Stewardship Temple Talks

During January, February and March 2017, there were several temple talks given about committees and ministries.  The text of the temple talks follow:

Temple Talk 5/21/2017 - Decorative Arts - Lys Shradja

Here at UIF, Decorative Arts continues to add new items to our inventory for the Sanctuary. This year, 20 purple lace crosses were added to hang for Lenten season.

The styrofoam Chrismons were replaced with new ones for our Christmas tree and were donated to a friend for their outdoor decorations. A lace angel was added for the top of the tree in place of the beige one. A new tree skirt was also added this year. The one we had in the past just disappeared so a new one with the nativity embroidered was made.

We continue to have a small, yet loyal group, who is willing to give of their time and talents to make our worship area more aesthetically pleasing. If you have a suggestion to offer for making our space more welcoming, please contact Lys Shradeja.

Continued thanks to: Linda Smith, Carol Arnswald, Lori Ann Powrozek, Joe Veal, and Joe Childress. No ministry can function without people willing to help and give of themselves.

Temple Talk 5/14/2017 - Christmas Child - Lys Shradja

Operation Christmas Child

Last year, United in Faith took on a new project to fill shoeboxes for children around the world. Our congregation filled 43 boxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and clothing. It would be great if we could double that number this year. Christian literature, in the language of the area its being sent to, is included so the child can hear of Jesus' love for them.

Please see Lys Shradeja if you are interested.

Fidget Pillows

Have you ever heard of a "Fidget Pillow" or quilt? They are given to people with dementia to occupy their hands - it gives them something to fidget with.

We would like to make several dozen of these for donation to nursing homes, or people we know that would benefit from this diversion. I'm looking for donations of various materials, please see me for what items and sizes are needed.

I plan to make a variety og 18" x 20" square fleece backed squares with different configurations. Pockets will be added and possibly a label stating its purpose and the organization that donated it.

Please give donations to me, Lys Shradeja. I would like to start this project by June. Thank You

Temple Talk 5/7/2017 - Prayer - Mary Haas

Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God surpassing all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

There are many ways to let God know you need Him. There is the exclamation, OH GOD!! That slips out in moments of distress. There is the reverent bowing of the head in formal prayer; memorized prayers someone wrote, or in words of your own choosing. There is the way someone I know prays. I ask her to pray for this person who has this situation. She bows her head with her eyes closed and if I speak she holds up one finger to silence me. When done her head rises and her eyes open. I ask, “What did you say to God”? She looks at me as if I am not too bright and remarks, “I don’t use words!!” Other people use songs or dance to commune with their creator. You can even pray while doing everyday tasks, sweeping, cooking, or repairing something. You just think, “God I have some work to do, be with me while I do it”, or think to God, “I am too busy to pray right now, use my tasks as the words I cannot stop to formulate right now”. God is with us at all times, a certain help in times of trouble but also there to share and rejoice in our happy times. There are so many ways to pray and all of them are the right way.

At United in Faith on each first Thursday of the month at 7 PM, several of us gather in church to talk aloud with God on behalf of the petitions on the prayer weaving. We call this gathering the Community Prayer Session. That name might intimidate some people. Oh no, another Service to attend! But it is really not so complex or painful. We take down the slips of paper which have been posted on the Prayer weaving, and each of us reads aloud several of the slips. Sometimes we add words of entreaty or thanksgiving, depending on what is written. We pray “Lord in your mercy, hear our Prayer”. If the need on the slip is resolved, the slip goes into the God box.

The God box is a place to put private written messages to God. After praying for the intentions on the slips of paper from the prayer weaving, we put our hands on the God box and ask God to respond to the concerns on the messages, which we know He has already read. If the weather is suitable we take the prayers into the parking lot and burn them so they can rise as a burnt offering to God and symbolically go up to Him.

Slips of colored paper and markers are conveniently right here near the prayer weaving, and slips for the God box and pens are also right there. If you feel drawn to kneel the kneeler is right here, but it is not required. If it helps to light a candle, do so. You will notice there is no box to put in a donation for the candles. Prayer should not have a monetary cost associated with it.

Prayer is communication with the Creator of the Universe who loves us with a love so intense that no sacrifice was too much to let us know how deep is that love. Perhaps your story mirrors mine. There have been too many times when the events of life just over whelmed me and in my pain I pleaded with God to help me, and He did! Sometimes he just let the trauma ease up enough for me to go on. Sometimes a person who was a cause of distress changed, even if only enough to allow me to manage life for a little longer. There have been times when I pleaded for the life of someone, and sometimes I got a Yes and sometimes not. When the answer is NO, I cry but I trust in God and I have come to realize that no matter the answer, the connection to my God endures.

Prayer is not complex. It is talking to a friend about what is on our mind. And what a friend we have in Jesus. With God words are not necessary. God already knows what is on our heart. “And the peace of God surpassing all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The co-chairs of the Prayer Ministry are Trish Dombrowski and Mary Haas but Trish does all the work. Derek Sires prints the schedule and we just pray. If you feel the desire, join us on a first Thursday right here and give it a try. But wherever you are, do carry on a conversation, even without words, with the God of creation who walked the earth as one of us.

Temple Talk 4/23/2017 - Marketing - Carolyn Doughty


  • Focus our efforts to invite the community to worship and ministry activities;
  • Inform neighborhood of what is important to us as a congregation;
  • Be sure neighbors know ALL ARE WELCOME.


  • Press releases to TV stations newspapers and 40 churches of various denominations;
  • Flyers in stores;
  • Banners in front of church;
  • Neighborhood blogs and alderman’s newsletter.


  • Establishing routine to advertise bible study and community prayer group each month;
  • Can do this for more groups: Golden Diners, NLOB, 12-step programs???, etc. Need more info from directors of groups. Are there more groups we can invite our neighbors to?


  • Bonnie Maginnis—guidance;
  • Tricia Dombroski—blog posting;
  • Pr. Darryl—creating and ordering some of the banners; a promise to teach me how to do this myself;
  • Joe Childress—hangs the banners in front of church and changes them when needed;
  • Rich Guzik and Dave Quillin post activities on UiF’s Facebook and Twitter pages;
  • Gretchen Quillin often proofs press releases before they are sent out;
  • YOU, UIF congregation members, help when you personally invite friends and relatives to worship and activities;
  • Pr. Carla created and printed the postcard invites we have used for a few occasions, as well as guidance;
  • Any new ideas for publicizing our congregation to neighborhood?
  • No formal meeting time now; can set time after worship service on Sunday, or phone meeting.

Temple Talk 4/9/2017 - Vacation Bible School - Katie Jewell

Are you ready to lead God's heroes?

Each year VBS is a bit different (last year we had a 30% increase in attendees over 2015), but what remains the same is our outreach to the children in our community & the church. This year the theme is: "Discover Your Strength in God!"

Each day the children participate in a Bible story, sing songs, do crafts, play games, conduct science experiments, work on service projects, and have lunch and a snack. Full days make the week fly by; but it is because many of you generously donate your time, talents, creativity, treasure, or gifts that we can keep registration costs low and welcome all children. We can show them ways to serve others in God's name and we can provide needed care to our community.

This year will be no different. We will be showing the children that with God's love, amazing things can happen! Please consider joining our team this year; we would love to have you! Speak to Pastor Carla, Katie Jewell, or Tricia Dombroski for more information.

We will be making Personal Care Kits for Lutheran World Relief. Any donation of the following items would be appreciated. Thank you! Please consider contributing one or more of the needed items:

• Toothbrushes, adult size

• Nail clippers

• Combs

• Bath towels, lightweight, dark color, 40"x20" to 52"x27"

• Bath Soap, 3 or 4 oz bars in original wrapping

Temple Talk 4/2/2017 - Justice - Pam Marino

On January 31, 2016 interested individuals came together to reactivate our Justice Ministry seeking to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by working toward the vision of true peace and justice that God promised. Justice is the manifestation of our faith. We heed the Lord's call through the words of Micha 6:8 to engage in justice work:

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Among all of the possible justice issues, we are currently focused on fair trade, world and local hunger and poverty, local community and government justice issues, and will consider issues that require immediate action or advocacy.

Recent events held during the year to support these issues:

      An offering of letters addressing the lack of an Illinois state budget
      An offering of letters for Bread for the World
      Food For A Week hunger action event
      Fair Trade product sale
      Publicizing justice opportunities of: Lutheran Advocacy, Greater Goods, Metro Chicago Synod Anti-Racism workshops

Planned for 2017:

      Faith Sexism and Justice: Conversation Towards a Social Statement

            - a study of the proposed ELCA social statement on the issues of Faith Sexism and Justice

            - opportunity for us to provide our input for the final statement

            - sessions begin after Easter

            - sign up sheet available outside the sanctuary

            - you may also do your independent study and provide your input directly to the ELCA

            - see the April newsletter for more information

      Periodic Fair Trade product sales

Members of this ministry are: Denise Boyer, Carolyn Doughty, Bonnie Maginnis, Pam Marino, Pr Carla Thompson Powell, Jane Schira, and Elisabeth Wittman. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in our meetings and events.

Go forth and do Justice!

Temple Talk 3/26/2017 - Education Scholarship Committee - Bonnie Maginnis

The Educational Scholarship committee has the responsibility of administering United in Faith’s Educational Scholarship program. The distribution of all scholarship awards is respectfully kept confidential.

Student Scholarships

Scholarships are offered to student congregation members who have a financial need and will attend either a Christian pre-school, grade school or high school, or any post-secondary school, or have special education needs or gifts at any level of their education. Each applicant and their parent(s)/guardian(s)/care giver(s) must participate in the life of United in Faith. Applications are made available in the Fall of each year and are due back by the end of February. Scholarships are awarded in late March and scholarship money is sent directly to the school the student is attending.

Last year the committee reviewed the applications received long with the level of family participation in church life and determined scholarships based on funds available and the number of applicants.

In the 2015-16 school year scholarships were presented to two students from two families totaling $4,000. We also have in the past supported Luther North College Prep with a $650 contribution to be used toward a needy student’s tuition.

The current committee members are Dawn Constantino, George Schultz, and Bonnie Maginnis. If you have any questions or are interested in being a part of this committee, please contact any of the committee members.

Temple Talk 3/19/2017 - Mission Endowment Committee - George Schultz

The Mission Endowment Fund was created to handle any undesignated endowments that came to United in Faith through the generosity of its members. These endowments can be bequests in wills, assignments of life insurance, charitable gift annuities, assignments of certificates of deposit, or transfers of property such as cash, stocks, bonds, and/or real estate. When these endowments are received with no designation as to how they are to be used, 50% of those funds will go into the congregation’s reserve funds and 50% will go into the Mission Endowment Fund. Per the provisions in your constitution, the Mission Endowment Fund must reach $100,000 before any of the funds can be used. The Mission Endowment Committee decides how the funds are to be used.

The Committee is made up of three at large congregation members and one council member. The pastor shall be an ex-officio member of the committee with voting privileges. The treasurer of the congregation will maintain the account of the Mission Endowment Fund and the Mission Endowment Committee will determine how the Fund assets are invested.

Once the Mission Endowment fund reaches $100,000, yearly distributions can be made from the fund by the Committee following the guidelines in the constitution. Those guidelines are:

5% to 25% of the fund can be distributed annually.

Of that distribution amount a minimum of 20% will be used for outreach into the local community.

An additional 20% will be used for ELCA Church wide ministries.

20% will be used for extraordinary programs or other ministry initiatives within the congregation.

The remaining 40% can be distributed through any of the above categories, or:

  • Education
  • Youth
  • Worship and Music
  • A Capital project
  • Missions - local, regional or world projects
  • Senior citizens

In 2016 the Mission Endowment Committee authorized $8,000 from the fund to be used for the Organ Fund.

Also, the church council can recommend, with the support of the Mission Endowment Committee, that the funds may be used in the event of a catastrophe or dire need. The Congregation must approve this expenditure by a 2/3 majority vote.

The current Committee is made up of George Schultz, Bonnie Maginnis, and Ray and Jackie Good. The Committee only meets as needed so if you have any questions or are interested in joining this Committee, please contact any of the members.

Temple talk 3/12/2017 - Finance Committee - Ray Good

Finance committee duties are actually spelled out in the Church Constitution: 1) Oversee financial operations to ensure they are being conducted efficiently, 2) Prepare a draft budget to be presented to council and congregation, 3) review the insurance program at least annually, and 4) review the investment portfolio at least annually. There are also job descriptions in the constitution for the Treasurer and Financial Secretary who are automatically members of the committee.

Financial operations are done in house. We have a church software package that gives us that ability. Derek Sire is responsible for paying bills, generating checks, and recording individual contributions. The treasurer and financial secretary do other financial operations: Ray Good prepares payrolls, tax deposits and some tax filings. He reconciles bank accounts and monitors our financial relationship with St. Cyprian Food pantry. George Schultz closes the books, and drafts monthly reports for presentation to the finance committee and council. He prepares an annual report, which is also presented to the congregation. He monitors the cash balances to make sure money is available to pay bills. George drafted the budget this year after consulted many sources. This is reviewed by the rest of the committee and the council before going to the congregation for approval. In the past other members of the committee have assisted in doing some of these tasks.

Lois Gosstrom is our insurance expert and is liaison to our insurance agents.

Marion Hanson oversees the 3 teams of counters who count and summarize the weekly collection and other sources of income.

Marion Senf is our secretary who keeps a written record of our meetings, which is sent on to Council

Meetings with the investment adviser, Thrivent, are held during the year, the timing based on market conditions and our needs.

Meetings are held monthly just prior to the Council meeting. Usually on the third Monday and usually in the day. One of our main jobs is to review the monthly financial statements, before they are presented to council. The purpose of this review is to determine accuracy and detect financial inefficiencies that may need to be addressed.

Special projects and items of concern do occur, and are discussed. Often recommendations, such as cost savings ideas, are made to Council.

So do you need to be a financial expert to be on finance committee? Financial information provided to council and congregation should be easy to understand so that decisions can be made. Often non-financial folks are the one who come up with the best questions and best ideas to make presentations easily understandable. And we all have experience with our own personal finances. So don’t hesitate to stop in at a meeting for a visit for some fun with numbers.

Temple Talk 3/5/2017 - Communion Visitation - Pam Marino

What would you miss most if you couldn't come to church regularly?

  • Perhaps the sermon?
  • The music, the new organ, the band, the songs, the hymns?
  • Holy communion?
  • Your friends and fellowship?>
  • Pastor Carla?
  • Church news and happenings?
  • 'Coffee and'?
  • Participating in ministries?
  • Praying as a congregation?
  • Temple talks?

This is what many of our members face as aging or health issues prevent them from attending worship.
Well, we have...not an app...but a ministry for that!
Not quite for all of the things one might miss but we do our best.

Communion Visitation ministry members make regular monthly visits to those who are unable to come to church on a temporary or permanent basis.

The church is brought to them through holy communion, prayer, printed devotionals, information of church happenings, news about other members, and they may stay connected.

In 2016, 115 visits were made by the five members of this ministry -
Bernice Malmanger, Pamela Marino, Terrie Miller, Barbara Patrick and Barbara Piggott
Pr Carla also visits in special situations.

How can you - the church - become involved with this ministry?

> If you are interested in one-on-one ministry, this one's for you.
Become a visitor - share your faith, listen to life stories, pray with others, sit and visit awhile, bring the bread of life and cup of blessing.
Contact a member of this ministry and we will get you started.

> Many times the church is the last one to find out about a need for visits so...
Notify the church office when you or someone else is no longer able to attend worship
A call will always be made first to determine the desire for visits.

> Pray for those unable to attend worship services and also the visitors.
Sometimes these visits can be quite difficult...
although most are quite enjoyable, especially for the visitor, as they get to know each other better!

> Don't let an absence become a case of 'out of sight...out of mind'
Telephone, send a card or visit someone who cannot come to church.
These things are most appreciated.
You will find the list of homebound on the prayer weaving.

Temple Talk 2/26/2017 - Nominating Committee - Lys Shradeja

This committee is usually comprised of 3 - 5 voting members of United in Faith. To put it short and sweet, they find candidates to fill openings on council, Synod Assembly and the future nominating committee. If you are new to our family, this is a great way to get to know people and make yourself known as well. If you have been with us for a while, this is a great way to put people you trust in positions to help this congregation move forward.

This is a one year term of service and there aren't a lot of meetings. Everything you need to do is outlined for you so it isn't taxing or diffucult to be successful. It consists of several notices to be put in the bulletin and the newsletter. You will also find yourself asking people if they are willing to serve and forwarding names for consideration.

We will be presenting our slate for council, Synod Assembly and nominating committee at the Annual Meeting today after the service. Anyone interested in being considered may add their name for consideration. Just see Denise Boyer, Dian Hoyem or myself and we will be glad to take care of you.

Every enduring organization is made up of people that work behind the scenes to keep the wheels running smoothly. Having the right people in positions of leadership is key to the unity and fellowship of our family here at United in Fath. Your voice is important to insure we remain and grow as a vibrant Christian community here in Chicago. Please consider serving on any ministry you are comfortable with, including the Nominating Committee.

Temple Talk 2/19/2017 - Altar Guild - Kim Childress

Good morning. I'm Kim Childress. This morning I will talk about the Altar Guild.

The Altar Guild is entrusted with the primary responsibility of preparing the altar for the sacrament of Holy Communion for regular Sunday worship, for all other Worship Services and such as services during Lent, Advent, weddings and funerals. The Altar Guild serves in concert with the Pastor and the Music Director.

Other concerns of the Altar Guild include: the care of the Baptismal Font, which includes preparing it for the sacrament of Baptism; changing the paraments in accordance with the liturgical calendar or as required for a special Worship Service; dry cleaning the paraments and the Pastor's liturgical garments, and regular washing of the sacramental linens; and the purchasing of candles, wine, grape juice, wafers and cups. Gluten free and dairy free rice wafers are available for individuals who suffer allergic reactions to wheat or dairy.

The Altar Guild is always looking for members who would like to join us. It doesn't take much time and the rewards are uplifting! Thanks to all who have served and are serving in the Altar Guild.

Temple Talk 2/12/2017 - Worship & Worship Ministry - Dave Quillin

Good morning. I'm Dave Quillin. Have you ever wondered how our worship services get planned? Here's a hint, it's not just Pastor Carla.

The Worship and Music Ministry is the team that works to plan different aspects of each of our worship servioces. This team works with Pastor Carla to understand the theme for the season or for a particular Sunday and then chooses music and slides and other parts of the service that work with that theme.

If YOU have any ideas for worship services, we would LOVE to hear those! We are always looking for new and exciting ways to share God's word with our congregation!

If you have any questions, please contact Dave Quillin at or Jane Shira at jane.yellin@hotmail .com.

In Christ, Dave Quillin

Temple Talk 2/5/2017 - Website - Richard Guzik

This is the 5th in our series of temple talks on the Ministries and Committee at United in Faith. This is your opportunity to learn about United in Faith’s website –

Good morning. I’m Rich Guzik, currently the Webmaster for the church’s website.

First, a little history. The website was initially created by Arne Olsen in about 2003. He designed it himself and maintained it. When he moved to the suburbs, Marty Dippel took over the maintenance. In January of 2006, I was blessed to take over the maintenance of the website.

The website has gone through major changes in its design over the years, mainly to help those visiting it, to easily find whatever they are looking for. That is the main purpose of the website – to paint a picture of United in Faith for the public. The picture has to be current; it has to be easily traversed and it has to be pleasing to the eye. The website has to make a positive impression on the visitors and must satisfy their curiosity as they travel through the site. To help the visitors, there is information for the first-time visitor which includes: location of the church; where parking is available; worship service times; and a list of community and recovery groups. To help everyone find a topic of their choice, there is a Navigational Column on the left side of every page and a Site Map.

When the Social Media Ministry (Pastor Carla, Gretchen & Dave Quillin) was created, they made several worthwhile suggestions to make the website more pleasing to the younger visitors of the website. One suggestion was to have a picture on EVERY page. Please note that YOUR suggestions and comments are ALWAYS welcome.

Today, the website is only as current as the committees and ministries make it. It is up to them to let the webmaster know what needs to be posted on the website. Without their timely input, the website will remain static. I encourage them to continue to funnel information to the webmaster regarding all of the activities that take place at United in Faith.

As far as members are concerned, there are many items that you can easily find on the website: Times of regular and seasonal worship services; A year’s worth of the monthly newsletters: A copy of the Annual Meeting Packet for the last several years; the Constitution; the Ministry Director’s Handbook; the policies adopted by the congregational council; the Procedure for Planning Ministry - Reflecting Our Guiding Principles; pictures of events at church; links to church’s Facebook and Twitter accounts; the history of the congregation and information on the eight churches that merged to form United in Faith; information on the activities of all of the outside groups and various committees and ministries; various resources for devotions and planning; and the church calendar just to name a few.

If there are items that you wish to see on the website, all it takes is an email or telephone call to the webmaster and your request will be addressed within the next couple of days. Do not be shy. After all, we should all have a hand in creating an image of United in Faith for the inquiring eye.

Thank You for your time and thank you for your support.

Temple Talk 1/29/2017 - Gay & Straight Together - Carolyn Doughty

Hi, I am here to share information about the Gay and Straight Together Ministry.

The purpose of the Gay and Straight Together Ministry is to reach out to the GLBT Community, introduce them to the God that we have been blessed to love, praise and serve, especially for those who have learned otherwise, and to invite them to worship and do ministry side-by-side with this congregation.

In the first years we were organized we participated in the Gay Pride Parade. The first year we passed out 1200 quarter page flyers sharing information about Uif as well as informing the parade spectators of other two remaining films to be shown as part of our film festival. We joined forces with Equality Illinois and the marriage equality efforts by signing postcard and petitions to be sent to our state elected officials urging them to pass legislation that would legalize same sex marriage. GSTM was also represented by Mary Haas at the marriage equality rally in Springfield. GSTM sponsored a discussion and vote deciding that UiF will welcome same sex couples to get married in our sanctuary, with the understanding that the same sex couple needs to follow the same guidelines that a heterosexual couple follows. Since then we sponsored workshops focusing on self-esteem and anti-bullying.

We began 2016 joining with the Worship and Music Committee organizing our Annual RIC Sunday Celebration. The entire ecumenical Welcoming community nationwide joins together to celebrate our unity, just as we are today.

GSTM members joined together to plan two workshops that focused on our Transgender brothers and sisters. “TRANSGENDER: THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE--PART I” offered opportunities for UiF members as well as our community neighbors, to watch a video of Transgender people as they began their transformation journey. We had the opportunity to listen to a Transgender person and then together--speaker and audience--asked questions and discussed the challenges and triumphs the transgender community has experienced. This workshop took place on Sunday, May 15, from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm.

“TRANSGENDER: THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE—PART II” focused on families with a transgender member. We viewed part of a film that told the story of two families as they journeyed toward their transformation as a family. We also had a speaker who is the mom of a transgender child. Question and answers followed. This workshop took place on Sunday, October 30, from 12:30 pm to 3 pm.

GSTM is currently considering a “TRANSGENDER: THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE—PART III” for 2017 as one of our option. It seems clear that as we learn more about transgender folks through advanced research, we realize much can be accomplished through events like these workshops. They offer the opportunity for open and honest discussions that help us recognize that the Christ we see in our transgender brothers and sisters is the same CHRIST we see in ALL of us!

GSTM does most of its planning with email discussions. However, we do have at least one face-to-face meeting when we begin the planning of our event and at least one meeting just prior to the event. The face-to-face meetings usually take place on Sunday after the second worship service. If you are interested in joining GSTM, please contact one of the committee members.

Peace and JOY to all,

Carolyn Doughty, chairperson,, Mary Haas, Gretchen Quillin, Jane Schira, Pastor Carla

Temple Talk 1/22/2017 - Property - Joe Childress

TThe bulk of 2016 was dealing with roof repairs and heat/AC repairs to our four units. It seems like we continue to patch and repair our roofs, and replace furnace parts on old units. All of these repairs cost us money, and I truly hope that we are not continuing to throw good money after bad since the full replacements of roofs and furnaces are extremely costly.

We continue to have issues with our current cleaning company and it is our goal to seek and hire a new firm in 2017. We have already received an estimate from another company to clean both buildings, but feel we need to get a few more bids for this job, as well as asking for references. We would prefer to hire a company that has experience cleaning other churches and not just offices. City Wide is our current cleaning company and we had two replacement crews and a new project manager for our building already since we started with them.

Our windows on the east side of our East Building need caulking around all the exterior of the windows. We had this done many years ago but unfortunately they used some inexpensive materials, and now it needs to be replaced with a better, long lasting silicone caulking. We are looking for a handyman to do this for us in the spring.

Some other Property “doings” in 2016 was to have tuckpointing on the interior brick walls in the sanctuary and fellowship hall. We were trying to eliminate all possible leak issues coming from the windows, and when the caulking is completed, we hope the leaks will be gone too. Our LED sign was finally repaired after we had an issue with the correct time and also the replacement of some of the internal boards. The Property Committee purchased a leaf blower for Steve to use around our properties to make cleaning up debris and leaves a little easier for him. We also switched out the cardboard dumpster from Groot to Paper Retriever. Groot was charging us too much for taking all the cardboard from The Food Pantry’s boxes.

UIF has been is dire need for some electrical work, so we started to call around to get bids for ballast replacements and other electrical work. The costs were extremely high. God heard our prayers and a program through ComEd and Verde Solutions was the answer for us. This pilot program will replace all fixtures in UIF, doing so with energy efficient lighting for a fraction of the cost. We had to apply for this program and we were approved for the work. We met with a representative from Verde Solutions at our November meeting and we are very excited about the work, as we know you will be too.

Another miracle (sort of) was the asphalt patching/paving in the private alley/easement behind our buildings. The holes were huge and we had called the outfit that patched the last time to see about more patching. About a month later, the holes were filled (not such a good job, but filled) and none of the neighbors know who did this. This is just a temporary fix since the entire alley really needs to be tore up and replaced with a new asphalt blacktop.

Our buildings get plenty of use on a weekly basis and we are always getting requests to use both the east building and west building by both members and outside groups. With this being said, we had to revise the Building Use Agreement forms for both members and non-members. Please be sure you fill one of these out if you have any intentions of using our building space. The changes to the agreement were minor, but they will make keeping track of usage much easier for UIF.

There is so much to do around UIF and money is limited. Here are the plans for 2017:

•Remove the Coke machines

•Caulk Windows

•New Cleaning Service

•Floors - Strip and Wax

•New Alarm Codes

•New Folding Chairs for Fellowship Hall

•Steam Clean Restrooms

•Hire a “handyman” for small jobs around UIF (any referrals are most welcome)

The primary purpose of this Property Committee is to over-see the care and maintenance of our buildings and surrounding property, as well as general repairs that do not require the service of an outside contractor. Our members are Joseph Childress, Chairman, Robert Doyle, George Schultz, Harold Hoyem, Harold Edmonson (new member in 2016), and Julie O’Donnell-Lozich. Our new Office Administrator, Derek Sire, has also been in attendance at our monthly meetings which is a huge asset to our committee. Thank you, Derek! We are also seeking other members to join this committee so just contact one of our members and they can inform you of our meeting times.

Feel free to contact anyone of us if you have would like us to address a property issue at UIF.

God Bless and Watch Over UIF in 2017

Temple Talk 1/15/2017 - Shepherds Staff - Bonnie Maginnis

This is the second in our series of temple talks on the Ministries and Committee at United in Faith. This is your opportunity to learn about what our Ministries and Committees and what they do.

Shepherd’s Staff is one of the newest Ministries at UIF. It was created and approved in 2013 to help strengthen the church’s ministry, work and sacrament. The goals of Sheperd’s Staff are to assist the Office Administrator with day to day clerical tasks necessary for the operation of the church, , care for and improve communication within the congregation, and administer our Child Safety program to create a safe haven for children.

Assisting the Office Administrator

We assist the Office Administrator with many time consuming clerical duties and by filling in when the Administrator is out of the office to answer phones and greet visitors.

One of our first projects was to work closely with the Pastor and Administrator to update all of the congregational attendance records in our computer system so that accurate reports can be sent to the Synod. When we started this project, Attendance sheets had not been entered into the computer system for many years. It took several months of effort to bring those records up to date and now attendance sheets are entered on a weekly basis.

Then we worked with the new office administrator to clean up and organize the office, copy room, Sunday School room, and server room, discarding many old records and supplies no longer needed and reorganizing those rooms. The archive room (which holds all the records from the eight churches that came together in United in Faith) was also cleaned out and rearranged (thank Harold and Dian)so that information can be more easily located.

Shepherd’s Staff labels and stamps all those newsletters that are not picked up by members and will assist any other ministry with any mailings they may have to send out. We also maintain the bulletin board in fellowship hall that advertises upcoming events at United in Faith

Communication within congregation

Shepherd’s staff has worked to improve communication within the congregation. We researched various programs and chose One Call Now to automatically send messages via phone and email to each congregation member when something important happens at United in Faith such as reminders of congregational meetings, passing of members, or cancellation of services. When we have a message to deliver we go to the One Call Now website, enter the United in Faith account and type in the message. The program converts the written message to verbal, (magic) and automatically dials the phone number of the recipient. Remember though, congregation members must give us their written permission to contact them so if you have not yet signed up for this service you can do so by filling out the back of the Contact Form. Then when there is important information you will be kept in the loop.

In an effort to reflect God’s love by showing kindness and compassion to all who walk through our doors, we send out to members birthday cards, anniversary congratulations and get well cards. We will also send a Thinking of you or Miss you card to members we haven’t seen in a while to let them know United in Faith has not forgotten them. If you know of someone you have not seen for a while, or a member who is under the weather and might need a little cheer, please let us know. And a big thank you to all those who have donated greeting cards to us. We also send out letters to visitors who attend our services, welcoming them to United in Faith and letting them know we enjoyed their visit, inviting them to return, and giving them contact information for the office and Pastor.

Child Safety

We are trying to strengthen faith by creating a Safe Haven for Children at United in Faith. Shepherd’s Staff coordinates evaluations and child safety training of all children’s ministry volunteers, especially those that are non-members. We are currently researching for a new child safety program that can be conducted without a computer since many of our volunteers do not have access to computers.

The Spiritual Gifts for Shepherd’s Staff include Organization, Helps, Teaching and Service. If you think you might be interested in joining or learning more about this ministry, please contact one of the current members: Me, Diane Hoyem and Mickey Bligh.

Temple Talk 1/8/2017 - Stewardship - Gretchen Quillin

Hello! My name is Gretchen Quillin. Today, we are starting a series of temple talks focused on our ministries here at United in Faith. So much happens behind the scenes that many of us aren’t aware of, so we thought it would be a good idea to share that information.

Also of note, is that the ministries are open to additional members, so after you listen to these temple talks, we invite you to enter into prayer and discernment to determine if your gifts and passion are a fit for any of the various ministries.

We’re going to start this series of temple talks with Stewardship! Everyone’s favorite, right? I know, we, as Lutherans, hate to talk about our giving. It’s a very personal topic. But one of the goals of the Stewardship Ministry is to reduce that taboo and increase the conversation about giving.

One of the main activities run by the Stewardship Ministry is the annual Faith Promises Sunday. For the last few years, Faith Promises Sunday has been on All Saints’ Sunday (the first Sunday in November). The Faith Promise is a chance for you to consider your contributions of time, talent, and treasure to United in Faith for the coming year. While it’s helpful for us to know approximately how much money United in Faith expects to bring in, the main purpose of Faith Promises Form, is to provide a chance for you to touch base with God (and your spouse, if applicable) on your finances and intentions on giving. We do not hold anyone accountable to what Is captured on those forms, and we do not discuss individual members’ giving. So, if you were to say that you’re going to give $50 per month and your circumstances change, that is between you and God.

Over the past few years, we’ve attempted to steer the conversation about giving toward the gifts of time and talent, not just treasure (or money). We’ve been working on this in multiple ways, including newsletter articles, Giving Statement letters, and the Faith Promises Form. This is why the Faith Promises form includes a large section that lists the ministries and other areas where you can commit your time and talent at United in Faith.

If you haven’t already submitted your form, you can still do that by putting it in the collection plate, providing it to the office, or placing it in the Stewardship mailbox.

This year, the Stewardship Ministry spearheaded the change in the offering envelopes, based on a suggestion from a member of the congregation. We also offer Simply Giving (a direct debit option). And Nancy, with the help of the Stewardship Ministry, put on the Auction in April.

As for the Stewardship Ministry itself, we are a small group consisting of Denise Boyer, Nancy Ciecko, Rich Guzik, Pastor Carla, and me. We have a fun time and meet only when we need to, which happens to include tomorrow at 7 pm. I usually bring treats to share with the group, and tomorrow will be no exception. Although we would love to have anyone join our team, the specific spiritual gifts that match up well with our goals include giving, organization, teaching, wisdom, helps, prayer, knowledge, leadership, and service. So take a look at your gifts results and see if it’ll be a good fit.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to review our Stewardship Ministry brochure and the brochure on Leaving a Legacy, which is about donating to United in Faith and other charitable causes.

During October 2015 there were two temple talks given on stewardship.  The text of one of those temple talks follow:

Temple Talk 10/25/15 - Katie Jewell

Good morning.

Most of you are accustomed by now to seeing me up here, regularly announcing what supplies, volunteers, and participants we need for an upcoming event. Today I'd like to share with you how God has been present in my life and why it is that I am so often asking for your contributions.

Think back to when you were a young child, or a teen, or a young adult. Think about when your children were young. What experiences did you have at church? At Sunday School? On service projects or mission trips? How did they shape you and your relationship with God?

When I was young, we went to a fairly large church. My father was on the finance and building committees and my mother was involved in several service organizations. At one point she led their Operation Santa Claus program. They brought home stories from their meetings and shared the implications of difficult decisions that were made. I looked forward to growing up and being involved.

More importantly, church was an integral part of our lives. I enjoyed Sunday School each week and invited friends to come along. When I entered Youth Group, I was elected to the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee and was involved in interviewing and hiring a new pastor - as an 8th grader! In high school I witnessed children in the inner city needing love and support they weren't getting at home. Eventually I worked with a mentor and opened an after school program for these children in their neighborhood church.

Your memories will be varied and different from mine, but I'm guessing you all have a moment, or series of moments, when an experience changed you. When God spoke to you; through you.

What did that feel like? Was it amazing to feel God pushing you, with certainty, in one direction? Was it terrifying to think about the "What If's" and the risks? Probably. But if you followed through with God's plan, how incredible to know the He was (and is) with you every step of the way!

Come back to the present. Sunday morning, it's chilly outside. Halloween is this week. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. What is God calling you to do?

Many of you have volunteered or contributed in one way or another when asked this past year. Some of you are out of town or can't help on your feet, so you made an extra monetary donation. Some of you don't have that luxury and have instead donated a skill - decorating, artwork, or story telling. Some of you have given a great deal of that most precious commodity - time - and for all these things I am thankful and God is pleased.

But we don't not get to sit back and rest now. There is more work to be done. If we want our children, and our children's children to continue having church memories and faith experiences, we all need to listen to what God is calling us to do. We need to have faith that we can give more of our time, our talents, and our treasure and God will use it to grow United in Faith, our next generation, and our world.

What is God calling you to do?

During October 2014 there were several temple talks given on stewardship.  The text of those temple talks follow:

Temple Talk 10/19/14 10:30 Service

Hello, My name is Gretchen Quillin and I’m here to speak briefly on giving. As many of you know, Faith Promises Sunday is November 2 this year. This is the day we present our promises to God about how we will spend our time, our talents, and our treasure. If you have questions about Faith Promises Sunday, please see me after the service.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “God loves a cheerful giver,” right? That phrase has always kind of bothered me. I don’t know about you, but often, giving my time or money away doesn’t make me joyous or happy or cheerful. I have had moments of wanting to keep or spend the money that we give to church. I could provide a very, very long list of items that I want for me, my family, my house, my friends, etc.

But, recently, I reread 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. “The point is this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I’d like to change the emphasis. Did you catch the part about “each one must give as he has decided in his heart?” Before I ever made a pledge or faith promise as an adult in the church, I struggled every month with what to give. It varied a lot. Do I give the cash in my wallet? Do I write a check, and if so, how much should it be? My giving was very inconsistent. Once I made a faith promise, though, everything changed. You see, I think verse 7 should end with “God loves a peace-filled giver.” The peace I have about giving what we give permeates my life.

For instance, when Katie Jewell asked Dave and me to be youth leaders, I said yes. Dave and I rarely commit to doing anything together because we’d always need a babysitter. But I didn’t let the daunting task of finding babysitters twice a month (sometimes more) stop me from giving my time. I know that God will always provide a babysitter for us, and so far, he as blessed us with people from the church who are willing to watch Conrad for free while we do God’s ministry with the youth of UIF.

Our family is no different from your family. We all have a certain amount of time and money. And there are months with unexpected expenses that we would have benefited from keeping the money we give to church. If you’ve ever had a basement flood or emergency car repairs, you know what I mean. But we’ve always given our money faithfully because we made a promise and we have peace in our hearts.

What we have given we have reaped. We have received a faith community that is loving, honest, challenging, and generous with their time and talents both with us and each other. We have received friends and godparents to our son that love us and support us. We have received satisfaction of knowing we are doing God’s work and opportunities to develop into leaders from our roles on various ministries, currently between the two of us: Church Health Team, Stewardship, Call Committee, Youth, and Praise Band.

So, I urge you to prayerfully consider your faith promise this year. Because for us, that one promise has made all the difference.

Gretchen Quillin

Temple Talk - Bernice Malmanger Oct 26,2014

Last Sunday, Denise Boyer, a member of our Stewardship Ministry, asked if I would give a "Temple Talk" about the decisions each of us must make if we want to assure that our faith community continues to have a physical place in which to worship, and still be able to do ministry.

To refresh my memory, I reread the letter that came with our July 13 giving statements. We have been operating on the investment money made possible by selling the eight buildings of the uniting congregations.

I have not been here as long as many of you, but longer than some. My former church could have joined UIF's original eight but we thought we had a chance of making it alone. We ended up having to close. UIF is the first church my friend Barbara and I visited when looking for a new home. The welcome and warmth I felt from that visit continued through following visits and I have been a member now for about three years. I don't want to lose this physical place in which to worship.

All of us here, have God given gifts and they are different for each of us. One of my daily prayers is "Lord equip me with everything I need to do your work". I believe he has done that for me.

For us to take care of this building, we need money and labor. For us to sustain a ministry, our membership must supply both the money and the labor. This is our decision time. We must ask ourselves - What are my gifts and can I share a little bit more so that we can have a sustainable ministry? And as our fearless Pastor asks "AND MAY GOD'S PEOPLE SAY AMEN".

Bernice Malmanger

During January 2009 there were several temple talks given on stewardship.  The text of those temple talks follow:

Update on the Financial Status of UiF

I am here today to give you an update on the financial status of United in Faith. It’s something we should have been doing more often, but is especially important now that the entire world is dealing with unprecedented financial stress.

Typically the cash income received here is less than cash expenditures.  However, we also have investments, and the investment gains and income in recent years have reduced deficits substantially, but not eliminated them.  Obviously we have always known this is a path than can’t be followed forever.  At some point, we do run out of investments, out of money.  But I think the philosophy has been that in time, growth would come; and with a larger membership, deficits would be eliminated.   So last year we all agreed to a budget that included a cash deficit, partially offset by investment income,

But this past year, anyone who had investments discovered that there was no escape from significant market losses.  2008 was a disaster for everyone.  Even many supposedly safe investments suffered market loss.  At UIF our general investments are down significantly.  Our even more conservatively invested Scholarship endowment is also down.   There is about a 30% drop in the value of our investments through November.  All this happened in spite of having outstanding financial advisers from Thrivent.  They never expected this to happen.   And the well-respected advisors Jackie and I use for our IRA keep telling us:  “Wow-never seen anything like this.”

With all this going on, UIF has been careful with spending.  We don’t yet have final numbers for 2008.  We will be talking about them at our annual meeting.  But as of November we spent $65,000 less than budgeted.  Even with this pullback, we continue to spend more than we take in.  Through November we have also had to sell $90,000 of our investments to cover the cash deficit.  Fortunately you have been faithful, and your gifts have keep coming during this period when all are feeling financial pain.  But the cash deficit and investment losses this past year have made finding a solution to our deficit spending more urgent.  We don’t have as much time to fix the problem as we used to.

But I don’t come with easy answers.  Can we cut expenditures any more without hurting our mission?  It obviously would be better to grow our income, but how do we do that. Yes, we are hoping for a return of investment income, and recovery of losses. But that has never been the whole answer.   Obvious answer has always been to grow the membership.  More people bringing gifts to God.  Bequests have helped us out significantly in the past.  Can each of us give more on Sunday?  I can’t answer that because each of us has different circumstances, only God knows.  Are there other sources of income?   Maybe.  So this is a complex problem, something we need to pray about and work on in the near future.  And for the next few Sundays we plan to continue this conversation.  The good news is that God is right there with us in all of our struggles.

Ray Good

Today’s temple talk is on “Estate Charitable Giving Options to UiF”

I am here to suggest ways you can leave part of your estate to your church.  In many cases this will not necessitate your making out a new will or trust agreement.  If you have not already prepared a “will” this of course is the easiest way to go.   You can just designate the church as beneficiary of a set percentage of your estate.

There are other ways to simply do this without preparing a new document.  For example, if you have an IRA, annuity (40l plan), or life insurance policy, you can designate the church as beneficiary of all or partial amounts.  Your estate could receive a charitable deduction for the value of the bequest.

Another way is to purchase a life insurance policy and name the church as beneficiary.  In this case, your premiums are tax-deductible as a charitable contribution and upon your death, the insurance proceeds go to the charity.

You can also transfer ownership of an investment (for example, land, a mutual fund, or stock) to the church.  You may be able to reduce or eliminate capital gains and estate taxation through this type of gift, as well.

In this example, I wish to show how easy it is to give to UiF and it won’t really affect your family.

If your home alone is worth $300,000 and you have 3 children, each child would receive $100,000 from the sale of the home.  If you have named UiF as beneficiary of 10% of your home, each child would receive $90,000.  Would that $10,000 deduction make a difference in your child’s life?  Probably not, but a $30,000 gift to Uif would make a difference to UiF.  It would allow us to expand programming and grow in our mission.

Bob and I came to UiF from MLC that chose to not join the consolidation.  They have struggled the past 10 years having to resort to a part-time pastor and selling their parking lot.  They certainly aren’t doing a lot of mission work, they are just trying to maintain their building.  This is why we left.  They are now looking at closing.  We have personally made estate giving to UiF a priority in our wills and trusts.  We would like to see our legacy become something fruitful and visionary.  I would hate to leave monies that are used to pay utility bills for a dwindling congregation.  We ask that you join us in your estate giving to UiF. 

The Thrivent web site has a lot of information on this as well as brochures from the stewardship committee which are available in Narthex.  If you have questions, please see a member of finance or stewardship committee.  Or you may contact Shirley Canchola our Thrivent contact person.

Diane Doyle

If you love me, feed my lambs, feed my sheep.

When Jesus said that to Peter, he was asking him to take care of the church. Stewardship to me is the same. As members of the church and of this congregation, we are asked to feed the lambs and feed the sheep. United in Faith is a flock of sheep, a herd of lambs. From our littlest lamb to our most mature sheep they need to be tended, we must take care of our flock.

There are many parts of our flock that as stewards and shepherds we need to tend. At United in Faith we tend our young with the talents of our Sunday school staff of volunteers. Our youth group is tended by our pastor and a host of parent leaders as they find their own way to increase their faith in confirmation. Our Celebration Choir and music ministry tends our flock with their leadership by providing our faithful with a variety of inspirational sounds that uplifts our worship. Our Food pantry tends our greater community by providing resources that may not be available anywhere else. Our scout leaders tend their flocks of brownies, girl and boy scouts while providing them the learning opportunities as well as leadership development. Our Golden Diners tend our flock by providing a meal and friendship to many that appreciate that they are not forgotten. Our Alanon and Survivors of incest groups appreciate the time and space that United in Faith provides so that they can minister those in need.

My family has greatly benefited from all of the ministries that United in Fath offers over the years. From our time with our previous congreagation, Nebo, our children, Bethany, Jacob and Ruth participated in Sunday School, Confirmation and youth group ministry. They helped during vacation bible school with so many others that volunteer their talents and time. My wife Lyn and daughter Bethany brought their talents to their flocks of Sunday school children. We have participated in countless services and assisting ministers and readers. I have participated in several different ministry committees sharing talents while listening and leading. Our Faith has sustained us in our times of need and our faith has helped us help others in their times of need.

Stewardship is tending our flock. We have in our faith, provided for our flock and been tended by our shepherds. Many of our ministries require more than just talents and shepherds. As members of our flock we all need to help our flock proceed in its ministries. Presently our nations economy has affected everyone. Although we have a new president, things that have changed over the past few years will not be undone over night. Our flock needs more than just your talents to continue its ministries. Please consider increasing your weekly offering or by some other means tend our lambs. The Lord has provided for all of us in many different ways. Please help tend our flock moreover feed our sheep.

Matthew Gawlik