Flower garden in front of the church
Rev. Khleber Van Zandt, Minister
Newsletter of the
Church pictured in 1909 postcard
Click HERE for PDF version
We will be on a 10 am “single service” schedule during the summer. Our services from June 9 through August 4 will be led by members of our congregation. Khleber will be back in the pulpit August 11 through August 25. September 1 will be another lay-led service, with our ingathering service starting on September 8 with Khleber in the pulpit.
Summer Worship Speakers
June 2 – Rev. Khleber Van Zandt
“When I Get Where I'm Going”
It's been a tough twelve months for a lot of us and we're feeling the need to let it all go. This Sunday, a musical review of the ups and downs of the past year aimed at helping us move on.
June 9 – Ron Glossop
“UUism as a Different Kind of Religion”
June 16 – Robyn Berkley
June 23 – Sayer Johnson
June 30 – Dee Evans
“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
July 7 – Michelle Bryant-Barbeau
July 14 – Tracey Howe-Koch
“Jesus, What is He Good For?
July 21 – Sabrina Trupia
July 28 – Cheryle Tucker
August 4 – Group presentation
August 11 – Rev. Khleber Van Zandt
“Hello my name is …”
August 18 – Rev. Khleber Van Zandt
“Laborers in the Vineyard”
August 25 – Rev. Khleber Van Zandt
September 4 – TBA
On a Saturday in early May, Mary Johnson and I hosted a workshop in our sanctuary and fellowship hall that had been organized by a group called the Returning Citizens Coalition of Alton. The gathering was open to the public and attended by about fifty folks from the broader community, including social service agency directors from around the Metro-East, a U.S. District Judge, the Alton police chief, and Alton’s new mayor-elect, as well as a number of “returning citizens” – people who have recently been released from prison.
We learned lots that day, especially about how difficult it is for people returning to their communities after doing time in the criminal justice system: no, you can’t get a job if you don't have an address, and no, you can’t get a house without a job, and no, you can’t get a job if you admit you’ve been convicted of a felony or served time, and, and, and.
It’s a circular system of “no, you can’t…”, and it’s been set up that way mostly as a way to further punish offenders. The trouble is that these people have already paid their debt and served their time, and now they need and deserve more than a cold shoulder and a wall of no’s.
As a result of this fine workshop, I was moved to write a letter to the editor of the Telegraph that they have yet to print. Perhaps it will strike a chord with you here:
“Recidivism rate” - that’s what we hear most often about people returning home from prison. We don’t hear so often about reasons behind high recidivism rates: the near impossibility of finding jobs or housing because of labels like “prisoner,” “convict,” or “criminal.”
I recall that Matthew says Jesus spoke of prisoners with compassion, telling a story that included these words: “Then the king will say, ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’ And they will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you in prison and visited you?’ The king will answer, ‘Truly, just as you did it to one of my sisters and brothers, you did it unto me.’”
Jesus himself didn’t spend a long time in prison, just enough to be tried and tortured and crucified as a convicted criminal. Stories then say that three days after that encounter with the prison system, he arose and rejoined his friends. So as a convicted criminal who came back to his community, Jesus himself was a Returning Citizen!
There’s no denying, of course, that some people’s wiring is so messed up that they need to stay in prison, but the vast majority of our returning citizens want to rebuild productive lives. It’s time to stop thinking of them in terms of “ex-convicts” and “criminals” and start seeing them as Jesus the Returning Citizen did: as our sisters and brothers who deserve our compassion and need only a chance.
See you in church,
Notes from the Board -
Board Meeting 5/6/13
Once again, our main topics – completion of an FY13-14 budget and report of the nominating committee – will be old news by the time you read this. And that’s fitting since we spent so much time this year working on funding and planning how to use the available funds. As part of this year’s work we also worked through some questions about “designated contributions” and at the last meeting approved a policy which we believe will clarify that topic going forward:
It is the policy of the Board of Trustees to solicit and accept pledges and unrestricted donations to fund the Church budget which is presented to and approved by the Congregation. Other donations may be solicited and accepted for designated purposes not included in the normal budget, e.g., special building amenities, new software, etc. At the same time the Board rejects designated contributions for support of budget line items since to do so would encourage preferential funding of some line items and potential defunding of other line items, both actions which would damage the Church’s ability to plan and implement an overall budget.
Any request for an exception to this policy requires approval by a majority of the Board.
This policy isn’t intended to stop financial gifts for special uses not included in the budget, such as the new drinking fountain or gas fireplace. It IS intended to ensure that the bulk of our funding supports the budget and that special preferences don’t detract from that budget.
On May 10 & 11 we had a rummage sale at church, held in the Kate Wuerker Room. We advertised in the Alton Telegraph, WBGZ radio, the Riverbender events calendar, Liberty Bank signage in Alton, Godfrey, Bethalto, the Jerseyville Shopper (a free paper), and the social networks of many of you. Fliers and posters were placed around town in business. We are grateful for the support of everyone who donated stuff for the rummage sale. Everything was priced to sell. We had lots to sell that went to other good homes. Hopefully, it was good to de-clutter and get some needed space back into your homes. We are grateful for the 23 individuals that assisted us in the rummage sale and all the good thoughts that went into the success of the sale. We made $1469.90 which went to the church’s general budget. The items leftover went to Beverley Farms resale shop in Godfrey and the library in Jerseyville. It was hard work but good rewards.
We are sincerely grateful,
Lee & Char
In Our Church Family
A long-time friend of the church, Betty Yakubian, passed away on Sunday, April 21 in Houston Texas.
Betty was very active in the Riverbend area for many years. She was an accountant, a business woman, an artist, and a musician.
She actively participated in church activities, especially enjoying the Anna Ds.
A Celebration of Betty’s Life is scheduled in the afternoon of June 22 at Gent Funeral Home in Alton, with a visitation at 12:30 pm until the Memorial Service at 2:00 pm. Contributions in her honor may be made to IMPACT in Alton or to the charity of ones choice.
4th Saturday Lunch
June 22 – 11:30 a.m.
THANK YOU to Robyn Berkley and Kathleen McKeever who have stepped up to be the 4th Saturday Lunch coordinators. Our former Lunch coordinator, Trish Botsko, has moved to California.
There will be details about this month’s lunch on UU Friends, in announcements at church, and through “This Week at Church” sent from the church office.
Our monthly lunches are held on the 4th Sunday. Everyone is asked to bring a dish to share. This is an all-church event so we all participate in setting up and cleaning up.
This year they will also be spending a day providing free medical and dental care at CASA GUATEMALA, which is an orphanage. They would like to be able to collect about 300 pairs of children’s new underwear and about 600 new or gently used (clean) children’s t-shirts. The children at the orphanage range in age from about 4 – 12.
If you are able to donate these personal hygiene items, or children’s clothing please bring them to church by Sunday July 14. Cash donations or check made out to St Joseph Catholic Church will also be accepted.
Renegade Women’s Chalice Circle
Every 3rd Saturday.
Saturday, June 15 from noon to 2 p.m. at church.
Contact the facilitator Dee Evans for further information.
at Pere Marquette
Please join us for an all-inclusive inter-generational camping event from July 5 to 11. The cost is $12 per person per day (children 3 and under free) this includes a rustic cabin to sleep in, hot showers, 3 meals and drinks per day.
Activities include private pool and fellowship. Come for the day or the whole time. We will hold a special outdoor service on Sunday July 7 at 11 am.
Online registration will be available or see Juliette Crone Willis or Sayer Johnson
Thursday, June 6
(last meeting until September)
Anna Ds will meet at 11:30 am on June 6 at Ge-Gee's in Bethalto. The address is 333 W. Bethalto Dr. It's on the east side of the street in the Liberty Bank Building. There is a traffic light right there at the parking lot. You can enter the main entrance of the building and Ge-Gee's is on the left. You can google the restaurant and find a menu. They specialize in soups, salads, sandwiches, coffees and baked goods. Marcia Custer is hosting.
Please call or email Brynda McCoy by Monday June 3 if you are planning to attend.
All women in the church are invited to come to Anna Ds luncheons.
Retired Old Men Eating Out – will meet on Thursday, June 13 at
11:30 am at the Best Buffet at 615 Wesley, Drive in Wood River IL
TUESDAY, June 4
7:00 to 8:30 pm
For more information contact Khleber Van Zandt.
UCM Worship Concert
The United Congregations of Metro-East (UCM) is holding an “Interfaith Fire of Faith Worship Concert” at 5 pm on Sunday, June 2 at the Evangelical United Church of Christ – 1212 W. Homer Adams Parkway in Godfrey. There will be a wide variety of music including Gospel Mime, Praise Choirs, and traditional church music. An ice cream social will follow the concert. Tickets are $5.00. This concert is a fundraiser for UCM. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-451-1458.
Below is the list (as of 5-20-13) of members of the Caring Ministries Committee. You may always contact one of them in time of illness, loss, crisis, or other need. Keep this list of contact people available in case you or your family is in need of pastoral support.
The Caring Ministries Committee is ready to welcome several more members! If you are interested in engaging in conversations with other church friends and getting to know them on a deeper level, please consider joining our group! Please contact Sabrina Trupia until June 30.
Most people enjoy getting a card, email, or phone call on their birthday. Below is the list we have of church members and friends celebrating birthdays this month. If you do not think the church office has your birthday on file, please contact Becky Green at email@example.com and give her that information.
6/01 Sayer Johnson
6/03 Kris Loewe
6/04 Marcia Custer
6/04 Jennifer Herndon
6/04 Mark Wolff
6/06 Ella Chapman Baker, (13)
6/07 Jan Allen
6/07 Ruth Shaw
6/09 Wayne Politsch
6/12 Will Adams, (8)
6/12 Trish Botsko
6/12 Honor Dimick, (13)
6/13 Samuel Berkley, (11)
6/17 Ryan Wucher, (13)
6/20 James Hull, (8)
6/20 Victor Hull, (8)
6/20 Meridith Koch, (13)
6/20 Abigail White, (4)
6/20 Andrew Strangeman, (2)
6/21 Justin Herndon, (5)
6/21 Joy Hoeft
6/22 Cole Chapman, (11)
6/24 Devin Johnson, (13)
6/25 Lela Eichen, (7)
6/25 Mandan Kirk
6/25 Char McAllister
6/27 Amy Andrews
6/29 Charlie Chapman Utgaard, (9)
6/30 Brianna Bennett, (2)
6/30 Ruth Maskow
Your ATTENTION is Needed to
Maintain the Church Building & Grounds
If you notice something in the church building that needs attention or repair, please contact our Building Co-Chair, Lee Suarez.
If you notice something around the church grounds that needs attention or repair, please contact our Grounds Co-Chair, Bob Larson.
Raccoon “Cookie” – the masked invader who wrecked havoc in our building in late May, was drawn by the scent of sardines to go into a no-kill trap that had put on the church roof near where Cookie was getting into the building. Rev. Van Zandt brought Cookie (in the trap) off the roof and took the raccoon across the Mississippi River and released it somewhere in St. Charles County. We hope Cookie can’t swim back.
Almost half-way into our three year Capital Campaign we have already received 70% of our promised pledges. As of May 19, 2013 we've received $178,369. This leaves a little over $75,000 more to come in to meet the campaign goal. From our Capital Campaign contributions, we've spent $134,399 on congregation approved projects, leaving $43,970 in the bank account. This will be the starting point for the next project - new energy efficient windows in the RE Wing. Any of you who would like to pay off your Capital Campaign pledge early are welcome to do so. Since we are only doing projects when we have the cash on hand to complete them, the sooner we get funding, the sooner we can move forward.
Mike Bechtol and Trish Botsko and their son, Chris have moved to California and will be greatly missed. If you would like to keep in touch, their new address is:
22328 Shadycroft Ave.
Torrance, California 90505
RE Program News & Notes
We are taking the summer off this year. There will be no Religious Education programming from June 2 through In-Gathering, September 8. Children and Youth are welcome to worship in the sanctuary during Sunday services. Our fall program resumes September 15, 2013.
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