143rd ANNUAL MEETING OF ST. MATTHEW'S CHURCH

Staff Reports

LOVE IS AN ACTION: ACT NOW!

Rector

submitted by The Rev. Charlie de Kay

By all accounts 2018 was a memorably turbulent year for our nation and thus for the world.  Here at St. Matthew’s, reassured by our faith in God’s persistent love for all creation, calm prevailed allowing us (more often than not) to respond to the chaos of national disturbances with passion while remaining present and ever hopeful of a brighter tomorrow.

 
Following God’s command and our particular mission, we loved one another – leading to more than one marriage and to babies being born – we grew older together, we cared for the sick and the homebound, and we buried beloved members, while striving to console those left behind, even sometimes as our own hearts were breaking.  This is part of the holy and life-giving work of building community to which we have been called.


Along the way we watched and supported our young people as they grew in maturity and faith.  We hired new nursery care workers.  We closed Interactive Worship and created the Inquirers U!(Eucharist).  See the Formation Team report for details.  For my part, the Confirmation (CnC) Class of 2018 – Brendan Long, Erin Long, Joe Kelly, Drew McDermott, Aidan O’Hare and four peers from St. Mark’s – met, learned, worked with mentors, went on retreat to the wilds of unincorporated Plainfield, made a fabulous Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper, and in the end chose to be confirmed at multiple locations during the spring.  Kevin now leads the CnC Class of 2020, which includes my daughter Mary; I wish him well in this wonderful work.

 
Meanwhile we adults, too, grew in faith.  We studied in various ways at various times on various days of the week.  The midweek bible study (Wednesdays, 10:30am, the Parlor), which I have the privilege of leading, finished reading and reflecting on the Old Testament, took on The Acts of the Apostles and then enjoyed the CBS miniseries Peter and Paul with Sir Anthony Hopkins, and upon return from our summer break, read Verna Dozier’s The Dream of God: A Call to Return, which now informs our investigations of the New Testament, beginning with Mark’s Gospel.


Our worship grew, and morphed, and we experimented with worship, for instance infusing sermons with impromptu song and periods of intentional meditative silence.  Our Worship Team reflected on what’s best about our worship and how we might strengthen it further, leading to the creation of a stunning, joyful, meaning-rich service with full-body engagement (riotously waving “Spirit” flags throughout and thoughtfully creating artwork with flames of personal prayers for our community and our world) at our Pentecost celebration.  This past year, in part of what seems to be a new trend, our fabulous choir continued to welcome new members as it adds new music to its repertoire.


Reimagining what we do inside our doors is great.  We also now know that we must make every effort to be out in the community whenever possible.  Expanding on efforts like our 4-Church worship service at Hamilton Street, the Ashes to Go experiment at the Metra Station on Ash Wednesday, our service at St. Andrew’s Pentecost, we took one more step outside our doors to meet folks where they are, with a new Father’s Day Eucharist on Long Field at 7am before the YWCA’s annual “Race Against Hate,” as part of our sponsorship of the race.  We plan to offer it again this year, along with a 10:30 post-race service in the church.


We continue to be an active presence at area community worship and social justice gatherings. In January, St. Matthew’s was a sponsor and I was privileged to speak at the “Community Martin Luther King Day Service” at Alice Millar Chapel in both 2018 and 2019.  At last February’s Vision Keeper Dinner, we honored Kati Olsen and Dorothy Wyandt for their leadership and especially their devotion to the Wednesday Lunch program, where we feed hungry people every Wednesday of the year; we return again to this fundraiser for Interfaith Action of Evanston next month to honor Damian Barta – we hope you’ll come out!  In March, St. Matthew’s was among the sponsors for the rally “Solidarity with Immigrants, Refugees & Dreamers” at St. Nicholas which drew a nice St. Matthew’s crowd.  Later that month, Kevin and I boarded buses for the DC “March for Our Lives” (in the hours before Holy Week commenced) as others prepared to take to the streets with Chicago “March for Our Lives” with friends from around the Diocesan.  In April, I was asked to offer the invocation at the Rally for the “Poor People’s Campaign” at Second Baptist Church; and in June St. Mattheans marched in the Chicago Pride Parade and at the “Families Belong Together Rally” at Daley Plaza.  In the fall, a group of us came out for the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the First Congregational Church of Evanston on the eve of Thanksgiving.


We continue to invite the community to be with us, too, often around music – in 2018 welcoming once again the Kenyon College Chamber Singers into our sanctuary and into our homes; inviting dignitaries and representatives from partner ministries to join us for our Advent Lessons and Carols Service; and welcoming all singers to Judy Royal and Tim Patenode’s Christmas Caroling sing and party.  The recently established Evanston Chamber Opera (EChO) offered Francis Lynch’s newest opera, For Those in Peril, in our sanctuary.  While on the subject of how we seek to widen our doors to welcome the community, I should mention our successful Vacation Bible Camp (now in its second year), which Kevin orchestrates – see his report for more.


Alternating between St. Matthew’s and St. Andrew’s Pentecost, many of us broke bread and deepened our relationships across our two churches over a series of Lenten evenings.  Each night offered a different set of ice breakers, including one evening organized around a light-hearted form of “speed dating.”  Another highlight of the series, open to the public, was the author presentation of the book about being a refugee Escape Nigeria, created by the 2-church partnership team of lay leaders.  Our two churches also got together socially at the Superbowl Party, the annual Gala, and at St. Andrew’s fall and winter fundraisers.  The plan is to grow deeper trust across our communities by building on this history of shared worship, educational events, and relationship building efforts in 2019.


Back at home, we cared for our buildings and grounds in myriad ways, but none so dramatically as the re-design and restoration of our front steps.  Please read Damian Barta’s full report on the year’s efforts.


Our Vestry, like any St. Matthew’s group, is a joy.  Simply put, the giftedness of the members of St. Matthew’s offers boundless treasures.  At the same time, our clergy and wardens are still learning how best – given the context of the space and times – to maximize our efficiency, and what fun to do this valuable work together.  At our 2018 retreat, the vestry developed the goal of implementing an intentional welcoming program.  We will be sure to take this work deeper and wider in 2019.


As a community, St. Matthew’s broke bread together on Sundays in the church, of course.  What may be less apparent is that we did so all across the calendar and all across Evanston and beyond – at coffee hours, at buy-in parties, community nights, the annual gala, Wednesday lunch program, Lenten evenings, over meetings like the Worship Team and annual meeting, at wedding and funeral receptions, at the Superbowl party, at meetings of our social groups, at St. Andrew’s Pentecost events and much more.  I hold very seriously that the bread broken and the stories shared at such times and places as these are just as holy as the bread broken and stories shared in church on Sunday morning.  It is how we are doing the work of building community in our complicated world, amid the storms swirling around us.  And it’s holy work.


St. Matthew’s reaches out, takes action, and makes a difference each and every week.  The kingdom of God is here on earth each and every time we participate in actions of mercy, grace, love and peace.

 

  • We all participate, even if sometimes indirectly, in feeding hungry people – primarily each and every Wednesday noon.  The homeless and working poor of Evanston have come to count on the Wednesday lunch program, and they tell the volunteers that it’s one their favorite meals of the whole week.

  • Faith in Action helps seniors and disabled of all ages to get around town – doctor’s appointments, shopping, and more are facilitated by this ministry of St. Matthew’s and others.  Together we support women in dire need by our efforts at the local domestic violence shelter.

  • In its support of the work of the Cradle, the Christmas Child project provides the opportunities for families with children in our area to celebrate Christmas, who otherwise might not.

  • Every summer for more than five years, St. Matthew’s high school students and adult chaperones travel to Appalachia to help folks make their homes drier, warmer, and safer, as part of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).

  • As members of Interfaith Action of Evanston, we join forces with over 40 communities of faith in Evanston to assist the homeless and the working poor in our community.  Our engagement – Corky Siegfriedt is our representative – material support and financial contributions in our annual membership and through generous giving, including at the Vision Keeper dinner, provides meals, overnight shelter during cold nights in the winter months, a warming center during winter days, job training assistance and other supports.

  • We are resolute in our efforts to combat oppression, primarily in our work with St. Andrew’s Pentecost in fighting systemic racism and anti-immigrant voices.  We continue this important work next by offering a free screening of the documentary, The Long Shadow, which traces the history of racism in our country from the beginning of white colonization of the continent up through present day.  The St. Andrew’s Pentecost partnership team has important news to share – please see their report. 

 

Finally, on a personal note, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all of you for the first part of my sabbatical.  I used the first seven weeks well spending four weeks with immediate family and three weeks traveling both to re-connect with distant relatives and “family of choice” dear friends who’ve become like sisters and brothers to me on the East Coast and for a trip of discovery in Ireland.  The time away provided useful perspective and was deeply restorative.  It helped me to double down on my commitment to personal care.  A new practice of meditation supports me and enriches my daily prayers; and I’m finding yoga stretching exercises to be a wonderful new discipline.  I’d re-started exercising at the very beginning of the year, which narrowed to regular running (spurred on, no doubt by our increasing engagement with the Race Against Hate).  At year’s end, I found I had run another five races (including the very popular Evanston Thanksgiving Flying Turkey 5K with many of you), joined the Evanston Running Club, and signed up for the Milwaukee half-marathon this April.  With Christina’s effervescent and steady help with diet and sleep and encouragement, I dropped more than 35 pounds, lost 6 inches on my waist, moved my BMI into the “healthy” range, and find myself, for the first time in years, in the market for new clothes.  My thanks to those of you who have been kind enough to notice changes to my appearance.  As I write this, I’m in the middle of Week 12 of a 22-week training program for the half-marathon, trying very hard not to get injured as I learn about running in cold weather and in the dark, and hoping to find a marathon to run in the fall.  It’s tremendously rewarding to push myself physically this way; I only wish fewer races took place on Sunday mornings!


These reflections are but a few of the many ways St. Matthew’s has been (and will continue) living into our mission to be building community in a complicated world, hearing the call to make love real in the midst of the stormy psychic and physical violence roiling our country.  Through it all, St. Matthew’s provides a reliable presence of faith, healing, and nurture on the corner of Lincoln and Hartrey and wherever in our community we were called to stand.  These thoughts reflect just some of the highlights from my limited perspective.  Please take the time to read each and every report.  The truth is that we did this together.  Our world is a little brighter, calmer, and better for it.

Associate Rector

submitted by The Rev. Kevin M. Goodman

As the Associate Rector for St. Matthew’s, I am responsible for several arenas including Formation, Outreach, Communications and Staffing. I assist Charlie with liturgy, visioning and pastoral care. I serve as a spiritual resource for the congregation and, as Dean of the Evanston deanery, an administrator and liaison. 

For me, 2018 at St. Matthew’s was a year of creativity, transition, and challenge. 

Formation

Most of the formation opportunities for St. Matthew’s are created by the Formation Task Force, which I convene, and made up of Melissa Dakich, Kristin Jacobsen, Christina Padilla, and Joanne Wilson. We meet on the third Tuesdays of the month to create and facilitate monthly educational opportunities.

Sunday Workshops for Children and Families is a special gathering time on Sunday mornings. Faith formation is foundational for children and families. But life is busy, often overwhelming, and time to study and grow in faith is often difficult to prioritize. Some of us are working parents, others single-parents, many are from the area and a few of us travel a great distance to get here. We have discovered that it is difficult to find time to set aside time for nurturing and developing a relationship with God and with God’s people. Four times a year, St. Matthew’s offers workshops designed for children, families, friends and caregivers to learn the story of God together. The four workshops, four sessions each, reflect upon stories from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Gospels and the New Testament. Stories from the Old Testament begin our series followed by the miraculous events leading up to the birth of Jesus. Then we turn our attention to Jesus’s life followed by the resurrection stories that call on us to be the hearts and hands of Christ in the world. Our Sunday Workshops are designed for children and parents to learn the story of God together. Our first workshop series, offered in October, looked at Creation, the Patriarch Abraham, the story of the Ten Commandments and the courage of Queen Esther. Our second workshop series invited children and adults to create together the 2018 Christmas Pageant.

 

Inquirer’s U(charist)! is a newly created, formation offering consisting of six-sessions of instructed Eucharist for inquirers of all ages. We worship. We discuss. We learn. We step into the context of the Episcopal worship tradition that binds us together across time and space. Each worship session focuses on one of the liturgical elements that make up our worship experience. Through presentation, interaction and “stop-and-go” contemplative inquiry, we are invited to apply new lenses to our prayer practices and sacramental celebrations. We learn about the parts of our service (called the "rota"), find our place within salvation history, and embrace new prayer practices to fully enter into communal prayer experiences. These instructional eucharists are designed to deepen the faith of our worshipping community. Topics during our inaugural year included:

  1. Circle of Holy Eucharist - an informative overview of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Table.

  2. Collect Writing - What is a collect? How do we write one? Why do we pray them? The session concluded with teams writing collects for Christmas and Advent.

  3. Liturgy of the Word - together we examined the Sunday and Daily Lectionary.

  4. The Nicene Creed - through historical inquiry, we discovered why we say what we say in this ancient profession of faith.

  5. Prayers of the People - this upcoming workshop will look at the Prayers of the People.

  6. The Eucharistic Prayer and Salvation History - this upcoming workshop will understand the parts and what is happening throughout the Eucharistic Prayer.


Vacation Bible Camp gathers at the beginning of August. Last year’s camp theme was “Becoming a Person of Peace.” Twenty-four volunteers hosted 21 campers. We worshipped, sang, studies, ate and made stuff! A delightful time was had by all. Next year’s camp is August 5 - 9. We will study the scripture hoping to gain Christian understanding and treatment of our neighbors, what God has to say about this and how we are supposed to take care and welcome them.

Community Night gathers on the third Thursday of the month for food and fellowship. This community building event starts with a light supper then moves into an educational program. So far, we have had three incredible presentations and I look forward to the remaining ones for this program year.

  • Self defense - Chris Dakich presented an informative session on taking care of one’s self on the city streets.

  • Advent Wreath Making - Our community gathered to prepare wreaths in order to celebrate the spirit of the season.

  • Episcopal Bingo - Kristin Jacobson created an engaging game to teach the people of St. Matthew’s about the ministry of the altar guild.

  • A Disney Monastic - Next month I have been asked to talk about my spiritual guide to Walt Disney World.

  • Lent Stations of the Cross - Our congregation is invited to create liturgical art and prayer for Lent and for a Good Friday service.

  • Mother's Day planting - The Green Team invites us to take care of the Earth and to honor our mothers.

Confirm not Conform is our partnership formation program with St. Mark’s. Young pilgrims gather monthly to discern whether or not they wished to be confirmed in the faith. It is a two-year journey of study, fellowship, service and prayer. Each participant journals, reads and converses with mentors to discover how experiences inform who we are as people of God. Moving through the program this year is Matthew Davies with mentor Joanne Wilson, Mary de Kay with mentor Catharine Hamrick, Jason McDermott with mentor Damon Doucet, and Xander Senechal with mentor Eric Westhaus.

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a theological study course at a distance administered by the School of Theology, the University of the South at Sewanee. Through study, prayer, worship and reflection, EfM seminar groups journey together through scripture, church history and theology. Years One & Two study the Hebrew Scriptures, the Gospels and the New Testament. Year Three looks at Church History. Year Four reads about systematic theology to develop and enhance their own. During a weekly seminar, the group does 5 things: 1) Check-in - how has the group encountered and responded to God since out last seminar, 2)Worship - participants lead worship, 3) Reflect theologically (TR) - after agreeing upon a shared focus, the group examines tradition and culture, paired with experiences and beliefs, 4) Study coursework - participants discuss insights and implications of assigned readings, 5) Hospitality - the group spends time in fellowship. Kevin mentors this four-year study program on Wednesday nights. The group includes parishioners from St. Matthew’s, Grace in the Loop, St. Martin’s Des Plaines, and St. James Cathedral.

Other formation opportunities not under the direction of the Formation Task Force include Charlie’s Wednesday Morning Bible Study and Don Scott’s Sunday Morning Bible Study.

Outreach

St. Matthew’s offers many unique outreach opportunities. Joanne Wilson works with outreach teams ensuring the success of our presence in the world beyond our campus on Lincoln and Hartrey. I was glad that I could contribute to the success of 2 of them - the Race Against Hate and The Pride Parade. 

The Race Against Hate honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Basketball Coach, Vice President of Affairs at Aon Corporation, and Skokie resident who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1999 while walking in his neighborhood with two of his young children. On Father's Day each June, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate brings together thousands of people from all over Chicagoland to run and walk in unity against racial hatred and violence. Last year, St. Matthew's became a proud sponsor. As part of our sponsorship, we hosted an early morning on-site Eucharist for runners and volunteers, staffed a St. Matthew’s hospitality booth which provided snacks and brochures for all gathered, and had our logo featured on over 5000 running shirts, posters and promotional materials for the race.

The Pride Parade takes to the streets of the Lake View neighborhood Chicago showing our Pride and support for our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. Members of the community, consisting of family, friends and allies, made visible the love of God for all people. As fear of the other and rhetoric discriminating against those whose lifestyle may not be respected by those in power, it is more important than ever that our voices of support and love are heard. We will march with the Diocese of Chicago within the coalition of welcoming churches.

Staffing

 

Staffing shifted last year with 2018 seeing the creation of a new staff position of “Parish Administrator.” I enjoyed working with the personnel committee, discerning together the congregation’s current needs regarding support staff. Julie Hinz was hired, bringing to the parish a high level of skill, care, and organizational skills, enhancing an often misunderstood staff position that is foundational, central and crucial to the success of the mission of St. Matthew's.

 

Using the Mutual Ministry Model implemented by our Diocese, I have adapted their evaluation practices to create ways to support and hold our staff accountable. The Vestry is considering having the month of September as a time for mutual ministry evaluations. I expect staff evaluations to be in sync with the vestry’s.

 

Damian Barta has announced his retirement from St. Matthew’s in May, The biggest staffing challenge for 2019 will be replacing Damian, the steward of the entire St. Matthew’s Campus. Although I am excited for Damian, I am saddened to see him ago. He brings deep faith and great love for the Church into his work everyday. This is a gift to all of us - a true blessing.

Communications

Last year, I particularly enjoyed assisting Mary Clark, creating congregational communications enhancing last year’s stewardship appeal. I have also found deep gratification updating and maintaining our website.

 

Final Thoughts

Beyond St. Matthew’s, I was recently elected Dean of the Evanston deanery and appointed by the Bishop at Diocesan Convention. A deanery is a geographically defined subset of the Diocese which exists to promote collegiality among the leadership of the parishes/missions/chaplaincies/institutions within it and to provide pastoral attention for its resident clergy. The Diocese currently has 10 deaneries. A dean is a lead clergy person within each deanery. Deans are appointed by the Bishop of Chicago and confirmed at Convention. Appointments are for two year terms, renewable up to two times.

Understanding a Dean’s ministry is locally adapted, Deans primarily provide four functions:

  1. A dean seeks to form pastoral relationships with clergy in his or her deanery.

  2. A dean serves, with the other deans, as a council of advice for the Bishop.

  3. A dean convenes the leadership of his or her deanery at least twice a year, seeking to both build relationships and to educate/inform about Diocesan priorities.

  4. A dean is responsible for providing updates for Diocesan Council meetings.

I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve my colleagues as we discern together what is needed locally from a Dean.

I give thanks that the congregation of St. Matthew’s has granted me the opportunity to be a trainer for EfM. As part of my contract, I have been granted the space and time to do 3-4 trainings a year. As a trainer, I travel across the country, leading intensive seminars consisting of 18 contact hours where I evaluate the skills and gifts of individuals who hope to be mentors leading EfM seminars on behalf of the University of the South. This year, I have been asked to train in British Columbia, Long Island and at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

I am also writing a new book on the spirituality of New Orleans. Several parishioners have expressed an interest in participating in an inaugural retreat, testing out and reflecting upon the book’s content, in my hometown. I am hopeful this will happen in early November or March of 2020. More on that as work on the book progresses. All will be invited to participate if interested.

I look forward to another year of our spiritual journey together and am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve here. 

In formation for the Diaconate

submitted by Terri Morrissey

After a long discernment process, both in the parish and the diocese, I was granted Postulancy for the Diaconate in December of 2016. I began my formation process in 2017. This process typically takes about three years and includes Biblical studies, theology, preaching, community organizing training, Asset Based Community Development training, and field education. My formation also includes seminars, retreats, and deacon/postulant gatherings.

 

In October of 2017, I left St. Matthew’s and began my diaconal field education at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Park Ridge in an effort to broaden my experience of the Episcopal Church.  I was welcomed by the community at St. Mary’s, learned about worship style and parish life in the context of that community, and worked with the Rector, the Rev. Patrick Skutch and the Rev. David Grauer, Deacon. One of my goals for my internship was to deepen my understanding of the diaconate and to live more fully into my Baptismal Promises. During this time, I worked closely with Deacon David to learn about the role of the deacon in the liturgy and in the life of the parish. With Deacon David’s encouragement and patient direction, I learned a great deal about diaconal ministry, gained confidence and understanding of the deacon’s role in the liturgy, and began to live more fully into my diaconal identity.

 

In addition to the clergy, there are several important ministries that are integral to the beauty and flow of the liturgy. These ministries include the Readers, the Intercessors, the Ministry of Music, the Altar Guild, the Acolyte Coordinators, the Acolytes, and the Ushers who bring forward the Bread and Wine. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to learn more about each of these ministries and to interact with the participants. I also made a conscious effort to be fully present at St. Mary’s, to learn about the community, its members and the staff. I attended weekly staff meetings to learn more about the inner workings of the parish and the role of each staff member.

 

With Fr. Patrick’s guidance and encouragement, I added preaching to my responsibilities at St. Mary’s. I began preaching at the Wednesday morning Eucharist as a way to build my confidence, and in time had the opportunity to preach at both services on Sundays. Prior to writing each sermon, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of studying and reflecting on the assigned readings. I also worked on the pacing and delivery of my sermons and reflections. In the future, as I continue to learn and live into my ministry, I hope to find and to refine my diaconal preaching voice.

 

I also spent time learning about St. Mary’s involvement with various outreach ministries. I was privileged to participate in the Sunday Night Suppers program hosted by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Park Ridge, Second Sunday Lunch, and the tutoring program at CCA Academy (a high school for at risk youth in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago). I especially valued the time spent with the students as we worked together to successfully complete a unit or course of study. I am appreciative of having had the opportunity to spend time in conversation with my fellow tutors as we carpooled back and forth to North Lawndale. I also attended the 40th Anniversary Celebration of CCA Academy and had an opportunity to learn more about the history of the school and those dedicated to its mission, and later, had the privilege of attending the CCA Graduation with a number of the tutors.   

 

Having previously completed the 5-Day IAF Training (community organizing), I was also interested in knowing more about St. Mary’s involvement with United Power. I attended an Action involving the candidates for Attorney General prior to the Illinois Primary Election, and later had an opportunity to learn about United Power’s commitment to mental health issues. St Mary’s is also involved in Refugee ministry in connection to Exodus. I also attended the St. Mary’s Women’s Retreat and participated in their service project. I hope to bring all that I have learned about outreach ministries at St. Mary’s back to St. Matthew’s and incorporate some of what I have learned into my ministry.

 

I have been deeply aware of the connection between art and prayer for a number of years. An icon is a work of theology written in line, imagery and color, and I have been interested in exploring iconography as incorporating art into my ministry. In May 2018, I had occasion to work with Fr. Patrick to present an evening program on art, icons, and the Resurrection. During the program, a part of our discussion explored how icons and art in general can help us pray and enter into the mystery of our salvation in Jesus Christ. In August 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week on retreat to work with a master iconographer, and to paint and pray with an icon. It was an intense, prayerful, and joyful experience. I hope to continue the exploration of art, icons and prayer in my ministry.

 

My field education at St. Mary’s concluded at the end of August 2018. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to work with Fr. Patrick, Deacon David, and the wonderful community at St. Mary’s, Park Ridge. I returned to St. Matthew’s in September 2018, where I am continuing to live into my diaconal identity. I have been participating in worship, preaching, attending staff meetings, coordinating Home Communion visits, and Stephen Ministry as well as devoting time to my studies. Learning takes place in a number of ways and I’m thankful to be continuing the process back at my beloved parish home, St. Matthew’s, Evanston.

Music

submitted by James Jannsen and Mark Crayton

Wherefore with my utmost art, I will sing thee; and the cream of all my heart, I will bring thee—George Herbert (1593-1633) (The Hymnal 1982, No. 382)

 

This summer, in June, Mark and I will celebrate 15 years of being your choir director and organist, respectively! We were just reflecting on this as we sat down to write this report. That is over half of our 29 years together as a family, which astounds us. There’s never a dull moment in our music life here at St. Matthew’s, and we expect the coming year to be the same. We are very excited to share with you our thoughts about the past year and our plans for 2019.   

 

2018 was a year full of the joy of music-making to the glory of God! Our fabulous choir of 27 regular singers, as always, rehearsed for at least 90 minutes each Thursday evening and led our worship in music at the 10:30 Eucharist on Sunday mornings throughout the program year. We offered new and well-used hymns and anthems of many genres and styles, in the hope of speaking to everyone in our community of faith. The tradition of great music in the Episcopal Church gives us many resources to choose from, which we endeavor to use as fully as possible. 

 

Here are some highlights of our music in 2018 and plans for 2019:

  • On Good Friday, the choir and soloists sang, for the third year in a row, Bob Chilcott's St. John Passionas its annual musical offering for the day. The beauty and poignancy of this work inspired many comments over the past couple of years from the congregation, which encouraged us to bring it back. Chilcott has set this most familiar of stories so expertly, we have found it to be one of the most important works that we can offer. We will bring it back in three years. This Good Friday, we will bring back Sir John Stainer’s Crucifixion, arguably the most important English Passion oratorio of the last half of the 19thCentury.

  • On Easter Day, as every year, the choir and soloists were joined by trumpets for a glorious day of celebration. This year the musicians of St. Matthew’s will offer George Frideric Handel’s well-known Chandos Anthem, written for the coronation of King George III, Zadok the Priest.

  • Throughout the year, as in the past few years, we celebrated different music traditions on our Special Music Sundays (Soweto Gospel, Hebrew Heritage, Rollo Dilworth Appreciation, and Hispanic Heritage Sundays). In 2019, our offerings will be music from Godspell, which is coming up on February 17, and A Little Jazz Mass, by Bob Chilcott on May 5. We have added 15 new pieces to St. Matthew’s choral library, so there will be opportunity to hear these wonderful additions throughout the year.

  • In March, Evanston Chamber Opera (EChO), in conjunction with Music at St. Matthew's, will present George Bizet’s Doctor Miracle and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret as a comic-opera double bill. One of our regular section leaders and one of our substitute section leaders are cast in the operas. Please plan to come and support EChO, our opera company-in-residence, in its second annual production.

  • Since starting the program year in September, we have very happily welcomed Tamara and Jerry Fusselman, Alain Kangabire, and Grace Canfield to our ranks. We still have room for a few more, so if you enjoy singing, can match pitch, and have a little music-reading ability, consider joining us! Our choir’s ministry is a busy—but very rewarding—one. If you want to learn to read music, we have resources and can help facilitate your learning. 

 

We remember Carl Hansen, from our bass section, who died a few months ago. Carl was a force in our merry band of singers, and his absence is truly felt. 

 

We have an amazing team of musicians here at St. Matthew's Church! The amount of time involved for everyone to bring our music to the parish on a weekly basis deserves much recognition. We also recognize our congregation for its part in helping us make a joyful noise each week! 

Parish Administrator

submitted by Julie Hinz

It is a pleasure to have officially joined the staff at St. Matthew's this past year. There is a great joy in this place as well as wonderful ministry and it is a blessing to be part of this.


The Parish office continues to function in its usual capacity, to see to the needs of the parish and its people while assisting Fr. Charlie and Rev. Kevin in the day to day ministry of St. Matthew’s. In this light, my role is and will continue to be the producer of Sunday bulletins (with the editing eye of Fr. Charlie as well as the insight and assistance of James Janssen), the answerer of questions, the face of St. Matthew’s to those who come to the office. In that respect, I work closely not only with the office staff but with our Vestry and ministry leaders to coordinate spaces, answer questions, fulfill needs, etc. 


2018 was a year of organization and process. Working with Rev. Kevin, we spent much time brainstorming and creating pathways for better communication when it came to bulletin/Eblast/web announcements and prayer requests as well as with the Altar Guild, Coffee Crew, and other ministries to clarify their needs and how the office can assist them.


In my mind, the office and those in it, are the weekday face of St. Matthew’s. When the space is chaotic, messy, unorganized, it speaks to the hospitality of the people who work there. To be honest, the condition of the office was in no way reflective of the people within, so with the blessing of Fr. Charlie and Rev. Kevin, Damian and I were able to see to some repair and paint work in the office, replacement of light fixtures and a general upgrade to our central working space. We have opened up the window space, acquired new shelving to make effective use of the space below the windows, procured a new (free) desk for the counters and financial staff and generally cleaned up and out what was old and lacked clear use. We have had extremely positive responses from those who have visited. 


There have been some technology changes this year. The main office computer system was changed from PC to Mac. We removed old computers and monitors from the office (to appropriate recycling facilities). The old central office computer was old, slow, and out of date and the monitor too small for the large work required regularly. Time was spent sorting through hundreds of old computer files to assess their current value at which point they were either eliminated, archived, or transferred to the new system.


I have taken over the management of Ministry Scheduler Pro, our worship volunteer scheduling program, from Rev. Kevin. While no program is perfect, this one continues to serve our needs fairly effectively. I appreciate working with all our volunteers as we find the best way to tackle the nuances of this program as we seek to serve.


Rev. Kevin discovered a wonderful new calendar program called CalendarWiz which is now used for all our facility use needs. Over the summer we slowly rebuilt the calendar so what exists now is clean, clear, and accessible to those who see it on the website but also those in the office who need access. One of the great pros of this program, for me, is the ability to dictate specific room selections and pull reports based on a specific room to assess availability. It also gives us the ability to post confidential items for those on the administrative side so we can see what might be going on with others, for example Rev. Kevin can hold a space for a potential funeral or event and it will not be displayed on the public calendar but only to those of us who have administrative access.


I continue to build solid relationships with our facility users. These groups 

  • 3 Alcoholics Anonymous groups

  • Boy Scout Troup 912

  • Cub Scout Troup 912

  • EChO (Evanston Chamber Opera)

  • ESIC (Improv Group)

  • FairyTale Ballet

  • Girl Scouts

  • Judith Hadon (Voice Lessons)

  • Lincoln Street Ballet (Hallie Rehwaldt)

  • Mental Health Association (Josefina Alvarex)

  • Overeaters Anonymous

  • Wiggleworms (Old Town School of Music)

 

These diverse groups use our facilities regularly so great attention is paid to their scheduling needs, the condition of our space for their use and ours, billing/rental payments as creating safe spaces for children and adults to work, learn, and play.

Other projects this year:

  • Recreation of all service bulletin templates including Sundays, Special Services, Funerals, and wedding templates

  • Print Community Night postcards and labels

  • Coordinating the needs of Beach Church including securing Backlot Coffee for summer coffee hour

  • Assisting Rev. Kevin and the Stewardship team in creating and sending out this year’s stewardship materials and tracking pledges as they arrived

  • Assisting the Gala committee in tracking donations, creating silent auction packages, creating signups and buy-in party materials

  • Processing Reimbursements

  • Processing checks and paid invoices

  • General filing re-organization and updating

  • Archiving old materials (billing, worship materials, etc,)

  • Cleaning and reorganization of paper storage/office kitchen

  • Reorganization of inter-office mail

 

2019 will see a continuation of many of the same things. My goal is to finish the office beautification and re-organization this year with the cleaning out and assessment of the two office closets and window treatments. I also anticipate the reworking and updating of key forms and information pieces so things like funeral planning, wedding planning, the Employee Handbook, and the like, are in electronic form and reflect our current processes and information.

I cannot express what a supportive, grace-filled, and wonderful place St. Matthew’s is to work. What many do not know is that our staff meetings are more than a run-down of what needs to be done. These sacred times are filled with prayers for you, the parishioners, for each other as we share our personal struggles and triumphs as well as moments of great laughter and joy. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this place, with all of you. Please, feel free to stop in the office sometime! I love getting to know the people I serve.

Facilities Manager

submitted by Damian Barta

2018 proved to be another year of restoration of the parish building at Saint Matthews so that it can be more effectively used to carry out the church’s mission and ministries. The most visible and positive sign of this was the work done at the Hartrey entry by the Church. 

 

The work took a lot of planning time by Don Cherco and myself with consultation by many including Chris Motogawa, Susan Rundle and others, but the end result was worth it. The landings had been in particularly bad shape. In this project, five inches of concrete were poured over the landings and stairs. New railings were then installed and the old evergreen bushes were replaced with pachysandrias.

 

The Hartrey entryway is now safer and more welcoming to all who come to Saint Matthews. Much thanks to DonnaLee Floeter, the architect; Buss Custom Concrete, the concrete contractor; LeRoy’s Welding,  the railing contractor and to E&J Landscaping, who put in the pachysandrias. Don Cherco was central to the project.

 

The repair work on the second floor rooms of the Parish Building also continued. The badly damaged room at the south east corner on the second floor was fully restored.

 

There were also 32 sets of blinds installed in second floor rooms and the Music Room fixing up was completed. 

 

The room that is used by Mental Health America Northshore was re-painted to warmer colors. New curtain rods were installed over the windows in the Ballet Room to hang the new curtains there.

 

An Episcopal Church flag was donated by a parishioner and added to the flagpole by the Chapel. And new signs, donated by parishioners, directed people to St Matthews.

 

The first floor hallway of the Parish Building was brightened by new LED light fixtures and hallway signs were installed by the bathrooms.

 

With the expert advice of the talented Julie, Parish Administrator, the office at St Matthews was painted, received new light fixtures, and was reorganized, greatly improving the “public face” that provides the first impression for visitors.

 

In November, blessed by late good weather, Masonry Brothers  returned to tuck point the tall chimney that looms over the Church sacristy. In addition they poured a new cap, added an extension to the chimney liner and placed a cover over the liner to prevent water infiltrating. They also replaced damaged facebrick and tuck pointed the southeast corner of the Parish Building.

 

Other maintenance ministry work of note in 2018:

  • installation of four AC window units

  • additional waterproofing by Great Lakes Waterproofing, that was done under contract

  • Replacement of actuator valves so that heat is now provided for choir members in the Church

  • Re-routing of electrical lines so that power was restored to the Christmas lighting outside of the Chapel 

  • Repair of the Chapel piscina and investigation of the crawlspace under the Chapel

 

The end of this year is bittersweet, as my plans to make a family move to Spring Green Wisconsin in May draw near. I will miss the personal and spiritual relationships that have developed for me at St Matthews since August of 2016.

 

In the coming months I plan on completing some more work and providing a good transition for whoever will be taking over my responsibilities.

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