Monthly Newsletter — June 2017
St. Thomas United Methodist Church
NOTES FROM THE PASTOR Dear St. Thomas,
The day is here! On Sunday, June 4, 2017, we St. Thomas and Christian churches around the world celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost occurs fifty days after Easter. On that day, the church celebrates the happenings recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts, chapter 2.
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)
Notice when you go into church on Pentecost Sunday, the changes in colors in the sanctuary. Red is the color of Pentecost, and it signifies the tongues of flames seen over the heads of those praying together. The Scripture above tells us that the sound of the blowing of a violent wind filled the house where Jesus’ followers were praying. In addition to the color red, churches often display tongues of flame and symbols of wind on banners and posters. In Scripture, we read that the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to go into the streets telling of Jesus to all those they met. Following Peter’s sermon, many were baptized, and the church began to grow. Because of this, we call Pentecost “the birthday of the church.”
While having home observances for Christmas and Easter is common, Pentecost often goes unobserved in our homes. However, without Pentecost, we wouldn’t have the church. It is worthwhile to spend time in family devotions and celebrations for this church holy day that helps us remember how the church began. I am inviting all the family of St. Thomas to have a time in your family or with your friends to do something to remember the day of Pentecost in the month of June.
What can you do in your family to observe Pentecost? Adopted from Discipleship Ministry
- Read together Acts 2:1-40. Ask each family member to tell of one thing he or she will try to remember from the Scripture reading.
- Pretend you are Peter and are delivering that first sermon. What would you say to people today to help them understand the message of Jesus?
- Make a Pentecost cake to celebrate the birth of the church. Tint icing red and decorate. Place candles in clusters to symbolize the flames.
- Enjoy wind activities together. Make and fly a kite. Sit outside at dusk and feel the wind on your faces. Blow bubbles and watch as the wind carries them in the air.
- Visit an older member of your church. Ask your church friend to tell you about memories of how the church started, memories of Sunday school, and memories of people who were important to his or her faith formation.
- Decorate your home by making red banners, posters, or pictures.
- Pray for the communities of Glen Ellyn and beyond (Please see the Weekly Prayer Rotation)
- Use the following prayer as part of your home devotions:
Gracious God. We are reminded again when the first believers in Jesus were given the courage to tell others about Jesus. We believe you give us that same courage to tell others about Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. You know, O God, that sometimes we are fearful and we feel alone. But just like that Pentecost long ago, we, too, are surrounded by your love and presence. Help us live in such a way that others see in us a reflection of your love. Help us have the courage to tell others about the difference it makes in our lives to trust in your love and care. Help us see those around who want to be in the fellowship of Christians. Help us to witness to one another so that we grow in faith. Through the power of your Holy Spirit and the witness of your son, Jesus the Christ, we pray today. Amen.
May you be filled with the Holy Spirit and may the power of the Holy Spirit overflow in your lives, so that God would be glorified through St. Thomas and all of you. –Pastor
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Weekly Prayer Rotation
Nature: DuPage County Forest Preserves, Morton Arboretum
Government: President, Governor, DuPage County Board Chairman/woman
Schools: Arbor View, Briar Glen Elementaries
Neighborhoods: Foxcroft, Briarcliffe
Churches: Saint Barnabas Episcopal, Peace Lutheran
Nature: Hidden Lake, Herrick Lake, DuPage Rivers, Blackwell Forest Preserve
Government: Congressmen/women, State Legislators, DuPage County Board
Schools: Glen Crest Middle School
Neighborhoods: Scottdale, Glen Ellyn Woods
Churches: Southminster Presbyterian, Peoples Community
Nature: Cosley Zoo, Saint James Farm, Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Government: United States, Illinois, DuPage County Courts
Schools: Glenbard South High School
Neighborhoods: Valley View, Arboretum Estates
Churches: Saint Luke, Village Green Baptist
Nature: Butterfield, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton Park Districts
Government: Library Boards, Park District Boards, School Boards, all elected leaders
Schools: College of DuPage
Neighborhoods: Glen Park Estates, Butterfield East and West
Churches: Saint James the Apostle Catholic, Westline
May 20 Meeting
~ Devotion – Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus said to love your enemies. Do we have enemies?
~ Trustees Report — Parsonage roof damage and interior house damage happened three weeks ago and needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Tarps are on top of the roof and in the family room where some ceiling collapsed. The complete fix is estimated at around $15,000.00. George Graham is coordinating efforts for bids and getting this work done as soon as possible.
~ Stewardship/Finance Report – We are paying our bills but very little for apportionments. In addition to some special giving by people, ten percent of the Easter offering was designated for apportionments. Income has risen a little due to the March plea for more money. Now we need to start a special fund for the Roof project. It will be called “Shekels for Shingles” and will start on Sunday, May 21. We will inform the congregation and a visual with a house & shingles will be displayed in the narthex.
New government guidelines allow IRA RMDs to be given directly to non-profits without being taxed. If you have questions about this, ask at the St. Thomas Office.
~ Calendar `
June 4-5 Annual Conference
June 7-21 Pastor & family on vacation
June 24 8am Sa Leadership Team meeting
July 24-27 M-Th VBS
Aug 6-10 preparation for Church Rummage Sale
Aug 11-12 Church Rummage Sale
Aug 25-26 Leadership Team planning
Sept 27-29 Pastor plans to go to a Leadership Institute in Leawood KS and welcomes anyone to go with him.
~ On The Table report — A member organized a dinner on May 16 to include local people to evaluate how we can help our immediate community. A representative from People’s Resource Center came and met with other St T members. The PRC person suggested the need to highlight education and ESL. No definite action was determined, but conversation by our group included these ideas to pursue—tutoring children after school, donating money to the junior high for students needing school supplies, and supporting children’s needs for clothing at a local school.
Pastor suggested that we find activities to involve families with children. He thinks there would be interest in ping pong playing and perhaps this could be offered for a week during the summer, on Friday nights and/or during school breaks.
~ World Relief has requested to use our facilities for new refugees who have come to the U.S. within the past year. The WR staff would lead programming of sports, arts, gardening, etc. St T volunteers will be needed to be present. Proposed meeting times will be 10am-12pm on Fridays June 9-July 14.
The next Leadership Team meeting will be Saturday, June 24 at 8am. Any member of the congregation is welcome to attend.
–Leadership Team Chair
Pentecost & Beyond
Acts 2:38 Peter said to the people, “You must repent and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that you may have your sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Sunday, June 4 was Pentecost. This day in the church calendar is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter Season and celebrates the day when the early church received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 2 and note the drama that took place during this event.
Summer is upon us. You will now enjoy more travels, outings, picnics and outdoor time. Remember that Worship continues on Sunday mornings at 10am and offers a relaxed atmosphere as we sing and share our faith journey together. God doesn’t take a vacation from you during the summer, so don’t you take a vacation from worshipping God during the summer.
See you in church!
–The Worship Team
Father’s Day is June 18th
Does Dad really need another tie? Is he the man who “has everything” for whom you can’t come up with a present idea (at least not one that’s affordable)? Perhaps he’d appreciate having a donation to Church World Service’s Tool Sunday made in his honor!
For Mother’s Day we emphasize a “nurturing” assistance with our CWS Blanket Sunday offering. For Father’s Day, however, we focus on helping others to help themselves. No amount is too small—or too large. Hoes, shovels, and rakes enable rural families to grow their own crops. Tractors—or water buffalo—help prepare the land for larger crops. Fishing nets enable villages to supply nourishing food for their residents. There is no end to the possibilities.
Look for the fishing net display. (As the old Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish [and provide the means to do so] and he will eat for a lifetime.”) You’ll find more information, special offering envelopes, and free cards to give to the father/grandfather/husband/uncle/etc. being honored!
To earmark a contribution for this, you can write “Tool Sunday” in the memo part of your check, or enclose it (or cash) in the special envelope provided for Church World Service’s Blankets + program.
–Outreach Ministries Team
Blood Drive June 12th
Our next blood drive is on Monday, June 12th from 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm. If you are able to, sign up online to reserve the time of your choice. You can also call the church office for scheduling or stop by the table in the narthex after church when she’ll be sitting there ready to schedule you online with her phone. Walk-ins are welcome, though, so feel free to stop by even if you’ve forgotten to sign up! Remember to load up on those iron rich foods whenever you can before donating: beef, chicken, fish, ham, cooked turkey, breakfast cereal enriched with iron; a cup of cooked beans, dried apricots, spinach, pasta, or rice; a half cup of dried seedless raisins (or roasted almonds, roasted cashews or sunflower seeds), a medium baked potato or stalk of broccoli, or a slice of bread, pumpernickel bagel or bran muffin. Look for information in the narthex.
–Outreach Ministries Team
CWS CROP Walk Update
St. Thomas – When we decide to do something we do it! From the 2017 Glen Ellyn/Wheaton Crop Walk coordinator, Mike Pertle, “Special thanks go out to our church coordinators for hosting the event and doing an excellent job of mobilizing your team at St. Thomas.”
Never doubt that we may be a small congregation but we are also a mighty group of dedicated believers. As a congregation we welcomed 79 walkers from a total of 10 local congregations. As a group we expect to raise a total of $19,000, with our 16 walkers bringing in $2,958 of that amount. Sincere thanks to all who set up/broke down tables. To the VVC’s who generously contributed the ice cream bars for after the walk, for the people who did registration, coordinated games before the walk, for those who were ‘crossing-guards’ and to those of you who helped with the food packing for the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry after the walk, for the walkers and to the financial sponsors Thank you – Thank You – Thank You.
A bonus fundraiser came from the Chipoltle in Glen Ellen Ellyn contributed $209.00 to the cause on the Tuesday after the walk for all who came in from 4 pm to 10 pm and mentioned The Glen Ellyn Crop Walk or brought in a fund raising flier.
Our efforts have helped provide food and clean water, seeds, tools, training and micro-enterprise loans to developing nations as well as within the United States and within Glen Ellyn and Wheaton. You have been blessed to be a blessing to others.
…Cleaning Supplies and Your Health
Environmental Working Group’s investigation of more than 2,000 cleaning supplies on the American market has found that many contain substances linked to serious health problems. EWG concludes that:
- Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. A large and growing body of evidence links frequent use of many ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job with development of asthma and other respiratory problems. It is already known that cleaning product fumes may trigger attacks in persons previously diagnosed with asthma.
- Common cleaning ingredients can be laced with the carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Independent tests have detected the presence of 1,4-dioxane in numerous name-brand cleaning supplies. Other products contain preservatives that release low levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.
- Children born to women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant have an elevated risk of birth defects, according to a 2010 study by the New York State Department of Health.
- Some cleaners can cause chemical burns and poisonings as well as less severe irritations and allergies. Severe physical reactions signal that consumers should take care anytime they use these products.
- Despite these health concerns, cleaning product labels often do not give consumers enough information about their ingredients to allow people to make informed decisions on which ones are safer and which ones might harm their health.
So bring on the baking soda and white vinegar for cleaning and help keep yourself & the environment in better shape!
How to Help Relatives with their Finances
Can you offer any tips on helping an elderly parent with their finances? My dad always handled the money when he was alive but since he passed away last year, my mom has struggled to keep up. Millions of adult children today serve as financial caregivers to their ill or elderly parents or other loved ones. Being a financial caregiver involves providing services like paying bills, handling deposits and investments, filing insurance claims, preparing taxes and more. Here are some tips and resources that can help.
Have the Talk: The first step in helping your mom is to have a thoughtful talk with her, expressing your concerns and offering your help in simplifying her financial life. If you’re uncomfortable starting the conversation, then feel free to use this column as a prompter. It’s also a good idea to get your siblings or other family members on board to help make your case. This can help you head off possible hard feelings. In addition, if others are involved in the conversation, your mom will know everyone is concerned, not just you.
Get Organized: If your mom is willing to let you help manage her financial affairs, your first order of business is to get organized by making a list of all her financial accounts and make copies of her important documents. This will help you understand her overall financial situation and let you know if any important documents are missing. Your list should include her:
- Monthly bills: Phone, cable, water, trash, gas, electric, credit-card accounts, etc.
- Bank accounts: Checking, savings and safe-deposit boxes.
- Retirement accounts: Social Security, pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s.
- Brokerage accounts and investments.
- Insurance policies: Life, home, auto, long-term care, Medicare, etc.
- Important documents: Will, advanced medical directive (which includes a living will and health care proxy) and durable power of attorney (which gives one or more people the legal authority to handle her finances if she becomes incapacitated). Make sure these documents are prepared.
- Taxes: Copies of your parents’ income tax returns over the past few years.
- Contact list: Names and phone numbers of key contacts, including insurance agents, financial advisor, tax preparer, family attorney, etc.
Simplify: The easiest ways to simplify your mom’s monthly financial chores is to set up automatic payments for her utilities and other routine bills and arrange for direct deposits (see godirect.org) of her Social Security, pensions and other income sources. You can also make arrangements to have her bank and bill statements mailed directly to you so you can monitor what’s coming in and going out each month. Another option to consider is online bill paying through your mom’s bank, if available.
Meet With a Pro: Depending on the amount and complexity of your mom’s assets, both of you should sit down with your family financial advisor to review her investments and financial situation. If you don’t have one, find a reputable, fee-only financial planner who can help you put a smart plan in place. Fee-only planners don’t make commissions by selling you financial products and typically charge a flat or hourly fee, which can be around $200 to $300 an hour. To locate one, see napfa.org.
Hire a Money Manager: If you need some help or live far away from your mom, you may want to consider hiring a daily money manager. This is a trained professional who can come in once or twice a month to pay bills, make deposits, decipher health insurance statements and balance her checkbook. Costs range between $25 and $100 per hour. To locate one in your area, visit aadmm.com. Savvy Tip: If your mom is having a hard time meeting her monthly expenses, go to benefitscheckup.org to find out if she can qualify for assistance programs.
United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference.
Published May 26, 2017
We need your help:
Our biennial Auction is scheduled for later this year. Can you assist with running this important fund raiser? Please let the church office know of your interest in assisting with this project.
Personal Planner- part 1: Who Will Receive
“Who should receive my property?” asked Helen to her attorney, Clara. “There are so many decisions to make. Since Morgan passed away, I need to make these decisions myself. Should I give property to the children outright or in trust? Is there a best age for them to receive the property? And what if one of them were to pass away before I do? The grandchildren are still too young to manage property. I also have made a loan to one of the children. Should I forgive that loan? And what about my dog Rover? Who will take care of Rover?”
Beneficiaries of Your Will: Helen has questions that are very common. She is trying to decide who should be the beneficiary of her will. Plus, there are questions about how old children or other heirs should be when they receive her property or how she can best plan for someone to take care of the family dog. You might have several different types of beneficiaries. There could be primary beneficiaries, contingent beneficiaries, life estate and remainder recipients, minors who receive income from a trust, debtor beneficiaries who receive forgiveness and restricted beneficiaries. A famous American who included all of these types of gifts in his will was Benjamin Franklin.
Primary Beneficiaries: Ben Franklin gave his son William all of his property in Nova Scotia “to hold to him, his heirs and designs forever.” Because William received the property outright, he was a primary beneficiary. You might own specific property such as land, a home, or a family heirloom that you want transferred to a primary beneficiary. This is often the starting point for planning your estate distributions.
Life Estate: Franklin owned three homes on Market Street in Philadelphia, other property within Philadelphia and pasture land on Hickory Lane next to the city. He transferred the right to use that property together with his “silver plate, pictures and household goods” to his daughter Sarah Bache and her husband Richard Bache for use “during their natural lives.” This bequest created a life estate. You may have a home or other real property and desire for a person to use that property for his or her lifetime. A life estate is an excellent way to give a person life use of property.
Final Beneficiary: After the lives of Sarah and Richard Bache, the property in Philadelphia that they used was transferred to their children. This property was then solely owned by the children. Following a life estate, the property is usually transferred outright to the remainder or final beneficiaries. If you create a life estate for a person, then you may also designate a person or perhaps a charitable organization to own the property after your life tenant passes away.
Source: United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference, Published May 26, 2017.
Additional information on this topic will be found in the July issue of The Word.
St. Thomas United Methodist Church
2 S 511 Route 53
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137
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