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 June 25. 2018

Friend us on Facebook: Westchester Community Church




(with God in mind….)


                 There is so little room for God.  God is both omnipotent and omnipresent (meaning has so much power and pervasive presence), yet deigns to give us the room to choose whether or not we will let God in to our lives.  The humor is that God is always there and

willing to be part of our lives.  The irony is that all we have to do is ask God in.  So why do most people live such unfulfilled lives?  Why do we feel so trapped and overwhelmed?

                 I would argue there are two primary reasons for this.  And both have to do with space.  For a moment, give me your time to finish reading this article.  That is, in part, the answer to the question.  Apart from “time management” concepts about getting work finished, there is a primary concept at play.  Time management studies assume, as in western economics, that we have a limited resource of time, and how we choose to use it will determine how effective we are.  I argue that this concept, is, in fact, limited.  Time is time.  It continues.  No one has any shortage.  We are all give the same time in which to live.  Ask any busy person how they get things done.  They will tell you—they just do things.  Maybe they prioritize them a bit better, or keep their files a bit more tidy.  But they have the same time that you and I do.

                 But I will argue that we have fallen prey to a false assumption about time (and space).  We have bought the argument that everything is limited.  We have forgotten that God is not limited to time and space like we think we are.  God has plenty of time and space for the over 7  billion people that live, for all the saints in heaven, for all of creation.  And God has given us the Holy Spirit, which, as best as I know, is at work in your and my life right now.  God literally creates “time and room” in the midst of “time” and “room”.  It is not philosophical table talk.  It is real.  It is sacred (“other”; “holy”; of God).  God finds time for you at the same time that God finds time for someone in Australia, Mongolia, Chile, and Iraq.  God finds ways to transform space and place into sacred space.


But we rarely choose to look for it.  It is right there, at our fingertips.  We can access God without having to use 411 or googlemaps.  But we must choose ourselves to access God.  I find it both sad and humorous that so many people are so constantly stressed out by life, and, when I ask them how they use their time and space, they tell me that they have no freedom to think, breathe, reflect, or pray.  When I ask them what fills all this space and time, they tell me—Activities do.  My never being shut off smartphone does.  My constant having to have noise with I-pads, MP3s, ear-buds in my ears does.  My having no private space to “get away” does.  And that is our fault.  And it can change.

                 I don’t stress as easily anymore.  I still react like most people do– but I have learned techniques.  The first is I acknowledge the stress and name it.  The second is that I ask myself whether it is more an issue of space or time.  The third is I attend to it.  The fourth—and the purpose of this Column article—is I create sacred space to address it.

                 Sacred space is either/both about space and time.  I learned years ago that I need a

private place to de-stress.  I also learned that I need a private time to de-stress and re-focus.  I really believe that is behind why Jesus got away from his disciples and other people the way he did.  He literally went “away” from everyone and prayed alone.  **By the way:  prayer is NEVER a waste of time.  Prayer is a way of re-focus.  I ask God to enter.  I ask God to help me gain perspective.  I ask God to give me strength to address both what I think I need to do, and to help me in the places I don’t understand what I need to do.  I often use late at night to do this.  You might want to use another time.  You might want to find the place that can be sacred for you to spend time with God.

                 The least stressed people I know have the same problems that you and I do.  Sometimes they face things that I would argue are greater than what most people face.  But they

consistently have found time and space to use in the midst of their stress, and place that value so highly that they are willing to sacrifice what you and I might see as valuable time and place.  One of my dear friends said it to me once this way:  “I don’t have time NOT to pray” (I really love that one).  The most physically healthy people I know do the same things around exercise.  They cannot imagine a world without walking, or keeping active.  And yet they also have enough balance not to over-exercise or occasionally change a pattern when life creates for them a momentary change.  I recently heard the story of a baseball player who learned that he

became a better pitcher after he had major “Tommy John” surgery.  He was asked how that was possible.  He simply said—”I started doing the exercises that I should have been doing in the first place.  But now I understood their importance”.

                 In my next article, I will be reflecting more on sacred space.  I will have just been at Tower Hill Camp—a special place of sacred space for me, and having been through sabbatical (a special time of sacred space).  Through then, may you find the time and space necessary to be healthy.  Know that God is ready to spend that time and space with you.

                        In the Christ,





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

Faith Conversations meets the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month after church Our next topic—How when we are born-and the context of our culture has impact on our faith.  Come for  lively discussions!!




Thank you Pastor Joe for being there for me in a time of need.  Thank you for all the visits to Mom.  Her face always lightened up when you walked in the door.  Thank you so much for the wonderful service you did for Mom.  You are the Best.  I want to thank the WCC Congregation for prayers for Mom.  Thank you all for helping with the luncheon.  It was such a nice time of celebration of Mom's life.  She loved pizza from Q's.  And, last but not least, Portillo's chocolate cake was one of her favorites.  And all the wonderful desserts made by everyone was so nice. Thank you all for your love and support.  Thanks to the whole WCC.  What a great church Love, Chuck and Lynne


Dear Brenna and Members of the Sassy Stitchers,   Thank you so much for the beautiful stitched items.  Each unique, hand-made blanket, bib, hat, and bunny will add so much to the layettes that we will put together.  Thank you also for caring about the teen mothers in Aunt Martha's program and sharing your talents and good wishes with them.  Sincerely yours, Ellen Kaplan


Music Board and WCC Words cannot express how grateful I am for your understanding of my time needed to heal, how thankful I am for the cards, texts and flowers and how happy I am to be part of such a wonder family away from my family here.  I love all of you and I look forward to seeing you all very soon! Love, Michael Cantrell


Pastor Joe, You have done so much for us in confirmation.  We thank you very much and are glad you could be the teacher.  I have learned so much from you and what you’ve taught me.  Thank you very much.  Riley  Thank you for your teaching and guidance in God’s word, as well at the time you gave to help Riley know our Holy Spirit in many different ways.  Jim and Debbie.


Pastor Joe, Thank you so much for not only officiating our wedding, but also for your guidance through the process.  We are so thankful for the personal touch you incorporated into our ceremony.  We look forward to keeping in touch!  Tom, Becky and Mason


Pastor Joe.  It will forever be an honor that you baptized my 3 children.  I cannot thank you enough for always welcoming my family and I back into the church and upholding the traditions and faith that my parents felt so strong about when they were alive.  You constantly awe me at your kindness and dedication.  Love  you always, Katy, Greg, Lucas, Jaxon & Emma Lichtenberger


Thank you for your beautiful service for Dad’s funeral, it meant a great deal to Bob and I.  Though this is never an experience you want to go through, your service gives us all a sense of comfort, peace, and hope.  Again Thank You!  Janice & Bob March


Words cannot express how grateful our family is for your generous support,  Encouraging words, thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for thinking of us in all in time of need.  Rita and Jerry


I would like to thank Pastor Joe for his mail and attending the Midway reception of the April 11 Honor Flight Chicago.  Also my other church friends that sent personal mail to me for the Honor Flight.  This mail was used to simulate the old service MA IL CALL event.  Most of the major Washington Monuments/memorials were visited.  Police escort was provided throughout our stimulating trip.  The welcome receptions received at both airports were a fantastic—a once in a life experience—hundreds of people young old and in-between, music, bands, flags, songs, all waiting to welcome us thanking us for our service to our country...beyond expectation!!!  It was a long busy day for us—for me 3am to 11 pm 20 hours without sleep!!  My thanks to Honor Flight Chicago for making these once in a lifetime trips available to all qualifying veterans and without any cost.  Walt Suva 

P.S. Popeye’s Chicken Restaurants donated $120,000 for this trip.


Dear Pastor Joe  I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk with you and thank you for Donna Wright’s memorial service.  It was most beautiful and personal touching.  You have a gift that makes an impression on all.  You touched my heart and soul during your sermon about God & Mrs. Wright.  How inspiring and true, everything you said,  Your parishioners are blessed to have you in their lives, our churches need more like you.  I wish you didn’t live 40 miles away,  Thank you for all the gifts you give to those that know you.  You are a beautiful person and God certainly lives in you.  Sincerely, Nancy (Schaul) Morales


We just wanted to say thank you for everything you said about my father.  You did an amazing job and touched everyone in the room.  My father would have been so proud and humbled by your words,  Thank you, Dawn & Hailey O’Neil


The Westchester Food Pantry would like to thank you for allowing us to hold our first ever yard sale in your Fellowship Hall.  Thanks to you, we generated $8,069.98.  A special shout out to Wayne Miller who was there to help us every step of the way.  We couldn’t have done it without him.  These dollars will allow us to help our neighbors in need.  Regionally, one in six people in Cook County suffer from food insecurity.  They do not know when they will get their next meal.  At the Westchester Food Pantry, we are committed to helping those in Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview, Hillside, LaGrange Park, Westchester and Western Springs.  We serve over 200 households each month feeding upwards of 500 people.  Our work is cut out for us.  With your support, we will continue our mission to fight food insecurity in our area.  Thank you so much.  Lee Bence and Amanda Grant Westchester Food Pantry Garage Sale Committee








Most people do not know what Sabbatical is.  As part of Pastor Joe’s call to our church, he gets time after every five years to spend in time away from his normal work—reading, praying, researching, and resting.  Over the last few years he has worked on issue of church Growth, Communication, the future of the Church.

This year he will be reading several books on various topics, including Evangelism, church Leadership, Community, and

issues of Race and Racism.

**During this time—emergencies will be covered by Pastor Bob Hempel.

During the day-call the church office 708/865-1282.

Evenings and weekends call Pastor Hempel 708/352-2630


GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AND HELP OUR CHURCH!!  Buy a Gift Card from MANNA for something you WILL be buying, and a percentage of it (you get what you pay for) goes to help our church!!  This  money will assist the Trustees with the outside painting of the church.  Manna order blanks are available in the church office or narthex.  Make checks payable to WCC.  Orders are due the last Sunday of the month with the distribution on the second Sunday of the month.  If you have questions, please call Sue Becerra in the church office 708/865-1282 or Charlene Dolnics 708/345-1816.  


WCC card makers have an assortment of handmade greeting cards available in the Narthex for you to send to church members and friends who may need a cheery note.  There is a free will donation box.  Proceeds help to purchase supplies and are also donated to special mission projects. 


Parish Fellowship is selling note cards, featuring a drawing of our church, designed by Hedy Kniesel.  They are packaged in bundles of 10 cards with envelopes.  The cost is $4.00, please drop your check or cash in the offering plate marked note cards.  Thanks



Will be after church on Sunday, July 8.

If you know of someone who wants to join our church or is interested,

Please contact our church office!!





PEOPLE AT THEIR HOMES:  Robert Ewert, Ken Lindstrom, Sean Tavernier, Mary Gorski, Char Schwass, Shirley Felske, Deb Sundwall, Jim Wagner, Marcia Burba, Kim Powers, Jeannie Rowe, Susan Ruiz, Betsy Grimm, Carmella and Benny Locigno, Ann McCarthy, James Tsilivis, Cathe and Aneitra Flynn, Gloria Dearmore, Rich Kasey, Elayne Dalheim, Milton and Patricia Ladner, Sandra Fulco, Michael Kelstrom, Louella Kec, Eva Poulos, Ruth Edelmann




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;  Richard Schwartz-Beacon Hill; Sonja Stetzer—Meadowbrook


FRIENDS TO KEEP IN PRAYERS:  Allen Family, Jaye Ahoyt, Chris Andersen, Pablo Arellano, Marina Augello, Terry Chrabot, Beverly Cobbs, Tania Chizzo, Terry Chrabot, Donna Compton, Frank Cosenza, Joan Costello, Sherry Craver, Hank Dajc, Mary Devery, Stacie Donnelly, Roger Ewert, Adam Garrett, Quentin Giron, Herman Goodloe, Ronald Habich, Hans & Ruth Hermann,  Erin Hoffman, Christa Kanineck, Karen Kaspar, Alvin Klein, Janice Kostka, Christa Krasneck, Kathy Lecthenberg, Larry Lemon,  Brian McKnight, Reggie Mensik, Andrew Olson & Family, The O’Tooley Family, Phyllis Picolati, Richard Russell, Lois Santerior, Patricia Savage, Randy Shanahan, Mike Scherer, Serena and Chris, Randy Shanahan, David Shea, Pastor Neil Shoffner, Phil Swanson, Gwen Toombs,  Peter Walke, Scott Ylinen, Diane, Trayce and Jeff  Zimmerman


PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED:   Dolores Patak—Plymouth Place, George Nelson, LaGrange Hospital; Dave Shea (Barb Mills’ father) - in Cincinnati


We grieve with the following families:  The Hart, Meskan family in the death of David Kerns, the Sanek family in the death of Joan’s sister June Wistain  family and friends of long-time church member Dee Leppig, who passed at 102 yrs.; The Stanger family in the death of Ted’s cousin Craig, the Zimmerman family in the death of Augie Zimmerman, and Ginny Hodina’s 102 yr old card and Fish Fry friend Frank Tenebrini., the Savage family in the death of  Carolyn’s mother Mary Bennett, The Sanek’s in the death of good friend and Fish Fry friend Ron Marsik, the Monaghan family in the death of John Monaghan, who was a champion for the rights and benefits of all veterans, the Wanielista Family in the death of long-time member Marge Wanielista; the Wright Family in the death of long-time member Donna Wright; with Jean Stanger and family in the death of her sister Gerry Kooken; with Otis and Janet Randle and the Brown families in the murder death of his godson Lavonte Brown; with our community in the deaths of Westchester Chamber member Len Weigel, and with family and friends in the death of Fish Fry friend Bob Feehan; with the Dolnics and Schimpf families in the death of Frank Schimpf; with Cluster 4 pastor Rev. Anthony Williams and family in the murder of his son Nehemiah Williams; and with Michael Cantrell and family in the death of Michael’s father Chuck Cantrell.



WE WANT YOU TO 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


Joe and Joan Sanek,

2600 S. Finley Rd., #3614

 Lombard, IL 60184


 New Members

Jeanne Stange 10909 Martindale Drive,  Westchester IL, her phone number is 708/562-0167. Her Birthday is July 15.  Her  sponsor is Jean Stanger


Mark and  Bridget Henning,  1947 Newcastle, Westchester IL 60154, there phone number is 708/344-2969.  Bridget’s birthday is October 4 and Mark’s birthday is March 8th.  They have 2 children Matthew (Feb 10) and Elizabeth (Jan 4) Their anniversary if September 3, 2000.  Their sponsors are:   Horst and Hedy Kniesel


Riley James Barker, born April 22, 2004.  His parents are Debbie and James Barker. 

Riley’s Confirmation passage is: I John 3:2


Shannen Elise McGinn, born March 20, 2004.  Her parents are Lisa McGinn-Goethe and Gregg McGinn.  Shannen’s Confirmation passage is:  I John 3:23


Cepella Camille Randle, born May 14, 2004.  Her parents are Janet and Otis Randle.

Cepella’s Confirmation passage is:  I John 4:7


New Baby

Congratulations to the Pedersen family on the birth of Emma Alexandra on March 5th—6# 12 oz. 19-3/4 inches


We celebrate with the following:

Gabriel Kniesel, who will be going to High School in the fall;

Sarah Ann Vrablic, who just graduated from Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kansas (think Overland Park)

Justin Chappell Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education—Congratulations!!!

(If you know of someone graduating High School or College—let us know!!!)



“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” - Richard Braunstein


If you know anything about how a normal church operates - A normal one has a difficult time paying bills in the summer.  Attendance goes down (vacations and heat).

But bills are the same every month.  We NEED YOU to GIVE MONEY to our church!!

Keep your pledge current, Or make a special gift to help us pay bills so we do not have debt.

 You may always give for a special project, and we always welcome your willingness to consider giving to our church in your will.  YOU CAN KEEP GIVING TO OUR CHURCH FOREVER!!




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.


Committee and Board Financial Budget reports are due August 15th.  Please start thinking about what your budget now!


COMING SOON TO A CHURCH BASEMENT NEAR YOU, summer missions card making session.  Thursday, July 12 from 10 am to 2 pm—WCC South Basement.  Bring a brown bag lunch, beverages/dessert provided.  All supplies for making cards are on hand.  Through various sources, the cards will be delivered to those serving in the military worldwide.  Come and join us.  RSVP or questions, contact Charlene Dolnics 708/345-1816


Want to March with us in the 4th of July Parade??

We gather at the beginning of the parade route (think corner of Dorchester and Mayfair) - and march together to our church.  We hand out candy to kids and flyers about our church.

Let Sue know if you are willing to help!!



Saturdays July 21 and August 18

8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Cost: $5 for cars; $8 for trucks/vans

All proceeds help our Youth Group go to

Mission Trips and Tower Hill trips.


You will want to see our float- Think—”Give me your tired….” If you want to march in the parade (we give out information about our church, our Fish Fries, and candy!!)  Gather at the church at 8:30 a.m. to help bring the float over, Or come to the corner of Mayfair and

Oxford (we will be somewhere near there) by 8:45 a.m. to help do “finishing touches” on the float and to march.The parade ends at our church!! **for Youth-Float Build - Last day to put on touches is Monday,July 2-    4 p.m. at Pastor Mills’ home



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

recycling can near the back door.



Tower Hill Mission Trip

Sunday –Saturday

July 22-28

We must know NOW if you can go.

Cost is $100 per participant.







**If you know of someone entering 7th or 8th Grade, or someone older who has not yet

been in Confirmation, you are eligible for this class. Contact the church office, or see Pastor Joe following worship!!

 Save Your Caps!

No...Not your baseball caps, we want any and all caps from shampoo, water bottles, ketchup, etc.  There is an eco-friendly company who will recycle these for us and give us a new picnic table!  The catch is we need 400 pounds.  Lynae Kostohryz is collecting them, give them to the girl scouts.  The scouts will get them to the Eco Company.  Thanks


9/28      6:30—11:30p Scrapbooking

9/29      9:30am—11 pm Scrapbooking/          Cardmaking

10/10    9am-2:30pm Harvest of Crafts

10/26    6:30-11pm Scrapbooking

10/27    9:30am—11 pm Scrapbooking/          Cardmaking

11/9      6p—Dueling Pianos



Two young men recently crossed over into Troop #73 -

Danny Duffy and Freddie Franzwa.

Webelos I has 14 youth—and that is the group that will cross over next year.

They constantly have activities and are a healthy Pack and Troop.

Our Cub Scout Pack and Troop #73

Are doing amazing things!!



Copies of Information about

 Estate Planning –from our recent

Coffee Hour presentation by

Chamber Member Maria Vasos, LLC

And “Property after Death” Guide

From our Cook County Recorder of Deeds


The Resolution from our Recent CMA/UCC Meeting:

“Nehemiah’s Life:  A Resolution of

Witness Against Violence in America”

was recently passed—and sent for

consideration to our General Synod of our United Church of Christ.

Our own Bill and Ann McCarthy helped to shepherd this resolution through our Cluster and the CMA.

It is posted in our narthex—and we ask that you read it and pray over it.



We pray for our recently retired Rev. Jorge Morales, our long-time Illinois Conference Minister, who championed issues of social justice and the church!


We pray for Rev. Dr. Michael Daly, recently installed in our sister UCC church—First Congregational Church UCC in Elmhurst.


We pray for Rev. Kim Whisler-Vasko and the members of our sister Cluster 4 church St. Johns UCC in Lyons—where a car

recently drove through the exterior wall of the church, causing major damage.

Everyone is safe, but this has caused major problems for them.



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

Four officers from the Westchester Blood Program take a break from Carl Panek’s last drive as WPB chair.  They are from left Wendy Hennings, Michael Vitek, Carl Panek and Kim Lindsay.  On that day, they collected 109 units of blood for Chicagoland hospitals.


Thanks to blood donors, volunteers

 The Westchester Blood Program extends its deep thanks to members of the WCC Family who took part in its  April 14 blood drive at the Community Center.  Despite inclement weather, 80 donors signed in, and the WBP collected 78 units (pints) for Chicago area hospitals via LifeSource Blood Services.  That's enough of the life-giving fluid to care for 200 patients. So far this year, the Program has taken in 172 units of blood.   And it has gleaned 26,200 units since its inception in 1974.  The next community drive will take place on Saturday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Divine Providence School. AND we send our thanks also to the members and parents of our own Boy Scout Troop 73 and members of our local Lions Club who helped with all of the dozens of tables and chairs. 


Schaumburg Boomers Baseball  Game—Conboy is hosting a FREE outing on Sunday July 22, buses leave 11 am.  Please RSVP 708/562-5900.




July 6-7-8 on the grounds

Of St. Joseph High School.

Sunday has an Arts and Crafts Show.

Musical Groups include:

Heartache Tonight, Wedding Banned,

The Boy Band, The Hair Band,

The Redmonds, and the Blooze Bros.


National Night Out is August 7 at our Community Park next door, and

August 9 is a special Music Night

featuring 7th Heaven at our

High Ridge Park.

Your Chamber of Commerce is a

partner in these events!!