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
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
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 gathered 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
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
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.