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February 11, 2007

A Publication of The Union Church of Hinsdale, U.C.C.

Central High School, at the end of this school term). I will assume my new position July 1, 2007.

A View From the Balcony


D ear Friends at Union Church,

God truly moves in mysterious ways! After coming home from my Holiday travel to family and friends, I found a phone call and a letter from MidAmerica Productions in New York City informing that I had been put on a short list of possible conductors for a Resident Conductor position with them in New York City. I have worked with MidAmerica Productions several times during my career at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. I did not solicit this position and was very flattered that they would even consider me, since I am a high school conductor and teacher. They have contact with several thousand conductors in the US and Europe at all levels. I flew to New York in early January for an interview, actually three interviews over two days, and a look at what the position entailed and offered. MidAmerica offered the position to me as of last week and I accepted. I will be moving to the “Big Apple” in June after school is out, (I am also retiring from teaching after 36 years in the profession, nineteen at Hinsdale

The position entails recruiting choirs to perform at Carnegie Hall, planning and choosing repertoire, auditioning soloists, soliciting and choosing guest conductors, and conducting concerts up to four times during the concert season, plus some traveling in the US and Europe for rehearsal purposes. So it is with great angst and yet joy that I submit my resignation as Chancel and Youth Choir director at Union Church after 17 years in those positions and 19 years as a member. I will keep my membership as I intend to keep my home in Romeoville for the time being as I will need a place to come back to, to see my darling grandchildren and oh yes my daughter and her husband as well! My years at Union Church have been some of the most wonderful and fruitful of my life; a truly meaningful spiritual experience, communion with great friends and colleagues and wonderful staff through the years to work with and oh yes, a wonderful group of singers and musicians to make music with. I must say that the Chancel Choir is not only a very special group of people who have become dear friends but on more than one occasion have been my “Saving Grace”! And then there is Mike, my dear friend with whom I have shared the most with as a professional colleague, and as a friend. We have truly shared the good and the not so good through the years!

Volume 39, Issue 3

When I share what I do at Union Church with other directors around the country, most make me realize “how lucky I am to be in this position”! In addition I will miss this great church, the good and the bad, as nothing that is good can be so with out the opposite experience. Much love and friendship has been shared with my family and me over the years and for that I am grateful and at the same time saddened to be leaving this place, truly, my church home! As I began the fall term as a teacher and church choir director I had no idea that my life would take this turn. I had another plan for my “retirement” as it were. A planned to go to seminary, to stay here at Union Church for several more years and many other possibilities, but I feel because of the timing of this opportunity that God has indeed given me another path to pursue. Where this path may lead, I have no idea or even an expectation of, but rather the thought of a new and exciting challenge facing me in this, the second half of my life. And once again having the privilege of being involved in something I love being a part of, creating beautiful music with beautiful people! And so I wish all you of from the dear children to those who have been at Union Church awhile, God’s Grace and Love and a great big thank you for letting me be a part of the worship experience at Union Church for the past 19 years! I will truly miss each and every one of you! May God Bless Union Church!

Gary Wilhelm

OUR STAFF 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 Great Results from 2007 Stewardship Efforts: Dessert First God’s grace comes glowing to us in so many ways. We at Union Church can be extremely thankful for the tremendous success yielded from our Stewardship efforts for 2007. Highlights include (as of 1/31/2007): Pledge amounts received: $ 1,365,000 (2007 budget amount = $ 1,353,000) This is the first time in the last several years that we have pledge commitments that actually accommodate the forecasted budget!!! Total Number of Pledges: 452 | Percent Who Increased: 35% That’s right. 35% of the pledges received this year reflect an increase of the amount pledged last year by the same member. I personally would like to thank all of you who do so much for God and our Church. Words can not express how privileged I have been, to be able to act in this ministry for God and how fortunate we all are for each other. The Stewardship Committee this past year consisted of the incredible leadership of: Karl Aavik Bill Lutz Doug Stoffer Susan Young Verlee Copeland Merrilee Hall Opportunities to join the leadership efforts for the 2008 Stewardship campaign are available. It is a true joy to be able to invite your fellow Christians to focus on “Giving God What’s Right…not What’s Left”. Please contact me or anyone listed above if you are interested in the stewardship efforts for 2008. First our best to God, Gary Richert Chair, 2007 Stewardship

WORSHIP SERVICES Journey Worship Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. Sunday Worship 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Jesus And Me (JAM) 2nd Sundays at 11:15 a.m. Prayer and Healing Service 3rd Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS 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)

UNION CHURCH ANNUAL SPAGHETTI DINNER Winter got you down? Need to get away? A Roman Holiday might be just the thing. On February 25 the Annual Spaghetti Dinner to benefit the Youth Spring Work Tour to Harlan, Kentucky and the Allegro Bell Ensemble Tour to Great Britain will be held at the church from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please join us for an evening "Italian Style" a delicious spaghetti dinner, live entertainment, the vocal stylings of Frank Sinatra and a silent auction. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 4-12 and children under 3 are free. To purchase tickets look for youth wearing red aprons after Sunday services or call Angie Sims at (630)789-2916. Donations are still being accepted for the silent auction a major fund-raiser for this event. Some ideas for auction items include: vacation homes, sports or theater tickets, gift baskets, gift certificates, etc. All donations are appreciated. The deadline for receipt of items is February 18. Auction items may be dropped off in the church office (Penny Johnson's office) or we can arrange to pick them up. Call Barb Hartnett at 325-2955 with any questions. Business card ads for the printed program cost $30. Please contact Joan Sunseri at 887-7425 if you are interested.

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Children

CHILDREN’S CHRISTIAN FORMATION Dates to Remember February 20 Fat Tuesday Celebration February 21 Ash Wednesday February 25 Intergenerational Sunday & Spaghetti Dinner March 21 LOGOS Spring Session Ends March 25 Intergenerational Sunday Invitation to Faith: Community Care

MEN’S CLUB PROGRAM & LUNCHEON Wednesday, February 14th 12:00 Noon This month’s program is BIG ”FISH” STORIES & TALES OF FLIES The guest speaker is Joseph Meyer, a fly fishing instructor and owner of a sports fishing shop. Joseph will take his experience of fly fishing from Alaska to Argentina and show how effective and enjoyable this sport can be. Fly fishing is for young and old and for both genders. If you have a valentine mate that loves fly fishing too, bring her along!!

Honor a loved one with an Easter plant. Watch for an order form in the next Good News.


Kay Moffat’s sister Priscilla Bramson & Bill Moore’s twin brother recently died. Condolences to their families. Former member, Sally Symonds Deng died Monday, January 15, 2007. A Memorial Service is planned for Saturday, May 5, 2007.

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Youth

Deep “Potter”Thoughts? By Jer

Winter “Polar Bear” Retreat: Feb. 16-18 On February 16-18, we are going on a retreat for high school students at Camp Geneva in Holland, Michigan. In addition to the campfires and the bitter cold of a Michigan winter, we will have an indoor climbing wall, plus live music by Carl Gladstone. Check him out! Plus, we will be taking a little side trip to Mars Hill Church with Rob Bell ( to check out some fantastic music and a whole different kind of worship. The cost of the trip is $120 if you are not attending spring work tour (if you are, it’s covered). If you are interested give us a call.

All reservations are due by February 9th

I have a confession to make…I am addicted to Harry Potter. There is a counter on my computer that tells me how many days it is until The Order of the Phoenix comes out (incidentally it is July 13). I have signed up for the email reminder for Book 7 (July 21st ). I read the Harry Potter series (all 6 books) once a year. Because of my obsession with Harry Potter, I found this really cool book by Russell Dalton, Faith Journey Through Fantasy Lands: A Christian Dialogue With Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings. With this book I have really started looking at how the Harry Potter series helps me to think about God. Sometimes it can be hard to connect bible stories with my life (it gets easier the more you do it), though often I think about God when I am reading Harry Potter because the story reminds me a lot of many of my favorite Bible stories, which teach me to respond with love rather than violence. I especially think that Dumbledore teaches a message like Jesus’—to love one another, even your enemies. This may sound crazy, but books like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia have really helped me to deepen my faith because they made me begin asking those tough questions about God. So the next time you are reading a book (any book) see if you can find God hidden in the pages.

Spaghetti Dinner Tickets - February 25th CAN BE PURCHASED after the 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Services every Sunday in Feb. Just look for the youth wearing red aprons.”

Help Support Work Tour & ABC Bells

2007 WORK TOURs Are Coming Up FAST!


March 23rd to April 1st 2007, more than 40 youth and adults will be heading out to Harlan, Kentucky (population 2,100), to work with COAP, an organization dedicated to helping lower income Appalachian families. July 6th to 15th 2007, 36 youth and adults travel to Coahoma, MS (population 325), for Summer Work Tour. Don’t forget to SPONSOR-A-YOUTH:

Watch for our SAY Picture Boards and Sign-up Cards in the Gathering Space. You’ll

find all the information you need on helping to support our youth as they go out and do God’s work during their spring and summer vacations!

Youth Happenings! Sunday Feb. 11th

– TNT 5-6:30PM “TNT Treasure Hunt” Bring Your Friends! – Discovery 7:00PM Spring Work Tour Prep & Small Group Meeting

Feb. 16-18th

– High School Polar Bear Retreat Reserve by February 9th!

Open to all in HS, but STRONGLY REQUESTED of everyone on Spring Work Tour. $120 (Free if going on Spring WT). Call David for details

Christie & Sarah Schuessler’s 440 N. Madison – Hinsdale 630-789-2258

th Thurday Jan. 18 so Sardines we can give and you cooking Sunday Feb. 18RSVP –by TNT 5-6:30PM Pizza assignments –at– No Discovery th

Invitation to Faith: Christian Formation for Adults Adult Forums 11:15 a.m. each Sunday in Rowell Hall

Lenten Study and Worship

Union Church and our next-door friends at Grace Episcopal Church will team up for a simple supper, book study and worship service on five Wednesday evenings in Lent, from Feb. 28 to Mar. 28. We will meet at 6:00 p.m. at Grace Episcopal (just north of our church, across the parking lot) for a potluck simple supper consisting of soup, salad, bread and wine provided by our members. This will be followed by a short class, led by one of four ministers (two from Union and two from Grace) with a little help from two involved laymen. Then we will adjourn to the Union Church Chapel for a short, simple and meaningful service based upon Lenten hymn themes. Our Wednesday night study will focus on The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. Borg spent a memorable weekend with us in 1999. With fellow scholar and professor Crossan, he has fashioned a fascinating, day-by-day account of Jesus’ last week. During the month of February, after services, there will be a sign-up sheet to register for the class, to volunteer to bring something for the supper, and to buy a copy of the book ($13 for paperback and $20 for hardcover). You may also register for the class by emailing Joel Gratcyk at jgratcyk@ or calling him at (630) 323.4303 ext. 21.

FEB. 11 – “Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder,” presented by Dr. Gary Sattler, minister, therapist, and adjunct faculty member at Northern Seminary, in the Lounge. These two mental illnesses affect thousands of people of all ages. Dr. Sattler will explain symptoms and treatment for those who experience anxiety and manicdepression. FEB. 18 – “Pastoring an Open and Affirming Congregation” We are very pleased to welcome our former Minister for Christian Education, Rev. Greg Skiba, to Union Church to share his experience pastoring the Open and Affirming congregation of First Congregational Church of Naperville. Feb. 25 – “Moderate Islam’s View of Radical Extremists,” presented by Dr. Inamul Haq, professor of Islamic Studies at Benedictine University in Lisle. Islamic terrorists have created a stereotype in the minds of many Americans. What do moderate Muslims have to say about extremists’ interpretations of the Koran? Child care is provided each week for children from birth through age 4 in the nursery. If you would like child care for children from age 5 through 5th grade, please contact Rev. Julie Ruth Harley one week in advance at 630.323.4303 ext. 14.

Engaged Couples Group Begins Fourteen couples are currently scheduled to be married at Union Church this year, and most of them will participate in an Engaged Couples Group held on three Saturday mornings in February. Taught by our ministers, the class covers communication, conflict resolution, spiritual relationship, family and friends, leisure activities, intimacy and sexuality and financial management. It provides a time for each couple to review their results from a premarital inventory called “Prepare,” designed to highlight strengths and growth areas in relationships. This program is a great outreach to members and nonmembers at an important time in their lives. For more information call Rev. Julie Ruth Harley.

Movie and Discussion Nights Join us in the Youth Room for screenings of two new popular films that deal with the importance of our thoughts and intentions in shaping our reality. The Secret will be shown at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, followed by a discussion led by Nancy Ging, one of our church members and a holistic psychotherapist. What the Bleep Do We Know? will be screened at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, also followed by a discussion. These movies are unrated, but are appropriate for middle school, high school and adult viewers. •5•

Invitation to Faith: Expanding Mission For All People Opportunity for Service To better serve our terminally ill patients and their families in your area, Generations Hospice is currently seeking volunteers to assist in the 2007 year. Many of our hospice patients have no family, so volunteers offer that added support in the patients last weeks of life. Volunteers are the HEART of hospice. Roles of a Hospice Volunteer: Offer emotional and spiritual support . . . Provide much needed respite for caregivers . . . Hold a hand . . . Listen . . . Reading . . . Run errands . . . Do light housekeeping . . . Let patients and families know they are not alone . . . Make phone contacts or visits . . . Send notes . . . Provide clerical support to our staff . . . Let patients and families know they are not alone . . . Prepare mailings . . . Do computer data entry . . . Answer phones . . . File records . . . Help with newsletters . . . Prepare informational packets . . . Help with medical records . . . visit patients and families on birthdays, anniversaries etc. (with balloons and cake) . . . send out special occasion cards. Volunteers will be reimbursed mileage at .40 per mile. For the security of our patients all volunteers will be required to complete a volunteer application and a background check! Contact: Sherondra McGrew / Generations Healthcare 2 Westbrook Corporate Center / Westchester,IL 60154 773-406-3687 (cell) / 708-409-3040 / 708-409-3041(fax) / From Chicago House: “Thank you for your generous donation; your gift will have a transforming effect on lives of individuals and families living with HIV and AIDS who count on our housing, programs and services.”

Union Church Spiritual Health Club presents …

The Spirituality of Play Join us in the Youth Room Monday, February 19, 2007 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

From Hinsdale Community Service: “Your donation of 122 bags of food was an act of kindness. Families on limited budgets struggle to meet ends and your generosity is extremely helpful to meeting those ends.”

Explore the Biblical and spiritual call to joy as we experience the blessedness of play.

Coming in April …

Led by Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer

Health Care Caucus Saturday, April 28, 2007 A time to learn, network, and hear about the future of Health Care in Illinois •6•

Invitation to Faith: Community Life

Union Players

Are you an experienced Thespian or perhaps an eager scenery chewer …

CHORAL CONCERT FEBRUARY 15 AT 7:30 P.M. As I have been the Choir Director of Union Church for the past 17 years and Instructor of Vocal/Choral Music at Hinsdale Central High School for the past 19 years it seems only fitting that I have a concert with the Choirs of Hinsdale Central at The Union Church of Hinsdale. I will be retiring from Hinsdale Central High School and public school teaching after 36 years in the profession. I would like to invite the congregation and friends to the concert which will be held on Thursday, February 15, at 7:30 PM in the Sanctuary. Joining the choirs from Hinsdale Central will be the Chancel Choir in two choral numbers. The program will be about an hour or less and all are welcome. There is no fee for the concert and it is my way of saying Thank You to Union Church for their support over the years. Please join us! – Gary Wilhelm

If you are interested in being a part of a Union Church Drama Ministry please contact

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Rev. Thom Parrott-Sheffer, (630) 323.4303, ext. 18 or via email: tparrott-sheffer@

I was happy to hear a shawl was given by a church member to her mother at Thanksgiving. If you’d like a shawl please let us know. The next Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting is Thursday, February 14 at 1:00 p.m. in the Lounge. Valentine’s Day is a special time of love – a great time to use our love to warm and comfort others. Call for a pattern if you can only do this at home or on your own.

Join us for the fun and witness.

– Bonnie Deke (630) 325.8782

Progressive Dinner The Board of Parish Life Ministries invites all adults to attend... Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper Tuesday, February 20 4:30 pm – 7::00 pm

There will be pancakes, We all gather at the first home for cocktails and appetizers, at the second home games for children, we are divided into groups of 8 or 10 for a delightful dinner and then all meet mask decorating for all, and Bible Bingo for adults and kids, so again in the third home for a dessert extravaganza! bring your appetite and your creativity. Participants prepare a dish (recipes provided) and each person pays $12.00 From now through Fat Tuesday, kids can to cover additional costs. Save the Date and please watch thew newsletter for also participate in the Fat Tuesday colormore information! ing contest. Look for coloring sheets in the Gathering Place or ask you Sunday School teacher.

DROP-IN BOOK GROUP Women’s Association invites everyone to stop by South Parlor on Wednesday, February 28 at 1:30 p.m. for a conversation about Louise Erdrich’s The Painted Drum. Julie Ruth Harley will be our discussion leader. Come even if you haven’t read the book!

Tickets for the supper are $3 for adults, $1.50 for children ages 4-12 and free for children 3 and under, or $10 per family. They can be purchased at coffee hour, at Women’s Association Unit meetings or in the church office. Proceeds benefit families still in need after Hurricane Katrina. Sponsored by The Women’s Association.


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


Art From the Heart

This unique fund-raiser is a live auction to take place:

Friday, March 2, 2007 Wine Reception at 7:00 p.m. Washington Square 10 North Washington St Hinsdale, IL 60521

LET THERE BE LIGHT – OUR COMMON ROOTS Sacred Art depicting scenes from the Biblical story will be featured at an art show which will debut at Art From the Heart, the Habitat for Humanity art auction on March 2. Esther Triffler, artist, will join us for the show and reception in conjunction with this fund raising event. Her work will then be featured for two Sundays in the Gathering Place, March 4 and 11. The artist writes, “In 1967, I was eighteen and visiting Israel for the first time. It was immediately after the Six "Town Mill" by Esther Triffler Day War and many holy places were accessible to Israelis for the first time since 1948. At Hebron, the burial site of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives Sarah, Rebekah and Leah, I was amazed to see Arabs praying. Until then I had thought that these ancestors were the exclusive property of the Jews. I found it intriguing that not only did the Jews and Christians share the same roots, but so did the Moslems. We are indeed all related. So why is there so much hatred and violence in the world? I think that understanding the similarities, rather than focusing on the differences between people might be a starting point in overcoming fear and hatred in the world. I hope that in some small way this Bible exhibit, which I have named Let There Be Light-Our Common Roots,” will contribute to a dialogue among persons with different religious backgrounds.” Esther Triffler received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in Communication Design in 1972. She worked as a graphic designer for several years before immigrating to Israel and starting a family. After returning to the United States in 1980, she resumed her painting first at the Evanston Art Center, then at the Art Institute of Chicago, and most recently at Alain Gavin’s Evanston studio. She has shown and sold her work at several venues throughout the Chicago area.

the Good News - Issue 3.indd  

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