144th ANNUAL MEETING OF ST. MATTHEW'S CHURCH
LOVE IS AN ACTION: ACT NOW!
Submitted by Bob Purse, Coordinator
As I've written for the last few years, the acolyte program has gotten considerably smaller since the mid 2010's. Last year, we had 11 acolytes. This year, with the departure of one older acolyte and the arrival of a new fourth grader, we are again at 11.
But where this has presented quite a challenge to scheduling, in previous years, things have been considerably easier in recent months, as I have one acolyte who wishes to be scheduled twice a month (and who volunteers most weeks that she is not scheduled), and two more who volunteer at least once, if not twice, between their scheduled weeks. As you can see, the current team is quite dedicated, energetic, responsible, eager, and – it’s always worth saying – fun. In 2017, we expanded the team to include adults as well as children, and this has proven to be a very positive development, as well.
I am especially grateful for the able assistance of my daughter Molly. She is usually my right hand person in training and in running the acolyte program on Sunday mornings. I am ever thankful that she remains dedicated to the program, especially in that she now lives independently, having moved out of our home in 2018, to a home a further 30 minutes away from the church than I where I am (my trip to St. Matthew's being 30 minutes from home).
We are always open for more acolytes, not only those in school (fourth grade an up), but adults as well.
Altar Bread Ministry
Submitted by Kristin Jacobsen and Deborah Williams, Coordinators
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” —Matthew 13:33
Many of us who grew up with communion wafers appreciate receiving homemade communion bread instead. The spiritual symbolism of bread feels much more significant than that of wafers. Thank you to our dedicated bakers, who every Sunday help make the Eucharist more meaningful, and thank you to Terri Morrissey for sustaining this ministry for many years.
If you would like to try your hand at bread baking, the honey and whole wheat recipe the bakers use is provided below. It’s delicious! We are hosting a bread-baking buy-in party in April. If you are interested but haven’t signed up, let us know, and we can plan another one.
Bakers for 8 a.m. service
Rick and Julie Worden
Bakers for 10:30 service
Mary Bruner, Edie Hertel, Kristin Jacobsen, Katie Kelly, Kara Smith, Melissa Warden, Deborah Williams
Submitted by Kristin Jacobsen, Coordinator 2019
Altar Guild is a highly spiritual and relevant ministry whose image is often stuck in a previous generation. In many people’s minds, it is still the purview of women who do not work outside the home, maintain Altar Guild as an exclusive club, and react poorly to mistakes. Many years ago, there used to be a grain of truth in this assessment. However, current Altar Guild members join to be part of a supportive community that has a critical mission. We set up and care for the chalices, linens, and other objects that make Communion a very special meal to connect us with the sacrificial love of God in Christ. We were very happy to add Melissa Warden as a new member in 2019 and look forward to Joyce Weber starting in 2020.
Altar Guild is no longer just for women, and we welcome men, women, and teenagers who are interested in trying out Altar Guild as a form of spiritual service or just to meet new people. We are divided into four teams that serve two weeks in a row, roughly every two months. Each team sets up for the service and cleans up afterwards. Altar Guild also decorates the church for Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter, and arranges flowers when money is donated for them. Members also help with funerals and weddings. We gather twice a year for general meetings.
It takes more than one person to keep Altar Guild going. I owe much gratitude to:
All who helped with special services, set up for holidays, and served as subs
Team leaders Mary Clark, Kati Olsen, and Susan Rundle, who are an important part of keeping Altar Guild going
Kate Lauderbaugh, for stepping up to be head of Altar Guild in 2020
Sarah Muyres, for agreeing to assist Kate and take over as head in 2021
Susan Cherco, for taking over the ordering of supplies
Kathy Riley, for ordering our greens, poinsettias, and lilies for Christmas and Easter
Corky Siegfriedt, for serving as team leader; we wish you a healing leave of absence
Carol Cornyn, for seven years of service, who resigned to focus on other ministries
Judy Royal, for serving as wedding coordinator and beach church sub.
Father Charlie, who is always available for advice and support
Our dedicated and generous members, for their combined decades of service:
Judy Royal (beach church sub.)
Appalachian Service Project
Submitted by Mike Muyres
The Appalachia Service Project is a youth-oriented outreach program focused on repairing homes and transforming lives of families in rural Appalachia. For the for the past 8 years, several youth and adult members from St. Matthew’s have been traveling down to Kentucky to help support that mission. The trip is a large undertaking and we have been participating with Northminster Presbyterian church in Evanston. Leading up to the trip were various team building and fundraising events includes a benefit dinner, pancake breakfast and a car wash. For the trip this past June, our group numbered 148 people, including more than a dozen youth and adults from St. Matthew’s.
Projects included replacing floors, building roofs, replacing siding, and building porches, just to name a few. While there was some downtime in the evenings, in general the workdays were long and hot, and people came back dirty and longing for a shower. For more information, please contact Mike Muyres.
Buildings and Grounds
Submitted by Bill Siegfriedt
The Buildings and Grounds Committee is charged with planning and managing major upkeep and improvements in our facilities. In 2019, we responded to a vestry request to investigate a project list left by Damian Barta. We made a project estimate for each suggested project and prioritized the list according to what fiscal year each should be done.
We continue to be hampered by the lack a facilities manager to replace Damian. Toward that end, we have received suggestions for a new manager. We have interviewed one candidate and provided his résumé for consideration. We await a decision from the vestry.
This group meets once a month on the third Thursday of every month and would welcome new members.
Two major items in process are:
Ballet School Dance Floor: All the floor tile in the parish hall is reinforced with asbestos. This is not a problem as long as it remains undisturbed. In the dance studio, some tiles have been damaged. The B&G Committee reviewed solutions and found that the best approach would be to secure the loose tiles and cover the studio floor with dancer-preferred vinyl sheeting. This material is typically installed with special tape. The material cost is reasonable. However, a quote from a professional dance floor installer substantially exceeded the material cost. We are seeking to employ volunteer help (dance school partisans and parishioners) to lay down the flooring.
Broken Windows : The parish hall has over 300 panes of plain glass. More than 15 of them are broken, several admitting a draft. The committee has received a quote to repair them.
Submitted by Kati Olsen, Coordinator
Each year, The Cradle sponsors a holiday gift drive for families served by their Birthparent Services program. Individuals and organizations provide gifts and warm clothing to families which have qualified to be in need of assistance. Once again, the parishioners of St. Matthew’s demonstrated your caring generosity by providing gifts of toys and warm clothing for 30 children. The time and love you all put into shopping for specific items on the children’s wish lists never ceases to impress. Thank you so much.
In addition, monetary gifts totaling $925 were received! There were families who reached out for assistance late in the season and we were able to accommodate their needs as well, with your generous donation. Your monetary gift is an important aspect of this work.
Thank you to Susan Rundle and Mary Clark for their assistance this year, and to everyone who participate in this joyful ministry. From the first contact with Becky Kimball at The Cradle in October to the delivery of the gifts on December 9th, it was clear how important and appreciated our participation is in this program.
Thank you to everyone who participated! Because of what we do, children have boots, winter coats, and something fun for Christmas.
Submitted by Jennie Woodring, Coordinator
The Coffee ministry helps to make St. Matthew’s a welcoming congregation by providing a time for fellowship after each Sunday service. Crew members prepare coffee, tea, and treats in the parlor after the 8:00 service, and at the back of the sanctuary (or outdoors in agreeable weather) after the 10:30 service. Thanks go to the dedicated crew members who each take responsibility week by week to provide this ministry of fellowship. We are especially eager to welcome new members; please contact Jennie Woodring (email@example.com) to find out how you can be part of the team.
Confirm not Conform (Confirmation)
Submitted by Rev. Charlie de Kay
I am very grateful to our associate rector, the Rev. Kevin M. Goodman, for leading the current class of St. Matthew’s confirmation students – Matthew Davies, Mo de Kay, Jason McDermott, and Xander Senechal – in collaboration with our partners at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, from its formation in August of 2018 through the spring of 2019. I am likewise grateful to the St. Mark’s leaders and, especially, the students who have been very gracious in accepting me and the changing CnC leadership in the fall of last year, following Kevin’s departure. It is truly a joy to be a part of this wonderful program with our young people once again.
We look forward to offering both congregations and the wider community a delicious pancake dinner for Shrove Tuesday, which for scheduling reasons for all concerned has been transferred back to Sunday, February 23. Come enjoy a delicious pre-Lenten sugar splurge at St. Matthew’s from 5-7pm. Our prices are competitive!
And for the first time in ages, we are excited to offer Confirmation service on Sunday, May 3rd at St. Matthew’s. Our confirmation students will be confirmed or blessed – if they choose not be confirmed at this time – by Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee, 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, during his concluding months as our bishop. Students from St. Mark’s and their families and mentors are welcome to join us, although they, too, will have the opportunity to be confirmed in their own church during Eastertide.
As we anticipate the Fall, for the first time since we began this collaborative arrangement, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is expressing interest in participating with us for the next session of confirmation classes. Pastor Debra Bullock (St. Mark’s) and I warmly welcome St. Luke’s participation and we look forward to seeing where this cross-church conversation may lead.
Submitted by the Formation Team: Melissa Dakich,
Christina Padilla, Kristin Jacobsen, and Joanne Wilson
The Formation Team created a full schedule of spiritual development opportunities in 2019 for seekers of all ages. Programs included Inquirer’s Eucharists, Community Nights, Confirm Not Conform, Sunday Workshops, a new Stations of the Cross service on Good Friday, Vacation Bible Camp, the dia de los Muertas elements at the All Saints Service, Advent Wreath decorating, and the Christmas pageant.
Inquirer’s Eucharist replaced Interactive Worship as a periodic alternative service at 10:30 a.m. It offered an exploration of how our service of Holy Eucharist works and allowed those who attended to ask questions and go deeper into the meaning of the service.
Community Nights in the first part of the year included Episcopal Bingo, A Disney Monastic, Stations of the Cross, and Mothers’ Day Planting. In the fall, Inquirer’s Eucharist and Community Night were combined so that more people could attend and learn from the in-depth, explanatory Eucharist.
A new activity for Good Friday engaged both the artistic and the spiritual with a special Stations of the Cross activity. All ages met at Sunday workshops and Community Night in March to color in representations of each station to use at a new noon-time Good Friday service.
Vacation Bible Camp was a fun chance for adults and children alike to think about “Who is My Neighbor?” Children ages three to ten from St. Matthew’s, St. Mark’s, St. Luke’s, and the surrounding neighborhood attended. Teen and adult volunteers from St. Matthew’s organized sessions on Bible Response (story), Creative Response (craft), Active Response (play break), Praise Response (music), and Snack. Going forward, the status of VBC is uncertain unless support can be found within St. Matthew’s or by coordinating with other Episcopal churches.
With Kevin’s departure, the team had to adjust the schedule. Father Charlie took over Confirm Not Conform. The team provided Holy Moly workbooks for families to engage children at home, created a more easily accessible space with books at the back of the church, and put Bibles for children and teens in the pews.
For the second year, families helped write the Christmas pageant. The formation team, assisted by Jackson Hamrick, led workshops to write scenes that included a talking donkey who doubled as an Uber driver, a lion that Mary rescued as a child, and the Pickle King.
Submitted by Christina Padilla, Chair
The Green Team continued our efforts in 2019 to make St. Matthew’s a zero-waste facility through our composting and recycling programs. In February, some of our members attended the annual Wild & Scenic Film Fest, a must-see for anyone interested in what’s happening around the world on “this fragile earth, our island home.” We have continued to expand our own knowledge and awareness around sustainable practices and communicate them to the parish as we do. Our hope for 2020 is to do some re-visioning with the help of Faith In Place, a non-profit organization that works with houses of worship throughout Illinois to create, maintain, or revitalize their Green programs. As we look to the year ahead, don’t forget that we always welcome new members!
Green Team Members: Christina Padilla, Anne Branning, Roberta Buchanan, Mary Jo Deysach, Ann Searles, Anne Viner, Deborah Williams, Jennie Woodring, Cate Bruner, and YOU?
Home Communion Ministry
Submitted by Terri Morrissey, Coordinator
Each Sunday toward the end of our service, Home Communion Ministers are “sent forth” to bring the Eucharist to the homebound and extend the celebration of the gathered congregation. The commissioning of Home Communion Ministers each Sunday – “Go forth with these holy gifts, so that those to whom you go may share with us in Christ’s body and blood.” reminds us that “We who are many are one Body, because we all share One Bread, One Cup.” During their visits, Home Communion Ministers follow an abbreviated order of service, which includes prayers, scripture readings from the Sunday service, and the distribution of the Eucharist. Whether for the short term or over the course of several years, it is a blessing and a privilege to be invited into the lives of our homebound parishioners.
The Home Communion Team at St. Matthew’s in 2019 included: Susan Cherco, Catharine Hamrick, Karen MacKay, Terri Morrissey, Steve Steiber, Janie Stevens, Susan Turner, Melissa Warden, Penny Whiteside, and Dorothy Wyandt.
If you would like further information about this ministry or would be willing to serve as a Home Communion Minister, please contact Charlie de Kay or Terri Morrissey. If you know someone who would like to receive a Home Communion visit, please contact Charlie de Kay, Terri Morrissey or call the church office.
Submitted by Dorothy Wyandt
This loosely knit group of people prepares and serves meals at several all parish events. This past year we served brunch on St. Nicholas Day, lunch at the Annual Meeting and supper on Maundy Thursday. This group also hosted receptions after funerals at St Matthew’s when requested. We would love some additional hands so if you are interested in assisting with this type of periodic activity, please contact Dorothy.
Submitted by Ann Searles
The St. Matthew’s movie group has met almost monthly in 2019. Meetings usually have been held in the evenings at 7:30 pm at member homes or late Sunday afternoons. Light refreshments are served and the host or another designated person has led the discussions. We most often discuss current movies but sometimes study older films. The movie choice is the host’s. Some discussions have been centered on the technical aspects of the films or the acting performances while others have related the film’s messages to our own lives in today’s world. All have been enjoyable.
Some of the 2019 films we discussed were Green Book, The Long Shadow, The Farewell, and Downton Abbey with some being Oscar or Golden Globe nominees and some just interesting movies! There are no requirements to participate but it is necessary for attendees to see the film before the meeting. Notices appear in the St. Matthew’s communications and all are welcome to attend. For many of us the Movie Group has been an easy, enjoyable fellowship activity which has given us an opportunity to become better acquainted with church members and spouses whom we might not have otherwise known. Average attendance is around 15 adults.
The movie group plans to continue in its current format for the year 2020. New faces are always welcome to participate in this very enjoyable activity.
Submitted by Nancy Trimble
The St. Matthew’s Prayer Group continues to meet each Tuesday, as it has been meeting for more than 60 year. Our membership now consists of Penny Whiteside, Eliza Winkler and Nancy Trimble, only two of which are members of St. Matthew’s.
We regard our work as a ministry, having been admonished in scripture to pray for one another. Our liturgy, which takes approximately 20 minutes to read, includes the names submitted to us as well as those included in the Prayers of the People each Sunday. Each name is read thoughtfully. Finally, our liturgy is followed by a brown bag lunch and a social time.
Submitted by Charlie de Kay
In the midst of swiftly changing realities for churches everywhere – and St. Matthew’s is no exception – 2019 was a year of continued reimagining and restructuring of our faithful, joyful staff, who in the face of uncertainty and change continually went above and beyond all reasonable expectations. Each one regularly offers the best of themselves for love of St. Matthew’s and the wonderful, caring community they have found here.
Mark Crayton and James Janssen celebrated 15 years as our Choir Master and Organist this past year! We celebrate their anniversary this Sunday at our Annual Meeting. We have been deeply blessed by their tireless efforts to make St. Matthew’s a home for exquisite music. Mark and James prepare for each Sunday during the program year with the same intensity and effort as any member of the clergy. We look forward to seeing what musical delights they and their team bring in 2020! Please see their report for much more!
We were sad to say farewell to our associate rector, the Rev. Kevin M. Goodman, but glad to be able to celebrate with him in his final weeks before his last Sunday, September 1st. Kevin faithfully led our formation, outreach, communications, and administrative operations, as well as being a fine preacher and priest. Kevin now serves as the interim rector at St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe, teaching a weekly EFM class made up of students from different congregations, including St. Matthew’s, and continues his role as the dean of the Evanston deanery. His playful presence and prophetic preaching voice are missed to this day; we wish him all of the best in his continuing journey.
Our postulant in formation to become a deacon, Terri Morrissey has serenely ridden the waves of the unpredictable (and occasionally inscrutable) path to ordination. Terri continues to faithfully put her time and efforts into study, service, and multiple rounds of interviews and changing curricula. Steady and clear in her call, Terri also continues to lead our Stephen Ministers with the help of Steve Steiber, our home communion ministry, and serves in too many ministries to name. We are delighted to announce that Terri is our 2020 Vision Keeper of the Year. We will celebrate her and her remarkable journey of faith, service, and vision at Interfaith Action of Evanston’s Dinner on Sunday, February 16.
Damian Barta – our Facilities Manager made a name for himself in our community with his tireless efforts to improve our spaces – inside and out – with his organic faith and with his deep well of compassion. In the short time he was with us at St. Matthew’s, it became very clear that he fell in love with us, too. Seeing his work here as much more than a job but as a true calling, he rather reluctantly departed for his new home in Wisconsin in the beginning of June. He is much missed by one and all.
Julie Hinz has been a Godsend of steady presence and good humor in this turbulent year for our staff. With Kevin and Damian gone, the work load increased dramatically, and so, with the input and unanimous support of the personnel team and the vestry, I increased her job position to full-time Parish Administrator, charged with additional communications oversight (website, e-news, signage, and more), bookkeeping responsibilities as designated by the co-treasurers, and a new charge of working with the Buildings and Grounds team and, when hired, the handyman/woman. You hear her cheerful voice when you call and see her smiling face when you visit the church weekdays from 7:30 to 3:30. She blesses all of us with her warmth, easy-going ways, and quick laugh. If you haven’t already, stop in some morning, introduce yourself, and say hello. She’s interested in getting to know all of us better.
We have budgeted to hire a half-time handyperson. Vestry leaders, members of the buildings-and-grounds and personnel teams have been working to find just the right person.
St. Andrew's Pentecost / St. Matthew's Partnership
Submitted by Cynthia Doucet
Our partnership's initiatives to make a positive impact together include conversations, learning and shared events. In addition to fellowship, our focus continues to be on social justice issues including standing together in support of refugees and asylum seekers. In 2019 we were honored to host a community-wide "Love God/Love Neighbor" seminar in collaboration with the Washington D.C.-based Episcopal Migration Ministries team, including a day-long workshop about ways to take action.
We also led a school supply drive for a refugee family sponsored by St. Luke's; collected 2020 wall calendars for use by RefugeeOne; and in recent weeks hosted a presentation by Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, who practices immigration law and leads a "Know Your Rights" effort in addition to being a state Representative.
We look forward to this continued partnership. For more information please contact any of the team members (Marta Humphreys, Victoria Thompson, Reva Bess, Roberta Buchanan, Craige Chistensen, Cynthia Doucet, Bobby McSweeney, Terri Morrissey, Ann Searles, Corky Siegfriedt, Ginny Voedisch)
Submitted by Terri Morrissey and Steven Steiber
Stephen Ministry at St. Matthew’s, now in its sixth year, is a way for our congregation to provide confidential, high quality, ongoing one-on-one care to people experiencing difficult times in life.
Stephen Ministers care for individuals experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, hospitalization, and many other crises. Stephen Ministers are congregation members who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide Christ-centered care to people in time of need.
In response to discussions within the Spiritual Life Committee, Pastoral Care Committee and the Crossroads conversations, the Vestry approved funding to begin Stephen Ministry at St. Matthew’s in 2013. The initial leadership training began in June 2013, when Charlie de Kay and Terri Morrissey took part in Stephen Ministry Leadership Training in Orlando, Florida. After our return, we launched Stephen Ministry at St. Matthew’s by providing the congregation with information about Stephen Ministry, recruiting and interviewing potential Stephen Ministers.
In October 2013, Terri began training six individuals for Stephen Ministry at St. Matthew’s. Thank you to Susan Cherco, Connie Conley, Carol Cornyn, Steve Steiber, Janie Stevens and Penny Whiteside for making the commitment to this ministry and to Charlie de Kay for supporting our vision. We completed our initial training on Saturday, February 1, 2014 during a mini-retreat and Eucharist. Following the initial 50 hours of training and their Commissioning, Stephen Ministers have been participating in Caregiving Relationships, a Peer Supervision Group and ongoing Continuing Education.
Our Stephen Ministry has continued to grow! In August 2015, Steve Steiber took part in a subsequent Leadership Training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a leadership team, we trained four new Stephen Ministers in 2016. With the commissioning of Betsy Baer, Gregory Peebles, Karen LaBranche, Sarah Muyres in 2017, we continue to grow this lay ministry at St. Matthew’s and in the community beyond our walls.
Submitted by Ginger Carr & Jennie Woodring
The Stitchers’ Group is a social group open to anyone who does needlecrafts of any kind – knitting, crocheting, embroidering, or just plain mending that needs doing. We gather about once a month at members' homes on an irregular schedule to socialize, share stitching tips, and enjoy light snacks. There are roughly 20 members and about 6 to 10 of us come to any given gathering, determined by members’ availabilities. We have embraced St. Matthew’s relationship with St. Andrew’s Pentecost by inviting their members to our gatherings. For more information contact Ginger Carr or Jennie Woodring.
Wednesday Lunch Program
Submitted by Charlie de Kay
This collaborative feeding ministry makes a real difference in the lives of the hungry here in Evanston. It has become a deeply meaningful ministry to caring volunteers that oversee and staff the effort.
Our menu has expanded from its early days of a very simple bag lunch to a truly balanced, nutritious sit-down meal. The numbers of our guests, unfortunately, have also grown. Here are the most recent statistics that we’ve received regarding this ministry.
Wednesday Morning Spirituality Seminar
Submitted by Charlie de Kay
Formerly the Midweek Bible Study, over the years this intrepid group finished the Old Testament including Apocryphal texts (except a few Psalms and Proverbs), plus Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts, and then decided to delve into other spiritual texts as most relevant to the lives of the members of the group. First, we read Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Most of the group found this study deeply rewarding even when they disagreed. Next we ventured on to David Brooks’ The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.
Opinions were divided on Brooks; some read him favorably, while others questioned his white male privilege and his essentially conservative political background.
After a break, the group reconvened to study Tod Bolsinger’s Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory. The group has effectively become a working laboratory, engaging in an honest encounter with our changing context, the principles of Bolsinger’s text, and consideration of what adaptive change might look like for us. Currently the group has discerned a call to take this journey deeper, and we have most recently been exploring – as a first step to adaptive change to reflect on the foundational question of Why Choose the Episcopal Church today?
Submitted by Charlie de Kay
Raucous celebrations, somber times of sorrow, moments of silent reflection, glorious musical offerings, worship at St. Matthew’s continues to reflect the ups and downs of our lives both as individuals and as God’s community of love in action. When one rejoices, all rejoice; when one weeps, all weep together.
In 2019 we shared the Eucharist at 115 public services; we brought holy communion into private homes and sick room 122 times. We celebrated one wedding and four celebrations of life. We gathered for prayer for the daily office and other times at 210 different occasions.
Some innovations and special services in 2019 that drew notice included the combined services with St. Andrew’s Pentecost (both at their church and ours), a new Good Friday service of prayer around the Stations of the Cross, created by the Formation Team, the Second Annual Mass on the Grass at the Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate, 4-Church Beach-A-Palooza, Beach Church moved to St. Matthew’s Lawn in July, Inquirer’s U! (an informal instructed eucharist) at Third Thursday Community Nights, the delights of our community written and performed Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve, the Renewal of Marriage Vows on the Conley’s 60th wedding anniversary, and the Christmas Carol Sing on Twelfth Night.