|• A Word from Pastor Gorder|
|• Christmas Worship Schedule|
|• Special Meeting of the Congregation||Kathy Anderson, President, Congregation Council|
|• Council Highlights for November||Kathy Anderson, President, Congregation Council|
|• First Report on Stewardship Pledges||Neva Hefner, Treasurer|
|• Update on Building Plans||Richard Johnson, Chair, Building Committee|
|• New and Associate Members Welcomed on November 9, 2003|
|• Search Committee is Seeking New Director of Music Ministry||Bruce Tammen, Chair|
|• Job Opening at Augustana: Part-Time Secretary|
|• Thanks to Carol Eck||Pastor Gorder|
|• Order Poinsettias Now!|
|• New Augustana Photo Directory Dates|
|• Confirmation Class Serves At Ronald McDonald House On December 3|
|• Movie Night for Augustana's Youth on December 5||Abigail Zang, Field Ministry Intern|
|• Confirmation Class Project: Gifts for LSSI Foster Children||Abigail Zang, Field Ministry Intern|
|• Memorial/Honor Gifts||Neva Hefner, Treasurer|
|• December Adult Forum Plans||Doug Larson, co-chair, Christian Education Committee|
|• Sankta Lucia Celebration|
|• The Legend of Sankta Lucia|
|• Chicago Chorale Presents Christmas Oratorio on December 14||Bruce Tammen|
|• Advent Christmas Hymn Sing on December 18||Polly Fehlman|
|• Celebration of Pastor Philip Anderson's 50 Year Anniversary of Ordination Scheduled for December 21st||Pastor Laura King|
|• Dine-Worship-Celebrate New Year's Eve, December 31, 2003|
|• Looking Forward To Social Ministry Meeting In January||Ann Hills, Chair, Social Ministry|
|• Campus Ministry Notes|
|• Christmas Card Ministry to Prisoners||Pastor Laura King|
|• Meeting of Lutheran Campus Ministry of Illinois|
|• Breadbreakers Is Off To A Good Start!||Rob Kirby, Member, Evangelism Committee|
|• "Wild Augustana": Stewardship at Work||Becky Krentz|
|• Augustana Receives Ethiopian Cross|
|• Bulb Planting|
|• Worship Assistants Met On November 22|
|• Advent Wreaths Made on November 23|
|• Augustana Members Become Pastors of Martin Luther's Home Church in Eisleben, Germany|
|• In the News...|
|• Coming up in January|
|• Scripture Readings for December|
|• Congregation Council|
|• Committees and Organizations|
|• Grace Note Newsletter Editors|
|• Previous issues|
|John M. Gorder, Pastorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Laura J. King, Associate Pastor for Campus Ministryemail@example.com|
|Ron Svarney, Interim Director of Music Ministry|
|Abigail Zang, Field Ministry Internfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dan Gilbert, Campus Ministry Peer Ministeremail@example.com|
|Maren Hulden, Campus Ministry Peer Ministerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Emily Leskinen, Campus Ministry Peer Ministeremail@example.com|
|Mihra Rittman, Campus Ministry Peer Ministerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Unto us a child is born.
In the sixth century B.C.E., Isaiah wrote six powerful words: UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN. They have become, for me, the heralding words of Advent and Christmas. Others carry this reality forward. St. Luke gives the simple detail of the Bethlehem birth. St. John speaks of the LOGOS becoming flesh. Over the generations gifted musicians have boldly chanted the grace of God in Christ. Handel's MESSIAH will not let Isaiah's words be forgotten, nor void of striking note!
The Good News of this season is that God will not let us be alone. It is important to pause long enough in the dead of winter to let this grace, God's grace, reach us.
We stand, of course, millennia away from the expectation of Isaiah. Then, the city was destroyed, the temple lay in ruin, the people held in exile. There was little to celebrate. Life was old. Hope was gone. It was a dark time.
It's just then that a broken people, whose strength is spent, tap into a larger reality. They look to God. They pray to God. They turn to God...not because it is a last resort...rather God enters their world because this is what grace does. It comes when we understand that we cannot save ourselves. God saves us. God loves us. God comes to us...as a child...full of grace.
Children disarm us. We have a photograph taped to the refrigerator of my ninety-four year old uncle holding our one year old grandson. The old man's passive day is transformed by the child. A magical connection suddenly ignites new life in the staid gentleman. Is it a sentimental journey -- carrying him back to a childhood in Minnesota -- or is there something more, something new in the realization that creation continues. A realization that even at the end of life God's creation breaks in upon him!
The Christ Child does the same to us. Suddenly, in the narrative of nativity, our own lives are transformed. We have the ability to think into Christmas...to come to an understanding that somehow the forgotten shepherds were transformed by God's proclamation of new life in Christ. They journeyed to Bethlehem. They saw the child. They worshiped him. We understand that somehow the cosmos itself glowed when the child was born.
As we move into December, I say to you, TO US A CHILD IS BORN. Stop long enough to let God's birth become part of who you are. It will happen to you as the LOGOS, the Word is remembered...as the narrative of life is fleshed out in the One born in Bethlehem. Grace will abound in words of promise made by God and claimed by us at the font of our own transformation...and tasted in the bread and wine we receive.
UNTO US A CHILD IS GIVEN. This is indeed life-changing news!
On Sunday, November 9, the congregation gathered for a special meeting called to authorize the purchase of a sound system for the sanctuary. After calling the meeting to order, Kathy Anderson turned the meeting over to Laura Wilhelm who led the presentation on the specifics of the sound system and the process by which Council came to the decision to recommend its purchase. RC Communications submitted a bid of $24,595.60. Through the generosity of several donors, we have the funds to cover the entire cost of the system. C. Torsberg/M. Niedenthal entered a motion, and the congregation unanimously voted to approve the purchase of the sound system. We gave thanks to the Worship and Music Committee and the sound system sub-committee for their work on this important aspect of our master plan. We also gave hearty thanks to the donors. With their gifts, all will hear the spoken word.
Kathy Anderson then gave a brief update on the building plans. The Building Committee met on September 13 to interview several contractors. The Council met in a special meeting on October 21 and approved the Building Committee's recommendation to work with Berglund Construction to assist us in achieving our building project goals in the most cost efficient method.
Pastor Gorder reported that 17 adults and 11 children joined the congregation on Sunday, November 9. Pastor King reported on the activities of Campus Ministry. Maren Hulden and Emily Leskinen are new peer ministers. Pastor King will attend a statewide meeting of Lutheran Campus pastors the weekend of November 16. Campus Ministry recommends Maren Hulden to serve out Jeremy Posadas's term on Council. The conversation turned to the issue of Council membership. Council introduced a motion to allow for a student (associate member status) to have voting power on Council. Council will seek a change in our constitution at the annual meeting scheduled for January 25.
Laura Wilhelm reported that following the special meeting of the congregation we made arrangements with RC Communications to have the sound system installed. Installation will take six to eight weeks (maybe in time for Christmas!). The Worship and Music Committee arranged for Ron Svarney to be our interim director of music. Ron plays the organ on Sunday morning and directs the Parish Choir and Schola Cantorum. Laura reported that she is asking for several volunteers to coordinate the Sankta Lucia festival.
Dan Friedrich reported on the success of the fall workday. He also reported that our real estate agent indicates a buyer is interested in the rental property but has not yet submitted a bid. The Ad Hoc Finance Committee will meet with Campus Ministry within the next week regarding the grant/loan for the building project. Chris Tompsett reported that the work of the search committee for a director of music ministry is underway.
Council authorized the establishment of a new standing committee on Information Technology. The committee would oversee Augustana's IT systems, such as computers, networks, printers, cabling, accounting systems, databases, word processing and publishing software, web sites and portals, internet connectivity, e-mail systems, phone systems, cell phones and pagers, hand-held devices, security systems, sound systems, multimedia systems, office machines, temperature control systems, and other digital devices and systems. Dan Friedrich agreed to convene a meeting of possible members of this new committee.
Council welcomed Claudia Bergmann and Scott Moore to our meeting. Claudia and Scott have accepted a call from Global Missions to work at the church in Eisleben, Germany. They presented a fascinating report on the role of the church in Germany and specifically their anticipated work Eisleben..
On November 16, members brought their 2004 pledges forward during the offering time in the service. It was Pledge Sunday for the Annual Stewardship Drive and 48 pledges were received totaling $112,197. We give thanks for these early pledges and urge others to bring their pledges before the end of 2003 so that we can more accurately budget for the coming year.
Last year Pledge Sunday was later because of the Building Campaign and figures were not available until January. Two years ago, 59 pledges were received on the November Pledge Sunday for a total of $146,028. For the past two years, a total of 78 units pledged their support for the work of Augustana, and we hope to have at least that many pledges by the end of this year.
Augustana took another major step in its Building Program on October 21, 2003, as the Congregation Council selected Berglund Construction as our General Contractor for the work. This selection was based on the recommendation of the Building Committee, composed of Kathy Anderson, Dan Friedrich, Gordeen Gorder, Dick Johnson, Linda Mitchell (with husband Byron sitting in for her on occasion), and Pastor John Gorder.
The Committee had invited a number of well-regarded construction firms to interview with the Committee, asking each to submit information as to their experience, their credit-worthiness, a bid for their management fee and a detailed estimate of the cost of the construction. (On the recommendation of our architects, the Committee had decided not to put the project out to competitive bidding, seeking instead a firm to act as our partner in achieving a price that fits our budget.) The Committee interviewed three firms, sought recommendations from references and asked for and received elaborations and revisions to the cost estimates.
The Committee recommended Berglund for the following reasons
The next step, which has already begun, is for Berglund, Nagle Hartray (our architects) and the Committee to explore ways to reduce the cost of the plan while achieving our goals for the project. We believe that we will need to reduce the costs by about 15% from the preliminary cost estimates received from the proposing contractors (all of which were very fairly close) in order to do the project basically as now planned. We are hopeful that this can be achieved.
When this "value engineering" process is complete, the contractor will obtain competitive bids from acceptable subcontractors (such as for plumbing, electrical and other trades) and suppliers for various portions of the work. When those bids are received and reviewed, we will negotiate a price for the work with Berglund. No contract will be actually entered into until that process is completed and then only upon the approval of the Council and the Congregation.
Augustana was delighted to welcome twenty five new members and associate members in the community on November 9. They include:
Following worship, the Evangelism Committee hosted a luncheon in the GA room for the new members.
New member classes will begin January 11, 2004. All who are interested in joining Augustana as members or associate members are encouraged to meet in Pastor Gorder's study at 9:30 AM during the following three Sundays: January 11, January 18, and January 25.
To facilitate the hiring of a new director of music, Council selected a search committee comprising Augustana members who reflect a broad range of constituencies within the parish. This committee -- Elsa Charlston, John Gorder, Laura King, Cheryl Philip, Nancy Schneider, Leah Smith, Chris Tompsett, Mark Wilhelm, and chairman Bruce Tammen -- has met twice as of this writing on November 16. We have discussed the character and status of Augustana's current music program, with an eye (and ear) to preserving the many good things we have -- and at the same time, we have offered suggestions about ways we could expand, change, and become more flexible. We have reviewed the financial arrangements we had with our former director, and investigated the norms suggested by both the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. One thing we rediscovered, perhaps obvious but nonetheless important to mention, Augustana has a good program, and the position we are advertising is an attractive one. As of this writing we have drafted both a job posting and a job description which we expect are specific enough, and flexible enough, to attract good candidates. The posting will be published in various newsletters and websites (including Augustana's website: www.augustana.chi.il.us). We will review applications as they come in and meet again as a group to discuss them. At this point we are leaving the search open-ended, without an application deadline; this allows us to wait until we get just the person we want, an important aspect of a search as important as this one.
The committee invites "nominations from the floor". If any of you know of qualified candidates, refer them to our website, which gives instructions for filing applications.
Augustana is seeking a permanent, half-time person for the position of church secretary. Office management skills, computer competence, creative spirit, and good team spirit are important. Please contact the church office (773-493-6451 or email@example.com) for application materials and detailed job description. Hours: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Monday - Friday.
Carol Eck has served as Augustana's secretary during the past year and a half. Carol came to Augustana on an interim basis and we have appreciated her gentle care and good humor. We thank her for her willingness to help us meet our needs. We wish her the very best as she continues work at Carson Pirie Scott in the State Street china department!
Carol is on the Grace Note editorial committee and is a frequent contributor to our monthly publication. She is also the one who keeps the pencils sharp in the pew pockets...and keeps the envelopes and other items in those pew racks tidy. She is also a regular Minister of the Word at Augustana.