Newsletter Contents

Click for Pastor’s article
Click for St. Stephen’s Calendar
Click for Serving Schedule

“Pub Theology”, Thanksgiving & Christmas Food Baskets, Fall Clean Up, Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service, Quote of the Month, Thank You Notes, Prayer List, The Parish Paper.


“Pub Theology” with Pastor Chris

Where:  Flanagans, 2501 Plainfield Ave., So. Plainfield

When:  Tuesday, November 12, 2013 – 8:00-9:00 PM

Topic:  To be announced!


This is an informal gathering for fellowship, refreshment and discussion. 

It’s open to the public, so bring your friends and neighbors.


Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Baskets

Please bring in canned goods and other non-perishable

food items to be given to the poor over the holidays.

There is a food donation box in the narthex.


Fall Clean Up

Sunday, November 24th directly after worship.



Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Tuesday, November 26th at 7:30 p.m.

At Sacred Heart

Please bring non-perishable food for the community food bank.


Quote of the Month


Life is not a race – but indeed a journey.

Be honest, work hard, be choosy.

Say “Thank you”, “I love you”, and

“Great job” to someone each day.

Live for today, enjoy each moment.


Thank you notes:


Hello All,


I just wanted to send a quick thank you for my college survival care package.  It was a very nice find when I came that day and I was very happy in receiving it.  I enjoyed the nice letter from Pastor that came with it and I will be enjoying the care package for a while.


Thank you for thinking of me in this time of transition and adjustment into new places and routines.


Allison Yuschik



St. Stephen’s members,


I would like to thank everyone for the generous gift basket.  It is so nice that you thought of me.  Thank you for all the goodies.  It’s so nice to be able to have snacks right in my own room.  Thanks again.



Sarah McCarthy



We pray, O God…


For the church across denominations and across the globe


For the well-being of all creation


For peace and justice in the world, the nations and those in authority


We pray for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, our Full Communion partners, and for the whole Church—may we find ourselves united by the Holy Spirit.


We pray for our home, the earth, which you have created and declared good, may it, and all of creation be so, be good.


We pray for those in authority, especially President Obama, Governor Christe, and Mayor Anesh.


We pray for all nations Lord, especially those in severe turmoil, such as Kenya, Syria, Egypt, and Pakistan.


For the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely, and for all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit



Joe & Joy Billich

Eric Conrad

Agnes Czarnecki

Dawn Genteel

Steven Goetz

Bob & Joan Hassard

Helen Henne

Miriam Mentzell

Len Merlo

Vera Millet

Alan & Nancy Moore

Jim Moore

Dave Rapp

Ken Troy

Gail Warren


Jim Albert, brother of John Albert

Holly Bowen, friend of Sharon Gianneschi

Bernie Cherry, nephew of Orvie Hoffman

Joyce Citsey, friend of Barbara Cibak

Sal Cortese, uncle of John Cortese

Bonnie & Fred Dauncey, parents of Sandra Cortese

Bob Dienst, brother of Marylou Johnson

Gerry Fein, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Fran Hackett, friend of Bob Buck

Tom Hanlon, cousin of Barbara Pallister

Leslie Hansen, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Kathy Hoagland, friend of Carol McCarthy

Mr. & Mrs. Janisiak, friends of Marilyn Scalisi

Hannah Johnson, granddaughter of Marylou Johnson

Kimberly Mongiovi, friend of Jeremy Cortese

Dolores & Eugene Neuzil, parents of Bonnie Lombardo

Velma Nietman, mother of Linda Nietman

Milton Pearson, brother-in-law of Jean Mingle

Natalie Romeo, friend of Marylou Johnson

Helen Rusnak, friend of Mary Lynn & Allison Yuschik

Ralph Scarcelle, friend of Eloise Newton

Karly Sison, newborn granddaughter of Barbara Cibak

Julie Sulu, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Greg Talbott, friend of Linda Hansen

Al & Sharon Vastano, uncle & aunt of Melissa Cortese

Beth Williscroft, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

Joan Wysimski, friend of Agnes Czarnecki

David, friend of Barbara Pallister




The family of Jenna E. Maglialo

The family of Marian Shisko

The family of Evelyn Troy



For special concerns



We give thanks, O God…


For the life and witness of the faithful departed


Jenna E. Maglialo

Marion Shisko, mother of Sonya Ross

Evelyn Troy, wife of Ken Troy




For the new life of the newly Baptized


Kathleen Marie Murray



Coeditors: Herb Miller and Cynthia Woolever –
November 2013 – Volume 21, Number 11
Copyright © 2013 by Martin Davis

E-newsletters: Worth More Than You Know

E-newsletters are pervasive—marketers, business-es, politicians, civic organizations, and physicians, among many others, prize them for the content they deliver. Churches have also embraced e-newsletters because information can be easily shared with mem-bers. But they’re worth more—much more.
Whether your congregation is new to e-newsletters or a long-time user, the vast majority of congrega-tions do not fully mine the reader information that e-newsletter companies make available. Many peo-ple are aware that e-newsletters provide “open” and “click” rates; however, this overlooks 90 percent of what makes e-newsletters such a powerful tool for building community, empowering your staff, and reaching out to others.

Using E-newsletters Effectively
In an age where social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and mobile technology represent the cutting edges of communications, e-newsletters are a bit old-school. What sets e-newsletters apart from any other form of electronic communication?

 They provide a true look into readers’ reactions to what your church is supporting. While social media allows for feedback and reaction, those writing are aware that everyone is seeing what they’re saying and reacting to, so they self-screen what they say. They may “like” something not because they really like it, but because a friend—or the minister—put it up. E-newsletter subscribers, however, do no such self-screening. Most are unaware that others are tracking what they open and click (though this is beginning to change), and in the comfort of their home or office they feel no compunction to engage something for reasons other than genuine interest.

 They provide unparalleled granular detail about who reads your material. E-newsletter data allow you to track readers’ reading histories, who they have shared the information with, and how many times any given piece is read over time and by who.

 They can help develop a stronger sense of community. E-newsletters require a great deal of work. Some congregations are finding that in this work there is an opportunity to create community by turning members into profile-writers, book reviewers, designers, and editors. The e-newsletter goes beyond sharing information; it develops community.
Best Approaches
Developing healthy approaches to working with e-newsletters ensures that you remain flexible in your work. Done right, e-newsletters should constantly be changing as you use them to experiment with new ideas and adapt to what your members show interest in.

 Think and Learn. E-newsletters are popular tools for sharing and promoting activities and programs. In reality, pushing information is among the least effective uses of this tool. When building your e-newsletter, think first about what you want to learn, not what you need to communicate. Are your education programs connecting with people? Do you understand how people connect with one another? What are the big ideas your congregation wrestles
with? Are people’s spiritual needs being met? Are they growing spiritually? Are there undiscovered volunteers you don’t know about? Running articles that test these ideas will yield rich results.

 Track, Track, Track. It’s not enough to know how many times something was opened, or how many clicks it received. Alone, this data tells you little. However, placed in context, and measured over time, you will begin to understand the habits and interests of your congregation. Are people on mo-bile or desktops? Do they read in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Are they sharing the information on social media? If they are, which channels? Do certain members read everything? Who are they? Do certain members just lurk? Why? What time of year do people respond to which topics? Tracking can tell you all this, and raise hundreds of additional questions.

 Embrace Being Wrong. The desire to be right all the time will impede your ability to learn what your e-newsletter is teaching you. Pieces that receive few clicks and opens aren’t failures but important lessons in what people respond to. Maybe it was poorly writ-ten. Poorly timed. Poorly placed. Ask the hard question: Why did this fail to engage congregational readers? Then search for the answers.
Mistakes to Avoid
We expect a lot out of our church communications. And although most of us know that no one way of communicating will reach everyone, we want to believe that we can develop that one channel that most people in the congregation will depend on for information. And while carefully designed e-newsletters will tell you a lot, they are not a panacea anymore than social media, print newsletters, bulletin boards, phone trees, or public announcements. But to get the most out of this communication tool, here are five practices to avoid:

 Don’t send a PDF of your existing print newsletter. Most people don’t read print newsletters. Putting your print piece in e-newsletter format won’t change that. An e-newsletter represents a whole other way of communicating, so wrapping it up in an online for-mat won’t make the print version more appetizing, or the electronic communication exciting.

 Don’t expect everyone to get on board. As noted above, e-newsletters can be great community builders. But not everyone is going to share your excitement. Don’t expect or force them to. If you do, those who resist will feel left out and unheard.

 Don’t expect instant results. Building a readership takes time. Many church leaders expect half or more
of the congregation will read the e-newsletter in the beginning. They’re shocked when they realize that only 10 percent of subscribers (and not everyone subscribes) will read what you write at first. Time, patience, and a willingness to be wrong and to learn will change this.

 Don’t abandon other communication channels. On average, you can only expect 10 percent of subscribers to click through and read your e-newsletter early on. Most congregations are fortunate to get 30 per-cent of members to subscribe initially. If you drop other communication channels right away, you’re effectively cutting off 60-70 percent of your congregation. Allow the e-newsletter to blossom and work in tandem with other ways of communicating.

 Don’t ignore the tracking. The ability to track what every reader reads, and doesn’t read, over long periods is what sets e-newsletters apart from social media, the website, and print publications. If you choose to ignore it, you have effectively nullified all the positives that e-newsletters bring to a congregation.

So What Do I Use?
There are many good e-newsletter programs on the market. The oldest, and probably best known, is Constant Contact, which features robust analytics, easy design, and a full range of exceptional templates. Many other programs share the program’s one draw-back—it costs. Not much at first, but Constant Con-tact and others charge for every little feature.
MailChimp is an excellent alternative. Analytics, photos, and basic templates are all free, as are sending the emails—so long as your list doesn’t exceed 2,000 people and you don’t send more than 12,000 individual emails per month. Most churches will never come close to this.

Final Thoughts
E-newsletters offer a communication learning experience that no other tool can match. With careful tracking, you can learn what your congregation re-acts to, improve the way you communicate with them, and test new ideas. The results? Empowered staff, a more connected congregation, and unprecedented insight into your members’ lives.
About the Writer: Martin Davis owns Sacred Language Communications, formerly directed Alban’s Congregational Resource Guide, and has 20 years of experience working with congregations (
Copyright © 2013 by Martin Davis