Monday, May 18, 2009

Featured Flikr Photos - Church of Wrigleyville

I went to an amazing church in Chicago and I mentioned it in my post about Easter. It certainly wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was so great.

I was very excited about picking my own church when I started college, so I visited a few places around the city. One Sunday morning I had no idea where I was headed, so I just went to "The Arch" and intended to hop on the next van that pulled up to take students to their church (I knew several churches offered rides). There I met my friend Bob and we joined search forces. Then a guy named Jared walked up. He was older, a flirt that was determined to find an mk from Papua to marry, and he was fun. He and told us that he was off to visit a church that had been planted by someone from his church in the burbs. It sounded good to us, so we hopped on 'el for the first of years worth of Sunday rides to Wrigleyville. We walked past the Cubs stadium and through the stately gentrified neighborhood of Wrigleyville to an ivy-covered building that we later found out was over 100 years old.

****NOTE: These are not my photos, they are from flikr. Click on the photos if you want to see more****

church of wrigleyville

The sign is supposed to be funny, folks. People park at the church during game days and of course we are obligated to cheer for the Cubs because of our close proximity, hence the joke. In fact, when we got married in the building we had to schedule around the Cub's calendar.

It was an old church planted by Swedish baptists years ago, and used to connect to a small Swedish Baptist Seminary. The church was all but gone, and about six months before the pastor (over about 15 people) had handed the church to Pastor Dave, who was passionate about small, intentional community churches. They had a team of two couples come in and begin preaching to the aged, white-haired folks and the new community of young Chicago hipsters.

The first week I was there there were about 60 people, and I loved it. It was young, passionate, fresh, and genuine. I loved that it was small, I loved the acoustic worship, I loved the urban and artistic aspect. I loved the solid preaching by Pastor Dave, who preached like a teacher rather than a preacher. My style. :) And I loved that they were so intent on really getting across the power and meaning of every event and tradition. I had never understood and been so impacted by communion. In any case, I'd encourage you to take a look at some of my friend Phil's photos from their Easter service, and to note the symbolism they use. Oh, and it was cool and undeniably hip, and I gotta say I loved that too.


Candles, U2 and Coldplay playing before the service started, the pastor's wife's hot pink electric guitar, and the awesome coffee served at the back, the large percentage of people that biked to church.... all signs of being in a hippy Chicago neighborhood.

guitar barbie

I came back... again... and again. Every year I'd bring friends, and so I always had a little group to go with, though that group was always changing. When Isaac and I left the city in 2007, the church had grown to about 300 people. Although we did struggle to get involved as busy college students, I still felt like such a part of the church since I'd been there nearly since the beginning.


This is Jon. My favorite moment from him was when he dealt with a question from a congregant about what he should do if he was gay and wanted to follow Jesus. Jon's gentleness, tears, and determination to be faithful to scripture in the midst of understanding and love.. was awesome. AND... he brought in some freakin awesome music and introduced Isaac and I to u2 ..... by using them as worship songs (not all of them, just a select few. It threw our extended family for a bit of a loop ;)).

campfire rock star

seeking worship

I so appreciated the time I spent at COW. I learned SO MUCH from Dave's teaching, and from the fact that he was determined not to take charge of the church. He was insitant that the church not create programs for everything, and that if a program was needed, the congregation should organize it and take ownership of it, not the pastors. I loved his support of his wife's career, and how he guided us through marriage counseling, and how he answered Isaac's questions about the role of women in the church. I loved that he intentionally encouraged the community to seek God in many ways - studying, singing, art, prayer, silence, ancient creeds, journaling, long walks.... and even instituted those things into Sunday sometimes. Dave was a great pastor. This is him on a missions trip and his wife, who is a singer.

not an osha worksite

fame makes an appearance

And here is a shot of the city during one of the baptism ceremonies of the church. I loved this event! Watching the leaders nearly get bowled over by the waves was pretty funny, in the midst of the joyful sacred celebration!



Jaimie said...

I'm glad that churches like this exist. I'm getting really tired of mine. It seems like every week I identify with evangelicals less.

Kacie said...

I feel so lucky to have gone there for as long as I did. Though there were things that Isaac and I struggled with about it, COW had a huge impact on our lives and the way we think about faith, community, service, ministry, preaching....

and the people that led the church? Awesome, amazing people.

Kaycee said...

This sounds a bit like my church. I just love the youthfulness and energy of the congregation. It's become somewhat of an addiction actually.