The Vicar’s Corner: Opportunity Knocks, Will You Answer?

The Choir of St Nicholas, 2013

The choir is hard at work preparing, training and rehearsing. Their gift of music and song uplifts our Sunday Liturgy…for we are encouraged to “sing and dance before the tabernacle.” Soon, they will be releasing another CD for our listening and sharing pleasure and just in time for the holiday season.

Our Saturday Liturgy has a three-speared effort of music with Mary, Hal and Tony all taking one Saturday each month with a “said liturgy” filling out the Saturday calendar. These dedicated musicians, along with each member of the choir all give so much of themselves to help beautify and make more glorious our worship and celebration of our Christian faith and Episcopal identity. Our choir members, along with Hal and Tony willingly and gratefully volunteer their time and talents to make St. Nicholas such a welcoming, joyful place to worship. And we are all grateful and humbled by their efforts and shared talents.

Brandon Garcia

Brandon continues to prepare the worship programs we all use. He does an amazing job considering he is a full-time high school senior, athlete, choir member and not to mention the chores for which he is responsible at home. Yet, he finds and makes time to volunteer and prepare the program for our use. Soon, we hope to have a couple more members of the community learn how to share in this ministry.

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Hal serves as our Verger…a position for which he studied and prepared. He gives this ministry serious time, effort and cost as he gives back to St. Nicholas as St. Nicholas gives back to him.

Pat Kalicki, Douglas VanHouten, and Robert DeHaven share a laugh

Members of the Bishop’s Committee, the Building Committee, the Liturgy Team, Children’s and Youth Formation, Food Pantry Team…all give of themselves, with a spirit of willingness while generously sharing of their gifts so others can be blessed and rewarded.

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People who volunteer to make coffee, to bake bread, to clean the facility, to mow the lawns, to tend to the gardens, who pull out and cut down shrubs and bushes…each and every one of these beautiful people do so because they care. It is with the same joyful dedication our sisters and brothers share in the reading of the lessons and the sharing of the Cup at our liturgies. Tom Smith and Pat Kalicki bring Jesus to our home-bound members…Jesus travels well and He loves to visit and be with us!

Donations of supplies help St Nicholas devote resources to other ministries

So many of our parish family share their treasures with the church, too. Pledging, open plate offerings and making visits to the Giving Tree…all this goes so very far in securing our present day and future endeavors. These gifts are essential, are necessary and are what keep our doors open, lights on and music playing. No one likes to “talk money,” but we do in casual and simple style because we must do so. Without the financial assistance, we we fade away…we cease to exist. And this, my friends, simply is not part of our plan…this is not in the equation. No sir. No ma’am. We do all this and more because we care…because we love this place…because this is what we are commissioned to do as Christians and members of a faith community.

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My friends, there are so many opportunities to be part of this church. Physical presence is a fine start and trust me, I love seeing everyone! Our church is so much more beautiful when we are in there…singing, worshiping, greeting one another at the Sign of Peace, opening our hands and hearts as we say ‘Amen…Yes I believe.’ Yet, there is more we can do. Think of a ministry in which we may wish to be more engaged…choir, baking bread, teaching our children, reading the lessons, preparing the worship programs, cleaning and caring for the facility, volunteering at the food pantry the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, preparing Coffee Hour on Sundays…you name it, the opportunity is there. Lastly, I ask us all to consider strongly and sincerely the requests that lay before us in the annual Stewardship Drive and the Capital Campaign. Help us keep St. Nicholas moving forward and onward…sustaining and securing a bright, beautiful and bountiful future for us all.

Amen…Yes I believe!

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

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The Book of Common Prayer: For The Victims of Addiction

I don’t often post “in my own words” on the church blog, but hope to occasionally add more news from the wider Church, especially as we approach General Convention and contemplate welcoming a new Presiding Bishop. Also, there will be news items of interest to all people of faith, along with “Episcopaliana” or links to content that highlight who we are and what we’re about.

First up, how often do you pick up the Book of Common Prayer? Are you comfortable “winging it” when praying privately, or “in common” with others? Did you know there’s an online version? There’s even a (paid) app for that, although you can download a free PDF from the Episcopal Church site and another version called iBCP.

Sometimes when you feel the need to pray about something, saying the words that so many before you have said is comforting and adds a sense of “we’re all in this together;” many lives and many souls all yearning to express the same things: healing, comfort, thanksgiving, and support.

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A personal favorite of mine is the prayer for those who struggle with addiction, which I repeated many, many times for a fellow choir member who departed this life some years ago after struggling with alcoholisim his entire adult life. His name was Tim Black, and we in the choir still miss him and his cheerful willingness to help others even as he struggled to help himself. As we’re getting ready to put out a Christmas CD, it turned out that the image that worked best for the CD cover was one from Tim’s last Christmas Eve service – we missed him so much last year. However, none of the pictures from Christmas 2013 really worked for the square CD format, but an older one did (it was taken by my husband David Gibbs in the semi-darkness, with the glorious Angel Tree glowing softly). And there to the side of the tree is Tim, singing “Silent Night” with us for what turned out to be the last time.

I still think of him, and repeat this prayer now in thanksgiving that he has risen in glory and no longer struggles with his addictions, and in supplication for those who still struggle with theirs.

56. For the Victims of Addiction

O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look
with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost
their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of
your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset
them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to
those who care for them, give patient understanding and
persevering love. Amen.

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Ginny Gibbs
Webmistress and Chorister

ginny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Congratulations Eagle Scout Richard Franzen!

The Community of St. Nicholas is very proud of you!

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He came into St. Nicholas ever so quietly and when he completed his work, he left us all in awe. Richard Franzen asked about how he could help us “fix-up” our gardens and do something with the vegetable patch that was in mighty sad shape.

Well, we marvel at the work he and his fellow scouts did to the grounds of our church. Not a day passes that some one doesn’t shout out “Wow, what beautiful gardens you have!” And ever so right they are.

On Sunday, October 26th, at 3:30pm at the Faith Community Church of Christ in Bensenville, our young friend Richard will be presented his rightful award of Eagle Scout.

Let us raise our collective voices and send out a loud and heart-felt CONGRATULATIONS! What Richard has given us is a living legacy…gardens that will always remind us what young minds and hands can truly do to change our world for the good and better.

God bless you, Richard and again, know how very proud we are of you.