Garden Side Chat with Bill Evertsberg—July 22

Bill chats with Meg Revord, incoming board president, about how the pandemic has affected Kenilworth Union and what the church might look like in the next couple of years.

Meg Revord, The Incoming President, Board of Trustees, Kenilworth Union Church

Bill: Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg. I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church and this is Doogie, my assistant minister, and my special guest today, Meg Revord, the incoming president of the board at Kenilworth Union Church and her beautiful Siberian husky named Vicky. So Meg, thank you for inviting Kathy as our photographer and Doogie and me into your beautiful backyard.

So you are the fifth board president that I will have worked with. You follow Linda Kingman, who was president when I arrived, then Tom Lillard, Bruce Linger, Ken Harris, and now Meg Revord. And I consider that line-up be a murderer’s row of excellence. I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the leadership at Kenilworth Union Church, so thank you for accepting our invitation. I’ve just been amazed at the amount of hours you give to Kenilworth Union Church, and the level of excellence; where did you learn to be such a superior church member?

Meg: Well, I grew up in the area, and I went to Christ Church Episcopal growing up, but when we moved up here I really looked for a church that had a strong children and youth program. So we joined Kenilworth Union Church and I was working full-time as I still am and—but I really wanted to get involved, so the best way to get involved for me was as a Sunday school teacher. And we taught Sunday school for, I think it was 15–16 years, alternating with my kids, and loved it, and then I got tapped because someone was desperate, they needed a lawyer for general counsel. And I was asked to become general counsel and then joined the board and the executive committee at that time.

Bill: Fabulous. Thank you for accepting that invitation. Tell us what you do with for those few hours a week when you’re not working for Kenilworth Union Church.

Meg: So I’ve been with Kirkland and Ellis, a law firm based in Chicago, but worldwide, for thirty years. I’m an M & A lawyer, which is mergers and acquisitions, but what that really does is I get involved in so many different aspects of clients’ business, I become very much a general lawyer. It’s transactional, but I get involved in kind of everything, so I am called the jack of all trades, master of none. I do a lot advising boards of directors and helping companies through all sorts of problems that they face, so I think a lot of it is translated well to helping church and church operations working with the leadership of the church.

Bill: Thank you for bringing to Kenilworth Union your broad experience, with other nonprofit boards and your corporate and legal experience as well. So I think this is about day 130 on quarantine. 130 days, 18 weeks since we’ve been together at Kenilworth Union Church. How is the church doing? Are we solvent? Are people still giving? And what is your prediction about what things will look like when we’re able to come safely together again?

Meg: Well—oops, that’s the doorbell—I wish I had a crystal ball on what the church will look like, but I think we’ve weathered this pandemic amazingly well. The creativity of the staff in creating online ministry has been just literally awesome. The music occasionally is breathtaking. The technology, everyone pulling together and doing sort of the best we can under the circumstances. We all miss being in church and we hope to get back to church, we miss being together, but I’ve been so impressed.

I think from a financial perspective we have done, again, as well as we could have possibly expected in these circumstances, compared to others. People have been very generous and supportive of everything that people are doing.

Bill: So it could be that Kenilworth Union was positioned in a better way to carry on virtual worship, we had that streaming presence before the world went to lockdown, and now we know how to do that, and maybe yours and my priority during the two years of your presidency is how to turn the church from a physical institution with a digital presence to just the reverse. Really a digital institution with a physical location. So maybe that will be yours and my challenge to work together to figure out how to do that kind of hybrid ministry of digital distance and physical intimacy.

Meg: Yeah no, I agree. I agree, I think the people who are not, because of travels or because they’ve moved to other areas, I think are tuning in ways that are just fantastic to see. Some days we have more people in church than we had in church. And that’s fantastic. But I also think people crave community that Kenilworth Union has and do want to restore that when we can do so safely, and so it’s important to be both. I hope it’s both.

Bill: Well all 1,600 of us will be much in prayer for you during the two years of your presidency, we’re all behind you, we will help you turn this institution into a place where people can glimpse God and serve each other. God bless you friends.

July 22, 2020

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