Photo by Richelle Stackert
Pastor Jaeger delivers a children's sermon on her first Sunday, August 26.
Churrasco Churrasco: A Theological Feast in Honor of Vitor Westhelle is a collection of essays by a wide range of theologians from around the world on the occasion of Westhelle's 60th birthday. The introduction makes clear that it is not a Festschrift, which marks an ending, but an acknowledgement of the gift of Westhelle's scholarship and his entering into an exciting second cycle of life.
Toby Chow, who begins his M.Div. program at LSTC this September, will receive a Hope Scholarship, which will help ease the financial burden of tuition and living expenses each of his three years studying on campus. Hope Scholarships are awarded on merit or need to students of color who will be the first in their family to attend seminary.
Laura and Mark Wilhelm celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on August 25!
Henry Frank Degner was baptized on July 7.
Farewells and Godspeeds to Bailey Pickens, RuoYu (Echo) Xu, Benham Kordinavasi, and Susanne Tepper.
This summer Kathy Yates went back to her computer screen and reconfigured Augustana's sign for the corner of 55th and Woodlawn, then had a second sign made for the corner of 55th and University.
Both signs feature the cheery border of pink and blue hydrangeas that distinguished last year's design. The winter sign used a more subdued border of green leaves.
Once the signs came back from Kinkos/FedEx, they had to be mounted. Rich and Lisa Hensey did the work on the University Avenue side, affixing the sign directly to the curved brick wall of the churchyard. Kathy and Andy Orsburn did the honors on the Woodlawn side, attaching it to the existing black metal frame.
Many thanks to Kathy for her lovely design work in creating these attractive signs that do so much to publicize our presence in the neighborhood. Thanks to Rich, Lisa and Andy for putting them up.
Thank you for bearing with us as we re-envisioned the work space in the church office. The re-envisioning was prompted mainly by the breaking down of the old copier on my first day with Augustana. After speaking to professionals in the industry we decided it was time to replace it with a more current model. In that process we had to make room in order to accommodate the new unit. Our goal was to make the space as inviting as possible while retaining the work function needed for Augustana. Currently we now have two work stations, a new copier and more open space.
Within the next few weeks we will have completed some minor repairs and cosmetic enhancements to the church office, accomplishing our task of making it a wonderful and inviting place for parishioners and visitors alike. We still have a bit more to do, but feel free to stop by and see the progress thus far!
On August 18, after more than a month of room by room asbestos removal, the University of Chicago began the removal of its dormitory Pierce Hall from the corner of 55th Street and University Avenue. A beautiful new complex is planned for the area which university officials call “the new front door to the university.”
There will be three large buildings which ray out from the city corner near Augustana's church yard. On University Avenue there will be a 5 story building. Along 55th Street there will be a 15 story building with retail space. And in between there will be an 11 story building. Near Greenwood Avenue there will be a dining area with delivery dock.
Pierce Hall housed 250 students plus RA families. The new facility will house 800 students, faculty in residence and RA families and will also contain classrooms, retail businesses and offices. On July 23 the official unveiling of the “North Commons” was held and Pastor Jaeger attended. She was able to talk to the architect Jeanne Gang about our church and the significance of our church yard. A video of the unveiling event (about 40 minutes) and architect drawings of the complex can be viewed here.
Neighbors of the project, such as myself, are a bit stunned by the University's plan to close Greenwood Avenue between 55th Street and 56th Street to use it as open student space. There are also no plans to replace the 60 parking spots that were in the Pierce Hall parking lot. The population and activity of the area will be vastly increased and the parking will be vastly decreased. As University Avenue does not have an alley, all utility, garbage, repair and construction work occurs from an already congested street. Neighbors are also wondering what type of retail businesses will be attracted to an area of limited parking. In addition, many of the large shade trees now present on the street will have to be removed as the plan is to create a parkway to mirror the other side of the street. The University of Chicago has been hosting meetings with neighbors to improve communication about this and Pastor Jaeger will attend as able.
A committee of Augustana members is being formed to consider the impact the 2½ year destruction and construction process will have on our facility, including our church yard. Augustana members are encouraged to begin considering the impact of 550 additional students will have on our worship and community life.
During the summer months we have been blessed with beautiful musical offerings from many Augustana members and friends. Special thanks go to singers Luther Rinehart, Mary Ella Simmons, Susan Hoffman, Bill and Chris Tompsett, Elsa Charlston, Bruce Tammen, and Ieva Novicane, oboists Mark Bangert and Patricia Morehead, trombonist Chelsea French, violinist Susanne Tepper, flautist Beth Bryngelson, cellist Eric Kutz and pianist Miko Kominami. Many thanks to all those who made our summer liturgies vibrant through leadership in music!
On August 11, a group of over forty Augustanans enjoyed a beautiful and sunny Sunday afternoon at US Cellular only to see the White Sox lose to the Minnesota Twins. It was great to introduce the Jaeger family to this “South Side” institution! A good time was had by all.
As the new students arrive at LSTC, the Duty Free Shop needs kitchen utensils: sets of water/juice glasses — preferably unbreakable; silverware; food storage containers with lids; pots and pans. It's not too early to donate gently used or new winter coats also. The items can be dropped at Augustana, labeled “for Duty Free Shop.”
At our annual meeting in January we approved a budget with an ambitious target for property use income. Unquestionably, as Augustana becomes steadily better known in the community and we open up our space to more community groups, we will develop the relationships we need to meet the property income target. But at this writing we currently have an approximately $10,000 income shortfall in the property use category.
I am asking all members and friends of Augustana to use their connections with other community groups and non-profits and recommend Augustana as a site for meetings, workshops and other gatherings in an effort to increase our property use income. We are especially eager to find a charitable or educational non-profit who might be interested in utilizing our parking lot. Please direct any leads on possible space use partners to the church office.
At the meeting of the Congregational Council on August 14:
A special meeting of the Council will convene before the next scheduled meeting in September to address an unexpected shortfall in Augustana's annual budget.
Augustana has applied for a $4,500 no-interest, unsecured loan from the Environmental Concerns Working Group of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod. These funds will be used to purchase new LED exit signs and replace lighting in a few parish offices. The monthly payment for the loan is based on the expected savings of using the more efficient fixtures.
Augustana has applied for Lutheran Social Services Illinois's “Setting the Table” program, which is intended to help the congregation discern the needs of the wider community and how we would address those needs. Interested members of the congregation will work through the program's nine-step process with the assistance of a consultant hired by LSSI. The program costs $5,000, but most of this amount will be offset by a $4,500 grant from the Synod; the remaining amount will not be paid using the congregation's operating budget but some other, undetermined source.
At the meeting of the Congregation Council on July 17:
Worship and Music Chair Mark Wilhelm, Cantor Dan Schwandt, and Pastor Jaeger led a discussion of the worship service and how it is designed and organized.
Council voted to authorize hiring a special needs teaching aide to run the nursery for the early service and to assist in the Sunday School, beginning in September.
Council voted to authorize Council President Gary Worcester, Pastor Jaeger and Laura Wilhelm to execute an agreement for rental of space to the Chicago Childcare Society while their facility is being remodeled, in fall 2013.
Summer is winding down, and fall is just around the corner. Augustana's annual Oktoberfest picnic is just around the corner. Join us on Sunday, October 13, following the 10:45 service, for delicious brats, hot dogs, tofu pups, and potato salad (provided by the Evangelism Committee). Bring a friend and a side dish to share if you can. All are welcome, and extra hands are always welcome at the grill or in the kitchen. If interested in helping out, please contact Richelle Stackert (773-288-9101).
And in November and December look for sessions on the ethics of eating, food justice, death and dying, music and more led by Pastor Elizabeth, a guest speaker from “Growing Home,” Elsa Marty, Mary Emily Duba, John Albright, and others.
Save the date for the fall meeting of the LSTC Guild on Saturday, October 12, beginning at 9:30 AM. The program will be presented by several of the international students from different parts of the world, including our own Emmanuel Penumaka and Brenda Lee. Join us to hear their fascinating stories, and learn about LSTC's important role in preparing leaders for the world church.
All women of Augustana are invited to hear Jeffrey Stackert speak at 10:30 AM on Saturday, October 5 on the topic, “Why the Bible is So Confusing and How Scholars Make Sense of It.” Jeffrey is a member of Augustana and is an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Divinity School, the University of Chicago. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM with coffee and conversation, followed by a short business meeting. Jeffrey's presentation will begin around 10:30 AM and will be followed by a potluck lunch at 12:00 noon. Please hold the date and make plans to attend the fall meeting on October 5.
One of the tasks for the Fall Work Day will be to plant hundreds of daffodil, tulip and grape hyacinth bulbs in the hosta garden — weather permitting, of course. All hands needed!