North Aurora Church donates buildings and property to the Geneva community

Chapelstreet Church leaders were delighted last fall when Cornerstone Community Baptist Church in Northern Aurora donated their church building and property to the Geneva congregation.

Chapelstreet was put into expansion mode and the location at 307 Banbury Road was designated as the fourth church in the parish. Other locations are on South Street, Keslinger Road and Mill Creek South near the Marklund Hyde Center.

“You (Cornerstone) were at the end of their life cycle as a church and decided what to do next,” said Abe Doncel, operations manager at Chapelstreet. “You asked us a little over a year ago if we were interested in a merger or an acquisition. They would cease to exist and donate assets to our church so we could open a new campus.”

After a “back and forth process” for a while, Doncel said, it was decided that Cornerstone would release the church and make the donation to Chapelstreet, who had many ideas about what to do with the building and property.

“Then COVID hit and we closed it anyway,” said Doncel. “We started building and designing a project to determine how new spaces could be renovated and built there.”

Remodeling began in February by adding 3,000 square feet of new space and renovating the existing 6,000 square foot building.

The congregation has not yet held a service at the North Aurora site, but plans to open around September 1st and is fully participating in a North Aurora Campus Matching Challenge.

The fundraising was necessary because the building was not suitable for what Chapelstreet had hoped for. By last week, the effort had brought more than $ 1 million toward the $ 1.8 million goal. An anonymous donor submitted a matching gift up to 50% of the amount required to complete the project.

Ivan Lezuia (left) and Rele Garcia are working on a scissor lift as construction continues on the new campus on Chapelstreet in North Aurora.
– Brian Hill | Employee photographer

Ultimately, the new campus will be a welcome addition. Before the COVID effect on church attendance, Chapelstreet had an average of 2,500 to 3,000 visitors at all locations over a weekend. Now there is a mixture of in-person and online participation.

All of this shows how the pandemic has undoubtedly affected local church services and attendance. We have not yet been to our parish of St. Peter in Geneva. But the remodeling project there is complete, and parishioners are gathering in a new church. It was cautiously reopened after a complete shutdown during the height of the pandemic. Participation was permitted according to some safety guidelines and rules.

A food adventure

It came to me on a Friday night – a desire to try a sandwich from Knead Urban Eatery at 131 S. First St. in St. Charles. So I took a look at the menu online.

Since I had no idea what mortadella, spicy coppa, volpi salami, basil aioli, and other ingredients were on a sandwich option, I thought the fried chicken sandwich selection would be ok. And I would know what I was eating.

Unfortunately, upon arrival at the restaurant, a sign on the door stated that the restaurant was closed due to a family emergency. So first and foremost, let’s hope it wasn’t too serious and that everything is fine on the front line of Knead Urban Eatery.

It made me look for another option, and almost as if my car had a food sensor, we ended up at the Bella European Bistro at 3843 E. Main St.

The new store was created by closing, renaming and moving DRM European Café & Delicatessen east to this location in the Target retail area.

The Bella Club Sandwich saved the night. This excellent sandwich of rib eye steak, smoked ham and turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato on a freshly baked bun was a good choice. Both Knead and Bella European should click on my radar in the future if something inside of me calls for a sandwich.

A heavenly green

Rick Bell, a longtime golf instructor in the field, had been pretty consistent with me over the past month. He briefed me on his fight against leukemia but was positive and planned to teach again this summer at Prairie Landing in West Chicago and a few other courses in the area.

Every time we talked, I would mention a couple of nagging problems I had on the golf course, and he would provide sound advice.

Even though I knew he wasn’t healthy, it was shocking and sad to hear that Rick passed away last weekend. He was one of the first golf contacts I had as a sports editor in this field in the late 1970s, when he was assistant to then professional Dennis Johnsen at the Pottawatomie Golf Course in St. Charles.

Ultimately, Rick began writing his weekly golf tips column, “Tee to Green”, for me to illustrate that he was a deep thinker of this game that requires both mental and swing skills.

One has to believe that he simply took his final approach shot on this earth and landed right on that heavenly green. Rest there in peace, my friend.

Martin as Marley

A vision of a former councilor comes to mind when I read about the St. Charles City Council making the necessary adjustments – such as the repeal of the city law that prevents elected councilors from licensing alcohol. It enables Blue Goose Market owner Paul Lencioni to take the seat in the third district he won in the April elections.

Some city councils are now trying to get the state to relax its statute, which means that council members who are licensed for liquor are not allowed to cast votes on issues related to liquor. The law makes sense to me and can even protect the city in that rare legal twist that can arise, but that’s a debate for another time. My vision is the late Jim Martin, the “Iron Man” of the city council as the longest-serving official in city history. He’s also owned a series that is unlikely to ever be interrupted – he was perfectly present during his 36-year tenure on the council for 1,031 consecutive sessions.

Martin died in March 2017 at the age of 83. But in that vision he comes back to pursue the council like a Jacob Marley, without the weight and chains of a seedy business career. If anything, Martin would come back with a banner on his chest that said, “No alcohol.”

Martin, knowing full well that he had no votes, would in many cases make little difference in applying for alcohol permits, but he voted no every time. He wanted to keep his conscience clear and serve his fourth division constituents who he said were against more alcohol and bars coming to St. Charles in general.

Martin has to look down on us and wonder how the rules could be bent now to create a potential conflict of interest with most issues where alcohol was an issue to be considered. He was run down and, like Marley, had wailed to get Scrooge’s attention. And then he would flash his big smile and shrug his shoulders to know that city officials would do what they saw fit – and that his views on alcohol never came close to those of his colleagues.

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