Welcome to the St. John's Blog!

St. John's Episcopal Church is located on the northwest side of Chicago, in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. You can learn more about us at our official web site. We hope you'll join us!

If you'd like to see a larger version of any picture in the left-hand column, just click on it. Use your back arrow to return to the post.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

As the parish family of St. John gathered at three different Christmas services, we once again experienced the joyous message, sounds and sights of the season: The message of the greatest gift of all that we receive at Christmas--the birth of the infant Jesus Christ; the wonderful musical offering from the choir and soloists; and the beauty of our chancel enlivened with the sparkling trees alongside the reredos and the bright greens and reds of poinsettias, garlands, many bows, and our treasured "Nativity Banner" suspended above the chancel steps.

This fine art piece was hand-sewn by a former member of the parish, Nadine Raich Pool, in 1967. The work, created in applique, took four months to complete. It was exhibited at the "Art of the Spirit" show in Evanston in April 1968. That Christmas, Nadine generously loaned the banner to St. John's to be part of the festive decorations. The rector wrote in the January 1969 The Eagle: "Father Adams has noticed that he mutters 'Thou shalt not covet' to himself every time goes through the church". However, in time, the banner did become the property of the parish, when Nadine donated it in 1974.

Milton and Dorothy Raich were members of St. John's for many years and their two talented daughters contributed so much to the parish. Nancy served as organist and choir director for several years and Nadine created an art work which has become a cherished and integral part of Christmas at St. John's.

-Angela McCormick

Friday, December 25, 2009


We had three Christmas services this year:
• An afternoon Christmas Eve service (the children's service);
• A late Christmas Eve service; and
• A Christmas morning service.

Following are some photographs from each, starting with The Children's Service. In the interest of getting this posted in my lifetime, commentary will be sparse. I didn't capture a usable picture of everyone that had a role, and apologize if I missed you.

Madeleine played for us before the service.

His parents weren't the only ones proud of how well this young man read the lesson.

During the service the children brought the crèche figures forward.

Kara invited the children to help her with the sermon.

There was, however, a breakaway Fifth Column movement among the pre-schoolers.

A reformed Fifth Columnist joined Julianne, Kara, and Emma for the Eucharist.

The hymns were wonderful. But the lighting of the candles is every child's (and photographer's) favorite part.

The Late Christmas Eve Service

Below, the choir is practicing the Carol of the Bells before the service began. They were in fine form, and a treat to hear.

William and Dee sang Pietro Yon's Gesù Bambino.

Christina read from Isaiah: The people who walked in darkness have see a great light ....

Cheryl led the Prayers of the People....

And after the Eucharist, the candles were lit.

Three generations.

The Christmas Day Service

This was Julianne's first solo Christmas service. It, too, was wonderful.

The Gospel.

Julianne gave an animated sermon, and even sang for us.

Merry Christmas everybody. I hope you enjoyed Christmas at St. John's as much as I did.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

It's every Parish Administrator's worst nightmare: 190 40-page service bulletins to be produced – in color – for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and the photocopier breaks down half-way through production.

Take deep breaths. Think of mountain streams. Call Mike at Ricoh.

We're pretty sure Mike didn't want to spend his Christmas Eve afternoon this way, either.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the Bleak Midwinter

Looked out the window, and this came to mind:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Frosty the Episcopalian

Another reason to be happy you're part of the St. John's family: we have our own snowman!

Snowman courtesy of Ben and Jess. Photo by Jess.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Something Else to Think About

I suppose I should warn you: this is an emotionally powerful video about the rape of a 13-year-old girl, and it has some strong language in it. But it's worth watching and thinking about.

A Loving Contempt from Recycle Your Faith on Vimeo.

If you found something useful in this, you should know it is from a site called "Recycle Your Faith," which has several additional thought-provoking videos (not all as long as this).

Bishop Lee's Christmas and Epiphany Message

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

St. Nicholas Comes to St. John's

The traditional service of Lessons and Carols took on a new look this year, as we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas with Stories and Songs of St. Nicholas on Sunday afternoon, December 6.

In a special service written by Kara, readings from Scripture, newspapers, and poems were mixed with hymns and anthems, and narration by Jason, to tell the story of St. Nicholas. We learned the origins of gifts in stockings and gifts down the chimney.

And best of all, St. Nicholas himself presided over the service. Some of the grown-ups kept calling him Richard, so I'm guessing that's St. Nicholas' middle name. St. Richard Nicholas.

Kara played the flute!

Some members of the congregation got to meet St. Nicholas up close and personal.

After which we shared a sumptuous feast.