Telling Our Stories
May 22, 2013
May 22, 2013
Bishop Lee with Richard Mylander, Angela Smith, Brooks Davis, Patricia Abrams, Polly Tangora, Newland Smith and Lawson Whitesides
On May 16, the Bishop’s Associates held its annual luncheon at the Union League Club. At the event, held in Bishop Lee and Bishop Epting’s honor, the group presented its Bishop’s Associate’s Award to six lay leaders who have “made an outstanding achievement in service to the church, to the broader northern Illinois community, or to the world.”
Patricia Abrams has been a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Chicago since 1977 and has served as the parish’s senior and junior warden, a deputy to General Convention and a member of the diocese’s strategic planning committee, bishop search committee and task force on the legacy of slavery. She is the Midwest regional director of the Union of Black Episcopalians.
After a corporate career, Abrams became the founding executive director of The Renaissance Collaborative, Inc., a ministry founded by St. Thomas and three other churches in 1992, that promotes self-sufficiency through supportive housing, employment, and educational services.
In his recommendation letter, the Very Rev. Fulton A. Porter praised Abrams’s ministry by saying, “Christ is incarnate in the life of Patricia Abrams because she chooses to allow the risen Jesus to live through her. Every day of her life she strives to be God’s sheep. She strives every day to be Christ’s hands of hope in a world full of pain. Her presence in this church, this community and this world makes it a brighter and more compassionate place.”
Dick Mylander, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn for more than 45 years, has served the parish “in nearly every imaginable capacity,” according to the Rev. George Smith and the Rev. Donald Sutherland, who nominated him for the award. Mylander, a retired agricultural engineer, is best known for being an expert carpenter. He was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer construction crew leader for 17 years and most recently has given his time and talent to make the home of fellow parishioner Perry Knutson, newly paralyzed by a fall, wheelchair accessible.
“To me, Dick’s talents are priceless gifts,” writes Sue Crosson-Knutson, Knutson’s wife. “Upon arriving home from work and then visiting my husband at RIC (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), I would discover Dick’s handiwork. It was like Christmas. Santa Claus a.k.a. Dick had been at my house and had left me a wider door or a new ramp…Upon the therapists’ suggestion, Dick developed a blue print for raising a section of the deck so Perry will be able to enjoy his home both inside and out.”
His nominators at St. Mark’s are especially glad to see Mylander recognized with the Bishop’s Associates Award because he is so modest about his contributions. “He is a true unsung hero,” wrote Kim Hesterman Reed. “When we are looking for Christ in our brothers and sisters, we see Him in Dick, someone who models Christ’s love and selflessly gives of his time.”
Angela Smith’s commitment to peace and justice ministry in the Diocese of Chicago includes serving on the diocese’s Peace and Justice Committee and as peace and justice convener for the Episcopal Church Women, participating in CROSSwalk, and serving on a Thrive team, but she is perhaps best known for her vital ministry with women and children in Latin America.
Beginning in Costa Rica in 2005 through a relationship with Cristo Resucitado in Heredia, Smith’s work in Central America now includes supporting a women’s cooperative based at San Andrés Apóstol in the barrio of Amatepec, San Salvador. The program, founded while she was in San Salvador as an international election observer in 2012, is “on its way to becoming a real solution to the challenges of poverty for families and communities,” she says. LaSalle County Episcopal Ministry (LCEM), on whose board she serves, supports the project. “Her ministry is helping the people of St. Paul’s Church, LaSalle and the other member congregations of the LCEM to form a revitalized sense of mission and impact, locally and internationally,” wrote her husband, the Rev. Bobby Smith, in her nomination, “Her ministry is changing lives.”
“She delivers much more than a message,” wrote Joanne Kammerer, a fellow LCEM board members from Christ Church in Ottawa. “She creates a memory, an indelible impression you can’t possibly forget. Not just of the conditions in El Salvador but a passion for God and all His people.”
In 1999, Professor Newland Smith, librarian and associate dean of academic affairs at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, met the Rev. Joseph Garang Atem, now bishop of the Diocese of Renk in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Garang was studying at Seabury in preparation for becoming principal of Renk Theological College (RTC) in Sudan. Smith promised Garang that he would organize a library for RTC.
In 2008, after the college had been rebuilt through the support of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Barrington, Smith traveled to Sudan to organize and classify books, work with Garang and travel with him to visit the libraries of several other theological training schools. Smith continues his support for RTC and hopes that the country will soon be stable enough for him to return.
Smith’s ministry in the Diocese of Chicago, where he is a faithful member of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Glenview, also includes service on the diocese’s archives committee and anti-racism commission. In the wider church, he is a nine-time deputy to General Convention and has served on the board of the Archives of the Episcopal Church, as a member of the Standing Commission on Social Justice and Public Policy and on a task force on the doctrine of discovery.
In a letter of support for Smith’s award nomination, Professor Timothy Sedgwick of Virginia Theological Seminary wrote, “But what makes Newland exceptional and a model, an exemplar, to all is his faithful work and witness to matters of justice, serving and organizing others through the committees and structure of the church at the parish level, diocesan level, and through the work of General Convention. His focus on addressing poverty, racial understanding and change, justice in the Middle East, and the cries for justice and solidarity to the people of Sudan have been commitments of his life.”
Polly Tangora arrived at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Chicago on the fourth Sunday of Advent in 1992, “singularly one of the most important days in our congregation’s history,” according to the Rev. Bonnie A. Perry, the parish’s rector. “At that time we had six children in attendance. These days our church school draws from 135 children and we see weekly more than 80. Much of this has happened because Polly had a vision and a heart for teaching our young people about Jesus.”
Tangora, who is a lifelong Episcopalian with a master’s degree in math education, is an experienced vestry member and warden, a two-term member of the Diocese of Chicago’s Bishop and Trustees and a member of the diocese’s congregations and budget committees. Praise for her ministry is abundant, but perhaps the most compelling testimony comes from the students she has taught in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. “Ms. Polly to me has been a Good Shepherd herself,” wrote Alex Gee, who is now a sophomore at Walter Payne High School. “Throughout the years I have been a kid under her guidance she has not only taught the history and importance of Jesus’ love but she has taught the understanding of it…the reason she is so good at teaching, the reason I have learned so much, is because if you watch Ms. Polly, you can see how much she truly believes.”
Lawson Whitesides, a long-time member of Church Church in Winnetka and a successful financial planner, has contributed his considerable leadership and expertise to many worthwhile ministries across the Diocese of Chicago. In particular, he served two terms as trustee of Episcopal Charities and Community Services (ECCS), including three years as president.
After overcoming initial reluctance, Whitesides became a strong proponent of the organization’s New Ventures program, which employed $3 million of ECCS assets to addressing emerging social issues. He served on a task force charged with creating partnership guidelines for Episcopal Charities and the organizations it funds, and has advocate for the organization’s capacity building program, which helps grantees develop strong governance, fundraising and communications.
“Lawson Whitesides has left an indelible mark on the lives of his peers at Episcopal Charities,” wrote ECCS Executive Director Georgianna Gleason in nominating him for the award. “His service as been a testimony of what one person of great faith can accomplish who shares the belief…that every life can be transformed by the power and love of God.”
The Bishop’s Associates assist the bishop of Chicago by sponsoring activities, providing financial support and nurturing new programs. In 2013, the Bishop’s Associates have raised funds to support CROSSwalk, the movement of Episcopalians and partners who are working against the escalating violence against young people in Chicago. Learn more.
April 26, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
contact: Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, 312-450-4959, firstname.lastname@example.org
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF CHICAGO TO SHARE $10 MILLION GIFT
Mutual fund founder Ab Nicholas endows Nicholas Center in Chicago to
foster healthy church leaders and vital congregations
Chicago, April 26, 2013—The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago announced yesterday that it will share a $10 million gift from Ab Nicholas and his wife, Nancy. Mr. Nicholas is the founder of Nicholas Company Inc., a Milwaukee-based investment advisory firm that manages the Nicholas mutual funds. The gift is the largest in the diocese’s 187-year history.
The gift will be shared with Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative and will create The Nicholas Center, a facility at the St. James Commons in downtown Chicago. The center, expected to open in 2014, will be home to overnight retreats and programs that foster the health and wellness of Episcopal leaders and the vitality of church congregations.
The Nicholas Center will also serve as the headquarters of Living Compass, now located in suburban Milwaukee. Living Compass, led by the Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner and Holly Hughes Stoner, longtime associates of Mr. Nicholas, provides resources, coaching and training to help church leaders, families and teens gain balance and wholeness in their lives.
“Nancy and I are excited to join with and support the exciting energy that is already present in both the Diocese of Chicago and the Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative,” said Mr. Nicholas, a lifelong Episcopalian. “In my life in the business world I have seen that effective leadership makes all the difference. I believe it is the same in the church. We are delighted that the Nicholas Center will be a place and a program that will resource the leaders of the church.”
The announcement was made by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of Chicago, at the dedication of St. James Commons, the renovated complex at 65 E. Huron St. that is home to the diocesan offices, St. James Cathedral, Episcopal Charities and Community Services and Episcopal Service Corps.
“What we focus on grows,” said Lee. “We need to focus on the health and wellness of our church leaders and the vitality of our congregations so we can do God’s work of feeding the hungry, advocating for the oppressed, and testifying to the power of the risen Christ in our lives and our world. This generous gift from Ab and Nancy Nicholas and our exciting partnership with the Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative makes possible outward and visible signs of the interior heart and soul renovation work that is our job as Christians.”
St. James Commons also includes the Pepper Family Plaza, made possible by a $3.2 million gift from Richard and Roxelyn Pepper. Mr. Pepper is chairman of Chicago-based Pepper Construction Group LLC. The gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas and Mr. and Mrs. Pepper are the two largest gifts in the history of the diocese, which was founded in 1835.
The dedication event was chaired by Kitty Beecken, who, together with her husband, David, established the D. Kyle Beecken Memorial Gallery at St. James Commons in memory of their son. David Beecken is a founding partner of Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company, a private equity management firm working in the healthcare industry.
In 2011, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago launched The Campaign for St. James Commons to undertake $12 million in significant and essential renovations to the diocesan center at 65 E. Huron St. in Chicago. The campaign has raised $8 million of its goal and the construction is nearing its end. Of the new $10 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas, $1 million has been allocated to the current campaign goal. The remaining $9 million will make possible renovations at St. James Commons and ministry with Living Compass that were beyond the scope of the original plan for the St. James Commons renovation.
The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago comprises 40,000 people in 124 congregations in Northern Illinois. The Episcopal Bishop of Chicago is the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee. To learn more, visit www.episcopalchicago.org.
Living Compass Faith and Wellness Initiative was founded in 2008 by the Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, an Episcopal priest, pastoral psychotherapist and spiritual director,and Holly Hughes Stoner, a licensed marriage and family therapist and former teacher. Today Living Compass works across the church providing resources, coaching and training to foster the balance and wholeness of church leaders, families, and teens. To learn more, visit www.livingcompass.org.
April 25, 2013
Since 2008, the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, based in Peoria, has been forging a new identity and mission after its bishop and about 60% of its members broke away to become founders of the conservative Anglican Church of North America.
That new identity may include reunion with the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. The two dioceses were formed in 1877, when the Diocese of Illinois, founded in 1835, split to accommodate growth.
On June 8, the 175th Convention of the Diocese of Chicago, which first met in November 2012, will reconvene at St. James Cathedral to consider the proposed reunification with the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. This meeting is in accordance with Resolution A-175, which was unanimously passed in November. It affirms the Diocese of Chicago's intent to pursue reunification with Quincy and directing the bishop, with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee, to seek approval of the Quincy Reunion Agreement.
In his address to the November 2012 convention, Bishop Lee said, "I have seen first hand how God's people in Quincy long to be active participants in the future God has for us as a church. Episcopalians have a role to play and a story to tell. I do not have all the answers to what that future might look like in all its details, but I do know I will not walk away from Episcopalians in the Diocese of Quincy who want to join with us in witnessing to the power of the Risen Christ who overcomes all divisions."
March 27, 2013
A Sermon Preached by Kristin White
These are the rules if you are a student at Harper High School, in Englewood on Chicago's south side:
I listened to the rebroadcast of the Harper High series from This American Life radio program last Thursday in the same way I experience this Palm and Passion Sunday liturgy: Wincing. Cringing. Wanting to hold a hand up to block the view, because it's too much. And it is. It is entirely too much.
I want it to be different. I want Judas to change his mind and stay at the table...or even to stop at the edge of the garden and give back those thirty pieces of silver instead of going through with his betrayal. I want Peter to say: "Yes." "Yes, I know the man." "Yes. His name is Jesus Christ, and he is my teacher and my leader and my friend." I want Pilate to keep the murderer in custody and let Jesus go free. I want Jesus not to have to carry that heaviness out to the hill, not to fall down under its weight. I want him not to be nailed to that cross and left to hang, alone and abandoned.
And I want the kids at Harper High and everyplace else in Chicago and beyond Chicago to have different rules to live by – rules that assume they will be safe. I want them to be able to trust that they can walk: without having to walk in groups but not in groups, without having to leave the sidewalk, without worrying about the block-by-block geography of their path. I want their Homecoming Dance to be the awkward and embarrassing and sweet rite of passage that it was for me, and probably many of you, instead of being seen by administrators and police as a liability for retaliation over a shooting two days before. When a teacher asks a student about his summer break, I want him to say that it was "fun," or even "boring," instead of having to reply as one Harper student, who said: "Safe. My summer was safe." I want the principal to be able to kick off the school year with an assembly that doesn't necessitate a moment of silence and prayer for those teenage boys and girls to remember their classmates shot and killed the year before: Marcus Nunn. Cedric Bell. Shakaki Asphy.
My friend the Rev. Elizabeth Molitors says that we are Easter people, but we live in a Holy Week world. And the stark reality of that truth is made manifest in a high school that is a short 29.5 miles away from where we are, right now.
And so we walk this Holy Week journey, these seven days to the cross and to beyond the cross. We carry our prayers, and our hopes. We carry our dead.
The CROSSwalk that continued for a second year last Friday continues beyond just that day. It continues in the work we will do to end the siege of Good Fridays that too many families, too many neighborhoods, too many high schools, too many cities know.
God gives us good work to do, blesses us with the resources and the capacity and the will to do it. May we walk these seven days, continue this journey together. May we walk this way of the cross and beyond the cross – all the while proclaiming God's promise of resurrection.
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