Calvary Episcopal Batavia–Joel’s History and Connection

I started attending Calvary Episcopal Church in Batavia, IL ( on Easter Sunday, 2014.

CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia--Joel's History and Connectioin
Calvary Episcopal Church, Batavia, IL










I am a life-long Episcopalian, growing up at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, FL (222 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236–Tel. 941-955-4263– (where I was confirmed and served as an acolyte).  That church felt like “home” to me and Father Tom Fitzgerald was a model priest.

During my childhood, after I went off to college, and during my10-year career in the US Army, the Church of the Redeemer was my “official” church home.

CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia--Joel's History and Connection
Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, FL














I served in the Army for ten years and, during my last tour of duty, was stationed at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA.  I was a member of Saint Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St, NW Washington, DC 20016–202-363-4119–  Father Bill Swing was the rector.  (In 1979 he became the 7th Bishop of California and I attended his consecration in San Francisco. The 8th Bishop of California was elected in 2009.) This church, too, felt like home.  I was very actively involved in youth ministry and young adult ministry.  Working closely with Nora–the priest serving the youth community.  While here I was going through the process to be approved to go to an Episcopal seminary and to study for the priesthood.  (Episcopal priests can marry and have families.)  I was completing 10 years in the U.S. Army and was a captain.  The youth minister suggested I take human relations training and sent me on my first weekend with the MidAtlantic Association for Training and Consulting out of Washington DC–This was a Human Relations training.  I liked it so much I continued on for more than 500 hours of hands-on experiential training and eventually (in 1979) became certified as an organizational change consultant (focused initially as a consultant in Episcopal churches), an advanced experiential education designer, and as a T-group facilitator and an Advanced T-group facilitator.

CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia--Joel's History and Connection
St Columba’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC

This training led me to change my careers from the Army to being an Organizational Change Consultant.  Also, in 1979, through my connections with the training from MATC, I went to Philadelphia to take a training from Insight Training Seminars out of Santa Monica, CA.  At that first training I met John-Roger, who seemed like a person with acute insight himself.  (I later learned that he was a leading figure in a non-denominational Christian church called the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness with headquarters in Los Angeles CA.)

I continued my training with Insight Training Seminars and, when I finished my Army career, moved to Los Angeles to start my consulting practice and to be close to both Insight and MSIA.  After a few months I was hired as a Management Consultant in the Litigation Management Practice of Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) in Los Angeles.  I also volunteered quite a bit with Insight Training Seminars and studied the teachings of MSIA.  On August 2, 1981, I was ordained as a minister in MSIA.  (Ministers focus on service rather than on leading a church or administering sacraments.  Many ministers may be involved in other religious denominations as well.)

I moved to Geneva, IL, in 1993, after completing my doctorate degree (EdD) in Adult Education and Human Resource Development at Florida International University (FIU), the public university in Miami.

My parents moved from Sarasota, Florida to Carol Stream, IL in December, 1992–just after my commencement exercises at FIU.  They had taken such good care of me as a child, I wanted to be around to help them in their retirement.  Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) had a learning center in Saint Charles, IL, and I was brought in as a consultant for a few months.  In July, 1993, I was offered a contract as a Change Management Consultant with Andersen Consulting and was with them in St Charles for five years.  In November, 1998, I left them and joined Origin Technology in Business (now Atos) in January, 1999, to focus once again on the organizational change side of consulting.

After 9-11-2001, I decided to make a difference in K-12 education and, because I passed the proficiency exam in Spanish for the state of Illinois, became a full-time bilingual (Spanish) teacher in K-12 schools starting in December, 2002.  I did this full-time for six years in schools supported by the Kane County Regional Office of Education.  For the past five years I have been a substitute teacher in the Kaneland school district (Maple Park, IL).  I lived for 20 years in Geneva and, in February, 2014, downsized from a 2-bedroom house with garage and basement to a 1-bedroom apartment in Batavia, IL.

I had seen Calvary Episcopal Church (located near the Batavia Public Library) when I first moved to Batavia and had thought about attending.  Another motivation is that my mother, who joined the Episcopal church after she married my Dad, is now 99 and may want some of the services the church provides.

Two friends I know from the Delnor Wellness Center (now Cadence Fitness and Health Center) had started attending this church and were going to be at the Easter service as well.  I went to the 8:00AM service and met Father Mike Racicci, the rector, and got acquainted with the other parishioners at the “coffee hour” following the service.  Calvary Episcopal Batavia is the third Episcopal Church I’ve attended that has felt like home.

As I became acquainted with Father Mike, who celebrated the 34th anniversary of his ordination in June, 2014, I shared with him that I’ll be celebrating the 33rd anniversary of my ordination in August, 2014.  He suggested I check with Dick Watts, the Chaplain at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, to see if he needed any more volunteer, on-call Chaplains for nights, weekends, and holidays.  I followed through with Dick and started as a volunteer on-call Chaplain for Delnor Hospital on July 4th, 2014.

I’m becoming more involved in my volunteer service at Calvary Episcopal in Batavia–it’s very inviting and everyone there is welcoming and supportive.  I’m on the Worship committee and have volunteered to be coordinator for the second “Mass on the Grass Celebration” on July 27, 2014.  This has me contacting lots more people and brings to mind the work I did with Episcopal Churches at the start of my consulting care