The Episcopal Church is “hierarchical,” meaning that it has a top-down leadership structure. However, it is very strongly democratic in nature, because the people of the church (the “laity” or lay persons) have a say in major decisions such as electing bishops and choosing clergy.
Bishops are overseers; several have visited over the years. Our patron saint, Nicholas, was a bishop too, which is why he wears the distinctive clothing and headgear of a bishop in the early Christian church.
We were very proud and excited to welcome Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori to St Nicholas several years ago. Here, she greets one of our parishioners, Earlene Ford.
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the Episcopal bishop of Chicago, is a dynamic young bishop seeking to lead the church in the 21st century, not trying to recreate the church of former centuries.
He’s been a big supporter of St. Nicholas because we, too, are seeking to be a church that, built on the wisdom of the past, lives courageously into the uncertainty of the present moment while looking confidently to the future.
To help us celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas in December 2012, we welcomed The Right Rev. Christopher C. Epting, assisting bishop of Chicago. That Sunday, we had quite a large class of confirmands, many of whom were from St Nicholas though there were a few from other Episcopal parishes in the area. The Flickr set from that festival day is HERE.
Fr. Manny Borg – Vicar – Contact Manny Borg
Father Manuel “Manny” Borg is now the vicar of St Nicholas. He was previously an assisting priest here, and for a while he also served at St Michael’s in Barrington. In 2011 he became our transition minister when the previous vicar, Fr. Steve Martz, left. Finally, we made it official in 2012 – what a year!
It’s been a lot of fun as he’s led us to do the hard work of discerning and learning who we are and who we want to be.
As they become available, Fr. Manny’s sermons and his “extras” from the weekly newsletter will be gathered into the “Clergy Corner,” a category in the church blog.
The late Fr. Paul Broullette – assisting priest
When ill health forced Father Paul to cut back on his scheduled preaching Sundays (and occasional banjo-playing gigs in church) we prayed for him (and sang). It was always a good Sunday when he brought his Pete Seeger model banjo with him to church to preach AND play. The last few Christmas Eve services were graced with Father Paul on guitar, accompanying choir and congregation during the singing of “Silent Night.” Sadly, he lost his battle in 2012. He taught us lessons about living gracefully that we will remember always.
During a visit by Bishop Scantlebury for the Feast of St Nicholas in 2006, we went out into the neighborhood to get bags of groceries to stock the food pantry. A few people were surprised to find a bishop at their door, thanking them for their donations.
We are lucky to have Mary Fletcher-Gomez as organist and choir director. Mary is well known in Chicago choral and operatic circles as a singer, teacher, and voice coach. She was instrumental (pun not intended) in ensuring that St Nicholas got the best quality electronic organ that we could, so that we could offer a full music program. With Mary’s guidance, St Nicholas is building a reputation for excellence in choral and instrumental music during worship services.
St Nicholas Parish Choir (whose members sing at Sunday services and rehearse each Wednesday at 6:45pm) has a deep repertoire of pieces to draw on for worship and for special services. For choir members, Christmas begins in August, and Easter begins right after New Year’s Day. Choirmistress Mary plans choral and solo pieces as much as a year in advance, and is always eager to introduce the choir to new and more challenging music. All for the greater glory of God, it’s said that singing is praying twice.
Contact Mary Fletcher-Gomez