Annual Report of the year 2013
“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: It is indeed an honor and a privilege for me to present this annual report for the year 2013. Last year we saw another slow but steady year for our nation and for the world. As a congregation we have also seen another slow year in our growth. God has given us different talents and various opportunities to serve. We must continue to serve him faithfully. Our “LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting.” In the midst of all our struggles and survival, God Almighty has provided us with another blessed year in our life. Let us thank God for God’s abundant blessings and grace and hope for a better year in 2014. Let me also thank all of you for your hard work and generous support for our ministry.
Our Sunday worship is at 9:30 am. We had several special services during lent, Christmas and other occasions. On Sunday November 10th of this year we had the privilege of Bishop Lee leading the service and after the service he also blessed the memorial bricks at the outside alter. In addition to our regular worship services at our church we continue to have worship service at Friendship Village on the third Wednesday of every month. I want to thank all of you for your regular presence and support. It is our duty to worship God who leads us in our everyday life.
Our vestry meetings are held on the third Sunday of every month at 8:30 am except during the summer months. I want to thank all of you for your participation and input at the vestry meetings. All our vestry members deserve thanks for their participation at the vestry. Special thanks to both wardens for their support for the day to day affairs of the church.
Sunday School/Bible Study
At present our Sunday School and Bible Study classes are not functioning fully. We need to identity someone to lead Sunday School classes. Sunday School and Bible study classes are the backbones of the church. The future of our church depends on the spiritual growth of our children. Please keep our Sunday School and Bible Study classes in your prayers.
Undoubtedly we do more than our share of community ministries. Alcoholics Anonymous, PADS, and the Hanover Park Food Pantry are some of the programs where we are still actively involved. As your vicar I am also still very active with various community ministries. As a congregation we must be very proud of our commitments to these worthy causes. I want to thank all of you especially Patricia and Norma who regularly participate in community ministries.
Last year we had a few special days with fellowship lunches. Thanks to the contributions of our members we have a very beautiful and well kept church building and grounds. Let’s make use of it more often. I want to thank all of you who contribute regularly for the maintenance and cleaning of our church. Special thanks to Mike and Eugene who always take leadership for our larger maintenance projects. I also want to thank Norma, Hortensia and others who participate in the regular cleaning and upkeep of the church.
Our financial position is not very encouraging. Last year, we were able to improve our financial position with contributions from an outside flea market. We hope that this year will be a blessed year financially. Anyway we look at it, without balancing our budget it will be very hard for us to survive in the long run. God has given us not only for our needs but also for the benefit of others and God’s ministry. I want to thank all of you for your generous financial contributions. Special thanks to our treasurer, Susan who handles our financial matters promptly and accurately.
As your vicar, I am very thankful for all of you and your support. But in order for us to survive in the long run we need to attract more members. If we can keep all the new members coming to our church we can achieve that goal. I also want to remind you that new members coming to worship with us are looking for their second home. In order to keep their presence with us they should feel at home in every aspect of their church life. I want to repeat what I said last year, if each of our families bring another new family we can double our membership. Always keep all our families in your prayers.
Our needs are many and our resources are limited. In order for us to survive in the long run we must be self sufficient. Let us come before God for His blessings and glory. Let us examine ourselves to see how we can change ourselves to better serve God’s ministry. Let us also be humble before God for his wisdom and grace to accomplish our task.
As your vicar I have been with you for the last seven years. During my tenure God called back three of our best ones. Those were indeed the hardest times of my ministry. We miss them dearly. As part of our life we all go though many struggles. Some of our families are struggling due to health reasons. Please keep all our families in your daily prayers.
At present we have a very beautiful church building. We have enough resources to carry out our daily needs at least for another five years. I have no doubt in my mind that if we submit ourselves before God we can achieve all our goals. I also believe that if we continue our journey faithfully submitting before God, God will lead us.
You all are part of my family and all of you are very special to me and my family. God Almighty chose me as your vicar and I am very close to retirement. In spite of all my weaknesses I also want to assure you that I am willing do anything to sustain our family here at St. Columba. Keep all of us in your prayers. Once again I want to thank all of you for your support and cooperation. Please continue to keep me also in your prayers. May God bless you all.
“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
Yours’ in Christ,
Fr. Mathew P. Idicula
Annual Report of the year 2012
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
Dear ones in Christ,
Once again it is an honor and joy for me to present this annual report for the year 2012. Last year we saw one of the slowest economic cycles in our nation and around the world. In the midst of our struggles God Almighty had provided us with another blessed year in our life and in the life of our church. Let us pray to God Almighty for God’s abundant grace upon us in spite of our weaknesses. Let us enter this coming year 2013 with praise and thanksgiving to God Almighty. I also want to thank all of you for your support and cooperation as our church family.
Thanks to all the members for their regular participation and input for the ongoing affairs of the church. Our wardens deserve a special thanks keeping up the day to day affairs of the church. I also want to thank all our vestry members for their service in the ministry of the Lord.
Sunday School/Bible Study
Our Sunday School and Bible Study classes are not as regular as I would have hoped. Please keep our Sunday school program in your regular prayers. The future of our church depends on the growth of the Sunday school program. I want to thank all of you who helped to conduct our Sunday school program, especially Cheryl & Paula.
The financial position of our church is not very encouraging. Our church depends on your generous contributions. God has given to us not only for our own use but also for the benefit of others and the ministry of the Church. I want to thank all of you for your financial contributions so far. I also want to thank our treasurer Susan who handles all our financial matters promptly and accurately. May God also bless you abundantly in the coming year.
Traditionally our church undertakes more than its share of community ministries. Last year was no exception. Throughout the week Alcoholics’ Anonymous group meetings were held in our church. We also helped out at the (PADS) homeless shelter and also at the Hanover Park food pantry. Also, for the last several years we have donated storage space to Backpack Buddies for school supplies.
As your vicar I am proud of our commitments to these worthy causes. I am still an active member of the Schaumburg Clergy association, the Hanover Park Cultural and Diversity committee and other various programs. As part of our outreach ministry, I was invited to the State House (Spring Field) this year on April 17th to deliver the opening prayer at the first session after the Easter recess. We are also proud of one of our own Alex Aceves Gonzalez who is serving in the US Air Force. I want to thank all of you especially Patricia and Norma who regularly actively participated in our community ministries.
Last year we had a few fellowship days with lunch. Those were wonderful events for our members. We have a very beautiful outdoor facility suitable for picnics and other activities and we must take advantage of them more often. This coming year we must plan a few more programs. We must count our blessings and welcome and encourage others to join our fellowship.
Our church looks clean and beautiful. We always have few more things and projects to be done. A good looking and clean church building is the sign of a growing church. You all have your share of contribution. Special thanks to Mike and Eugene who always take leadership for our larger maintenance projects. I want to thank all of you who contribute regularly on the maintenance and cleaning of our church. Also special thanks to Hortensia who participated in the regular cleaning of the church.
Once again we are thankful for the fellowship of all our members. We still have a few families that reside outside of the state who help and support us regularly. Traditionally we are a small family type parish but it is very important that we wholeheartedly welcome others to our midst in order for us to survive. Once again our goal this year is to double our membership. That will be possible only with everyone’s cooperation. If each family brings in one new family to our fellowship we can double our membership next year.
We should be able to hold members who seek our fellowship. I want to remind you once again that new members coming to worship with us are looking for their second home. In order to keep their presence with us they should feel at home in every aspect of their church fellowship. We should always remember that they also have all the rights and responsibilities that we have as members of this church. Always keep all our families in your prayers.
Our needs are many and resources are limited. We must be self sufficient in our finances, and in order to do that we must attract more members and hopefully more families. We also must welcome some of our previous members who left our church for various reasons. We must also make people who are coming to our family comfortable. Let us examine ourselves to see how we lived out or put into action the Gospel last year. Let us, also examine ourselves to see what and how we should change to do God’s ministry effectively. Let us kneel before God with all our needs and please continue to pray for all our members especially those who are on our prayer list. Let us pray to God to give us wisdom, knowledge, and courage to know what is right and His grace to accomplish our task.
Our ministry is very unique. We started as a family church and we still are a family church but in order to meet our expenses we must have more members. Now our church building is very clean and looks very good. If we all try hard in our approach and outlook I have no doubt that we can attract more new members. During the past year we have made some progress in our journey. I also believe that if we continue our journey fully submitting ourselves in Christ we can achieve our goals. This is my fifth year of service as your vicar. When I started my ministry here I had no intention of continuing after the 5th year. God Almighty chooses me as your priest and now I am fully intend to continue here until my retirement. This place is very special for all of us. You all are part of my family. As a family member I am willing to do anything to sustain this ministry. Keep all of us in your prayers especially those who are suffering physically. Once again I want to thank all of you for your support and cooperation. Also, please continue to keep me in your prayers.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4). May God bless you all. Amen.
Yours’ in Christ,
Fr. Mathew P. Idicula
Annual Report of the year 2009
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.” (Psalm 107:1)
Dear one’s in Christ,
It is indeed a great honor and privilege for me to present this annual report of our church for the year 2009. In many ways 2009 was one of the critical years for our nation and the world. Our economy was staggering and slowly recovering from a critical recession. Many lost jobs, homes and also economic security in life. We also had our share of challenges and difficulties in 2009. In spite of all our difficulties Almighty God has provided us with more than we deserve. First of all I want to thank God Almighty for His grace and guidance in our life. I want to thank each one of you for your helping hand in the growth of our church and the support and cooperation you have given me as your vicar. I also want to thank our Diocese, our Bishops (Jeffery Lee and Bishop Victor Scantlebury) and particularly Rev. Cannon Randall Warren for his valuable direction, guidance and support for us.
Our Sunday worship service is at 9.30 AM. Our average attendance last year was 31, an increase of 13 from the previous year. We are still open to the possibility of a second worship service. During the Lenten season we had Wednesday evening services. Last year also we had a worship service at Friendship Village, Schaumburg (on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10:30 am) and Wednesday noon service at our sister congregation St. Mark Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn. Even though the average attendance at Friendship Village was only seven it was a rare opportunity for many of them to attend an Episcopal worship service. I want to thank all of you especially Cheryl and Patricia who assisted me regularly during our services and Patricia who attended Friendship Village service regularly.
Baptism and Confirmation
One of the most important missions of the church is baptism. Last year through baptism, five children and one adult joined Gods’ Church through our fellowship. During Bishop Scantlebury’s visit to our church on Sunday June 14th 2009 we celebrated eight First Communions, four Confirmations and five receptions. Thanks to all who joined the ministry and participated in the celebration, also thanks to One in Christ Church in Park Ridge and Fr. Paul Joo, who donated a much needed baptismal fond for our church.
I am very happy to report that our Sunday school is progressing very steadily. Classes are held soon after the worship service at 10:30 am. Now we have over ten students and two dedicated teachers. We also hope that this coming year we will have more students attending our Sunday school classes. Our Sunday school students also regularly assist in our worship services. The future of a congregation depends on the progress of the Sunday school. I want to thank all of you who helped to make our Sunday school a reality especially Cheryl & Paula who gave tremendous efforts regularly leading classes and improving the quality of our Sunday school curriculum.
We held our annual meeting last year in January where we presented our annual accounts and elected vestry members and new officers. Thanks to our growth we have a very active vestry to plan the day to day activities of our church. On the third Sunday of every month at 8:30 am we have our monthly vestry meeting. I am also very happy to note that many of our regular members also attend vestry meetings and participate in deliberations even though they are not officially part of the vestry. Once again I want to thank all of you for your continued support and cooperation for the ministry of our Lord.
Due to our increased membership our financial position is also encouraging. In addition to regular contributions last year many of you contributed generously for the special needs of our rectory and our church building. Over the last few years we did not have a budget or a pledge system. To plan for our ministry ahead we must have budget and a yearly pledge system. I encourage all of you to set apart a share of your economic resources for the ministry of our Lord who provides everything in this world. God has given to us not only for our own use but also for the benefit of others and the ministry of the Church. Even though we encourage all of you to participate in giving and pledging I want to emphasize that giving to our Lord is strictly voluntary. I want to thank all of you for your generous financial contributions during the past year. I also want to thank our treasurer Susan Olszewski who handles all our financial matters promptly and efficiently. May God bless you all abundantly in the coming year.
Traditionally we are known for our community ministries. Last year also was no exception. Last year also Alcoholics’ Anonymous group meetings were held in our church, (Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays); we helped at the PADS homeless shelter and also at the food program at the Hanover Park food pantry. We once again donated storage space to Backpack Buddies for school supplies and supplied various items to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars. I am proud of our commitments to these worthy causes and as your vicar I continue to be a member of the Schaumburg Clergy association, the Hanover Park Cultural and Diversity committee and the Crime Prevention committee. These activities not only helped the community but also allowed others to get to know more about us. I want to thank Mr. Rodney Craig, our Mayor who is a wonderful friend of our church for his continued support for our ministry. I also want to thank all of you who actively participated in our community ministries. As a church we do not have a regular mission project outside of our community. I hope that during the coming year we will be able to undertake at least one ministry project outside of our community.
We had our annual picnic last year. Picnic is a time of fellowship. Few of our old parishners also took part last year’s picnic. I want to thank all of you who made it a great success. Expanding our ministry to include Asian Americans we also had a Kerala clergy picnic at our church last year. We have a very beautiful outdoor facility suitable for picnic and other activities. We must take advantage of it more often. This coming year we must plan a few more programs. Among other things a one day retreat is a great idea along with other churches in the area.
Last year we celebrated our fiftieth year of ministry in Hanover Park. In celebration of our Jubilee on September 26th we had a wonderful service and reception after the service. Many of our long time parishners and previous vicars also attended the service. Bishop Jeffery Lee was the chief celebrant. In recognition of our ministry in the community Mayor Rod Craig on behalf of Hanover Park City attended the special service and conveyed greetings at the occasion. State Representative, Fred Crespo, State of Illinois 44th District, also introduced a bill (HR0616) in the Illinois general assembly congratulating our church honoring our commitment and service to the community. It was also a wonderful experience to see some of our previous vicars and their families at the jubilee service and dinner. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members and priests who attended the service especially, Fr. Michael Rasicci, Fr. Ted E. Durst, and Mother Deborah Seles who served the congregation as priests in the past.
For a long time our rectory was a liability for us. By God’s grace last year we were able to sell it. We will be able to use some of the proceeds for capital improvements. I want to thank our diocese for allowing us to do these improvements. I also want to thank all of you who contributed financially and other wise for the upkeep up of our rectory.
Now I can say that our church looks clean and beautiful. For the first time in our history we have city water available in our facility. We have a new roof, two new furnaces and new air conditioning. We are also looking to install a new sound system. Yes we can be proud of our church building now. We still have few more painting projects to be done. A good looking church building is the sign of a growing church. You all deserve applause especially Louis Baksa, and Mike Riess who always take leadership for our maintenance projects. I want to thank all of you who made it possible.
Last year we also saw some real growth in our membership. We also gained a few active families to our fellowship. Once again we are thankful for the fellowship of all our members who joined us last year. We have a few families who reside outside of the state that still supports us regularly. Once again our goal this year is to double our membership. That will be possible if each family brings in one new family to our fellowship. For various reasons, we were unable to keep a few families who visited our church. New people coming to worship with us are not only looking for fellowship, they are also looking for a second home. We should learn how to make them feel at home. We should remember that they also have all the rights and responsibilities that we have as members of this church. Keep all our families always in your prayers.
This year also we were fortunate to have many dignitaries to our church. Mayor Rodney Craig, Representative Fred Crespo, Fr. Walter Dunnett, Bishop Rt. Rev. George Issac (former bishop of North Kerala Anglican Diocese) to name a few. We were also fortunate for the visit of both of our bishops (Jeffery Lee and Bishop Victor Scantlebury) during the last year. Rev. Cannon (Dr.) Randall Warren is a frequent visitor and advisor to us. In spite of his busy schedule he also attended vestry meetings and made many valuable contributions for the growth of our church. He had already promised us that at least quarterly he will be with us. I want to take this opportunity to thank all our visitors, especially Fr. Warren Randall for all his love and support.
Our website is one of the best of its kind, if not the best. The name of our site is www.saint-columba.org. You can visit our website for all the latest activities of the church. We appreciate your continuous comments and suggestions. Once again I want to thank Michael Riess who is the official webmaster and Aji Abraham who puts it together for us free of charge. May God bless them.
After being sick for many years one of our longtime vestry members Ms. Audrey Coltrin went to be with the lord last year. Many of our members were able to attend her visitation and funeral service at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg. May God console and comfort her friends and family. Some of our families also lost their friends or family members during last year. We express our sincere condolences to all of them.
Our needs are many. We must be self sufficient in our finances, and in order to do that we must attract few more families. We can and must welcome some of our old members who left our church for various reasons. Now we are a growing church. The challenge of a growing church is not only to bring in new families but also make them comfortable at home. We need a church choir. We need financial support as well as talents in order to make it a reality. We have passed our difficult times and if we can build on our foundation in Christ we can achieve our goals. Let us kneel before God with all our needs and please continue to pray for all our members especially those who are in our prayer list. Let us pray to God to give us wisdom, knowledge, and courage to know what is right and to do the right thing. May God Almighty also give us grace to accomplish God’s ministry given to us.
Our church is very different from many other churches. Fifty years ago the goal of our church was not to become a large congregation but to sustain a close, healthy fellowship. I am very happy to note that even today we are a sustaining that goal. During the past year we have made some real progress in our journey. We welcomed some new families and made many improvements to our church building. We are slowly but steadily progressing towards our goal of economical viability. If we continue our journey submitting ourselves in Christ I have no doubt that we will accomplish our goals.
This is my third year of service as your vicar. When I started my journey I was very confident of my call. But my original plan was different. God Almighty chooses a different but suitable path for us. I want to thank all of you for your support of me. This place, for some reason is very special for me. I am sure that it is also special for all of us. You all are part of my family. As a family member I am willing to listen and open to suggestions. Personally I am ready to do what ever it takes for us to be a viable fellowship. As I have told you many times in the past, prayer is the most effective weapon we have. Keep all our needs in your prayers. Continue to keep me also in your prayers. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.” (Psalm 107:1) May God bless you all.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Mathew P. Idicula
Annual Report of the year 2008
“Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.” (Psalm 103: 1-2)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, once again it is an honor and privilege for me to present this brief report of the year 2008. Year 2008 was one of the most significant years in the history of our country. It was a year of change, change for acceptance, forgiveness and tolerance. The most powerful nation in the world chose an African American as President. 2008 was also a year of change for our church. First of all I want to thank God Almighty for His grace and guidance in our life during this past year. I want to thank each one of you for your continued support in various ways. I also want to thank our Diocese and our bishop Jeffery Lee for his guidance and support during 2008.
Our Sunday worship service last year was at 9.30 AM. We are still open to the possibility of another worship service soon after the first service (in different languages). Last year we also had evening Wednesday services during the Lenten season. Also, during the past year we started worship at Friendship Village in Schaumburg (third Wednesday of the month at 10.30 AM). In order to renew our friendship and cooperation I lead noon worship service once a month at St. Mark Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. I want to thank all of you, especially Cheryl and Pat who assisted me regularly during our worship services.
After a long absence, last year we re-started our Sunday school classes. Classes are held after the worship service at 10.30 AM. We are still looking for more students for the school. A good Sunday school is the sign of a growing church. We hope and pray that the Almighty will bring more students to St. Columba. I want to thank all of you who made our Sunday school a reality and especially Cheryl who put forth a lot of effort to get things going and also teaching each week’s class.
We held our annual meeting last January on the 6th and re-elected our wardens. During the year we held regular vestry meetings at 8.30 Am (before the worship) on the third Sunday of every month. Except for a few it was very convenient for most of us. Once again I want to thank all of you for your continued support and cooperation for the ministry of our Lord.
I want to thank you all for your financial support for the day to day needs of our church. In addition to your regular contributions many of you contributed generously for the special needs of our rectory and our church building. I am sure that we as a church do more than our share of giving. All we have here in this world is the gift of God. God has given us not only for our use but also for the benefit of others. May God bless you all abundantly.
As a church community during the past year we were involved in many community activities. Alcoholics Anonymous continued to hold their regular meetings in our church, (Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). Last summer our members participated in PADS shelter and food program. We continue to help Hanover Park food pantry and other ministries of the community. Last year we held several flea markets to help out the food pantry. Our congregation is always in the forefront helping the community. As a priest I am proud of our commitments to the worthy causes. My involvement in the community ministries was also extended during the past year. I continued as a member of the Schaumburg Clergy association, and many other community projects. Last year I was honored to serve the city of Hanover Park’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee (co-chair) and crime prevention committee. As part of our outreach ministry to the community I was involved in a number of community activities. These activities not only helped the community but also others get to know more about us. Thanks to all who responded in time of need and participated with a sincere heart to our out reach ministries. Last year we participated in the city’s 50th anniversary parade, neighborhood party and had a wonderful joint picnic. We hope that we may be able to do more joint ministries in the future. I want to thank Mr. Rodney Craig our Mayor who a wonderful friend for his continued support for our ministry. I want to extend special thanks to Pastor Jennie Swanson and Living Christ Lutheran Church in Hanover Park, our partners in ministry. At present we do not have a regular mission project outside of our community. I hope that in the future we will be able to support one.
As a diocese we were fortunate to have Bishop Jeffrey as our new bishop. I was very fortunate to be one of the readers at his consecration service. As a church last year we were well represented in the diocesan convention (November 21st and 22nd) and programs. I was also involved in many programs including clergy conference, clergy retreat and fresh start programs. I also attended the EAM consultation (Asia Ministry) in Taiwan from June 6-10 representing the diocese of Chicago. I also accompanied Bishop Lee to Asian Anglican programs during last year. Please keep both our bishops and diocese in your prayers.
We had our annual picnic last year jointly with Living Christ Lutheran Church on June 29th at our church. I want to say that it was one of our best picnics. I want to thank all of you who took part. We must make use of our beautiful facility for more get-togethers. Once again thanks to all of you who made last year’s picnic a great success. Last year we also hosted a clergy picnic for the Asian clergies. Thanks to Norma, Sharon and her family. Everyone very much enjoyed the get-together.
Thanks to Aji Abraham, Dallas we have launched a new and beautiful website. The name of our site is www.saint-columba.org. It is almost complete and if you have any suggestions and comments please do not hesitate to let me know. Also please visit our site regularly. Once again thanks to Aji who contributed his time and effort without any cost to us and also thanks to Michael who coordinated the project. May God bless them all.
Our rectory is a liability to us and thanks to the diocese last year we got the approval to sell it. We may be able to utilize some portion of the proceeds for some capital improvements. At this time it is already on the market. The Diocese has already approved the use of some of proceeds for a new roof for the church building and hookup to city water. Thanks to all of you who contributed your time and efforts in order to maintain our rectory. We hope that we will be able to sell our rectory soon. Please keep the sale of our rectory in your prayers.
Thanks to all of you, I must say this humbly that our church looks very beautiful. We still have much work to do. An outside painting is over due now. A good looking church building is always a priority for a growing church. We have accomplished all our projects without spending much money. You all deserve applause, especially Lou and Mike who always take leadership for our maintenance projects. Please keep our needs in your prayers.
Last year we gained a few active families to our fellowship. We are thankful for the fellowship of Phil and Susan, Sharon and her family and others who joined us last year. We are also thankful for the fellowship of Patricia Teeter who was with us part of the year. We have a few families who resides outside of the state that support us regularly. Keep all of them in your prayers. Thanks to all of your effort that once again we made a good progress in membership last year. Our new goal this year is each family bring one more new family that way double our membership. As I have mentioned many times prayer is the most powerful weapon and please keep our family in your prayers.
This year also we were fortunate to have many dignitaries visit our church. Mayor Rodney Craig, Bishop Rt. Rev. George Issac former bishop of North Kerala Anglican diocese led our worship service on June 15th, we are also fortunate for the visit of Anglican bishops Rt. Rev. Bishop Lawrence, Rt. Rev. K. P. Kuruvilla to our church during the calendar year. Last year we had an Episcopal clerics and Indian clergy picnic at our church. A few people from the diocese including Rev.Canon Dr. Warren Randall also visited our church last year.
A few of our families lost their loved ones during the calendar year. This world is not for ever and the life of this world is a gift of God, a gift to serve God and to know him better. We express our sincere condolences to our families and friends who lost their loved ones.
Please continue to keep our members who are in our prayer list. Last year we started a Sunday school program after worship. At present one of our important needs is a church choir. We should find an organist suitable for us in order to have a church choir. We must attract few more families to our midst before we think about other needs. I am very glad that most of our members attend Sunday service regularly. We must also add another service another day other than Sunday. I am very confident that we passed our difficult time and if we can build on this foundation we can be better. May God give us strength and energy to build his Church. Once again I wanted to remind you that if we submit our needs before our God with sincere heart it will be answered.
I am sure that our church is very special for each one of us. Our church property is one of the most beautiful in our diocese but we are lacking enough membership to maintain the church. I am very hopeful and thankful for the recent growth and enthusiasm of our members but we must attract more people to our midst. As your vicar I am able and willing to do what ever it takes us to be self sufficient. I also need the cooperation of each one of you. We must be welcoming community, respect each other as equal partners in our fellowship sharing responsibilities. Personally I want to thank each one of you for the support and co-operation you have given me as your vicar. We are all human beings, we all have our own ways and we all make mistakes. But are we willing to correct our mistakes? The most important thing is that are we willing to change; change for a good ministry, change for the growth, change for a good future. I request your feed back, prayer and continued support for a successful ministry. Please keep our family in your daily prayers. Let us also thank and pray to God Almighty for continued grace for another blessed year. May God bless you all.
Yours’ in Christ,
Fr. Mathew P. Idicula
Annual Report of the year 2007
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100: 2)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is with joy, and gratitude that I present this brief report of the year 2007 of our Church. 2007 was an important and eventful year in the history of the world. It was indeed an important year in the history of our church. First of all I want to thank God Almighty for His guidance that led me to become part of this family. I also want to thank each one of you for your confidence, understanding and support you have given me as your vicar. Christ is the head of the church and we are parts of His body and nothing will happen in this world without the knowledge and guidance of God Almighty. Year 2007 was also one of the most important years in my personal life. My father was called to eternity and I had to travel back and forth a few times to take care of my responsibilities. I want to thank you for the support given to me during this difficult time. God made us and we are His people and He will lead us through good times and bad. As human beings we are also obliged to come before God with praise and worship not only for His glory but also for our grace. I also want to thank Mother Deb Sellers for her valuable help in our difficult times.
Officially April 9, 2007 I became the vicar of this Church. I had many great dreams when I became part of this family but the last nine months taught me many new lessons in ministry. I learned that no matter what we dream; how great we are and how talented we are; the Church belongs to God. I also learned that prayer, patience and understanding are some of the great weapons in ministry. I believe that prayer is the greatest weapon we all possess. Please keep our church family in your daily prayers. October 28, 2007 was another special day in our life. We had renewed and celebrated our new ministry at St. Columba. Due to the retirement of our beloved bishop the announcement for the installation date from the diocese came on very short notice but we were up to the task. We have showed the diocese and our neighbors that we may be small in numbers but we too are up to the task. Once again I want to thank each one of you for the hard work you have put behind the celebrations. Special thanks to Norma, Michael and Pat, who were in charge of the celebrations. I want to thank all who participated in the program.
Our Sunday worship service was regularly conducted last year at 9:00 A.M. During the December vestry meeting, in order to accommodate all of us, we made an important decision that the first three months of the year 2008 (January to March 31st) we should start our Sunday worship at 10.00 AM. If this arrangement is not convenient to any I am also open for other possibilities, even having two services on Sunday morning. I am also leaning to the possibility of a midweek Wednesday evening service in order to accommodate the needs of the community. As a congregation we must spent more time with God in worship and prayers, especially for all the blessings we receive from God Almighty. I want to thank all of you who take part and assist in our worship services. Special thanks to Pat Teeter who helps before and after the service and Patricia who assist me regularly during the service and led the services in my absence.
Last year I was able to visit a few families. I was also able to conduct a house prayer at the residence of Pat Teeter. Thank God for providing her a new residence and fellowship.
Some of our members are not healthy enough to engage in their daily life. Some of our loved ones here and abroad are also in need of our prayers. Please remember them in our daily prayers.
We did not meet regularly as Vestry last year but we met together whenever we need to make important decisions. At our November meeting we decided to have regular vestry meetings on the third Sunday of every month. At present our vestry consists of all our regular members. For the day to day affairs of our church our wardens are an important part of our ministry. I want to thank them for their continued support and assistance in the day to day affairs of our church.
I want to thank those who are always contributing to the needs of the church. They truly believe that God Almighty has given them not only for their own uses but also to serve others through them. May God bless them abundantly. Personally I want to promise you that I will not allow closing this ministry because of finance.
I want to extent a special thanks to our partner in ministry, Living Christ Lutheran Church in Hanover Park. Last year we worked together in ministry as partners in many occasions. This year we are planning to have a number of joint programs including a joint picnic. Thanks to their contribution of eighty four much needed chairs for our use. Once again I want to thank Pastor Jennie Swanson and her initiation for a joint community ministry in the coming years.
We may be small as a worshiping community but we are involved in many activities for the community. Alcoholics Anonymous holds regular meetings in our church (Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). We are involved in the emergency shelter program of the community. Beyond our share we are also involved in contribution to food pantry and other ministries of the community. Last year we collected, almost one thousand dollars from the contributions and flea market sale to support the Hanover Park food pantry. At present as your priest I am a member of the senior citizens committee, the Schaumburg Clergy association, and many other community projects. Last year I attended a number of community activities part of our outreach ministry to the community. I am planning to involve more outreach ministries during the coming year. Our congregation is always good to respond to the worthy cause. We may be a small family but we showed others that we do care for them. Even though there is no special fund allocated in the budget, this year we responded in time of needs of many projects. Without a sincere heart and cooperation of all the members this would not have been possible. Thanks to all the members who responded in time of our needs and supported for the work of God’s ministry. Last year I continued to lead Wednesday morning service once a month at St. Mark Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn. Starting this year on the third Wednesday of every month I will be leading morning service at Friendship village, Schaumburg. Hope and pray that these services will enhance our outreach ministry and attract more people towards to our family.
Participation in the Diocesan convention was another important event for us. Last year’s convention was a very important one because we elected a new bishop at the convention. The installation service for the new bishop is on Saturday February 2nd at 1 pm at the House of Hope Arena, 752 E. 114th St., Chicago. Please keep our Bishop-Elect Jeffrey Lee and his family in your prayers. Bishop Persell was a true inspiration for me in my ministry. He is the one who was instrumental for my ministry at the diocese of Chicago. He was my brother, my mentor, my bishop and also my spiritual leader. I was very fortunate to have a very close relationship with him. His wife, Nancy was indeed a true companion in the bishop’s ministry. Her love, care and compassion to the ministry was indeed an asset to our diocese and particularly to me. There is no doubt that I am going to miss them very much in the coming years. Please keep Bishop Persell and their family in your prayers. Bishop Persell’s executive secretary Ms. Sue Easterwood is also going to enter into retirement life this year. Her dedication, faithfulness and availability will be a great loss to our diocese. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.
One of the important needs for our church is a regular church choir. Before we have a choir we need an organist. We are still in search of some one to assist us voluntarily. Thanks to Mike for his continued service to provide us with music. Last year Patrick stepped in whenever Mike was not available. Miriam has also agreed to help us with the music in the coming year. Church is the body of Christ and in that body a church choir is an important part. We hope and pray that a regular church choir will be a reality in the future.
The annual picnic of our church was conducted again last year. I want to thank all of you who took part. In the coming years we must use our beautiful facility for more get-togethers, not only for our members but also for others. Thanks to all the families who made this year’s picnics a great success.
Mission and Evangelism
We supported many worthy causes during the calendar year. We do not have a regular mission project. One of the important visions of our church is mission and evangelism. I must also add that India has the second largest population in the world and only 2.5 percent of them are Christians
First impression is the best impression. Appearance is one of the important aspects of attracting new members to the church. Due to our financial position we have put off many of our overdue projects. One of the overdue projects of our church was a new roof for the church school/office building. Last year we were able to accomplish that goal. Thanks to Michael and others who helped to oversee that project to become a reality. Our Church building also needs a new roof in the near future. One of our summer projects is to estimate the cost. We also need to paint outside of the church and need to repair some ceiling tiles and electric fixtures inside of the church school/office building. Our church should look better than any churches in the diocese. Hope and pray that God almighty will give us support and strength to maintain his home.
Our rectory is one of the top priorities of ours at this time. Last year under the able leadership of Lous, we were able to take care of the outside maintenance of the rectory. Thanks to all of you who participated in that ministry especially Lous, Michael and Charles. These days, rectory is not a necessity for a church like ours. We have already made some temporary decisions regarding our rectory but we need a permanent solution. I am sure the diocese will give us permission to sell the property if we utilize the proceeds properly. This coming year we must take appropriate decisions regarding our rectory. Please keep this agenda in your prayers.
Last year we were able to launch a website for our church. The name of our site is www.saint-columba.org. It is still a work in progress as we are still in the process of tweaking it. If you have any suggestions please do not hesitate to inform Mike. Also please visit our site regularly. The entire work of our web-site except the initial fee and annual cost of the web name is from the voluntary contribution of Mr.Aji Abraham, Dallas. May God bless him and his ministry. We also need to put together all the email addresses of our members so that we are in touch with each other regularly. Once again thanks to Aji Abraham and also thanks to Michael who coordinates the project.
Last year few of our members renewed their vow with us as a family. We were thankful for the fellowship of Hortensia, Pat and Cheryl. Last year we were able to almost double our regular worship membership. Many families visited us last year but unfortunately, for unknown reasons, they did not choose us part of their family. Our goal this year is again double our regular worship membership. Our Church is special in many ways in the diocese of Chicago. We must encourage our family and friends who are in need of a church fellowship to attend our Church. Thanks to Sue, we conducted our first wedding in the Church on December 22, 2007. Once again I want to wish the couple a happy and blessed family life. Please keep them in your prayers.
Many dignitaries including our bishop Rt. Rev. William and Mrs. Nancy Persell visited us last year. Church of South India bishops Rt. Rev. K.P. Kuruvilla and Rt. Rev. Prabakar Rao and also general secretary Pauline Sathiamurthy and husband visited us during the year. Many people from the diocese including Rev.Canon Dr. Warren Randall also visited. This year we are scheduled to have Clericus, Kerala clergy picnic and an Asian Sunday service at our church. Dates will be announced later.
Many of our family lost their loved ones during the calendar year. It is the most painful thing in this world to lose our loved one in death. This world is not for ever and the life of this world is a gift of God, a gift to serve God and to know him. We express our sincere condolence to Diane who lost her mother, others who lost their loved ones and our previous member’s family who moved out from the area who were called to eternity during the calendar year.
Our needs are many but our resources are very limited. Our most important need is to attract more families to our midst irrespective of our differences. Sunday school and youth activities are important part of the ministry but before we can think about them we need to have the fellowship of few more youngsters. It may not be always possible in the midst of our busy life but as a church we also need to come together more for prayers and fellowship. God Almighty led us in all our difficult times and will also lead us in the future. If we submit our needs before our God regularly it will be answered.
Our church is unique in many respects among the North American Episcopal churches. We had our share of problems and difficulties in the past. We must also thank ourselves for the cooperation we have shown in the past. I want to thank each one of you personally for the support you have given me last year. Let me also thank my fellow members in Christ, especially the members of the vestry and each one of you who were part of the everyday needs of this church. Let me also ask your support and prayers in our ministry. Once again I wanted to thank God Almighty for another blessed year in our life. Let us praise our Lord God almighty for all the blessings we have received as a church in the past and request His continued guidance for the future.
Yours’ in Christ,
Fr. Mathew P. Idicula