Pilgrim Lutheran School News

December 9, 2016

Many Christmas Holiday events...

...are happening at Pilgrim. Thank you to all of our families for your support of what is happening in these last days before the Christmas Break. Please come out tonight, Friday, December 09, to see the Pilgrim Christmas Tree at the North Center Irish Christmas Market, 4100 N. Lincoln Avenue. Every family is also invited for a family sing on Sunday, December 11, at 12:30 p.m., also at the Irish Christmas Market. A group is leaving from Pilgrim after 10:30 service, or you can meet us there at 12:15. Ms. Huelskoetter is leading the singing.

Calendar At-A-Glance

Mark your Calendars!

December 19: Christmas Service Dress Rehearsal at 9:00 a.m.

December 20: Christmas Service at 6:30 p.m. (Students arrive at 6:00 p.m.)

December 21: Christmas Break starts at 11:45; PAS ends at 3:00 p.m.

Pilgrim's 12th Annual Toy Drive

Toy Count as of Today - 227 toys!! Amazing job Pilgrim! We can still accept more toys but will NO LONGER accept any cash donations. Thank you all very much!

Ms. Stone’s Homeroom and the 7th and 8th Grade Elves are visiting our partners at Pablo Casals School of Excellence on Friday, December 16. Students work through stations, get to know one another, and share the coats and toys that we have collected over the past few weeks. The most important part of this visit lies in the ability for our students to interact with children from another part of the city, children with whom they may otherwise never have any interactions. Whether your child actually goes on that day or not, we are all helping to build and strengthen the values of friendship and sharing that Pilgrim espouses. Thanks for making that happen!

The Pilgrim Christmas Service is Tuesday night, December 20

Please help to make it an orderly and reverent experience for all! The PTL Calendar has 6:30 as our start time. Please note that 6:30 is arrival time (doors open). The actual service starts at 7:00 p.m.

Here are some simple guidelines that we ask all parents and family members to observe for Christmas Service:

  1. Upper Grade Chorus students should be here between 5:45 and 6:00 for warm-ups in the Annex.
  2. Soloists, Band Students and Ushers enter at 6:15. Band Students go to the Tower Room; soloists go to the Parlor; and ushers go to the rear of the church.
  3. Doors open for parents at 6:30. Seating is reserved for those parents who purchased reserve seating at the Auction last spring. We ask that parents not drape coats over large expanses of pews. We want to maximize seating for everyone.
  4. All Students enter the school doors on Cullom. Students must be in their homerooms between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m.
  5. Pre-service music starts at 6:45. The actual service starts at 7:00 p.m.
  6. Students should dress appropriately for a Church service. All focus should be on the worship rather than the fashion.
  7. Please avoid distracting students; refrain from clapping, loud talking; or flashing, beeping or devices.

These guidelines help kids keep their focus. Thanks for your support of these guidelines!

Christmas Service Dress Rehearsal

If someone cannot attend the Christmas service Tuesday evening, please know that the “dress rehearsal” on Monday morning is open to the community. We are starting at 9 a.m., which is an hour earlier than our normal chapel time, and the rehearsal will run a little longer because we are still tweaking things; but, the music, the movement, the lights and the decorations will all be there. This is a great opportunity for family members or friends who have some time during the day to see the great things that our students do.

No Chapel Next Week

As we prepare for the Christmas Service, we are using our normal Chapel time for rehearsal. NO chapel on Wednesday, December 14. The evening service takes the place of Chapel on Wednesday, December 21.

Holiday Bonus Fund - A message from the PTL

It is the time of year when the Pilgrim School PTL looks to us – the Parents – to show our appreciation for the incredible, talented, and selfless collection of Teachers and Staff we have the good fortune of having at Pilgrim. We don’t have to tell you that Pilgrim School lives up to its promise to deliver academic excellence with a heart. We know that our school is a community focused on living, learning, building, and growing together. That community would be nothing without our Teachers. Consider making a donation to the fund in appreciation of our staff. Letters went home in back packs this week, but if you missed it, please take a moment to read the full letter HERE Donations can be dropped off in the office.

PAS News

Notice concerning PAS for Wednesday, December 21: we will be shutting down PAS to start the Christmas Holiday at 3 p.m. that Wednesday. All Students have a half-day; students will dismiss at 11:45 a.m. NO PM_Pre-K on Wednesday, December 21. Please note that the School Office is officially closed during Christmas Break, but someone will be in the building each day to answer phones and doorbells between 8:30 and 2 p.m. The offices close at noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and closed for the legal holidays on Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2.

Winter Carnival

The PTL has begun plans for the Winter Carnival! (Please note that Winter Carnival is happening the night of Friday January 13. The date in SIS is in error.) Thank you to all the parents who have volunteered to run various aspects of the party. The parent leaders in each of the areas are as follows: Food - Cynthia Chernoff; Upper Grade Games - Sandy Karson; Decorations – Corrine Benacka; Publicity- Michael Marinelli; Lower Grade Games - Donna Sotiros; NON-fish game - Kelly Tobin; Balloon creator contact – Gretchen Radach; Paper products - Anna Lambros; Sign Up Genius - Allison Potter. Our next meeting is January 7 at 7 p.m. Thanks to Mrs. Halter for your leadership from the Teachers.

Basketball season for 5th/6th Graders is wrapping up!

This weekend is a 5th/6th Tournament at St. Paul’s/Austin. The students have worked hard and have learned a lot! The last regular season game for the boys in Tuesday, December 13, at Midwestern Christian Academy. The 5th/6th Teams play once more in January for a tournament at St. Andrew’s in Park Ridge. Thanks to coaches Eric Jones and Mike Suhajda. Thanks to all the fans for your support of the teams!!


The Pilgrim Board of Education met on Tuesday, December 6. The main topic of conversation was a proposal for establishing a protocol for hiring new school staff. The BOE discussed various aspects of the protocol and will vote on this in January. We also spent some time talking about our school mission statement and how it works with our tag-line, Academic Excellence with a Heart, and the congregation’s mission statement of Gathering, Preparing and Sending. We have a continuing need for someone to step forward to coordinate Development. Researching grants and building relationships with donors is a missing link in our goals for sustaining our programs at Pilgrim. On the agenda for January is a discussion of tuition and fees for 2017-2018. A special committee of the BOE is discussing this. Our goal is to minimize increases but still provide high quality education accessible to as many families as possible. If you have any comments or concerns about these topics, please contact Chad Smith, BOE President or any of the BOE members.

Chess Club

Chess Club and Interscholastic Chess Competition is expanding at Pilgrim. Starting after the New Year, all Pilgrim students in Grades 1-8 are invited to join the Chess Club and students in grades 3-8 are eligible to participate in competitions against other schools. Sedrick Prude, formerly of Chess Wizards, is our coach and 6th grade parent, Megan Wade is our moderator. Flyers are going home today with more detailed information. If you have any questions, please contact Megan at megan@fieldworkdesigngroup.com.

Magazine Drive and Gift Cards

We have added two cards to our list: Binny's Beverage Depot $25 and $100 and Hilton Business Gift Card (good on everything associated with Hilton Hotels and Resorts. We will be selling Sunday, Monday and Friday until the last week before Christmas Break. We will sell Dec 19-21st in the school office.

Check out the flyers around Pilgrim, which show gift cards which have higher percentages for a short period of time. We order Monday morning at 10 am.

Have you tried our new APP, Benefit Mobile?.Use and share this link: https://vimeo.com/187890613 with your fellow Pilgrim church and school supporters and friends! When you pay with Benefit you are paying with a purpose! Purchase digital gift cards and instantly redeem them online or in-store, or give the perfect gift to a friend or family member. Choose from 100's of America’s leading national brands like Starbucks, Target, Walmart and Amazon. Up to 20% of each transaction will go to support a school or non-profit of your choice. Give to the things that matter most without spending a dime beyond your everyday spend! If 10 people sign up and order a card before Nov 30th, Pilgrim earns $100! Let’s raise funds without fundraising! ?? Anne Barsano cbarsano@aol.com 312-472-6037

Amazon Smile

Holiday shopping is easy with Amazon's Holiday Gift Guides. #StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com for your holiday gifts and Amazon donates to Pilgrim Lutheran Church English Synod.

Gift Guide Link: http://smile.amazon.com/gp/charity/homepage.html?orig=%2Fgp%2Fbrowse.html%3Fnode%3D12745394011&ein=36-2284295

Christmas Services

Saturday, December 24th– Christmas Eve Services 4:30 p.m. Family Candlelight

7:30 and 11 p.m. Candlelight

Sunday, December 25th- Christmas Morning Worship at 9:30 am

Sunday, January 1st- New Year’s Readings and Carols 9:30 a.m.

Singing at the Irish American Christmas Market

Join us on Sunday, December 11th immediately following the 10:30 a.m. service as we accept an invitation to spread joy at the annual Irish American Christmas Market. We will be singing from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and it is always a good time. Meet at church at 12:30 p.m. , or meet us at 1:00 p.m. at 4100 N. Damen at the North Center Town Square (across from CVS.) Thank you!

Christmas Caroling, Hot Chocolate & Chili

Meet at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, (4300 N. Winchester) on Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m. for fun caroling around the neighborhood. Then join us for a Chili dinner at 5:30 p.m. at Pastor Kristian and Anna-Kari’s house (4332 N. Winchester). All are invited!

Hot Meals News

Hot Meals Coats—Our guests could use warm coats, hats, and gloves. Gently used or new items for adults can be dropped off at the Pastor’s office, along with socks, underwear, and toiletries of all kinds.

Hot Meals Gifts—On Saturday, December 24th, for the 3rd straight year, our partners “Homeland Helpers” from Lane Tech College Prep will be sharing “Secret Santa” presents with our hot meals guests. Because the sign up to receive a gift is already over, and because we have new guests coming every week, Pastor will be using his discretionary fund to buy $10 gift cards to make sure each guest that comes that day will get a Christmas gift. If you would like to donate to the discretionary fund, please give online or use the giving envelopes located in each pew. Thank you!

Hot Meals Team 7—plans to serve a special meal on Saturday, December 24th, including a dessert buffet. You can help by donating a special dessert to be served to the clients. Please contact Cheryl Saiki at cgsaiki@sbcglobal.net or at 773-858-2081 to let her know what you will be contributing.

Blue Christmas Service

We often miss loved ones who have died during the holidays. Join us for our Blue Christmas Service, as we receive peace as we mourn and remember those we hold dear this Christmas. Saturday, December 17th at 9 a.m.

Our Bookkeeper Opening...

...has been filled! Linda Vaeth is a CPA, has decades of experience in bookkeeping and accounting, and is also active leader in her church. Her first day will be January 4th, 2017. An immense thank you to Interim Bookkeepers Lindsay Beveridge and Halley Williams for their valiant work during this time of transition.

You are always welcome in classrooms, and I welcome your feedback and questions. Feel free to contact me (ccomella@pilgrimchicago.org) whenever something arises. If you would like to become involved in events and activities hosted by the Parent Teacher League (PTL), please contact either Mr. Comella or Staff Reps to PTL Angela Cardo and Beata Halter. Parents are also welcome to attend weekly chapel services. The students are always happy to see you there!

Chris Comella, Pilgrim School Principal