd.
Arlington Hts

Guest Line-Up Time: 6:45 pm
-Haircuts - Stephen Ministries -

Church is located on Arlington Hts Road south of Rand Road at Olive Street.

St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
411 N. Wheeling Rd.
Prospect Hts

Guest Line-Up Time: 6:45 pm

Church is located on Wheeling Road south of Palatine Road.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
930 W. Higgins Rd.

Guest Line-Up Time: 6:45 pm
- Showers -

Church is located on Higgins Road west of Golf Road, between Jones Road and Gannon Road. Park and enter at rear of church.

All Saints Church
630 S Quentin Rd.

Guest Line-Up Time: 6:45 pm

Church is located on Quentin RD. between Gilbert St. and Exner Court, south of Palatine Rd. and north of Illinois St.

What Can We Do? What We Can Do

There are two "needs" to be met.

One requires a committment to take training and volunteer for overnight shifts. The closest location to our church is Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Higgins: they cover Friday nights in our area. Other locations and days are available. The next training date is December 1 at Our Savior's Lutheran in Arlington Heights.

The other one requires a committment from a group of people or a team and has more flexibility of schedule. It might be possible for Holy Innocents/St Columba to "partner up" with another Episcopal parish or mission. Basically, it involves picking up soiled laundry "sets" from Prince of Peace and delivering them to be laundered at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elk Grove Village.

Please see Ginny Gibbs this Sunday at Holy Innocents, or email the webmistress if you are interested in further information.

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November 16, 2005


Who are the groups who don't find the church trustworthy?

Who are the groups who don't believe the church has anything to offer?

What can we offer these people?

(...and will they find safety acceptance, love, and peace?)


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Who is waiting/hoping for an invitation:

Who doesn't know about faith communities?

Who doesn't know about God?

Many institutions are not seen as trustworthy
Experience of rejection

Who doesn't trust organized religion or see it as having anything to offer? Does it have anything to offer?


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What are elements of our mission?

--welcoming all people
--understanding God is loving/kind/compassionate/forgiving
--Responsibility, Renewal, Relationship... an exchange between God, self, and community
--Rewarding Experiences - when you let God into your life, you have them
--Passion, Excitement
--Crossing Barriers: Interfaith/Intergenerational dialog
--ess, Service: inviting ALL... serving others and each other
--Need to Rededicate, Reconcile, Rejuvenate...our church, our community, ourselves.
--Remembering why we come to church.


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Schaumburg Food Pantry

In the coming weeks we will be increasing our support for the Schaumburg Township Food Pantry for the holidays.

We have also discovered that there is a need to be filled; yes, even as small as we are, there is something we CAN do as a parish to help people, and to fight hunger in our community.

Those of us on your Bishop's Committee are very excited about this and other opportunities to reach out to people who need our help. Be sure to attend services this Commitment Sunday (1030am at Holy Innocents) to find out more.

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October 24, 2005

Throw Wide The Doors

U.S. Episcopal leader says church must be inclusive

The Episcopal Church must reach out and "embrace all whom God sets before us," the church's top American cleric told a Sparks' congregation Sunday.

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States, gave a sermon at St. Paul's Episcopal Church as part of the Diocese of Nevada's annual convention this weekend. The event coincided with the 100th anniversary of St. Paul's.

In his sermon, Griswold cited Christ's analogy of the kingdom of heaven being like a wedding banquet, a feast reserved not for the chosen but for all people.

"And so the door to the banquet hall is flung wide and all sorts of riffraff, troublesome to us but close to the heart of God, are ushered in and given a place at the table," Griswold said.

Throwing the doorshas been a recurring theme at Holy Innocents of late; it was one of the images that kept coming up in the recent Bishop's Committee retreat - the one that started the new "Mission, Ministry, Evangelism" program that we're in the process of formulating.

On a recent Sunday, this metaphor was taken to an extreme. It was a warmish fall day outside, but quite chilly inside. The red French entrance doors were bothd wide. No one got up to close the doors, because keeping the doorsand in factng them even wider has been a topic of several recent sermons. So no one closed the doors, but everyone kept their coats on.

Now that the weather has finally changed from Indian summer to late fall, the doors will remain closed during services, but they are always " to everyone.

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October 20, 2005

Prayers for the Diocese of Southeast Mexico

Hurricane Wilma battered the beaches of Cancun and the situation there is still pretty dire. Large crowds of people have been released from shelters but reports of looting are widespread, while many tourists are still waiting for the airport to re

Cancun is part of the Diocese of Southeastern Mexico. Regular Anglican services are held there during the "high" tourist season at the Casa Magna Marriott. Little is known how badly the hotel has been damaged in the storm or what the situation is with the local Anglican community at this time.

Diocese of Southeastern Mexico
St Michael and All Angels, Cancun

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October 01, 2005

Episcopal Relief

ECUSA Meeting Focuses on Rita and Katrina Devastation:

The five-day gathering of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. in Puerto Rico drew to a close earlier in the week. The members focused on the devastation wrought by the recent devastating hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, to hit the Gulf Coast. A report by the ECUSA House of Bishops read: “Throughout this meeting, we have been reminded that in sharing the grief of so many along our nation’s Gulf Coast, and in considering our relationships one to another and within the larger Church, we so always bearing hopeful witness to the power of Resurrection.”

The first day of the meeting saw descriptions from Duncan Gray, Bishop of Mississippi, Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana, and Philip Duncan, Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast, of the devastation of the hurricanes in their areas.

Numerous churches have been destroyed throughout the hurricane-afflicted areas, Mississippi, one of the lesser hit areas, losing six churches and nine rectories completely.

ECUSA has been heavily involved in the relief response to the devastation. Members at the meeting were able to hear accounts of the work going on the affected areas by different ministries within the Church.

Donations are still needed at Episcopal Relief and Development. People who have lost everything need our help.

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September 24, 2005

ERD and Episcopal Migration Ministries

From Episcopal News Service:

When the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold asked EMM to assist evacuees, we knew we could apply our expertise in resettling overseas refugees," said C. Richard Parkins, EMM Director. "EMM counts on parish involvement, and in the days immediately following the hurricane, we were not surprised to have over 1000 offers of sponsorship from dioceses, congregations, and church institutions. Those displaced families who cannot return home and have no other options will be helped," said Parkins.

The relocation project assists evacuees in finding support and temporary or permanent resettlement in communities where Episcopalians and others have extended hospitality. ERD's support will train four teams of three people to screen and interview evacuees needing relocation assistance. It will also provide instruction and technical assistance for up to 10 dioceses that will support displaced people through congregations and communities.

Initially, EMM will serve in the Dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, West Texas, and West Tennessee by screening and facilitating the relocation of a number of evacuees to communities offering sponsorship.

"ERD is privileged to partner with EMM for this important work in helping people to reestablish their lives," said Abagail Nelson, Vice President of Program for ERD.

For more information on the project, please visit

To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the Hurricane Katrina Response Fund by credit card at or by calling , ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o Hurricane Katrina Response Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.

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September 15, 2005

Out of Deep Waters: Parish gets back much more than it gave to evacuees

Our two churches together make up a community of about the number of people who attend St Alban's, Monroe LA. We may sometimes think that we're too small to make a difference, or that we can't afford to do very much. As you'll see from the following story, it doesn't take much to make a world of difference, and achieve so much with very little.

Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Monroe, Louisiana, knows what it means to be under water. The spring rains of 1991 flooded the parish's low-lying neighborhood and ruined the brand-new parish hall. Since then the parish has often sheltered people looking for a place to get out of the way of storms in its rebuilt parish hall and it was no different after Hurricane Katrina. This time, however, the decision to take in evacuees was in the hands of Senior Warden Reese Little. St. Alban's, which has an average Sunday attendance of 80 people, has been without a rector for two years. He and his wife Dewana knew on Saturday, August 27, that the hurricane headed for Louisiana was going to be bad.

"We decided we needed to do this again," Little said.

They began putting the wheels in motion. He printed up flyers and sent his two children to distribute them to the desk clerks as Monroe hotels. As evacuees arrived in town and began to search for rooms, some found hotels full. Desk clerks then passed them the word about St. Alban's. At the height of their sheltering effort, 43 evacuees were living in the parish hall.

Little admits being a bit worried about how his fellow parishioners would react. "But they were all there, day and night," he said. Some parishioners who had not been around much in the last two years showed up and worked alongside everyone else.

"We had a lot of support from other churches," Little added.

Help came from the community as well. A real-estate agent with no connection with St. Alban's as far as Little knows called one day to ask if they had lunch covered for that day. When she was told they did not, the agent called a caterer and had lunch sent in. A local country club did the same on another day. The night shift at a nearby factory that makes light bulbs for General Motors vehicles made barbecue for the evacuees.

A Red Cross representative came looking for the St. Alban's shelter one day and got lost. She stopped at Tommy Smith's house for directions. She was actually about two blocks from the church so Smith took her there. Little said that when Smith saw evacuees sleeping in the parish hall, he came back later with passes to the Monroe Athletic Club which he owns. He told Little that evacuees were welcome to come over to shower, swim, work out and watch television. Many evacuees went to the club especially to watch CNN for its hurricane coverage. Little said the Parish Hall doesn't have cable. "All we had was 'rabbit ears,'" he said.

The evacuees were a diverse crowd that included Christians, Muslims, a Jewish man and people of all ages. The parish hosted three baby showers for evacuees, two for mothers with nearly newborns and one for a young woman about to give birth.

Some people had resources to get back on their feet and did so. However, parishioners have raised $20,000 to help the others. They helped rent seven or eight homes, according to Little, paying rental and utility security deposits and first month's rent. If people need a second month, Little said, the money will be there.

The last evacuees left St. Alban's on September 6, according to the Rev. Terry Pannell, the parish's supply priest. Pannell said he learned a lot from watching St. Alban's parishioners in the last two and a half weeks. "They showed me what it means to really come together as a ministering community," he said.

Little said the relief effort "really pulled our congregation together." There have been heartbreaks and hard work along the way, he said. One day his wife took a phone call from a family looking for shelter. She thought they couldn't take in anyone else. "She was trying hard to say no," Little said.

But she listened to this mother's story and she told her to come. The mother had a baby who is on a heart monitor and their alternative was to live in the back seat of their car, Little said. Dewana Little stood up a recent service at St. Alban's and told the congregation "don't ever say no." Pointing to the mother and her baby, she said, "this is who I almost said 'no' to."

She thanked the evacuees. "You all have done so much more for us than we have done for you," Little reported his wife as saying.

Little said the parish is energized by its hurricane-relief work and hopes to capitalize on the renewed interest he senses in the parish. He wants the parish to develop a disaster plan and buy supplies so that parishioners are ready to go for the next group of evacuees because he knows "we're going to do it again."

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

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September 08, 2005

Out of Deep Waters: Louisiana church provides radical hospitality to evacuees

From Episcopal News Service:

Tirelessly reaching out to a community shattered by the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina, the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana has temporarily relocated its offices to St. James Church in Baton Rouge, which is operating as a major distribution and sorting center and where staff and volunteers are working around the clock to meet the immediate needs of local evacuees.

"St. James is24 hours day and night so that evacuees can come here and take a shower," said Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana. "We are in the process of gathering food and essential items to take to our evacuation shelters. "

The priests in Baton Rouge, especially those who've been trained by the Red Cross, have been working 24 hour shifts as chaplains in the shelters. St. James is coordinating with all the downtown Episcopal churches in providing ministry to those shelters.

"The Episcopal Church is like a good family," Jenkins said, "and when a crisis comes a good family pulls together."

Locally, West Suburban PADS is looking for shift volunteers, and there are other ways you can help people in need, such as donating personal care items, school supplies, and transitional housing "move-in" packs.

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August 31, 2005

Episcopal Relief for Katrina Disaster

The Hurricane Katrina disaster continues to unfold in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Episcopal Relief and Development makes it possible to donate to disaster relief via an online donation form.. The images and stories coming out of the area are horrific and the loss of life and property is expected to be huge. You can help by donating either via ERD or directly to the American Red Cross, which expects the Katrina disaster to be its greatest challenge.

Comments areif you would like to add prayers for the victims of Katrina, and the emergency aid workers and law enforcement personnel who are laboring to assist them.

Episcopal Relief and Development supports children and families who are suffering from disaster, disease and poverty. Our programs save lives today and build hope for the future. Your partnership with us provides emergency assistance and long-term solutions to fight poverty and disease.

Giving online is easy. Just select an ERD fund from the drop-down menu, select your donation amount and method of payment. If you wish to give a donation in honor of a friend or loved-one, fill out the information at the bottom of this page. At your request, we will send an acknowledgement letter to your gift honoree.

Donations can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101. To donate by phone, please call , ext. 5129

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July 13, 2005

Photos Galore

It was an incredible day in many ways - incredibly hot, incredibly hard work, and incredibly cool when the classic cars finally roared in and took their places on the lawn.

Full-size photos have been uploaded to the church gallery page, but here is a selection of the highlights. Click on the image to go to its page on the gallery site.

All the PT Cruisers lined up in the best spot on the site: the shady corner closest to the driveway.
Linda Milner and her grandson Michael got to go up on the lifting platform of Hoffman Estate Fire Department's Truck 22. Two trucks from HEFD came for a community education appearance; the second truck stayed longer, but left in a big hurry with sirens wailing, lights flashing, and the horn blaring. It was very exciting and it wasn't all for show; they returned to thank us for the invitation to put on a demonstration later, after they attended the scene of a minor traffic accident.
Linda and Susan share a laugh while in the background Katie works the raffle table.
Father Ted and Doreen kept their cool somehow at the baked goods table; Doreen's strategy was literally to "think cool." Earlier in the morning, Fr. Ted had presided at a very short outdoor Eucharist for the show crew before he headed over for the early service at St Columba's

He stayed in the clerical collar almost all day - now that's dedication to the cloth.

A truly fine wine-colored Mustang.
Nanette brought beautifully decorated cookies that were shaped like cars, trucks, and even fuzzy dice. The box alone was incredibly creative.
Remmer drives to the finish line - the only other section of the site with shade for several cars. There he set up a little area for his Ford, his futuristic tractor, and his camp chairs.
The incredible futuristic streamlined tractor. Definitely the most unusual vehicle in the show.
Katie! We need more Diet Pepsi! We need more Diet Pepsi!
By this time it was essential to drink lots of water and wear a hat, but Mark braved the heat while David wandered around taking photos.
If you look closely, the Corvette Club members have moved into the shade of the second fire truck. Seen from the lifting platform of the first truck. David also got to go up so he could take photos.
Of course, we couldn't have done it without Tim, grilling in the sun (in more ways than one, poor guy).

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July 03, 2005

The Holy Rollers Are Coming


There's less than a week to go until our fundraiser, Holy Rollers Classic Car Show!

The registration form can still be downloaded here (Adobe Acrobat PDF format).

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June 30, 2005

What Is Make Poverty History

Make Poverty History is a global, ecumenical campaign to eradicate poverty. Many other Episcopal and Anglican churches are working and praying for an end to poverty, along with many other people of faith. Ministers of 8 countries will meet July 2 in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss matters of global importance; they are in a position to commit to a plan to reduce or forgive the debt load on poor countries, and to access to health care and disease prevention.

Every single day, 30,000 children are dying as a result of extreme poverty. This year, 2005, we finally have the resources, knowledge and opportunity to end this shameful situation. --

The Church of England is one of many faiths standing together to make poverty, and for the eradication of disease and debt that are among the root causes of poverty. The Archbishop of Canterbury recently hosted a meeting of UK and US church leaders, and the following statement was issued at the conclusion of the meeting June 29th:

The London Forum, meeting at Lambeth Palace and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued a final communiqué saying that the time for change is now:

There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 30,000 children die each day because of poverty related conditions. The bible teaches that whatever we do to the poorest we do also for Jesus. We believe God judges nations by what they do to the poorest.

The Forum was attended by delegations from UK Churches organised by Dr David Goodbourn of Churches Together and Britain and Ireland; US churches organised by The Revd Jim Wallis, leader of the peace and justice network Sojourners, representatives of African led churches and representatives from faith based mission and development agencies.

A similar statement was issued at the end of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting.

Make Poverty History (UK) is aligned with The ONE Campaign (US). Many different groups of people are working together to increase awareness of the tragedy and scandal of world poverty. People on both sides of the political fence in Britain and America are literally banding together for this cause. In token of their support for the world's poor, white band bracelets and banners are worn and shown. Videos and films have been shown on television and as ads at movie theaters to raise awareness. And of course, a series of free concerts called Live 8 will bring the attention of the world on the cause of persuading our leaders to make poverty history.

Ministers of 8 countries will meet July 2 in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss matters of global importance; they are in a position to commit to a plan to reduce or forgive the debt load on poor countries. We are in a position to tell them that something must be done.

If you do nothing else, watch this video. It's a short excerpt of a documentary called "The Orphans of Nkandla."

Then find a white band and wear it, and see what else you can do.

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June 26, 2005

Radical Hospitality and Contagious Holiness

Sarah Dylan Breuer maintains a wonderful lectionary commentary site and weblog. She also has an article up at The Witness, a progressive Anglican publication - it's a meditation on the readings for today:

That, Jesus showed us, is God's perfection and true holiness, the perfection and the holiness to which we're called. Far from being fragile, that radical hospitality and indiscriminate love is the most fundamental, powerful, and lasting force in the universe God made. When that comes into contact with anything else, anything less, it's that holy love, and not impurity according to anyone's scheme, that proves contagious. Lest we think that only Jesus could show that kind of powerful, contagious love, this Sunday's gospel teaches us that all who welcome prophets and righteous people share their reward, any cup of water given to a little one brings the reward of the pure in heart, and those who welcome any of Jesus' flawed followers will be received as herald of God's Messiah.

St. Paul got that; for as much as some want to read his letter to the churches in Rome to find out who to shun, it teaches instead that those who belong to righteousness live under grace, not seeking to impose the law (Romans 6:14), and they receive even enemies with cool water to refresh them (Romans 12:20), as Jesus taught his followers to receive his "little ones" (Matthew 10:42). -- The Witness | Sarah Dylan Breuer

We are called to offer radical hospitality, even to those we'd be inclined to shun. We'd have to come out of our comfort zone to do this (Warning: comfort zones may vary. Please check your individual owner's manual, and welcome accordingly).

Fr. Ted's sermon today expanded on the theme of giving welcome also. The starting point was from an column in Sojourners magazine (Sojourners is a Christian social justice organization).

June 30: "When You Need Something, Just Talk to Me" Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me" (Matthew 10:40).

Clarice South welcomed everyone, and God has welcomed her.

She died last October in Santa Clara, California, at the age of 90. I had known Clarice South since the 1950s, when her daughter Claire and I went together. In my boarding school years, Mrs. South and her familyd their home to me. The warmth of their lives in my young life was a sustaining, enduring presence.

Decades later when I periodically returned to Santa Clara, it was always a gift to wait expectantly at the door of 936 Fremont Street for what I knew would be Mrs. South's warm welcome. I was never disappointed. She knew how to love.

Claire gave the eulogy at her mother's Mass of the Resurrection last fall. She sketched simply, beautifully the portrait of a woman who to the end of her life loved and served others down to the smallest detail in their lives. God then gave her a wisdom of faithful love that she shared with the group of family and friends gathered around her hospital bedside.

Claire recalled: "Mom exhorted us, 'Keep your faith. Stay close to each other.' And then she said, 'From now on, when you need something, just talk to me.'"

Like Mrs. South's always welcoming smile at the door, I shall remember especially, through her daughter's eulogy, those final words echoing Jesus.

Keep your faith.

Stay close to each other.

From now on, when you need something, just talk to me. -- Sojourners magazine, May/June 1996 | Clarice South

The entire column is quite short, but doors in our minds to pictures of people who welcomed us and taught us how to welcome. Who do you see?

I see Helen Johnson, a lady from Trinity Episcopal Church, Seattle. She welcomed all and sundry to Trinity, and after the service she would gently lay her hand on the arm of the visitor and ask for assistance down the church steps and over to the parish hall. There she would introduce the visitor by name to several people, and ask if they would help set out cups of coffee and tea. Once you did that, you were hooked but good. It was my first visit to Trinity, but wouldn't be my last.

I had been raised in the Congregational church in Salt Lake City, but I had a curiousity about the Episcopal church, and Anglicanism in general, stemming from a visit to England the summer before. Helen Johnson had a wonderful collection of hats, was somewhat hard of hearing, and felt it was her personal mission to welcome everyone. It was the quality of Helen's welcome that solidified my intention to become a part of Trinity parish and be received into the Episcopal church. I didn't know it at the time, of course; I was completely beguiled by her hat, and trying desperately to remember names as I handed out cups of coffee. Clever old girl, that Helen. She's gone now... it was a sad day when I ran across her obituary online, several years after I'd moved from Seattle to Illinois. But the writer of the obituary captured the essence of Helen, who was remembered as "the hostess with the mostest" and as "De Colores Helen" for her "rainbow-like faith embracing all people." I guess I'm lucky to be counted as someone Helen Johnson welcomed to the Episcopal Church. She would have pooh-poohed the phrase "radical welcome," but she practiced it just the same.

And if I'm ever stumped for an idea of how to welcome someone, I'll just ask Helen.

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June 23, 2005

A Shy Person's Guide To The Practice Of Evangelism

Drawing inspiration from their 2004 annual convention theme, the Diocese of Massachusetts convention steering committee produced and distributed a pocket-sized resource called "A Shy Person's Guide to the Practice of Evangelism." "The focus on evangelism comes from our mission vision and mission strategy [which] in shorthand is ‘Inviting, Forming, Sending, Serving,’" said Helen P. Netos, chief operating officer and director of Christian formation for the diocese. "We have 12 strategic goals that are primarily outwardly-focused initiatives which call for both congregational participation and coordinated diocesan-level action. We believe that congregations which participate in these initiatives will in fact grow as they join God's mission, and we are supporting and encouraging that growth through a variety of means, like the guide, the welcome packet, special events and training [because] we wish to increase our average Sunday attendance by 50 percent by 2013."


The book, in an amusing way, examines the meaning of the word “evangelism,” gives examples of how it is present in everyday life, and presents ideas on how to practice it.

"The entire subcommittee offered suggestions and edits to help create something small and unobtrusive—as befits shy people," said Netos. "The response has been positive and people were chuckling and laughing out loud on the floor of the convention as they perused the booklet."

Since then, the guide, which has been printed several thousand times, has been given to congregations, with at least one sending it to everyone in the congregation who pledged.

To obtain a copy of the guide, email hnetos - Episcopal News Service

This might be something we should investigate. Perhaps it can be adapted to Midwestern sensibilities? For example, it's hard to invite your neighbor into a closer relationship with God, but it's easy to invite them into a closer relationship with your dog.

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Classic Car Show News

The "Holy Rollers" are coming!

The classic car show is coming right up: July 10th from 9am to 3pm. Registrations mailed by July 3 are $10, after that and on the day of the car show it will be $15 to register an entry.

This is the major fundraiser for Holy Innocents. If you can't be at the car show, there are still plenty of ways you can contribute your time and talents! We need:

  • Donations of fun little gifts for 50 "goodie" bags for entrants
  • Donations of items that can be given as "(out)door" prizes
  • Donations of food / beverage / condiments for the lunches
  • Donations of wrapped baked goods (cookies, brownies etc. 1-2 servings each
  • Volunteers are needed for setup.
  • Volunteers are needed for the day of the show.

For major donations, a letter that indicates the tax deductability of the gift is available from the webmistress (can be faxed).

For the smaller items for goodie bags and door prizes, some sort of car or automotive gift is appropriate: key chains, car deodorizers, pens, coupons for free oil changes, etc. For the door prizes, it can be anything you can donate, or make (Scott Eiler made a couple of handsome walking sticks, for example).

If you need more information about what to buy, what to ask for in donations of prize and gift items, or what more you can do, please email or call Colleen.

There is a map to the location of the church via Google but be aware that the little pointer is actually off by about a block.

Remember, if you mail something to the church (if you're going to be out of town) that the mailing address is a PO box in Schaumburg!

PO Box 68009, Schaumburg IL

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June 22, 2005

Reactive Sneezing

The following was passed around in email between a couple of parishioners, Katie Black and Betty Jo Bartlett. They thought others in the parish might enjoy it:

REACTIVE SNEEZING (a must read!)

They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-three students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would not pray during the commencements ----- not by choice but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling.

They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were
routine.. until the final speech received a standing ovation.

A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!

The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, "GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!" And he walked off stage...

The audience exploded into applause. The graduating class had found a way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval!

Isn't this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends.........



It's a cute story and a good one to pass along, as long as you know your audience. It mentions a serious issue, that of separation of church and state, but the tension is defused with humor. A good sense of humor can help us get through difficult situations; we should try to remember this always.

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June 20, 2005

Welcome, Seekers

Welcome to the Episcopal Church. You're not alone. We're here for you.

These may seem like platitudes, but the process of finding a place to worship can be nerve-wracking. First, it's difficult even to come to the realization that you want a more spiritual life, especially if no one else you know is interested or involved in a church. Then you have to listen to where your heart is leading you. It's hard enough figuring out why you want to worship, but then you have to figure out how you want to worship, too. And then there's the matter of what to believe, in addition to deciding whether kneeling and special gestures and special prayers are important to the way you worship. After that, you have to explore who you want to worship with. And not just checking congregations out by demographics and age groups and ethnic groups and sexual orientations and all of that, but whether you feel welcome.

What Are You Looking For?

Exploring a new faith tradition, perhaps different from the one you may remember from childhood, can be a daunting yet exciting process. Many churches offer lots of ways to be spiritual, and to worship God, and to know Christ, and to feel the Spirit working in your life. Which one calls to you?

The Episcopal Church can offer many different experiences - it's something we call the "broad" church. Some individual parishes are more low-key and simple in their style of worship, and some offer a more elaborate liturgy, especially for major holidays or "feasts" of the Church, like Easter and Pentecost. Some parishes are very modern in their outlook, some are more traditional, and many are somewhere in between. Quite often, the architecture of the church is a good clue to the way worship is conducted inside, but not always. This makes entering an Episcopal church for the first time a bit of an adventure.

"Will the people be friendly or will they ignore me? Will they focus on their own families and acquaintances? Will there be music or not? Will I be uncomfortable? Will it be familiar or strange? Will I be interested, or bored? Will I want to come back, or head straight out the door?" These are all questions you might well find yourself asking.

Who Are We?

Holy Innocents Episcopal Church is a small mission parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, which is part of the larger The Episcopal Church in the USA, which maintains a website for people seeking to know more about worship, belief, and spiritual growth from the Episcopalian point of view. In turn the national Episcopal Church is a part of the greater Anglican Communion, as an offshoot of the Church of England. St Columba Episcopal Church is a small parish in the same way.

Both churches were founded at around the same time in the late Fifties, early Sixties, but the buildings are quite different and the communities developed and changed in different ways. Worship styles vary, but Father Ted Durst manages to offer a simple service at St Columba, then a somewhat more elaborate liturgy at Holy Innocents. Currently St Columba's service is at 9am, and Holy Innocents' is at 1030am. This allows Fr. Ted to preside at both services, spending a little time with everyone after the first service, before nipping over to Holy Innocents for the second service. Fortunately, the two communities are physically not that far apart. During the school year, there occasionally can be 3 services when there is a Family Mass, which can make Sundays interesting, to say the least.

What Are We About?

We're currently seekers, too. We're seeking to know how we might be more a part of and of service to our communities of Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, and Hanover Park. We support the Schaumburg Food Pantry (our upcoming Classic Car Show is partly in benefit of that charity), and we're looking for other ways that we can contribute our time and talents and support, and to help our villages and the larger world. We'll be working on more long-range planning for the future so that we may all grow as individuals and as a parish. There are also "fun" activities planned or in discussion for the rest of the summer - besides the Car Show July 10, there's the big St Columba Flea Market on August 27th, and the third Synergy Brass Quintet concert on August 28th.

Why Do We Do This?

However, the "central act of our worship," the reason we come together each week, takes place at the altar when Fr. Ted blesses the Bread and Wine and gives it to the people. This shared meal puts us in touch with Christ and enables to take Him into ourselves - this is what being "in communion" means. And then when we are dismissed at the end of the service, we are sent out into the world "in peace."

There's a lot of history behind the Episcopal Church, and it continues to be "in the news" even now, with large questions being asked and (it is to be hoped) answered. Fortunately, the "broadness" of experience, worship, and outlook in the Episcopal Church means that you will find a welcome within it no matter what. We're here for you, and that's not just a marketing ploy.

At Holy Innocents and St Columba, we are young, old, black, Hispanic, white, married, single, gay, straight, formal, informal, working, retired, and everything in between.

Check the service times, find your way, find a welcome "home." We look forward to worshiping with you.

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May 26, 2005

Synergy Quintet Sunday Aug. 28 at 4pm

It's official! Synergy Brass Quintet returns to Holy Innocents on Sunday, August 28th at 4pm, with a dessert buffet to follow the concert. Tickets will soon be on sale, and this fundraiser will benefit Holy Innocents, so please tell friends and family to mark their calendars and save the date.

Synergy's dynamic concert performances are not to be missed! These fine young musicians present classical and popular music for everyone to enjoy, and they are at a very exciting point in their career. They'll also be performing at Ravinia on August 21st, so consider attending both concerts to show your support for good music, good food, and good friends.

I'm sure that more than a few of us will be wearing our Synergy T-shirts at one or both appearances, and of course shirts and CDs will be available for purchase at the concert as in previous years.

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Elgin Opera June 19 3pm

Another date to save - Father's Day is Sunday June 19th, and on that day an opera group from Elgin will perform in concert at Holy Innocents at 3pm!

More information will be forthcoming.

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Last Week, This Week

The readings for the previous week for the first Sunday in Trinity are here.

The readings for this Sunday, May 29:

Deuteronomy 11:18-21,26-28
Romans 3:21-25a,28
Matthew 7:21-27
Psalm 31 or 31:1-5,19-24

The Gospel reading:

Matthew 7:21-27

Jesus said. "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell-- and great was its fall!"

Let us all look to our own foundations (literal and spiritual) in preparation for this reading!

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Classic Car Show July 10 9am to 330pm!

Save the date - the second annual Holy Innocents Classic Car Show returns Sunday, July 10. The event begins at 9am (car exhibitors arrive earlier than that to pick out a good spot). Car entries will be parked on our capacious lawn, and there will be food, prizes, activities, and surprises galore. This fundraiser will benefit both the church and the Schaumburg Food Pantry.

Services that day will take place, though possibly at a special time, so check back for updates. If you can't be there to volunteer, there will still be plenty of ways to contribute your time or talents. We're looking for food and prize donations, baked goods to be sold, and volunteers willing to contact the neighbors to let them know about the event so they can possibly plan to hold a garage sale.

If you're interested in entering a car, leave a message at the church office at , or watch this space for registration information. Last year we had 40 cars, and this year we could easily double that number, so act now.

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May 04, 2005

Ministry Day May 7 St Mary's Park Ridge

Event Date: May 7, 2005 8:30 AM - May 7, 2005 5:00 PM
Location: St. Mary's, Park Ridge
Contact: Anne Cothran at
Web site: Visit the Resource Detail page for more information

The Ministry in Daily Life conference, sponsored by the Office of Christian formation, the Commissions on Ordained and Lay Ministry, and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, will focus on living out the baptismal covenant. The conference brings together aspects of other diocesan discernment events: lay ministry, ordained ministry discernment day, youth vocations fair, and youth ministry. A Youth Vocation Event, Friday evening through Sunday noon, and a College and Young Adult Event, Friday evening through Saturday evening, will be held concurrently at St. Mary's, Park Ridge.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Timothy Sedgewick, professor of Christian ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary.

For a description of workshops visit Ministry Day Workshops
-- Chicago Diocese -- Ministry Day: I will with God's help

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May 02, 2005

E-Mail Announcements List

We now have the ability to offer an announcements mailing list for those of you who have email. A number of you have included your email addresses in the church directory, so we may use that as a starting point.

This would be used strictly for parish announcements, and not for discussion. Email addresses will be confidential and will not be given to any third party for any reason without permission.

If you would like your email address added to the announcements list, please send a message to the webmistress with "MAILING LIST" in the subject line.

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April 24, 2005

Concert At St Nicholas May 21

Sopranos Sharon Garvey Cohen and Elizabeth Anne Swanson will perform Saturday, May 21st at 7:30pm at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church. Ms. Cohen is a member of the Lyric Opera Chorus, and Ms. Swanson has studied voice here in the U.S. and in Europe.

Tickets are $15.00, and a formal dessert buffet will follow the performance.

For tickets, contact St Nicholas Church at or . The church is located at 1072 Ridge Avenue in Elk Grove Village.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit St. Nicholas Church.

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April 15, 2005

Via Media Breakfast Retreat


The retreat for the end of the Via Media program will be tomorrow, Saturday April 16th at St Columba. Fr. Ted and Mark will serve a light breakfast at 9:00 AM, with the final program to follow. There will be a mid-day Eucharist and the retreat will end around 12:40 PM or so.
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April 07, 2005

Via Media April 12, Retreat April 16


Dear Friends:

Last (Tuesday) evening was our first Eastertide Via Media gathering. While our numbers
were small, our discussion was rich and lively as we discussed the topic of
Sin. I know that all of our schedules are full these days; however, I do hope
that as many of you as possible will be able to complete this import shared
formation and learning experience for St. Columba's and Holy Innocents.

Our final Tuesday night of Via Media will be next Tuesday, April 12, and our
closing retreat is scheduled for Saturday, April 16. The plan for the retreat
is to gather at 9:00 for a light breakfast that Mark and I will prepare and
then to conclude with the Eucharist which will end around 12:30 p.m. We can
either go home after the Eucharist, or we could bring things to share for a
picnic lunch together following the Eucharist.

(I thought we might gather at St. Columba's. If the weather is nice, we
could consider having the closing Eucharist outside, and we could use the patio
for a picnic.)

For planning purposes the following information would be helpful.
(Please respond by e-mail.):

  • Will you be able to attend next Tuesday's Via Media session?

  • Will you be able to attend the Saturday retreat?

  • If you can attend the retreat, would you prefer to go home after the
    Eucharist or to stay and share a picnic together?

Thank you --

Fr. Ted

PS I will be in touch w/ those who do not have e-mail.

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Evangelism Webcast April 30

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and the Parish of Trinity Church-St. Paul's Chapel in New York are co-sponsoring a unique webcast focusing on the Episcopal Church and evangelism. All are invited to watch the live webcast, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern time (9 a.m. Central) on Saturday, April 30. Viewers should log on to The webcast will also be available for on-demand viewing after its conclusion. - Episcopal News Service
There are viewing resources and materials available, as some Episcopal parishes will be acting as local hosts for the webcast. However, all are welcome to log on and watch from home.
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March 17, 2005

Next Via Media: April 5th - "Sin"

Via Media is a powerful resource for building Christian community, bringing people into the Church who previously have felt alienated or unwelcome. Our Church stands on the threshold of a marvelous evangelism opportunity, and the actions of General Convention 2003d the door. Via Media is the resource we need tothe door even wider and keep itfor all who seek the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The next Via Media Lenten program resumes on Tuesday, April 5th at 6:30pm at Holy Innocents (after Holy Week and Easter Week). The simple supper of soup, bread, and salad will be hosted by St Columba. The next topic under discussion will be Sin. That ought to be a lively topic!

This past week's discussion on "The Bible" ranged widely and enjoyably as everyone responded to the video, which this week featured two members of the Episcopal clergy who are also bloggers: AKMA, and Susan Russell.

There was much discussion of "the three-legged stool" of Anglican theology, where Scripture, Tradition and Reason are the legs that support our faith. This time, participants were given homework... which I've just remembered is one of those "things left undone" that will have to be tackled later.

Please try to make some time to come to the next Via Media meeting if you're in the area, it's an interesting and thought-provoking program, and the soup is good too.

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March 12, 2005

Will You Listen?

A selection from an Episcopal priest's blog that appears on many "favorites" lists:

The bishops have repeatedly called us to listen and dialogue. When we debate, we are listening only for those parts that we can use to make our case. When we dialogue, we are seeking to understand the other person's experience. We don't have to agree with it. We don't pass any judgement on it. We quiet our own internal chatter and attempt to be fully present to the other person.

Are we willing to do this? Let's try. - Father Jake Stops The World

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March 11, 2005

Via Media

The Via Media Lenten program continues on Tuesday, March 15th, with a program entitled "The Bible." This week it will be at St Columba, and the supper will be hosted by Holy Innocents.

If you haven't been able to attend one of the Via Media programs, take some time out of your busy week and drop by for some soup, thought-provoking discussion, and "face time" with your fellow Holy Innocents and St Columba parishioners.

Just as a reminder, there will be no meetings during Holy Week or Easter Week. Via Media will resume after Easter on April 5th.

via media is a powerful resource for building Christian community, bringing people into the Church who previously have felt alienated or unwelcome. Our Church stands on the threshold of a marvelous evangelism opportunity, and the actions of General Convention 2003d the door. via media is the resource we need tothe door even wider and keep itfor all who seek the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Volunteers are needed for hosting suppers and providing childcare. Please see Pat Hoesel at St Columba's or Colleen Muehl at Holy Innocents.

Via Media Schedule
6:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings
Date/Topic Location Meal Host
Mar. 15
The Bible
St Columba's Holy Innocents
Holy Week No Meeting (off)
Easter Week No Meeting (off)
Apr. 05
Holy Innocents St Columba's
Apr. 12
Thy Kingdom Come
St Columba's Holy Innocents
Apr. 16 - Retreat
So, What?
To Be Announced Holy Innocents &
St Columba's

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