Calvary Episcopal Batavia–“The Little Church on the Corner”

Calvary Episcopal Batavia–“The Little Church on the Corner”  (You know the one, it’s the one with the BIG HEART.)

(The comment makes me think about the “Shop Around the Corner”, the 1940 Romantic Comedy with Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, and Frank Morgan–produced by Ernst Lubitch.  That movie was the basis for “You’ve Got Mail”, a 1998 Romantic Comedy with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, directed by Nora Ephron.)

The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner
You've Got Mail
You’ve Got Mail







Calvary Episcopal Batavia was build in the 1800s.  In fact, we just celebrated the 133rd year of its consecration as an Episcopal Church.

Calvary’s location is right at the edge of “downtown Batavia” on the west side of the Fox River at the southeast corner of Batavia Ave (Rt 31) and Main St.  You can see the classic “red door” when driving south on Batavia Ave.

The picture below shows the red door (taken from Main St).  It’s a “virtual yard sign” promoting the next “Mass on the Grass”.

CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia-MOG-VirtualYardSign-Aug-24-2014Calvary Episcopal Batavia has been serving the community for more than 133 years.  Lots of its members have been leaders in Batavia and Calvary Episcopal opened its doors (and its basement) to be the home of the Batavia Islamic Center where it has resided for 25 years.

Calvary Episcopal is very active in its community outreach, serving and contributing to lots of organizations in and around Batavia.

Father Michael Rasicci, the rector, lives what he endorses, “…growing a living faith in Jesus Christ through Worship and Community.”   Members of the “parish” and visitors come together regularly to worship.  Then they are encouraged to take the renewal and energy they received from the Communion out into the world (community) to serve in ways that they are called to serve.  Many are in service to the parish itself–getting ready for the services, assisting in the services, and assisting in serving food and or coffee to the people attending the services who stay for “coffee hour”–or, in the case of “Mass on the Grass” Celebrations, for lunch.

Not only are collections gathered for community organizations, members of the parish are “hands-on” helping at these organizations, preparing and serving food for the homeless, ice cream socials for the seniors at Michaelson Health Center, providing services to elders at the Homstad, and many more.

I spoke with Dan Hoefler, an active member who shared that he does recognize the growing of a living faith in Jesus Christ through his worship and through his service in the community (both the parish and beyond).

I started attending CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia on Easter Sunday, 2014, and have personally found that it does, indeed, have a “BIG HEART” that extends out into the community from “the little church on the corner.”  I’m enjoying my own growth in my living faith in Jesus Christ through worship and community–and, indeed, I am finding new areas of service for me to do in both the parish and the greater community thanks to my connections with CalvaryEpiscopalBatavia.

New YouTube Video Promoting Event Sun July 27, 2014

I thought you might be interested in watching a new YouTube video I just created yesterday promoting the “Mass on the Grass Celebration” hosted by Calvary Episcopal Church, Batavia, IL, on Sunday, July 27, 2014.  Here’s the link

The event is fun and starts at 10:15AM and, last time, ended between 12:30 and 1:30PM depending on what people were doing.

If you’re in the area, you’re invited to drop in and stay–we’re having lunch, too.  Check out the page on Facebook.


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