Building Committee Update by Steve Hansen
Well, I'm sure you're all as anxious as I am to see what our new building will look like! I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you some of the roadblocks and events that have led to the hole that you see to the East of our Church.
We contracted the services of Landmark Construction (Jay Bradarich - President) in June of this year to supervise the construction of our much-needed new facility designed by Batistich Architects. The lowest bid of our project came in much higher than any of us expected, so we started the task of re-examining our most immediate needs, trying to come up with a building that we could afford and would serve our needs. The entire project has always been governed by the space constraints of our beautiful, but small piece of God's Earth.
In August, we asked Jay to initiate the permit process so that we could get our new building under roof by the first snowfall. Little did I know what an arduous process this would be indeed. We ended up agreeing with Jay on a contract price of $916,700.00 knowing full well that we would incur some additional costs along the way and most likely some more costs near the end of the project. Never the less, we pressed on and started the process of trying to secure approval from the seemingly thousands of people who wanted to look at our project.
Before we could even submit our plans for permit review, we had to secure approval from the public health department. This would seem like an easy task, but after 3 weeks and 3 septic designs, we were eventually approved and ready to submit for permit approval.
Jay took all of our plans to the county for review and the waiting began. We heard back from them after several weeks and received a laundry list of items that needed to be cared for before they would consider letting us begin our construction. They asked for a parking analysis, well inspection, fire protection system drawings, septic designs, and so on and so on.
We felt that we had complied with all of the County's requests at least 4 times (that's how many times we went in and tried to pull the permit) and were asked for "just one more thing." Finally, on December 12, 2001, I received that long awaited phone call from Jay. He said, " Today is the day, we have received approval to start." His crews were out the next day starting to dig because they just couldn't wait to get started. I was informed that Father Andrew said a prayer for all the workers. They were inspired, and felt good.
I know we're all excited and anxious, but please keep in mind that there may be some more roadblocks along the way. The most important thing to remember is that our Church has been here for over 100 years and I think that we should make sure that our new building will be here just as long. I hope and pray that it will be worth the wait and will be something that we can be proud of for years to come. God has truly blessed us with this wonderful opportunity.
St. Luke Movie Club Enjoys an Auspicious Debut By Ken Stevens
"Sister Helen stood behind Patrick Sonnier. With the warden's permission she put her hand on his shoulder. She had never touched him before. Then, amid a crew of guards, they strode to the execution chamber. The only noise came from Pat's clinking chains scraping across the floor. Then, a prison guard announced with finality, "Dead man walking."
Dead Man Walking was the first film viewed by St. Luke parishioners who wanted to become a part of the newly formed St. Luke Movie Club. The purpose of this group is to view contemporary movies and discuss them in the context of Orthodox Christian meaning and values. Everyone in the parish is invited to view the designated film anytime throughout the month. Then, on the last Sunday of the month, interested persons
gather together socially for an informal discussion of the film. At this time the significance and relative merits of each film are evaluated.
In spite of its name, the St. Luke Movie Club is not exclusive. There are no dues and no formalities. Anyone in the parish, and friends, can participate. It is a good opportunity to get to know each other better and to examine contemporary issues in the light of Orthodoxy.
To evaluate Dead Man Walking several St. Luke parishioners met at my home on Sunday, November 25th, at 5:00 P.M. All of us, including my wife Carla and I, had seen Dead Man Walking, and we were looking forward to discussing it. Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn starred in this movie, which was based on a true story. This outstanding film focused on a convicted murderer facing the death penalty and a Catholic nun's struggle to help him find redemption.
Our discussion was lively and friendly. Fr. Andrew facilitated it by showing video clips from the movie and asking provocative questions to spark participation and debate. We explored the pros and cons of capital punishment, the concept of depravity, and our response to the real world around us. Everyone enjoyed the time spent that evening, and we all look forward to our next movie club meeting.
Future video selections will cover a range of materials from fact to fiction and dramas to comedy. They will include contemporary movies, such as October Sky, Chocolat, The Apostle, Shine, Ulee's Gold, Gladiator, and other meaningful films. Also, let me know if you have seen any other particularly valuable film that you think we should include. Your suggestions are most welcome.
Pay It Forward, another superb film, is our movie selection for January. It depicts a reality we humans are often too busy, to self-centered, and too prideful to see. Pay It Forward stars Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haly Joel Osment. The character played by Osment is challenged by his social studies teacher to fulfill an extra-credit assignment to "change the world." He comes up with a plan to impact the lives of three people. If they accept, it is their duty to continue the idea of "paying it forward" (instead of "back"). They do this by each impacting the lives of three other people. Then these three each challenge three other people. Eventually, the results can change the world.
Pay It Forward did not have the best reviews when it came out. This may have been due to the film's many indirect parallels to Jesus Christ and the tenets of Christianity. However, this movie will challenge you. It is extremely enlightening and thought provoking. We look forward to a stimulating discussion the next meeting which will be scheduled in February. Please see at Ken Stevens for more information about date and time. We hope to see you there.
St. Luke Choir Sings in Lemont By Maria Vrame
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior!" This the St. Luke Choir joyfully sang on Sunday, December 2nd, in Lemont, Illinois. The Choir offered these lyrics and the rest of "The Magnificat," as well as other Orthodox music, at the Christmas Choir Festival. The Lemont Area Historical Society sponsors the invitation-only musical event each year.
The Festival began at 1:00 PM and continued until 4:00 PM. People strolled into the Old Stone Church throughout the afternoon. They stopped to listen to the different choirs sing and to purchase Christmas cookies.
Both adult and children's choirs performed at that day. Each featured choir presented a 25-minute program. St. Luke Choir sang music selections from the Nativity services, Vigil, and Vespers. We also sang various Ukrainian and Russian carols. Besides "The Magnificat" hymns included "Bless the Lord" (from Great Vespers), "Praise Ye the Name of the Lord," "The Nativity Hymn of Light," and other selections.
The Master of Ceremonies commented favorably on the type of music St. Luke Choir sings. He also mentioned the challenge of singing a cappella (without accompaniment by musical instruments). While we sang, the audience seemed to really enjoy our presentation.
As we departed, the Festival chairman invited us to participate again next year. He explained that the Festival committee felt that we offered the event something unique and beautiful.
It was a rewarding experience for us to witness to the Lord with our wonderful Orthodox music. We look forward to returning next year to the Christmas Choir Festival in Lemont.
PASS IT ON! By Mary Jo Werbiansky
For several weeks teddy bears were seen playing and picnicking at St. Luke Church. They also waited patiently to be sent to a new home. At last, someone who would care for them was found, and they were on their way.
The bears and their park-like setting were lovingly hand-painted on a white crib/dresser unit by parishioner Andrea Dauro. This furniture became the receptacle for baby things-diapers, blankets, baby clothes, a car seat, and other large and small items-that parishioners brought, all of which (including the crib/dresser) were this year's Christmas donation to PASS (Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs). This pro-life agency, located in nearby Tinley Park, mainly counsels women who have unplanned pregnancies.
PASS is a tremendous pro-life force in both the local high schools and the community at large. Throughout the academic year PASS visits area high schools to present information about the realities of teen pregnancy and to encourage abstinence. Besides counseling, PASS provides to clients free pregnancy tests and maternity and baby clothes; information on all pregnancy-related options; referrals for medical needs, housing, financial assistance, and adoption services; and childbirth education and parenting classes. Another PASS program, called Hope and Healing, helps women who have had abortions.
Each year PASS caringly helps save hundreds of babies from the jaws of abortion. This is in keeping with our pro-life Orthodox theology. We believe that life begins at the moment of conception and is not to be terminated by man.
St. Luke parish's involvement with PASS goes back eight years. During that time speakers from PASS have given several presentations to the St. Luke parish as a whole and also to our youth. Each year we usually put gifts for PASS clients under our church Christmas tree, which is set up near the right side of the iconostas. This year's crib/dresser idea was a unique, well-received twist on our usual gift-giving custom.
During the rest of the year St. Luke parishioners periodically donate to PASS. They also participate in PASS's annual Hike for Life and the large, yearly banquet. In addition, specific parish individuals have volunteered their time to work at PASS centers (there are currently five locations). Other parishioners regularly receive PASS's prayer list and pray for the people that are on it.
On December 9th Sue Davinger, the founder of PASS, spoke to our congregation. She shared her pro-life ministry and accepted our crib-and-contents donation. She said that after the staff at PASS prayed and carefully considered possible recipients for our gift, someone was chosen. Ms. Davinger indicated that this mother-to-be, whose baby is due in a few months, would gratefully welcome our gift.
Our next contact with PASS will hopefully involve separate abstinence-related workshops for both parents and teens at St. Luke Church.