2014 Bishop's Associates Awards

May 21, 2014

On May 8, the Bishop’s Associates held its annual luncheon at St. James Commons. At the event, held in Bishop Lee's honor, the group presented its Bishop's Associates Award to three lay leaders who have "made an outstanding achievement in service to the church, to the broader northern Illinois community, or to the world."

Joan Sholten
According to the Rev. Sam Portaro, the best word to describe Joan Sholten is “commitment.” Sholten, a lifelong Episcopalian and 65-year member of St. James the Less Episcopal Church in Northfield, has served for decades in nearly every ministry of her parish, including as a Sunday School teacher, lay reader, outreach committee member and convention delegate.

The list, as the Rev. Ron Valentine points out, “doesn’t do Joan’s impact justice, as she has—in thought, word, and deed—been a living example of the ‘hands and feet of Christ.’” Her ministry has extended far beyond St. James through her leadership at Brent House and in the Episcopal Church Women, the Woman’s Board of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and the National Cathedral Association.

Even during a recent illness, Sholten has continued to ask who she can pray for or call on the phone. In recognizing Sholten’s extraordinary commitment, writes Portaro, “we recognize and thank this remarkable woman for her generous service to this diocese and communion, and lift up the value and virtue of commitment to the perpetuation of Christ’s work in and through the members of His Risen Body, the church.”

Gregory Thompson
Gregory Thompson, a twenty-eight year member of Christ Episcopal Church in Waukegan, believes that when the church gets its house in order, it does a better job out in the world. To that end, since 2008, he has helped Christ Church execute its strategic plan, conduct an energy audit, develop an energy savings plan, restructure the bookkeeping system and develop a website.

Thompson’s goal, writes Christ Church’s rector the Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts, is to “help our church better leverage its resources to partner with others in doing God’s work in our urban environment.” He draws not only on his thirty-seven years as a chemical engineer at Universal Oil Products, but also on his experience of nearly thirty years as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, including a stint as a “partner family guide.” Walking through the process of buying, financing and maintaining a house with a Habitat family changed his life, writes Shanley-Roberts, and led to a lifelong friendship with the homebuyer. Thompson’s commitment has extended to serving as president of Habitat for Humanity of Lake County and co-founder of Chicago Land Habitat for Humanity.

All of Thompson’s good work, Shanley-Roberts writes, is grounded in the parish’s mission: To Seek, To Serve, To Share Christ. “To Seek means to Greg to understand how Christ lived his life and to model one’s self after him by studying scripture and also educating one’s self outside of the Bible. To Serve means to reach out to everyone, helping those in need. To Share means listening to others and respecting their views without necessarily agreeing with them but always opening to their experience of life.”

David Waud
“When David does something,” writes Mimi Murley, he does it with his whole heart, mind and body. Waud, a lifelong member of Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, is known for his steadfast commitment to outreach and volunteering, his innovative Christian education programs, and his wiliness to play Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and even Moses in the service of the church and the many charitable organizations he supports.

Waud’s commitment to St. Leonard’s House and the Midwest Palliative CareCenter particularly stand out. He has served on the board of St. Leonard’s, a Chicago agency that helps people reenter the community after prison, for more than twenty years. As a volunteer at Midwest CareCenter, he visits terminally ill patients in their homes and provides companionship and respite to their caregivers. “David has been able to make an incredible different in the lives of the patients and families he serves,” writes Martha Twaddle, Midwest’s chief medical officer. “He is committed and takes his work very seriously, always providing a high level of compassion for his patients and approaching these meetings with positive energy and compassion.”

Waud’s good works stem from his faith, writes the Rev. Jay Sidebotham, Holy Spirit’s former rector. “David is generous of spirit, generous with time, talent and treasure. He is clearly someone who cares deeply about the brokenness in our world and seeks to do what he can to bring healing.”