The Column Newsletter



Westchester Community Church
United Church of Christ
1840 Westchester Blvd
· Westchester, Illinois 60154
(708) 865-1282
WCC Website:

Church email:

Rev. Joseph E. Mills, III · Pastor  
UCSI Website:
Sunday Service
· 10:00 am  
Office Hours
· Monday-Friday · 8:00 am—4:30 pm

Volume 24               Issue 2

Issue Date February 26. 2018

Friend us on Facebook: Westchester Community Church




(with God in mind….)

              Almost 90 years ago, on Valentine’s Day, a protracted gang war between Al Capone and George “Bugs” Moran escalated into a northside shooting, where four men, dressed as police officers, en-tered the headquarters of Moran, and shot 7 of his chief associates. This was in direct “response” to Moran going to a Cicero Hotel, and shooting over 1,000 bullets at Capone and associates. Known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre, this killing has been immortalized in movies (think the one with Jason Robards), and Chicago anectodal history.

Until ten days ago.

              Ten days ago, seventeen children and adults were savagely killed in Building 12 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On Valentine’s Day. I was getting ready for Ash Wednesday worship, a service of penance, sacrifice, and atonement. The killings do not yet appear (note: I do not really know, but have listened much) to be in retribution for one

particular act. The students and teachers killed do not appear to have been in long-term rela-tionships with the shooter. But these killings will be immortalized, and etched into our

nations’ consciousness.

              And the questions abound: Who is at fault? Could we have done something better to protect our children? What signals did we miss, or ignore? But there are questions for me that I want to share: How can we, as Christians, use our basic values of faith to impact how we live on a day to day basis to respond to crisis? How can we, as the Church, demonstrate how living in covenant with God challenges us to live differently than the ways the world teaches us.

              Due to the nature of systems, the further away we get from being individuals, the more we try to blame systems for all the world’s problems. You have already seen the blaming. It is painful, and woefully short-sighted. And I am saddened that much of our Christian response has been minimized, because we have been caught in the crossfires of pain: “How dare you say—I’ll pray for you. How does that bring back my child?”.

              I would like to respond.

The oldest understanding of the word “respond” is to “pledge again” - to make a promise to be in relationship. It is to create relationship, take seriously relationship, and re-create it when damaged. It is not to use relationship for self-serving means (which is in part what has been happening after the shootings). It is to be open to true and painful listening, and not need to

create an immediate reaction.

              When I was in seminary, I spent a summer serving at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis on the Bone Marrow Transplant floor and the Neuro-ICU unit (think major brain surgeries and gun shots). Much of my training was learning to stop thinking of a response, and start thinking about what someone else was saying. It was to try, as best I could, to get into “their skin”, and figure out why I was uncomfortable with “my skin” (why I hurt when they said something; why I needed to fill the void with talk, for instance).

              We live in a time of instant gratification and instant reaction. The word react simply means to “do again”. When we react in anger to anger—we are only reflecting more anger on the already existent problem. When we react to pain by telling someone about our pain—we are only minimizing their hurt. Too much of that has been done in Florida. But no blame. We do it, too. And we can stop reacting and begin responding.

              Responding means how I choose to act and live with you. For the last ten days I have tried very hard to think about the pain of students and families. I have also tried to think of the pain God has in knowing that I am given freedom to live. That freedom can bring life, and it can bring death.

              So the question is: How will I choose to live with the freedom God gives me to bring life? How will I break the world’s cycle of blame and retribution, and move away from

Valentine’s Day Massacres to instead—”pledge again” to be in relationship with God and with others? This is not cheap or naïve talk. It is basic. I spend far too much time challenging

people to listen, contemplate, plan ways of caring response as I listen to their pain and hope.

              I cannot undo what has happened in Parkland, Florida. But I can do something about what I do here. And when I take the time to know you, listen to you, I have a much better chance to know if there needs to be intervention, and a much better chance to ask for help, be-cause I cannot do all things by myself. But I can respond, rather than react. And I pray you work with me to do the same.

              In blessing, and in prayers for all the families affected by this horrible tragedy.           


PASTOR: Rev.Joseph E. Mills, III In the Risen Christ      






The Wednesday Bible Studymeets Wednesdays, 9:30 am, Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center. We are discussing the Book of Psalms.

Faith Conversations meets the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month after church O u r n e x t t o p i c — How being of different generations im-pacts how we “do Christianity” and how we live spiritually. Come for lively discussions!!




Your support for our mission work and the re-building of our church. We are currently able to have our worship services and two deaf AA meetings each week and I am now living in a makeshift apartment as they have started there as they have started the tearing out of the ceil-ings upstairs to meet the city code. I am also able to continue my counseling work there. Your support and love are so appreciated. Rev. Dr. Charlotte Nold, Pastor and the St. John Congregation


Thank you for your financial contribution $250 and your donation of 145 pairs of socks. Your donation is an important part of preventing and ending homelessness in our community. BEDS Plus relies on generosity of donors like you to continue to offer programs. We value and ap-preciate your gift. Tina Rounds, Executive Director BEDS Plus


I wish to extend my personal thanks to you on behalf of the Hines VA Hospital patients and staff for your recent donation of items. (Christmas Cards, 2018 calendars, personal items, socks, shorts and hankies) Melissa Winter, Chief Voluntary Service Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital


On behalf of hundreds of American servicemen and women, Operator Support Our Troops America wants to thank you for your generous collection of 5 pounds of cards to be sent to the troops. We sincerely appreciate your contribu-tion and are very grateful. Jamie Nelson Ex-ecutive Director OSOT America

On behalf of the families and children served at Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Univer-sity Medical Center, I would like to thank you for y our generous donation of three pounds of pop tabs. Your pop tabs will be recycled and we will receive all funds for the recycled metal plus a generous match from our recycling partner, United Scrap Metal. Together, with your help we are keeping families strong and helping chil-dren heal faster. Kelly Evans, House Director Ronald McDonald House


I believe that God hears our prayers. I would like to thank my friends from Westchester Com-munity Church for your prayers, cards, visits and good food during my recent brain surgery and home recovery. Your love and support are a joy and comfort to both my husband, Bill and me. Again, thanks very much Ann McCarthy


Pastor Joe Thanks you so much for putting to-gether a beautiful wedding ceremony for us. Nobody could have done as good of a job as you! All or our guess raved about the cere-mony!!! We’d like to thank you for all the love and support. Love, Eddie & Kim


Thanks you so much for all of your help these past few months. Your visits meant a great deal to Mom. We also appreciate your guidance with the memorial service. We couldn’t have done it without your help! Kathie, Janet and Jeffrey


Thank you so much for the wonderful service you did for Chuck. You made it so personal and we are very grateful. God Bless You. Sin-cerely, Joyce, Jim & Family

Thank you so very much for all you did for Den-nis and I. I cannot tell you how many people have reached out to me to tell me what a won-derful eulogy you did for Dennis. I know he was so pleased. I am so thankful Dennis reached out to you. We are so very blessed! Carol


Please thank the children for the wonderful gift bag. Donna Cavan


I truly appreciate your visit. The talk and prayer we had lifted my spirits Thank you Charlotte Schwass


Pastor Joe and the Mission Trip crew. Thank you so much for all you did for us at the All Tribes Lighthouse Mission. Getting all that wood put away helped so very much. I don’t know if we would even have it done by now if it wasn’t for you and your crew. Thank you so much for the donation as well. Sorry it has taken so long to get this thank you out. May God Bless you all. Love, The All Tribes Crew


We would like to than you for coming to Grand Rapids for Jeanie’s surgery. We all enjoyed spending time with you. When Jeanie work up, she asked us “Where’s Pastor Joe”? We were sur-prised she remembered you being there. She says she remembers you holding her hand. We hope to see you and other soon, but have to wait for better weather. Take Care and God Bless, Vicky, DeWayne, Jeanie & Matt


I want to thank Bob VonLaven for all the wonderful things he does for and around this church. Bob spent months repairing and then painting the outdoor Nativity scene this past year, before putting it up for Christmas. He turns on the Christmas lights before service on Sundays during Christmas. He shovels and salts many times during the winter. He pulls weeds in the summer, and much more. He is at the church working several days a week. He took the Christmas decorations in Field Fellowship Hall for the Deacons, so I didn’t have to climb up into the win-dows. Most people are unaware of all the things Bob does quietly around our church. I just wanted to say a big thank you to Bob . Carol Hoppe, Deacons Board







“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” - Mark Twain


Giving regularly allows us to never worry month to month about what bills to pay and which ones to delay.

Projects which we will soon need to address: The painting of our building’s exterior, to start with in the spring, and fixing the “feeder/overfeed pipes” for our heating system—which must be

addressed immediately.


You may always give for a special project, and we always welcome your willingness to consider giving to our church in your will.





MANNA is a WIN/WIN for our church. You buy a gift card at its purchase price—and you get exactly what you pay for!! But our church gets a percent-age of that card (because Manna buys in bulk). So you get what you pay for, and you still give to our church!!

Order forms for MANNA are in the narthex—MANNA is collected the last Sunday of the month and will be available the 2nd Sunday of each month.


Would you like to sponsor Altar Flow-ers for a future Sunday? Cost is $27 for one Sunday, and you can sign up on the bulletin board in the Narthex Bulletin Board.




Sassy Stitchers meets on the third Monday of every month at 7 pm in the Library. Please come out to knit and crochet Lessons and projects are offered.



Is Wednesday, March 14, 6:00 p.m.

Rev. Roger Dart of our CMA will speak on Disaster Relief – think local, Puerto Rico, and around the world!!!

Sign up for a dish to share in the

narthex, or call Sue in the office and sign up!!


Address Corrections:

Jean Stange listed incorrectly in direc-tory

Should Be

10909 Martindale Drive

Westchester IL 60154

Meghan Kasanders 211 W. 108th St. Apt. 1

New York, NY 10025

Phone Corrections:

Ann McCarthy 630/903-3482

Bill McCarthy 630/254-6377



Jeff & Emily Simak on baby Nathan Matthew born on November 10th, proud grandfather Dave Simak


Our Last Fish Fry of the Season is GOOD FRI-DAY March 30- 4:30— 7:00 pm. Fish—Chicken (fried or rotisserie) - Shrimp—all dinners $11 Please sign up to help



Maundy Thursday + + + + March 29 – 7:00 p.m. Our Passion Theme, led by a group of members will be – “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”. Communion will be offered.

Good Friday Reflections+ + + March 30 – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

We provide for you materials for personal prayers and meditation. Come to the sanctuary for your personal prayers - for whatever time you wish.

Good Friday Fish Fry ++++ March 30 – 4:30- 7:00 p.m. We will hold a Fish Fry this night (our last one for the season). Bring friends and family!!

Good Friday Worship + + + + March 30 – 7:30 p.m. We will do a service of healing and cleansing this night. We sing special hymns that speak to your spirit this night. Our theme is: “Create In Me…” (based on Psalm 51, and the suffering servant motif in Isaiah 52 and John 18).

Easter 1st Service + + + + + April 1 – 8:00 a.m. Using John’s story of the resurrec-tion, we will focus on “The First, the Last, and Who Follows”. There will be communion and special music.

Easter Breakfast + + + + + April 1 – 9:00 a.m. Please bring Easter breakfast items to share. Our Deacons will have a main dish also for us this morning. A sign-up sheet will be in the narthex, or call the church office.

Easter 2nd Service + + + + April 1 – 10:00 a.m. Using Mark’s story, and listening to Paul’s understanding and witness to Jesus’ res-urrection, we will focus upon – “What A Fool For Christ Believes”. There will be commun-ion and special music!!




We grieve with the following families: Kuncl and Foreman families in the death of Wayne Kuncl (son of Merle Kuncl), Steve, Scott, and Randy Scheffel and families in the death of long-time member Ken Scheffel, Tressler Gorski family in the death of Mary’s mother Martha Tressler, Susan and Gary Bouton and family in the death of long-time friend Sally Sergey, Illinois Conference UCC employee Tracy Diehl in the death of her father, Ronald Nance, Sagan Family in the death of Holly’s mom Marilyn Thorsen, the Sullivan family in the death of Tom’s father Tom Sullivan, the death of one of our Fish Fry regulars Bob Feehan. We have also learned of the tragic murder of Nehemiah Williams son of our colleague Rev. Anthony Williams (1st Congregational UCC, Berwyn), and the death of Village President Paul Gattuso’s father, Anthony Gattuso,



PEOPLE AT THEIR HOMES: Marcia Burba, Kim Powers, Joan Sanek, Bob Triska, Jeannie Rowe, Susan Ruiz, Betsy Grimm, Carmella Locigno, Ann McCarthy, James Tsilivis, Cathe and Aneitra Flynn, Gloria Dearmore, Benny Locigno, Rich Kasey, Elayne Dalheim, Milton and Patricia Ladner, Sandra Fulco, Michael Kelstrom, Louella Kec, Eva Poulos, Ruth Edelmann, Sean Tavernier




PEOPLE AT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES: Lucille Jeffries—Nursing Center at Cantata; Ann Stvan—Bridgeway Christian Village, Dick Widick-Saratoga Grove; Steve Tomporowski – Wisconsin; Terry Samonds: Anna’s Health-care; Ann Miller— Bethlehem Woods; Donna Wright- Rosewood; Richard Schwartz-Beacon Hill; Sonja Stetzer—Meadowbrook


FRIENDS TO KEEP IN PRAYERS: Allen Family, Jaye Ahoyt, Denise Ayala, Hillary Belejung, Ele Blankenship, Sherry Craver, Mary Devery, Stacie Donnelly, Gerri Eck, Joe Ender, Logan Erne, Angie Falasz, Adam Garrett, Nicole Gavin, Linda Gibbony, Herman Goodloe, Doug Hall, Ken Hall, Hans & Ruth Hermann, Holly Hiller, Ed Hirsch, Erin Hoffman, Karen Kaspar, David Kerns, Donna Kinowski, Alvin Klein, Ernst Kniesel, Janice Kostka, Brent Lawrence, Larry Lemon, Virginia Linzmeier, Norvell Martin, Brian McKnight, Melody Nance, Andrew Olson & Family, Phyllis, Gail Russell, Richard Russell, Lois Santerior, Patricia Savage, Rev. Neil Schoffner, Serena and Chris, David Shea, Mary Sugarman, Phil Swanson, Gwen Toombs, Vanessa, Scott Ylinen, Augie and Diane Zimmerman

PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED: Marge Wanielista—in hospice at Lexington Elmhurst Nursing, Joe Sanek—Burgess Square, Shirley Felske—Cantata Nursing, Brookfield



KNOW ABOUT SIGNIFICANT CHURCH EVENTS AND DEATHS WHEN WE LEARN!! Please call or email the church office with your email or phone contact if you’d like to be on a prayer notification list.


We regularly collect food for St. Johns church, our church and Westchester Food Pantry. We especially need Peanut Butter and Spaghetti Sauce (our Pantries tell us we really need these!!)

We also collect personal products such as liquid soap for the Fisher House for Vets, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, shaving cream, lip gloss, etc. for the men and women at Hines VA Hospital and the women’s and children’s shelter. There are boxes in the back of the church for these items . Thanks, Your Mission Board


Why is this little flower so sad? Because we need more orders for the Youth Group Plant Sale . Last day to or-der March 16th!

Youth Group Plant Sale order forms are available in the Narthex (or call the office). Orders and payment are due on March 16th. Plant Sale pickup will be on Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13. Please look over the plant list and decide what you will order, our prices have remained the same for several years. Turn orders in to Sue Becerra or the church office. Questions? Please call the church office 708/865-1282.


Community Circle welcomes women to join the group for fellowship, Christian thoughts and refreshments on Wednes-day, March 21 at 1:00 p.m in the South Basement/Field Fellowship Hall. Mis-sion project collection is pasta/rice. Hostesses are Charlene Dolnics and Dorothy Malczewski. RSVP to Jean Stanger 708/344-3867.



THE Mini Mission Team and all Youth are invited to help!!

Cards made will be sent overseas for

military personnel to contact family and friends!!

Saturday dates upcoming:

March 24 and April 21

Lunch is $5—call Charlene Dolnics at 708/345-1816 to reserve your places!!!


Bell Choir is in need of more ringers practices 8:30 am on Saturdays. We welcome new bell ringers Jr. High and up. Reading music is not a requirement.


Choir Practice are held on Wednesdays, at 6 pm, please check with our new Music Director Michael Cantrell as the schedule is subject to change. New Choir members welcome!!


The Music and Stewardship Boards would like to invite you to our last Lenten Dinner on Wednesday, March 14th at 6 pm. Our theme is “Think Green” - eat healthy and celebrate St. Pat-rick’s Day”. We are serving a pasta dish, meatballs and bread. Please bring a dish to share that has something green in it! If you don’t have time to cook, come any-way!


SAVE THE DATE: The Music Board will hold their 2nd Annual Fellowship Concert Music Extravaganza! Sunday, March 18th at 3:30 p.m. You will not want to miss this free event. The concert will feature Corinthians Missionary Bap-tist Church, Chicago Tamil Church Adult Choir and their Children's Instrumental Group, Our Bell Choir and Adult Choir, Kids After Curfew, Violinist CeeCee Randle and Ms. Hempel, Flautist Madysen Barker, Anna Marousek, Shannen McGinn, and Lisa Goethe-McGinn, and Saxophonist Danny McGinn. After the concert we will have a social hour with refreshments in the Field Fellowship Hall. Please invite your family and friends and plan to attend this afternoon




Please recycle Aluminum cans to raise funds for our Youth Group!! Please bring them the first Sunday of the month. Cans can be left in the narthex by the blue recy-cling can near the back door.

Youth Group Trip to Tower Hill –Friday thru Sunday morning November 10-12. Cost $35—you may bring one friend and a parent or parents!! See Pastor Joe—deadline is No-vember 6.

Bell Choir is in need of more ringers prac-tices 8:30 am on Saturdays. We welcome new bell ringers Jr. High and up. Reading music is not a requirement.

Choir Practice will be held on Thursdays, at 7 pm, please check with our new Music Di-rector Michael Cantrell as the schedule is subject to change. All former and new Choir members welcome!!

This is a plea from the Nominating Com-mittee to all church members to please con-sider joining one of our many boards and committees. In that way, you will help the church in its mission. Call Carl Panek at 708/865-1782.


St. John’s food pantry is in need of plastic grocery bags. Please save them and put them in the box in the Narthex or give them to Elaine Hempel or the Church Of-fice. Thanks

Thanks for Giving” is the November Mis-sion Board project. We will be collecting both money and items to fill baskets which will be given to families in need. If you would like to donate money it will be used to buy items for the basket. Otherwise, food items needed are…· Bags of stuffing (herb or corn bread)

· Can or jar of turkey gravy

· Can or fresh sweet potatoes

· Boxed mashed potatoes

· Baking potatoes

· Pickles

· Olives

· Salad dressing

· Dinner rolls

Sandy Taveriner or Naomi Else will be in the Narthex to accept your donation and…“Thanks for Giving”


Names of people whose addresses we need for the roster: Tammie Barnett, Grace Cec-coni, Elizabeth Diaz, John Diaz, Jason Dil-worth, Kelly Dilworth, Michael Lloyd, Carin Lucas, John & Tina Piest, Jeanette Terry, Florence Washburn, Denise Willey, Brandon Wills, Christina Wills, Serena Ivers and Mark Liotta.


Names of people to have their listing re-moved from the directory by the Board of Parish Fellowship: Dora Burke, Robert & Elayne Dalheim, Michael and Brenda Janco, Keith Kucera, William and Joyce Lietzow, Lowell and Harriet Lucas, Mark and Kim Mandarino, Kelly Morgan, Adam and Nicole Pack, Tony and Kathryn Passaglia, Thomas and Karen Pomrening, David and Luette Stratman, Chloe Blair, Stephanie Albachiara and Steven Hermanowski, Mario and Athena Andrade, Carol Voss.

Any comments or inquiries should be made to The Board of Parish Fellowship


Community Activities



Deals with issues of poverty and racism in Chicago and our suburbs. Our church has been a partner member with CRS for many years.

The Annual Meeting of CRS is Thursday, April 12 at the Chicago Teacher’s Union, 1901 West Carroll Ave. Chicago. The keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall-Turman, Asst. Professor of Theology and African-American Religion at Yale Divinity School. There is a cost—contact Pastor Joe if you are interested in attending!!



The 96 churches within the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church are organized into 6 Clusters of r medium-sized groups of local churches, for the purposes of better local communication and for hosting Ecclesiastical Councils to authorize new persons into ordained ministry. Our church belongs to Cluster 4 of the CMA. We meet bi-monthly at Bethel UCC, 315 E. St. Charles Rd., Elmhurst at 7 pm on the 4th Thursday of the month. We share news of our church to the cluster meetings and to bring back other church’s news to our church. Cluster 4 collects modest dues and it engages in fundraising activities for the purpose of providing benefits like these to member Cluster 4 churches: UCC Church Camp Scholarships, Building Repair Assistance, Honorariums paid to speakers that address us from time to time, Educational Materials for cluster-undertaken enrichment programs, Honorariums to CMA—MID (student in-care) that may deliver pro-grams to us. We next meet on March 22, May 24. We thank Bill and Ann McCarthy and Charles and Kathy Marinier for being our regular representatives.




Is the dance fitness class that’s fun., ener-getic and will make you feel amazing! Monday evenings at 6 pm.. Ditch the Workout, join the Party!! For more infor-mation, please email


On behalf of the Westchester Blood Pro-gram and the many lives we saved last year, I want to thank all of the generous WCC members and “church family” for their donations in 2017. The WBP col-lected 428 units (pints) of blood last year for Chicago area hospitals. That was enough blood to save the lives of 1,000 patients. For those who want to give a pint or two this year, here are the dates and sites of the remaining 2018 drives: April 14, Community Center, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; July 14, Divine Providence School, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Oct. 13, Community Center, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and our annual Turkey Drive in November (date to be deter-mined) when each donor will get a free turkey for Thanksgiving. Carl Panek, chairman, WBP (by the way, Carl recently received the 2017 Most Dedicated Blood Drive Coordinator from the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers—Congratulations!!!)

Grace Lutheran Church Spaghetti
Dinner will be held on Saturday March 10 4-7 pm
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
Sponsored by our Park District and the Kiwanis Club of Westchester
Saturday, March 24 8 a.m.-Noon
Cost $7 for adults;
$6 children under 12
FREE to eat for children 2 yrs. /under
**Easter Candy / Egg Hunt
For children ages 2-10
Lexington Square of Elmhurst
Hosts a Grief Support group
Which meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month in their 7th floor Conference Room -
Contact Christine Bartholomew,
Coordinator at 855/539-6374