Bill talks in Michigan with Alice and Peter Schaff about their family, their experience with Outreach, and the great success of this year’s Virtual Outreach Benefit.
Bill: Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church, and this is Doogie, my assistant minister. His broken toe is feeling a lot better, so thanks for your prayers. And I also have another couple of great guests today, two of my favorite people, Alice and Peter Schaff.
Alice and Peter, I came to Kenilworth Union Church near the beginning of 2014. I’d come from a place where I’d lived for 17 years and that’s not always easy to come into a new community. You were here and I’d known you for 25 years from our connection at Northport Point, so thank you for welcoming me into the North Shore community and being my friends for the last 25 years here and the last six years. So tell us something about your history. How long have you been coming up to Northport Point? What’s your family’s history here?
Peter: So my great-grandfather, David Schaff, was a minister, built a house here in 1905, so 115 years ago, and that house is still in our family right next door. And his oldest son Phillip built this house in 1925, and since then our extended family has continued to grow and continued to come back to Northport Point and really for us, this is a special place where we gather.
Bill: I’ve been privileged to know your children, so Alice tell us something about your immediate family.
Alice: We have four children. Our oldest daughter Kate is 29 and lives in San Francisco, and works with Michael at Clever, she still works there. Anyway, and we have triplet 26 year-olds, Emma, Margaret, and Chip Schaff. Emma lives in New York City normally, Chip’s at University of Chicago in a graduate program, and Margaret lives in Steamboat, Colorado. Luckily over the last five months we’ve had them mostly living with us a lot, actually, and it’s one of the benefits of the COVID era.
Bill: It’s been great to get to know your children and the two of you. Now you have been members at Kenilworth Union for less time than I’ve been the minister there, we’re both relatively new by Kenilworth Union standards, and yet you’ve offered the church so much of your activity and your talents; you really jumped in. Tell us about your involvement at Kenilworth Union.
Peter: We were looking for a new church home six or so years ago, and that search was cut very short when we learned that Kathy and Bill Evertsberg were coming to Kenilworth Union Church. We joined KUC not long after you arrived, and then—that was 2015 when we joined—in the fall of 2015, Chris Cole who was the chair of the Outreach committee invited me to join that committee, so that was kind of our first foray into some involvement other than attending worship. I served on that committee for three years and then when she completed her term of service on the board, I was invited to join the board of trustees with the specific intention to become her co-chair and oversee the Outreach committee.
So that’s really been a fabulous experience, just in terms of seeing the extensiveness of the church’s financial generosity, and the generosity in the way the congregation gives its time, and just the quality of the people in the congregation, specifically on that committee. And then this past spring we co-opted Alice to help us with the virtual Outreach Benefit.
Bill: Thank you for bringing that up, Peter, because I think the achievement you created with the Outreach Benefit this spring is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in churchmanship and churchwomanship that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in the ministry for 35 years. Somehow, you managed to cajole the congregation to contribute $205,000 to our Outreach agencies in a benefit that really wasn’t a benefit. You didn’t give them a glass of wine, you didn’t feed them dinner, and yet we raised more money this year at a virtual benefit than we did last year at a real one. All modesty aside, how did you do this?
Alice: It surprised even us, I have to say. But we had a great team of people working on it, and everybody was really interested to figure out how we can raise money for Outreach. And I have to say though, without the congregation’s help and their interest in Outreach, and their generous nature in providing, or backing, this benefit, we could not have raised $205,000. We want to thank, though, three of our staff members: John and Julie and Michelle, who went above and beyond. I had a great time working with them. I hope they enjoyed their time with the benefit. And also to a couple people, Mary MacGregor and Linda Ball, who helped with the auction, and to Judy Pettas Wood, who started the ball rolling when she started planning the actual launch.
Bill: What a remarkable accomplishment, Peter and Alice. Thank you for the benefit, for the funds raised for our wonderful Outreach agencies, and for tending to our part of the kingdom of God in Kenilworth, Illinois, on the North Shore. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you everybody, God bless you.