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A Publication of The Union Church of Hinsdale United Church of Christ

December 3, 2006

Volume 38, Issue 24

Invitation to Faith: The core commitment of the Union Church is to invite people into a growing life of Christian faith, discipleship, and service in the context of Christian community.

Message from the Ministry Team

When my parents were about the age that I am now, they purchased 80 acres of land between Lincoln and Omaha on what came to be known as “The Farm”. They never lived there as my father was a structural engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers out of Omaha, but it was our family respite and retreat. On the farm my sons learned to sled, the dog learned to swim, (it doesn’t always come naturally), and more hot dogs and s’mores were roasted in the fire pit than I can recall. In the early years of graduate school at the University of Nebraska, I would often drive out to the farm to sit and think, or to walk and pray. Wherever I have lived since, from New Haven, Ct. to Greeley, Colorado, I have been near water and woods, taking long strolls during divinity school across the street in East Rock Park, and days off hiking during the early days of ministry in the mountains. When people ask me if I miss Colorado,

it is hard to know what to say. I have friends and family there to be sure, but those dear relationships continue across the miles just as your extended family relationships stretch both near and far. Without question we love Union Church and all of our members and friends here, and the hackles raise when anyone questions that Chicago is the best city in the country. That said, I do miss trees and a place to stretch out that does not require a drive by car to the wonderful Lake Shore, Morton Arboretum or nature preserves a short distance away.

As you might imagine, we thought and prayed about this move a good deal. After we made our pledge, giving our first and best to God, we began asking how this new home might serve the church as well as our family. We ask this because even though our first gift goes the church, we believe that all that we have comes from God and is given to us for service. That belief shapes the decisions we make as a family.

We decided that before we buy this house, we will give each other a Spirit Gift for Christmas, donating through this mission initiative It will therefore surprise few of you to build a house for Habitat for who have come to know me well Humanity. We would like to host that we have purchased a new house the bi-annual art auction for Habitat with a little leg room, a stream and for Humanity at our new home and a pond. No, we aren’t moving to share the story about how easy it Wisconsin. The Copeland family is to build a simple, decent home will move in March across town for all God’s people. Finally, we to Burr Ridge, will continue to extend to a tucked away "We believe that hospitality to all of you house on Ralph all that we have throughout the year. Keller pond, with comes from God and Our family is grateful to a creek running is given to us for begin our fifth year with through and service." you in ministry, and geese in the back extend the hospitality yard. For those of you who seldom venture south, to others that you have extended to it is closer to the Hinsdale Central us. “Welcome home.” where Kim will go to high school Verlee A. Copeland than where we live now, about a Senior Minister mile south of the school, and about a mile west of KLM park.

THE GOOD NEWS is a publication of The Union Church of Hinsdale (United Church of Christ)

Senior Minister: Rev. Verlee A. Copeland Minister for Christian Formation and Mission: Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer Minister for Membership and Discipleship: Rev. Dr. Julie Ruth Harley Director of Youth Ministries: David Knecht Director of Music Ministries: Michael Surratt Director of Choirs: Gary Wilhelm Director of Early Childhood Programs: Jennifer Keldahl Director of Children’s Christian Education: Penny Johnson Executive Manager: Merrilee Hall Financial Manager: Chris Biank Project Manager: Joel Gratcyk Systems Manager: Mary Bock


Invitation to Faith: Transformative Worship WORDS OF GRATITUDE Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s the extravagant generosity of the congregation in sharing first fruit gifts. Either way, there are words of gratitude in order to a number of people for their offerings to God through the church in recent weeks. For the new First Fruits banner, designed by Camille Miller, construction crew Daisy Pletcher, Kikki Engelking, Grace Deal, and Claudia Moffatt….Thank you. For the Spirit Gifts greeting cards, designed by Dawn Feller…Thank you. For generosity and assistance with printing and production, Jim Jung…Thank you. For exceptional service to the Union Church by Helen Mehler who played the organ during Mike Surratt’s sabbatical….Thank you. For strong leadership to the Union Church by Roberta Wentling as acting director of music, during Mike Surratt’s sabbatical…Thank you. For twenty-five years of ministry by Thom Parrott-Sheffer and his leadership through the Union Church…..Thank you.

A PRAYER OF GRATITUDE AND DEDICATION Heavenly Father, we are grateful beyond measure for the many, many blessings you have bestowed upon us. Lord, you have told us that our chief responsibility is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Please accept these gifts and our pledges to you as our First Fruits – to be used to grow your kingdom through your church, The Union church of Hinsdale. Showing our love for you, we give, first, our best to you, O God. In Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

Journey Contemporary Worship Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. Sunday Worship 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.

SMALL AT THE MALL THOUGHT What a wonderful Celebration it was on Sunday – the music, the sermon and the delicious tarts.

Prayer and Healing Service 3rd Sundays at 7:00 p.m.


When Verlee held up a twenty dollar bill and said that, “it looks large in the offering plate but small in the mall,” I thought, “how true that is!” In fact, I

Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

THE UNION CHURCH OF HINSDALE 137 South Garfield Avenue Hinsdale, IL 60521-4298 630.323.4303 (Telephone) 630.323.4407 (Fax)

have been thinking about that a great deal. I have decided that each Sunday, I am going to put a twenty dollar bill in the collection plate, regardless of our pledge. What a difference it would make if each of us did this week after week. Will you join me? Joan Hurst •2•

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Children

PAGEANT PRACTICE BEGINS DEC. 3 Our Christmas Pageant practices for Tinsel Day begin Sunday, December 3 at 11:15. We will be practicing in the Dining Room during the Adult Forums the weeks of Dec. 3, 10, and 17. A dress rehearsal is scheduled for Saturday, December 23 at 11:30. All children, ages 3 through 5th grades, are welcome to participate in the pageant. It is not to late to register. Please pick up a form in the Church office or download from the internet, www. Registrations need to be completed for all participating so the children’s names can be in the Church bulletin. We do need help during the pageant practices, so please let us know if you can assist. For more information about Christmas pageant, please contact Penny Johnson or Joel Gratcyk in the office.

IMAGINE ART STUDIO Located at the Union Church of Hinsdale 137 S. Garfield, Hinsdale, IL 60521

Holiday Art Workshops for Kids Saturday, December 9 20% of proceeds will benefit The Union Church of Hinsdale’s Christian Education Program Call 773-203-6659 or 630-323-4303 ex. 13 to enroll. Clothespin People Nativity Scene Ages 6-10 Time: 12:30 – 2 Cost: $35 Create your very own mini-nativity diorama, complete with Holy Family clothespin dolls! Have fun using your imagination to make a beautiful Christmas artwork that you and your family will treasure for years to come.

MITTEN TREE During the season of Advent, the Sunday School classes will be collecting mittens and hats for the children of our mission partners. Please bring a new pair of mittens, scarves and hats to decorate the children's Mitten Tree beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, December 3.

Christmas Angel Sparkling Paintings Ages 6-10 Time: 2:30 – 4 Cost: $35 Enjoy making a large sparkling Christmas Angel painting. Use mixed-media materials including tempera paint, glitter, decorative papers, sequins, and lovely buttons. Design this magical angel to hang anywhere in your home that needs a festive touch. •3•

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Youth

320 Reason to be Thankful this Thanksgiving!

It’s with humbleness and humility that I can count over 320 reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. 320 is the number of middle and high school students that call Union Church “home”. The blessing has been huge and it has filled my life in ways hard to describe – or even imagine. My thanks go to all our students who pour themselves into who we are, and what we do as a church. My thanks go to their families that entrust their daughters, sons, brothers and sisters to the care of this ministry. My thanks go to our congregation which embraces our youth with love, walks with them in faith and imparts on them great wisdom. I am thankful for a Christ that gave so much that even when we feel most poor, most neglected, most weary, most sorrowful…we have through Christ, riches beyond belief. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Youth Happenings!

Did Someone Say WORK TOUR 2007? This is just a WARNING.

Spring Work Tour is deep in the planning. It’s GUARANTEED to be one of the MOST AMAZING mission experiences you’ll ever have. You won’t want to miss it! Our Location is still TOP SECRET, but save these dates:

WT Polar Leadership Retreat - Feb 16-18, 2007 Spring Tour - March 23- April 1, 2007 S p r i ng T o ur A nno unc e me nt & S i g n- U p S und a y D e c . 10 t h ( a t D I S C O V E R Y ) G a t he r a t 5 : 15 t o g o C a r o l i ng a t G O O D S A M Ho s p i t al

Sunday Dec. 3rd

– TNT (Middle School) 5-7PM – Christmas MOVIE Nite

Sunday Dec. 10th

– JAM Sunday 11:15AM “The Christmas Apple” – TNT (Middle School) 4-5:30 Special Holiday Event!

Revised Times!!

Bring your friends! and join us for a movie and Pizza! (Sorry NO DISCOVERY Tonight) A S pecial J AM for t he Whole Family!

– Discovery 5:15 – 8:30PM Christmas Caroling to kids at Good Sam Hospital then SPRING WORK TOUR Announcement & Sign-Up Nite. Come for the WHOLE Time!

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Adults NEW SMALL GROUPS HELP BUILD COMMUNITY Can men get together and talk about something besides sports? The answer is yes, and the Men’s Ministry Small Group at Union Church is living proof. Terry Kilens started this group of seven men one year ago and says, “It’s nice being able to talk to other men about what’s really going on---not just sports.” Every other week at 6:30 a.m. these men gather at the church for up to two hours to discuss personal issues, issues, raising kids, and spiritual growth needs and questions. “It’s given JOIN US FOR A THREE-PART SERIES family CELEBRATING THE MUSIC AND MAGIC me a new group of friends and built a strong relationship with other men, which OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON AT 11:15 is difficult in this day and age,” says Terry, husband of Kearney and father of Matt and Andy. “It forces me to check in with myself and what I’m feeling evA.M. EACH SUNDAY. ery two weeks. Otherwise you just suppress all your feelings.” Dec. 3 – “’Tis the Gift to Be Simple: The Men’s Ministry group doesn’t have to set an agenda or plan for future meetCelebrating Advent” in Rowell Hall ings, which Terry does do in his work on our Christian Formation ministry and led by Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer. Open and Affirming Task Force. They just get together and share confidentially We will focus on the religious and what’s happening in their lives. “This creates a different relationship outside the spiritual meaning of this season and group. When we see each other at church on Sunday, there’s a different feeling ways to keep the celebration simple you have. They will check in with me and see how I’m doing. You don’t feel and stress-free. alone.” Dec. 10 – “Dancing Christmas Carols” in Rowell Hall led by professional dancer Jamie Horban and Rev. Dr. Julie Ruth Harley. Did you know St. Francis popularized leading people in circle dancing around the crèche at Christmas? Did you know that many popular carols were written for folk dancing and circle dancing? We will learn some simple dances to enhance your appreciation of our Christmas hymns. Helen Mehler will be our pianist.

Heather Stoffer bubbles with enthusiasm about her new Married Couples Small Group. Formed this fall after the two married couples groups grew to four, Heather and her husband Doug lead their group with Craig and Marilyn Schaefer.

Dec. 17 – “Christmas Carol Singalong” in the Chapel, led by the Occasional Singers and Rev. Dr. Julie Ruth Harley. Join us as we sing and listen to some of our favorite carols and hear the stories behind their original composition. Connie Riemer will provide music, and the Occasional Singers will perform “Mary Did You Know?,” “Star Carol,” and “Away in a Manger.”

In addition, they have developed new friendships at church. “The faith-based friendships formed are priceless. They are beautiful gifts. Relationships with other couples go to a different place when you come from this. The confidentiality we share makes them sacred, so much deeper. The feelings and attachments, the connections are much deeper.”

Heather describes some of the benefits of this monthly group. “For four or five years, Doug and I sat next to each other at church, but never had discussions afterward. You get busy doing other things. Now with the Couples Group, Doug and I have discussions about God, Jesus and the Bible. I’m learning things I didn’t know. We need it, we love it, and it is nourishment for our souls.”

When Heather marks the date of the next meeting in her calendar, she knows it is something to anticipate. “This group time is a sanctuary. It makes everything else possible. It is a source of energy and joy, not a drain.”

The Couples Groups meet monthly at 6:30 p.m. for drinks at appetizers at one the leaders’ homes. They have Bible study from 7:00 to 8:00 and then share The children’s Christmas pageant of until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. Each couple brings one thing---soup, salad, practice will be held during the Adult dinner bread, dessert, appetizer or wine. The groups were started more than a year Forum timeslot, so no child care will ago by Rev. Verlee and Dr. Ellis Copeland, who had led couples groups in their be provided this month. previous congregation. CHILD CARE PROVIDERS NEEDED ON SUNDAY MORNING Are you available to provide child care for kindergarten through fifth graders from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday mornings? The Adult Education Committee is seeking two paid child care providers to begin Jan. 7. Contact Julie Ruth Harley for more information.

“It’s been a true joy and blessing,” Heather says. For more information about joining a small group, or to start a new small group, contact Rev. Julie Ruth Harley at or (630) 323.4303 ext. 14. CURRENT EVENTS GROUP Would you like to comment on the latest news, see the last week’s best editorial cartoons, and discuss Christian perspectives on world issues? Drop in on our Current Events Group every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in the Grace Room on the upper level. Andy Johnson and Lucia Sutton chair this lively group, and newcomers are welcome! •5•

Invitation to Faith: Expanding Mission For All People SPIRIT GIFTS Continues through December 24 Need a Christmas Gift? ~~ Here’s a suggestion:

How about giving someone the gift of hope, faith and love? During this season of Advent you have the chance to secure warm clothes for homeless street people (mostly children); to help a woman in Africa secure a sewing machine to help her make an independent living; to supply needed books and school supplies to Head Start children; and many more such “Spirit Gifts”. These gifts are available for you to purchase in the name of those on your gift lists. Look for a member of the Mission Ministry in the Gathering Place on Sunday mornings, through Dec. 24.

PROTESTANTS FOR THE COMMON GOOD Following are excerpts from Executive Director Al Sharp’s remarks celebrating PCG’s 10th Anniversary on October 15. PCG was established by several individuals who felt it was time to provide an alternative to the political religious right. These founders were concerned not just about the certainty of the religious right in claiming to know the will of God, but the absence of a Protestant voice discussing what should be the relation of faith to politics. They were also concerned that so many in the mainline Protestant churches had turned inward, caring more about private piety and spiritual comfort than Christ’s call to serve those whom society counts least. We needed to regain our own voice in order to be a meaningful partner for justice. PCG has come a long way since we first gathered. We now have members in every Illinois state senate district. We communicate with over 200 churches and are a presence almost every Sunday in a pulpit or discussion group. Our electronic magazine, The Common Good Network, offers theological reflections on public issues and Biblical texts, and provides calls for action. We are a highly visible presence in the state capitol in Springfield. Legislators now seek us out when they want to hear a voice countering the political Christian right. PCG engages national issues, working closely with Jim Wallis and Call to Renewal, the Interfaith Alliance, and other ecumenical groups.

Legislatively, we achieved an increase in the welfare cash grant after it had been held constant for 10 years and eroded in value by 30%. We passed legislation that provides affordable housing in high income, high opportunity parts of the state. We are at the forefront of efforts to help ex-offenders – for whom there is simply no forgiveness in our society, no second chance – gain opportunities for employment. We played a key role in adding sexual orientation to the Illinois Human Rights Act, banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, LAST CHANCE TO DONATE employment and credit. We have helped to curtail the predatory practices of the ITEMS FOR ERIE HOUSE pay day loan industry. We are working for fuller access to quality education and December 15 is the deadline to re- affordable health care – these are moral issues, because how we respond determember the children of Erie House mines the quality of life for all whom God calls upon us to love. this year with gifts of new toys, games and clothing. Ten years ago in this sanctuary, our founders must have wondered if anyone would listen. It is clear now that we are a lonely voice no longer. Progressive Erie House's "Christmas Store" is Christians are speaking out, and the strength of our voices is growing. We are open a few days just before Christmas, proud of the role that Protestants for the Common Good has played in its first ten where parents can select two gifts for years. We are leading the way in Illinois. We look forward to the next ten years each child in thier family. Place your with confidence and hope. I urge all of you to join us in our work. Together we unwrapped gifts in the boxes marked will build the Beloved Community. Erie House Toys, located in the Gathering Place. Thank You. - This article presented by the Christian Social Justice Ministry.


Invitation to Faith: Community Care WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION SILVER TEA On Thursday, December 7, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. join our Women’s Association at Washington Square for a program of Christmas readings, carols and special music by Pat Deckert, followed by a reception. You may park in the Hinsdale Swimming Pool lot, where a shuttle bus will pick you up at 12:30 p.m. for transportation to Washington Square, with a return trip leaving at 3:00 p.m. Please come! This is a wonderful holiday opportunity to meet old and new friends!

WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION DECEMBER MEETINGS Unit 1 12/07 10:30 AM Home of Fran Evans, followed by Silver Tea, 705 S. Bruner, Hinsdale.

MEMBER NEWS Birth New Baby, Sydney Rain born 11/7 to Kim & Steve O'Hare. Proud grandparents are Virgil & Diane Oostrendorp & Unit 2 12/07 1:00 PM Great Grandmother Frances Forsek. No meeting, hostesses for Silver Tea BAPTISM Unit 3 12/07 10:30 AM Gabrielle Lynn St. Luce was baptized Rowell Hall, Union Church, followed on November 19th, parents are Amy by Silver Tea & Lorenzo, the Grandfather is Gary Unit 4 12/07 1:00 PM Wilhelm No Meeting, will attend Silver Tea Deaths Unit 5 12/06 7:30 PM Eric Anderson, Bev Schmidt's son Home of Sheryl DeSanto, 8405 passed away on November 14th. His Creekside Ln., Darien service is being held on Saturday DeUnit 6 12/01 1:00 PM cember 9th at 4:00 in the sanctuary. Home of Jane Ballantine, 423 N. Clay, Condolences to Bev and her family. Hinsdale Unit 7 12/06 Lounge, Union Church

9:00 AM

Invitation to Faith: Community Life CHRISTMAS POINSETTIAS Honor a very special family member or friend durning the holiday season by purchasing a beautiful poinsettia. These plants will come in a variety of colors, making for a spectacular Christmas floral display. Please place your order through Audrey Woeltje in the church office on or before December 10. You can call Audrey at (630) 323.4303. Order forms are avalible in the church office. Plants may be taken home after the December 24 service. But, if you are not going to be home for the holidays no problem. With your order, we simply will be making the holidays more joyus to all - we can spread the good cheer to the homebound by delivering your poinsettia(s) to them! MARKET DAY’S DECEMBER FAMILY FEAST! And what a feast it is! Start your holiday dinner with new Pesto Bruschetta, Stuffed Appetizer Bread or Stuffed Shrimp Treasures. Build your main course around a Spiral Sliced Ham, Crown Pork Roast or Prime Rib Roast, accompanied by Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole, Praline Sweet Potato Casserole or Apple Cranberry Ring. Top it all off with Caramel Apple Blossoms or Chocolate Fudge Volcano Cakes. AND get a free assortment of Fannie May Trinidads with any order of $50 or more!

are due in the Narthex Sunday 12/3 (internet Wednesday 12/6). Pick-up is in the Garfield Circle Saturday 12/9, 9:00-10:00. Use the internet and pay by credit card— it’s easy! As always, please pick up your orders within the specified time block. The Allegro Bell Choir thanks you! MEN'S CLUB PROGRAM & LUNCH Wednesday December 13, 12:00 noon We are privileged again this year to experience the wonderful singing voices of the Madrigals of Hinsdale Central High School under the leadership of our very own, Gary Wilhelm. The Madrigals will be entertaining us with Christmas carols and songs, including some old and very familiar favorites. The Madrigals have always put us in a festive Christmas mood, so please plan to attend and bring a guest!!!

UNION CHURCH WINDOWS FEATURED IN NEW DVD “A Stained Glass Christmas with Heavenly Carols” will be featured on PBS Channel 11 during its Dec. 5-25 pledge drive. This three-hour high-definition movie includes views of stained glass windows around the world, including several from Union Church. Accompanied by favorite Market Day benefits the Allegro Bell Choir. Look for your carols recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Market Day flyer in the mail or in the Church Narthex. Orders copies of the DVD are available for $29.99. Please call 630.493.9674 to place an order with Concert Hot Spot in • 7 • Downers Grove.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE... 2 3 4 5 6 7





Sunday, December 3 8:00, 9:00 & 10:00 a.m. Worship Services 9:40 a.m. Scripture Reading 11:15 a.m. Adult Forum 5:00 p.m. TNT (Middle School) 7:00 p.m. Discovery (High School) Monday, December 4 7:30 p.m. Tai Chi Ch'uan Tuesday, December 5 No Events Scheduled Wednesday, December 6 GOOD NEWS Submission Deadline for Dec. 17 Issue 7:00 a.m. Prayer Group 3:45 p.m. LOGOS Thursday, December 7 1:00 p.m. Women's Association Silver Tea Friday, December 8 6:30 a.m. Men's Fellowship Saturday, December 9 5:00 p.m. Journey Worship

Sunday, December 10 8:00, 9:00 & 10:00 a.m. Worship Services 9:40 a.m. Scripture Reading 11:15 a.m. Adult Forum 6:00 p.m. Discovery (High School) Monday, December 11 7:30 p.m. Tai Chi Ch'uan 7:30 p.m. WA Bible Study Tuesday, December 12 7:00 p.m. All Ministries Night Wednesday, December 13 7:00 a.m. Prayer Group 9:00 a.m. Golden Friendship 3:45 p.m. LOGOS Thursday, December 14 1:00 p.m. Kerygma Class Friday, December 15 6:00 p.m. Couple's Bible Study - Group B Saturday, December 16 5:00 p.m. Journey Worship

the Good News - Issue 24.indd  

A church newsletter published by The Union Church of Hinsdale, U.C.C.

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