Congregations gather to give thanks
Kathy Deveny and her daughters, Kelley (Left) 10, and Camryn, 11, light candles during Sunday evening's Community Thanksgiving Service at Glencoe Union Church. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 6:21AM
GLENCOE — Life is tough this Thanksgiving, but in Glencoe, not as much.
There’s a lot to be thankful for here.
Home values and property taxes may have headed in opposite directions, and retirement investments rendered problematical, but elsewhere, it’s worse.
Relative prosperity was the theme of the Glencoe Clergy Association’s annual ecumenical Thanksgiving service Sunday, and it started with the village president’s opening address.
“We all know that Glencoe is a very fortunate community,” Scott Feldman said. He added that for 35 years, “I have been privileged to enjoy that good fortune, as well.”
One after another, leaders of the village’s faith community repeated that thought in their own ways, but perhaps in modesty, none mentioned that their congregations had stepped up in hard times.
Several, led by host Glencoe Union Church, have cooperated to accept homeless families as part of the Family Promise Network, adding expensive alterations to buildings to make it happen. Am Shalom has added to its efforts for the hungry, founding a community garden. Congregation Hakafa is debating a “gun-free zone” in an effort to make Glencoe safer.
Each congregation has its own mitzvahs – good works, as the Jews call them – and they took the opportunity Sunday to increase them, passing collection plates for those in need in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Living along a less-vulnerable shoreline is another bit of good fortune, The Rev. Robert J. Heidenreich noted.
“If this had come not along the Jersey Shore but along the south shore of Lake Michigan, we wouldn’t be here,” he said, three blocks from quiet waters.
Heidenreich is the pastor of Sacred Heart Church, which is on the Winnetka side of Hubbard Woods. It’s the closest thing little Glencoe has to a Catholic Church, so many Glencoe Catholics like Craig Richart are members.
Richart sang in a choir led by Union’s Ross Updegraff, along with 18 other members of various faith communities, from North Shore Congregation Israel to St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, and North Shore United Methodist Church to St. Paul A.M.E. Church. They sang ecumenical hymns: no Jesus, No Moses.
It’s traditional for the annual service’s homily to be delivered by the newest preacher in town, and this year, that was the Rev. Rebecca Anderson, two years as Union associate pastor.
She noted that in plowing (“Any of you ever plowed? Not too many farmers out here on the North Shore”) that the blade throws tangled, knotted clots of earth, leaving hard-edged furrows.
“But then comes the disc (of the cultivator), and then comes the rain, softening the knots and settling the ridges.”
Similarly, in life, faith allows believers to accept the changes that make their own harvests possible, while their hard edges become smooth.