It is with discernment and sorrow we share with you the promptings of the Holy Spirit to dissolve the institution of Faith UCC. God has revealed to the Leadership Team and congregation – individually and corporately – that in order to steward our time, talents and treasures most effectively for the Kingdom we will need to close. It is a big and hard ask from The Lord; but one we have stepped out in faith to say “yes” to.
Thus, we celebrated the life of Faith UCC during our last regular weekly service with a communion service and a meal with our gathered friends and members on June 30, 2019 at 10:30 AM. It was the homecoming of a faithful compelling Christian community that has served Jesus and the Portage Park community for the past century.
Services at Faith will alternate every other week over the summer so members can visit other churches beginning away on 7/7/19 and ending away on 9/1/19. The last two worship services at Faith will be September 8, and September15.
Rev. Dr. Vertie Powers, the Associate Conference Minister of the Chicago Metropolitan Association, Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, attended and participated in our Homecoming service on behalf of the UCC.
Her remarks may be found here.
We continue to work on moving forward on our Faith journey as the Spirit leads us. We are continuing to strive to live up to the five markers of the early church which were:
1. Learning together
2. Spending time together
3. Eating together
4. Praying together, and
5. Giving to each other.
Why were we doing this? In order to be most effective for the Kingdom, we want to be a healthy church for our corporate Faith Journey. Here are the Biblical and theological backing for our quest for revitalization. You can join and support us with prayers for our Missional Markers.
These are Faith United Church of Christ's articulated values:
Our Ten Missional Markers
Our Leadership Team had assumed the role of a Vitality Team to gain input, which informed our congregation and assisted in discerning God’s spiritual strategic direction, and recommended possibilities for the future of the church.
We've explored what the congregation loves about Faith Church. We’ve explored ‘How have we come to where we are?’ (Remembering our corporate faith journey) We also had several meetings in which church members discussed and edited a Relational Covenant for our church will serve as guide for us as we work together through our faith journey.
What is a Relational Covenant?
One important step on our faith journey was working on forming our own set of "holy manners" for how we will love and respect one another during times of conflict. Our Relational Covenant was presented, finalized, and adopted by the Congregation at our Annual Congregational Meeting. January 31, 2016. We have named it our "Covenant of Grace."
In support of our commitment to 'Transforming communities through active compassion, mercy and justice ministries' our church has done the following:
We’ve hosted teams from Praying Pelican Missions beginning in 6/2016 and again in 6/17 and June and July 2018. The mission teams from Praying Pelican Missions have stayed at our church while they were here in Chicago providing mission services in the greater Chicago community. We will be hosting two more Praying Pelican Missions groups in June, 2019. If you wish to, you can follow Pelican Praying Missions on their website and facebook page.
On April 20 and July 20, 2016, Faith United Church of Christ, hosted a free discussion series for the community on public and personal health sponsored by Mt. Sinai Healthcare System's department of Family Medicine. Physicians were there to conduct an open discussions on how we can be healthy people - physically, inter-relation-ally, and spiritually.
Some church members have participated in Chicago's "Hunger Walk" supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and a walk in support of the Irving Park Community Food Pantry. Other members have walked in and/or supported Chicago's "Out of the Darkness" walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Locally, in collaboration with the Irving Park Community Food Pantry, we have collected donated school supplies for youth served by the pantry. In addition, we also have collected winter coats and seasonal accessories and apparel for the Pantry's Fall distribution.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, we assembled and collected shoe-box gifts as our active compassion, mercy and justice ministry service for Operation Christmas Child which is an international project of serving children around the world. In 2017 some of our shoe-boxes made it to Rwanda.
In response to our Leadership Team’s discernment of the Spirit regarding our future as a church body we’ve had discussions about our corporate future at Congregational Meetings and forums.