Altar Guild – Polly Baur

The St. Elisabeth’s Altar Guild team has the responsibility to attend to the altar for all services throughout the year including the 8am services, 10am services and any special services. Our Altar Guild is comprised of four teams that rotate to cover each of the services.

Thank you to all members of the St. Elisabeth’s Altar Guild including: Lauren Edelston, Deidre McClurg, Carrie Mygatt, JoAn Anderson, Mac DuBose, Adrienne Zimmerman, Cathy MacKinnon, Anne Healy, Libby Hinds, Sherry Schellenbach, Barbara Ferry, Glenna Foley, Stephanie Mackiewicz. Your hard work and dedication enables us to experience the joy of worship at each of our St. Elisabeth’s services.

In 2020, we will be welcoming Susan Chadd as a rejoining member of the Altar Guild. We welcome volunteers at any time!

Buildings and Grounds – Peter Wittleder

The B & G  Committee began several stages of our Stone, Sash & Sound Campaign in 2019.

In May, our vendor Thunder Hearing & Sound, installed a Sound Loop System in the crawlspace underneath the church and a broadcast module located in the Sacristy.

This Sound Loop allows most hearing aid wearers attending St. Elisabeth’s to tune-in to pulpit and altar microphones, enhancing the clarity of speakers and music. We also received stand-alone units for use by visitors without their own hearing aids and were instructed in their operation by the vendors during a fall education day.

To paraphrase one of our parishioner’s ‘take’ on the system’s effectiveness, “It was like Daphne wasn’t speaking to me but inside my head.”  We’ll take that as a positive review and I’m sure the system will assist those with hearing issues for years to come.

The next step of the 3S campaign took place on the Rectory in July.  Castino Painting & Home Services began long overdue stucco repairs, then completed the Rectory work with a beautiful new paint job.

After a winter & spring of collecting, vetting, and refining additional vendor proposals; we had hoped to move forward with the biggest stages of Stone & Sash: the masonry repairs, tuck-pointing, and stained glass window work.

However, we had to pause this phase in the fall, as we confronted a few major issues, including fund collection, the urgent installation of a new AC unit in the Nursery room, and research into unforeseen new fire-safety regulations concerning the Montessori School.

We plan to restart and complete major Stone & Sash items in the Spring & Summer of 2020.

Along with the SS&S Campaign, your B & G Committee dealt with typical wear & tear issues common to a 100+ year old building: stairway repairs, odd electrical & heating issues, and a reminder by our raccoon friends that they will be the final arbiters of whether the trash has been correctly packed; were just some of the items tackled throughout 2019.

Finally, during the Spring and Fall Clean Up Days, record numbers of parish members of all ages showed up and our extensive ‘To-Do List’ was completed by mid-morning! I want to thank all who volunteer their time on these busy Saturdays.

I also want to thank Jason Cody, Rod Zimmerman, Jim Ferry, Jim Baur, Robert Fischer, Buzz Thornton, John Tuohy, Rich Lesperance and Mac DuBose for all the help over the last year. It’s always comforting to be able to throw out a ‘Can Somebody help….” email and know that a response will be on its way.

Family Promise – Robert Fischer

St. Elisabeth has supported Family Promise since it started on the North Shore in 2010. Family Promise provides families with children who are homeless with a supported pathway to self-sufficiency. Family promise works with two to four families at a time providing shelter, meals and resources. By working with 29 local congregations of all dominations for nighttime accommodations and community volunteers who provide meals, Family Promise is effective and very cost efficient. St. Elisabeth partner’s with St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Wilmette where they have the space and facilities to host families. It is a wonderful Christian opportunity to help local families in need. There are usually 3-4 times per year to help. The specific responsibilities for helping include; sleeping overnight or joining with others for cooking and/or serving meals. Families with children are welcomed and the children love to play with other children. It’s a fun opportunity!

Family Promise Chicago North Shore is dedicated to helping families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless get back on their feet and provide a stable lifestyle for their children. The main focus is to help our guest families get back into permanent and sustainable housing and employment as quickly as possible. When we help parents meet their basic needs and give them the opportunity to create a plan to get back on their feet, they can begin to realize their dreams of providing a better life for their children. This improves the lives of future generations and also changes our community for the better.

2019 Outcomes:
Nearly 88% of families transition out of homelessness into housing, usually within 3 – 4 months. This holistic approach to keeping families together while helping them to gain a sturdy foundation and find permanent housing has been successful across the nation (over 200 Family Promise organizations nationwide) for more than twenty years. In 2019 St. Elisabeth supported 15 families comprising 39 women, men and children. We helped serve about 536 meals (breakfast and dinner) and four weeks of keeping families safe and together. But how do you measure love? Anyone who has spent time with these families knows what love can do to help.

Three weeks each year, usually in February, May and October, three or four families move into St. Augustine’s in Wilmette and make it their home. The facilities of the church and two classrooms are available to the families for their comfort. Volunteers from St. Augustine and St. Elisabeth’s provide a wide variety of delicious meals, spend time visiting with the families and spend the night sleeping in the church while the families are there. Volunteers are the heart of the Family Promise program. Thanks to the many volunteers in our two-parish partnership we have been able to provide support to families on their path back to independence. In 2019, 15 families were housed and assisted. Your help is needed and wanted. Contact Lauren or Carrie or Robert to become part of this effort to fight homelessness.

North Shore Chicago Family Promise has unique solutions:

We keep families together – Traditional shelters often require men and older male children to separate from mothers and small children. We provide a safe environment where we can care for the whole family as a unit.

We leverage community resources – We provide emergency transitional shelter using the existing facilities of local congregations and organizations, making our model very cost-effective.

We provide a daytime location – Unlike most shelter programs, we also offer our families a daytime location which provides them with a mailing address, job search resources, and a place to have their children picked up for school.

We address the root causes of family homelessness – We provide supportive services tailored to each family to address the root causes of their homelessness. Through workshops, training, and counseling, each family develops a stabilization plan to prepare them for independence.

With the help of St. Elisabeth’s generous donors, volunteers, and community partners, we provide the Family Promise guests with the services and support they need to transition out of homelessness and back into a position of self-sufficiency. St. Elisabeth’s does not provide any money to St. Augustine, just volunteers and private donations.

Initiative – LGBTQ – Kay Rossiter

This year the LGBTQ+ team pursued our mandate to educate and to promote understanding of LGBTQ+. To that end, we held eight meetings over the course of the year to plan events and develop projects promoting inclusiveness and diversity. The year brought changes, including a farewell to our rector Daphne Cody, one of the original course-setters for our strategic plan and this initiative. In the fall, we welcomed interim rector Kevin Goodman who is likewise committed to the cause of LGBTQ+ understanding. We look forward to a productive year with him on our team. Other new members of our team this year include junior warden Anne Tuohy, who will be our liaison with the vestry, and Ross Shanley-Roberts whose tech expertise will be a huge help.

Over the course of the year, the team pursued several ongoing projects. We agreed on rainbow icons for our outdoor signage that will be installed in 2020. In addition, an LGBTQ+ site is being developed for the St E’s website that will provide info and LGBTQ+ support links.

Other highlights of the year included an April 24 workshop at Kenilworth Union Church where members of our team joined other church and synagogue leaders to learn about supporting LGBTQ+ youth. The event was led by licensed, clinical social worker Lizzy Appleby, who gave an inspired presentation that prompted us to engage her for a pronoun workshop at St E’s in 2020.

Pride Month was celebrated in several special ways. We flew the rainbow flag alongside our red doors every day during June. On June 24, we hosted a church Pride Picnic on the front lawn that drew people from around the neighborhood. During the church service earlier that day, we presented a beautiful rainbow stole to Daphne Cody, which she later gave to the church. To further celebrate Pride Month, St Elisabeth’s sent a delegation to the Chicago Pride Parade on June 30 to join the Coalition of Welcoming Churches. Our group proudly walked alongside Bishop Jeff Lee on part of the parade route.

Many thanks to the LGBTQ+ members for their work this year. They are: Cody Cook, Sally Graver, Tasker Generes, Linda Illes, Christine Johnson, Cathy Seccombe, Dillon Shipman, Annie Thornton, John and Anne Tuohy, and Ross Shanley-Roberts. We invite anyone who’s interested to join us.

Initiative – Unaffiliated – Joyce Newcomb

The overriding goal of the Unaffiliated initiative is that the congregation understand and connect with the growing demographic of people who identified themselves as spiritual but who have no religious affiliation. Although this has been a less active year, one way that St. Elisabeth’s has been achieving this goal is through the Labyrinth, which provides a sacred space for all comers to walk its path, to pray and to meditate. Last summer’s bulletin board display presented the Unaffiliated initiative and asked parishioners to weigh in on ways for us to reach out to this demographic. Among the suggestions provided were three avenues to explore this year: Starting a meditation class, to be led by a qualified teacher and held in the chapel one day a week; Holding a public event on a topic such as Curbing Gun Violence, Civil Discourse, or Climate Change; and Asking the parish to read a specific book about secular spirituality, followed by a discussion at a Sunday forum. Team leaders, Hall Healy and Joyce Newcomb, are currently are interested in adding team members.

Lectors and Lay Readers – Peter Rossiter

Every Sunday, two of the faithful groups of parishioners who assist in our liturgy are the lectors and the lay readers. Lectors read the first lesson. Lay readers read the second lesson, lead the congregation in the prayers of the people and administer the chalices. Lay readers also often assist with baptisms, a really joyful sacrament, and for a number of years have put on an annual Agape Supper to mark Maundy Thursday.

Here are our current lectors and lay readers:


  • Lizzie Arnell
  • Duke Baur
  • Chuck Chadd
  • Robert Fischer
  • Peter Flynn
  • Anne Healy
  • Christine Johnson
  • Claire Lesperance
  • Rich Lesperance
  • Kay Rossiter
  • Kara Superfine

Lay Readers

  • Carla Arnell
  • John Arnell
  • Sam Badger
  • Susan Chadd
  • Mac DuBose
  • Sally Graver
  • Hall Healy
  • Linda Illes
  • Paul Lucas
  • Susan Newcomb
  • Henry Reukauf
  • Peter Rossiter
  • Anne Tuohy
  • John Tuohy

The participation of lectors and lay readers enriches our liturgy, for which we owe these parishioners our thanks.  But they also benefit personally from this somewhat fuller participation in the service.  If you are interested in becoming a lector or lay reader, please contact Pete Rossiter

Lenten Pilgrimage – Daphne Cody

On April 4-7, a small group of St. Elisabeth’s pilgrims went a to journey to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the new (one-year-old) memorial to victims of lynching in the American South during the years leading up to 1950. We traveled with open hearts and open minds, with open ears to hear how God might be speaking to us.

Here’s an adapted prayer for pilgrims from the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania):

God of Journeys, as you led and nourished your ancient people though the wilderness, give pilgrims courage to seek the forms and styles of life and ministry you have prepared for us. Give them courage to leave familiar things and their comfort zone. Guide their footsteps, open their eyes to new experiences, open their ears to hear you speaking, that they may become the people you would have them to be. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who travels always with us. Amen.

Nominating Committee – Rich Lesperance



  • Senior Warden, Rich Lesperance (2021) (Nominee)
  • Junior Warden, Anne Tuohy (2023) (Nominee)

Vestry Members | Term Ending 2021

  • Kara Superfine
  • Henry Reukauf
  • Andrew Edelston
  • Polly Baur
  • Abigail Shanley-Roberts (Nominee)
  • Annie Thornton (Nominee)

Vestry Members | Term Ending 2022

  • Peter Rossiter

Vestry Members | Term Ending 2023

  • Christine Johnson (Nominee)

June 2020 Electing Convention Delegates (Nominees)


  • Rich Lesperance
  • Anne Tuohy
  • Susan Newcomb


  • Tasker Generes
  • Adrienne Zimmerman
  • Dillon Shipman

November 2020 Diocesan Convention Delegates (Nominees)


  • Rich Lesperance
  • Anne Tuohy
  • Abigail Shanley-Roberts


  • Carrie Mygatt
  • Rich Johnson
  • Polly Bakur

Baehr Fund Trustees

Ex Officio

  • Rector
  • Andrew Edelston, Treasurer
  • Rich Lesperance, Warden
  • Ann Tuohy, Warden

Elected by Vestry

  • Kay Rossiter (2021)
  • Joyce Newcomb (2022)
  • Glenna Foley (2023)
  • Phil Miller (2024)

Search Committee – Leslie Alter / Susan Newcomb

In September the Rector Search Committee was formed. The members are:

  • Leslie Altar, co-chair
  • Carla Arnell
  • Tasker Generes
  • Hall Healy 
  • Carrie Miller-Mygatt 
  • Susan Newcomb, co-chair
  • Kay Rossiter
  • Adrienne Zimmerman

Our diocesan support person is Andrea Mysen. After Andrea introduced the committee to the search process, six small information gathering meetings were held for parish members in the months of November and December. Below is a snapshot of the feedback we gathered.

Search CommitteeSmall Group Session Highlights

Question 1: What is unique about our church?

  • St. E’s is small, intimate, and warm.
  • The people – it feels good to be with the people at St. E’s. It feels like a family, everyone knows everyone, there is a place for everyone.  
  • St. E’s is inclusive, there are no cliques or in or out crowds, no judgement or shaming.  There is acceptance here.
  • St. E’s is friendly, authentic, casual, come as you are.
  • There is an openness to exploration, experimentation, questioning and evolving.
  • The building, grounds and labyrinth.
  • The music and liturgy is experimental and fresh, yet rooted in tradition.  The worship mix is historic and ancient while being contemporary and forward looking.

Question 2: Why do you come/stay here?

  • St. E’s feels like a safe place; acceptance.
  • The small, family feel. Memories, connection, and family tradition.
  • St. E’s is not static, there is willingness to renew.
  • God is truly present at St. E’s.  I come to worship with my church family.
  • Everyone and all generations have a role, get along together.
  • Meaningful, thoughtful preaching and ritual.
  • Music!  We come to listen to the music, sing in the choir.
  • The liturgy, which has combines continuity and experimentation.
  • Outreach projects, the BHAG, etc. 
  • Fellowship, i.e. coffee hour, the coffee shop, lots of COFFEE! (kids like coffee hour, too!)

Question 3: Where are we headed?

  • More of the same, continue what we’re doing.
  • Do more community outreach and engagement.  Support people broken by life’s circumstances.
  • Do more programs like Family Promise, BHAG initiatives, etc.
  • Fulfill our mission within and beyond our red doors.
  • More opportunities for children’s formation, including children’s choir
  • More innovative and vibrant engagement of youth.
  • Start a youth group, including partnering with other churches.
  • Continue the great music, liturgy and openness to experimentation, etc.
  • Improve our presence in the community, more PR.  Become a destination church.
  • Grow, increase numbers.

Question 4: What holds us back?

  • Our small size, too few people doing too many things.
  • People are busy!  Modern life is hectic.
  • Lack of flexibility regarding scheduling, being wedded to the Sunday AM scheduling, need to explore other options for engaging people.
  • Children’s programming.
  • Time and budget constraints.
  • The building is old and expensive to maintain.
  • We have no events/outreach committee to do communications, PR, advertising, etc. 
  • No one knows how great we are but us!
  • Complacency; we need to be bolder, not fear failure.
  • Need to be willing to give things up if they aren’t resonating. 

Question 5: What rector characteristics and skills would we like?

  • Someone like Kevin!  And Dillon, too!
  • Excellent pastoral skills, empathetic, compassionate, high EQ
  • A good listener
  • Warm, authentic, genuine, charming, makes immediate connections with people
  • Sense of humor, fun loving
  • Playful, enjoys children, wants to spend time and engage with them
  • Able to relate to young people, 30 years old and under
  • Outgoing, extrovert, confident, self-aware, comfortable in their own skin
  • Engaging, inspiring, thought provoking and intellectually challenging preaching/sermons
  • Experimental, open minded, someone comfortable and excited by change
  • Smart, well-educated, has understanding of Church history
  • Liberal theology, non-literal interpretation of scripture, doctrine, etc.
  • Music! Someone who appreciates music and is willing to continue St. E’s style
  • A relaxed, modern, contemporary attitude
  • Knows how to work a room
  • Excellent leadership and administration skills; good balance of executive and pastoral skills
  • Inspires others (parishioners) to volunteer and lead
  • Able to get along with others and manage conflict
  • Be willing to listen, not have pre-conceived agenda, be flexible 
  • Be able to delegate, not micromanage and not be controlling or rigid
  • Someone who starts with “yes, thank you, I love you.”
  • Someone comfortable with lay people and lay ministries/task forces
  • Someone who is comfortable with and can reach out to others, ie interfaith, LGBTQ, unaffiliated,
  • Respectful of all opinions
  • A teacher and storyteller

Next steps

We will be focusing on three deliverables:

  • OTM profile or job description
  • parish profile 
  • website content

Soup Kitchen – John Tuohy / Chuck Chad

We are part of a dedicated group of churches and synagogues that are committed to provide a hot meal and a sack lunch every single day of the year in Evanston for people in need. Although we are not sure exactly how long our church has been involved in this mission, we know that this ministry is at least 25 years mature now, and we believe that we are one of the longest serving churches. We are responsible for the second Thursday of every other month.

That Thursday is quite a busy day as it requires our volunteers to shop, prepare lunches at St. Elisabeth’s, and prepare and serve dinner at Evanston’s First United Methodist Church. We plan for 100 diners, including that hot meal and sack lunch. Actual attendance this year has ranged from 65-85, but those who come like our food and usually consume all of it

We rely on volunteers to prepare and serve the food, and generous donors to cover the costs of purchasing it. Approximately fifteen to twenty-five volunteers are required each time we do this mission. One of the wonderful benefits of soup kitchen is that our volunteers range from five or six years old to eighty or more years young and we all work together as a highly efficient, caring and jolly crew.

We are very proud of this ministry and the participation of so many of you, and you should be as well.

Stewardship / Pledging – Anne Tuohy, Junior Warden

The theme of our annual pledge campaign this year was Gratitude, Growing and Generosity.  We spent time in October and early November sharing thanksgivings and posting them on a Gratitude Tree in the hallway outside the Dining Room. This became a visible reminder that our thanksgivings are about relationships – relationships with each other, with those close to us and with those with whom we want to deepen our relationships; relationships with our fellow travelers on this earth – at home, at work, at church, in our local community, in our country and in the world; and especially our relationship with God and all creation.

Growing these relationships, going deeper in our faith and having opportunities at St. Elisabeth’s that nurture this growth reflect primary desires expressed in our CAT survey.   This desire for meaningful relationships in which we can grow together and be open to new surprises is displayed week by week in the generous and adventurous spirit and the ways that everyone in our parish family reflects love within and beyond our doors.  Visitors notice it.  Bishop Lee noted it.  Those whose lives we touch in a myriad of ways notice it.  You can just feel the energy!

St. Elisabeth’s is blessed also with the generous giving of our members’ time, talent and treasure to ensure that our community thrives and that our ministries flourish, especially during this time of transition.  The generous ways in which everyone is pitching in to ensure that this spirit of gratitude and adventure is alive and growing are amazing. This generous giving is also evident in the pledges made to support St. Elisabeth’s Operating Fund in 2020. 

Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge to support St. Elisabeth’s in 2020.  Our hope is to reach 100% giving by the time of the Annual Meeting, and there is always the opportunity to add a new pledge or increase an existing one.

As of January 1, 2020, we have received 2020 pledges totaling $202,000 from 45 pledging households.  This includes approximately 70% of those who made pledges for 2019 and five new pledges.  Over half of our continuing pledges include increases over their 2019 pledges. We knew that we would be losing a very significant pledge due to a move, so these new pledges and increases are very encouraging in this time of transition between rectors.

While we are counting on receiving pledges from those households not included in these numbers, we recognize that it will be a major stretch to reach the hoped for goal of $300,000.  We will be exploring some creative fundraising to help us meet the full needs of our budget.   

A pledge to support the financial health of St. Elisabeth’s is an expression of our commitment to God in all areas of our lives and is a gift made in thanksgiving to God.  The wardens and vestry are deeply grateful for our members’ generous support of our shared community of St. Elisabeth’s.  With our combined gifts of time, talent and treasure, we are all working together to live into our mission of radiating God’s love within and beyond our red doors.

Thank you for all the ways you are contributing to the vitality of St. Elisabeth’s Church.

Stone, Sash & Sound – Rich Lesperance / Henry Reukauf

In 2018 we launched a campaign to improve several areas of our building: exterior stonework and stucco repair, refurbishing the stained glass windows and installing a sound loop system in the church. Through the generosity of our members, we have total pledges of $101,500 and the work is on track. We are about halfway through, with the rest projected to be finished in 2020. Last year we completed the renovation of the stucco on the Rectory, and the installation of a t-coil sound loop system in the church for visitors with hearing aids.

In 2020, we plan to complete the rest of the work, which will be focused on repairing the broken stonework around the exterior of the buildings and protecting the stained glass windows of the church with stronger frames, weather stripping, and insulated glass.

Special thanks to the B&G team for all their hard work coordinating countless site visits and bids. The restoration of the stained glass windows is an especially complex project, and they worked persistently to get us the best possible solution.

Special thanks to the B&G team for all their hard work coordinating countless site visits and bids. The restoration of the stained glass windows is an especially complex project, and they worked persistently to get us the best possible solution.