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Faith - page 4

Church news for Feb. 28

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Mardi Gras party at
Community Congregational

ELBURN—Community Congregational Church of Elburn will hold an all-ages Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. Costumes are encouraged.
There will be games, crafts and prizes for children and adults. Proceeds from the youth-led event will be used to build disaster relief kits that will be distributed by Church World Service. The suggested admission donation is a kit item or $2.
For more information or a list of the disaster relief kits items, call the church office at (630) 365-6544. Community Congregational Church is located at 100 E. Shannon St., the northeast corner of Shannon Street and Route 47.

Barbecue fundraiser at United Church of Christ
BIG ROCK—English Congregational United Church of Christ in Big Rock will have a barbecue fundraiser on “Fat Tuesday,” March 4, from 4:40 to 7 p.m. You will have the option to dine in or carry out a pulled pork barbecue sandwich, beans, coleslaw and a corn muffin, all prepared by South Moon BBQ of Hinckley. The cost of the meal is a $10 donation. A kids hot dog dinner will also be available for a donation of $2.
United Church of Christ is located on the corner of Third and Rhodes streets in Big Rock, and the meal will be served in the back of the church.
For information or to reserve your tickets, call (630) 556.3986. Tickets will be limited at the door.

St. Gall announces Ash Wednesday schedule
ELBURN—Catholic tradition considers Ash Wednesday as the first day of Lent. Lent is a time for fasting, abstinence from meat and prayer in preparation for Easter. Masses to observe Ash Wednesday will take place on Wednesday, March 5, at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and ashes will be distributed during Mass. A Word Service will be held at 12:10 p.m., including distribution of ashes.
Ashes will also be distributed at 4:30 and 6 p.m. during Religious Education classes.
All are invited to attend. For more information, contact the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030 or visit www.stgall.com.

Chili Supper at Kaneville United Methodist Church
KANEVILLE—Kaneville United Methodist Church’s Men’s Group will host its 17th annual Chili Supper on Saturday, March 15, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the church, 46W764 Main St., Kaneville.
There will be all sorts of chili, from mild to wild. Hot dogs will be available for children in attendance, and live music will be provided by The Good Ol’ Boys.

Day of Recollection at Marmion Academy
AURORA—All are invited for a day of prayer, meditation, and reflection of the teachings of Pope Francis at Marmion’s Day of Recollection on Saturday, March 15, on the Marmion Campus, 1000 Butterfield Road in Aurora.
Fr. Marcos Rivas OSB of Marmion Abbey will speak about Pope Francis’ theology and challenges to the Christian world. The goal of this Day of Recollection is to meditate on the Pope’s words and actions in a non-controversial environment.
For more information or to register, visit marmion.org/recollection.

St. Gall’s
St. Patrick’s Day dinner

ELBURN—St. Gall Church’s St. Patrick’s Day Turkey Dinner will take place on Sunday, March 16, at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Parish Hall, 120 W. Shannon St., Elburn The event will be a sit-down, home-cooked dinner that includes turkey, real mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, rolls, cranberry, cole slaw, Irish soda bread and lots of pies to choose from for dessert.
The turkeys are supplied by Ho-Ka (Howard Kauffman) Turkey Farm in Waterman, Ill., and the turkeys are raised free range and minimally processed with nothing added.
The cost of the meal is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children ages 6-12, and free for children ages 5 and under. Carry outs are available at the American Legion Hall in downtown Elburn for $10. Tickets will be available at the door.
For additional information, contact the Parish Office at (630) 365-6030.

Sisterhood of Temple B’nai Israel chicken soup lunch sale

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AURORA—The Sisterhood of Temple B’nai Israel will host its fourth annual chicken soup lunch sale from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9. Homemade chicken soup with matzo balls and/or noodles will be available for $8 per person for dine-in or take-out, and will include soup, salad and dessert.

The synagogue is located at 400 N. Edgelawn, Aurora. For further information, call (630) 892-2450.

‘Unlock the treasure’ with WOW

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WATERMAN, ILL.—Waterman ‘Women of the Word’ (WOW) will begin its second semester on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Waterman Presby-terian Church, 250 North Cedar St., Waterman, Ill., with a new 11-week study, “The Gospel of Mark.”

There is both a morning edition from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and an evening edition from 6:45 to 9 p.m., which include small-group interaction and large-group worship and teaching. There is a children’s preschool program for the morning session only. You will enjoy meeting and discovering your personal keys with women from many area communities and churches. For more information or to register, contact Sue at (815) 264-3979 or jhipple23@gmail.com.

The study fee is $15. Lesson one should be completed before class on Jan. 9. Stipends are available.

Lord of Life Church welcomes new pastor

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Pastor_Matt

Photo: Lord of Life Church pastor Matt Blackford relocated from Fort Collins, Colo., to Elburn last November with his wife, Amy, and their 1-year-old son, Axel. Blackford began preaching at Lord of Life on Nov. 17, and has spent the bulk of his time visiting with members of his congregation and the community. Courtesy Photo

LA FOX—The new senior pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church is on a mission: he wants to build a relationship with his flock this year.

Pastor Matt Blackford began preaching at Lord of Life on Nov. 17, and he’s spent much of his time visiting with members of his congregation and the community so far.

“I think it’s really important for me to build relationships and build people’s trust during my first year in the community,” Blackford said. “I’m visiting now with several people in their homes, sitting around the table talking to them, sharing food with them. I’m calling people up and letting them know I am here. I’m here many evenings visiting with the youth, the adults, and the volunteers, so that they see that I care and trust my leadership. The church, in my opinion, rises and falls on leadership, and I take seriously the responsibility of how important it is for the pastor to be a leader.”

Blackford and his wife, Amy, moved to Elburn from Fort Collins, Colo., with their 1-year-old son, Axel, in November. After he was ordained in 2007, Blackford spent six years as an associate pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, where he was the director of Multi-Site Ministries and in charge of expanding the church to a second location in Gredley, Colo.

When he accepted the call to Lord of Life, he replaced Pastor Phil Ressler, who had served as the church’s senior pastor for nine years before heading to Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Old Bridge, N.J.

Lord of Life contacted Blackford in August to see if he’d be interested in the senior pastor position, and then invited him and a handful of other candidates to visit the church and meet some of the members. By September, the church had unanimously voted to extend a call to Blackford to be their senior pastor—and within weeks, the Blackford family began packing their bags for a move to Illinois.

“I like to say that it’s the good Lord who moved me here,” Blackford said. “I was really excited to lead my own congregation, and I saw that this church has a lot of key parts to do great things for the Lord. They are outreach-focused and very Bible-based.”

The same faith that led Blackford to Elburn led him into the ministry in 2003. Originally a graphic designer and artist based in Denver—Blackford has a bachelor’s in graphic design from Concordia University, Nebraska—he left the field to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo.

“I painted murals all over Denver, and I had a successful business, but I missed being around people,” Blackford said. “I was facing walls all day. A close friend from college said, ‘Why don’t you consider using your gift for the Lord?’ I wasn’t married at the time, I had no kids, no debt, and I loved the Lord and the church, so I gave it a shot.”

He met Amy while doing his pastoral internship in Woodbury, Minn., in 2006. Her parents were members of his congregation and invited him to meet their daughter, who was headed to St. Louis University for a master’s in social work. For him, it was love at first sight—though it took her a little longer.

“I walked in the door of their house, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to marry this woman.’ I knew right away,” he said. “I asked her out that night, in front of her parents, and her parents didn’t say anything, so she said, ‘I guess. I don’t have anything else to do.’”

Amy worked as a hospice care social worker in Fort Collins, providing end-of-life care to the dying, until the birth of their son in 2012. The couple is expecting their second child this April, and Amy is involved in Lord of Life’s Mom-to-Mom group, which meets on Wednesday mornings.

Blackford said that she plans to become more involved in the church over time.

“We’re both still figuring out her role,” Blackford said. “We’ve only been here a month, so she’s getting to know the church on her own terms to figure out where she fits best.”

Both of them are excited to be in a church with many young families and vibrant children’s and youth ministries, he said.

Blackford hopes that building a strong relationship with the congregation at Lord of Life will provide the foundation for his ministry, which he describes as twofold: to care for his flock and to go make disciples.

“Caring for God’s people has a direct influence on how people then go out into the world and live their lives, at work and in their family, as parents and as friends,” he said. “By being in God’s word and in fellowship here, we are strengthened and influenced to go out and be the presence of Jesus in the world.”

He wants to lead his congregation to “be Jesus’ hands and feet outside these walls,” he said, so that they serve the poor and share the Gospel with others.

Parishioners may have already noticed more of an artistic bent at Lord of Life as well. Blackford still considers himself an artist and said he enjoys designing materials for the church, from the bulletin to the website.

At Redeemer Lutheran, he even incorporated his art into the sermons themselves, painting and preaching at the same time and encouraging some of the younger members to draw along with him.

“On Good Friday a few years back, I added the blood to Jesus’ wounds on a painting (during the sermon),” Blackford said. “A lot of kids came up to me afterward to show me their drawings of Jesus, and it was very powerful.”

He hasn’t painted during a sermon at Lord of Life yet, but he plans to—he’s interested in using art and technology as tools to help reach people, he said.

“I think it’s important to know what’s on the cutting edge to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Just like Martin Luther had the printing press as a tool, today we have the Internet and all kinds of technology that can help us to more effectively connect people with Jesus.”

Blackford said he is eager to get to know more church and community members, and he invites them to come to services and introduce themselves to him or to call him at (630) 513-5325.

Lord of Life is located at 40W605 Route 38 in Elburn and has worship services on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday School is offered during the 10 a.m. service, and nursery care is available during both services. For more information, visit the church’s website at lolchurch.net.

‘Unlock the treasure’ with WOW

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WATERMAN, ILL.—Waterman ‘Women of the Word’ (WOW) will begin its second semester on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Waterman Presbyterian Church, 250 North Cedar St., Waterman, Ill., with a new 11-week study, “The Gospel of Mark.”

There is both a morning edition from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and an evening edition from 6:45 to 9 p.m., which include small-group interaction and large-group worship and teaching. There is a children’s preschool program for the morning session only. You will enjoy meeting and discovering your personal keys with women from many area communities and churches. For more information or to register, contact Sue at (815) 264-3979 or sjhipple23@gmail.com.

The study fee is $15. Lesson one should be completed before class on Jan. 9. Stipends are available.

The Longest Night

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SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove United Methodist Church will host The Longest Night Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the church, located at 176 Main St., Sugar Grove.

The Longest Night Service is a time to experience a meditative worship service that takes time for remembering, sharing our hurting places with God, and preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ. God’s Word comes to shines light in our darkness.

A light meal will take place before the service at 6:15 p.m.

For more information, call (630) 466-4501 or email sugargroveumc@sbcglobal.net.

Taize service Dec. 12

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ST. CHARLES—St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. 5th Avenue (Rt. 25), St. Charles, invites the community to experience Taize Worship on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Worship in the style of Taize, a monastic community in central France, is a service of light and shadows, chant and silence, readings and quiet prayer.

Information is available from www.stcharlesepiscopal.org or (630) 584-2596.

SGUMC to participate in Holiday in the Grove

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SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove United Methodist Church (SGUMC), 176 Main St., will host events during this year’s Holiday in the Grove event, Saturday, Dec. 7, including Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and sleigh rides from 8 a.m. to noon, and a stable display.

Stop by SGUMC for your Christmas cookies, candy and pies. Some of the best bakers in Sugar Grove are baking up a storm in anticipation of this year’s Holiday in the Grove.

SGUMC to participate in Holiday in the Grove

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SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove United Methodist Church (SGUMC) will host events during this year’s Holiday in the Grove event, Saturday, Dec. 7, including Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and sleigh rides from 8 a.m. to noon, and a stable display.

Stop by SGUMC for your Christmas cookies, candy and pies. Some of the best bakers in Sugar Grove are baking up a storm in anticipation of this year’s Holiday in the Grove.

Two Guys and Free Spaghetti

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ST. CHARLES—Two Guys and Free Spaghetti will provide a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner with salad, garlic bread and homemade dessert to anyone who attends the church on Sunday, Nov. 24, 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. Fifth Ave. (Route 25) in St. Charles.

Carry-out is available and the building is handicapped accessible. For information, call Joe at (630) 890-6586.

Holiday cooking class at St. Charles Episcopal

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ST. CHARLES—Chef Mike Zema, Elgin Community College Culinary Department Professor Emeritus, will host a cooking class on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. at St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. Fifth Ave (Route 25) in St. Charles.

Get recipes, tips and great samples of featured holiday appetizers such as spinach and artichoke wontons, cranberry baked brie, portobello mushrooms stuffed with Italian chicken sausage and warm tomato, basil and olive bruschetta.

The fee for the class is $30 per person. To reserve your spot, call the church office at (630) 584-2596.

Elburn’s Community Congregational to hold annual Harvest Dinner

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ELBURN—Community Congregational Church-UCC of Elburn will hold its annual Harvest Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m.

The buffet-style dinner will include turkey with all the trimmings, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, beans, cole slaw, homemade desserts and beverages. Carry-outs are available.

The dinner will also include a craft and White Elephant sale, a raffle and an art show. New this year, the art show will feature framed photographs from a local professional landscape photographer, as well as one-of-a-kind art from church member Jeremy Faivre.

Proceeds from the event will support Community Congregational Church’s local missions, which include the Elburn Food Pantry, Hesed House, Lazarus House, Elderday Center and Mutual Ground.

Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and up, $10 for ages 65 and up and $8 for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Children under the age of 5 eat free.

Community Congregational Church is located at 100 E. Shannon St., the northeast corner of Route 47 and Shannon Street. For more information, call the office at (630) 365-6544.

Two Guys and Free Spaghetti

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ST. CHARLES—Two Guys and Free Spaghetti will provide a homemade spaghetti and meatballs dinner with salad, garlic bread and homemade dessert to anyone in attendance on Sunday, Oct. 27, 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Charles Episcopal Church, 994 N. Fifth Ave. (Route 25) in St. Charles.

Carry-out is available, and the building is handicapped accessible. For more information, call Joe at (630) 890-6586.

Turkey Supper, Bake, Craft Sale

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NORTH AURORA—Union Congregational Church will hold its annual Turkey Supper, Bake and Craft Sale on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the church, located at 405 W. State St., North Aurora. Dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children ages 5 to 12, and free of charge for children under age 5. Dinner will include a beverage and dessert. Carry-outs are available. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance by calling the church office at (630) 897-0013.

Elburn Congregational Church announces Elburn Days 2013 raffle winners

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ELBURN—The Elburn Community Congregational Church would like to announce the winners of the 2013 Elburn Days raffle.

The winner of the American Girl Doll, donated by the Norm Berquist family, was Nancy Zak of Elburn. The winner of the remote control car, donated by the Jeff Johnson family, was D. Turner of Broadview, Ill.

The church would like to thank all who participated, and wishes to see them again next year.

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