worship services are at 10:30 am
Do I need a Bible? Absolutely. But we have extra in the back if you forget yours. If you do not have one, we will give you one! This free link is also available for an online resource for multiple translations of the bible and related articles which can be accessed and read on your computer, "smart phone," iPad, laptop, tablet, or Kindle-Fire. Our church uses the NIV translation in our worship services.
What does a typical worship service include?
Communion? Our communion table is open to all who profess to be Christians. We understand if your background does not allow for you to partake in that sacrament with us, we still love you and want to worship with you. As a congregation we take Communion usually on the first Sunday of each month and we have additional communion services every now and again. Pastor will give an explanation and blessing of why we enact the Lord's Supper. Then the congregation takes the elements back to their seats. Then everyone eats and drinks in unison. Both grape juice and red wine are offered.
What should I wear? At Faith, we have a come as you are policy. Our pastor has a streak of blue in her hair... but she dresses up to preach. Many men wear button down shirts. Some women wear dresses or skirts. Jeans and t-shirts are often worn as well. In the summer it can get hot... so please dress appropriately for the weather!
What if I am late? Our worship services start at 10:30 AM, but your invitation to worship with us never expires. Even if it means that you arrive at 11:55AM.
What time does church end? Typically by about 12 noon.
What is the parking situation? We have no parking lot. But parking on the street is free!
Sunday School and Nursery? At this time we do not have an organized Sunday School class or nursery. As we build towards having a thriving children's ministry we will be doing Youth Services Volunteer and Nursery Volunteer background checks on all volunteers who are engaged with youth through our church. If there are smaller children coming to worship services, most of the time an adult volunteer will be available to take them downstairs during the sermon time and supervise them if that is the parent's wish while they attend to their worship.
In the future we would like to use our abundant space to have organized Sunday School class, but that requires volunteers and kids. You want to volunteer? You have kids? We would love to hear from you!
What style of music is sung during the service? It is a mix of contemporary praise music (think Hillsong, Hallelujah Music) and updated hymns played on guitars and drums. We know that many people enter into worship primarily through music and so we encourage you to share your favorite worship music with the musicians. If you sing or play an instrument and would like to use your talents in our worship please talk to our worship leaders if you want to play or sing with the Joyful Noise band.
Is there coffee hour? Our "Coffee Ministry" serves a variety of teas and coffee beverages prior to the service and afterward if folks wish to linger. Volunteer Baristas are welcome to help out. You're encouraged to bring your own mug which helps us minimize our disposable waste as a small part of our ecological stewardship.
church is more than JUST for sunday
Do you have small groups? We have a ladies Bible study on Thursday mornings which meets from the Fall through the Winter and Spring and adjourns for the Summer. Our men get together often on the second Friday evening of each month following much the same seasonal schedule. Youth are encouraged to participate in conFUNmation during the school year which includes monthly participation with the Covenant Youth Collision.
In the future, we will increase our small groups as there is need. Pastor Julie would love to lead one for the 20 and 30 somethings... but we need some people to join us for that!
When is the church building open? At the moment there are no set times. But look on our calendar for events. Plus, it is a neighborhood church so we are in and out of the building quite a bit. We also have the privilege of sharing the space with a Hispanic congregation, so they are around as well.
What if I have a pastoral care need? Pastor Julie has also been a chaplain and so she has had extensive ministering experiences in a variety of ways and settings. She would love to set up a time for you to come to her bell-tower office and share what it on your heart. If coffee at Starbucks is more your thing - she will meet you there. If necessary she is also willing to do visitations at hospitals.
Do you offer premarital counseling? Pastor Julie is a licensed Prepare and Enriched facilitator. She would like to do 4-6 sessions with each couple. Each session costing $25 plus the cost of the couple's assessment. You do not need to be members or even attenders of Faith UCC to do your premarital counseling with her.
What kind of leadership model do you have? We have a Church Board, a leadership team, that is our executive and policy-making body of Faith UCC. It is composed of our Pastor and at least six members of the church. The Leadership Team operates using the consensus model as it conducts the practical business and spiritual leadership of the church. For more description of its responsibilities and functions you may read our constitution.
How do I become a member? Pastor Julie will offer a class on membership - for the global Church, our denomination - United Church of Christ, and our local Faith Church community. When you have completed the membership class, you will be presented by Pastor Julie to the congregation during a membership ceremony at a Sunday service. Once that happens you will be a full member of the church's congregation.
Can I transfer my membership to Faith if I've been a member at another UCC church? Yes you can. The pastor or Church Board members can help you with that process.
Why is membership important? At Faith UCC we think membership is important. We recognize that it doesn't make you a "better" Christian. And if you never become a member and are constantly a regular attender we will love you equally as much. But membership is important for two reasons. Your investment into the well-being of our congregation increases. Think about the difference between renting an apartment and owning a house. Planting and weeding your own garden instead of your grandparent's garden. Taking ownership of something affirms its worth to you. Second, we need all hands on deck. Only members are able to vote at congregational meetings and only members can serve on our leadership board. It boils down to math. When only half of the congregation is able to vote on issues regarding the mission, vision and implementation of our church, then the weight of those decisions falls heavy on just a few. Care for your brothers and sisters, and when you have committed to Faith being your home church... go in all the way!
What is the average age? We are mostly 40-60 and have a strong group of teens. We made an intentional decision to hire a 'millennial' pastor to hopefully increase the involvement of millennials at Faith. At this time we do not have a nursery or Sunday School for young children. Thus, we are in process of figuring out what Christian Education for our congregation looks like at this time. In the future, we would love to be able to offer consistent Sunday School classes for kids. We have the space for it, but we need the volunteers and the kids.
What is the racial make-up? Mostly white. We reflect the immediate neighborhood. However, we have loved when God has blessed us with racial diversity. Our interim pastor for two years, Rev. Fairley, had a lasting impression on our Kingdom vision. A seasoned African American pastor from the South side of Chicago, he awakened our need for multi-ethnic ministry. We are eagerly praying for the Holy Spirit to continue to bless us with racial and ethnic diversity.
What is the socio-economic status of most of your congregation? We range from people who are living pay-check to pay-check to people who live and give out of abundance. We have people who have been homeless and people who own homes and cabins. We know that this tension has the potential to be awkward at times... but it is also very reflective of the Kingdom. We share and care for one another - it is one of our greatest strengths.
Is the building handicapped accessible? Our building was designed and built in the 1920s and sadly, at this time it is not. We are very sorry. If you have a need in that area we will try to accommodate you or recommend other faith resources in the area.
Can I use the building for my wedding, a family member's funeral or another function? We have a protocol for renting the space. There is a fee - which mostly covers the cost to clean the building after your use. If it is for a wedding or funeral we ask that you connect with our pastor so she can connect with any outside clergy.
Is the building ever used for the Portage Park community? Yes, In a number of ways! A Girl Scout group meets here. Faith Church is the polling place for our community during elections. A neighborhood craft show often has taken place for Christmas and Mother's Day. We are open to hosting other gatherings as well, and we currently host a Girl Scout troop and provide recreational space for an organized group of 'Home Schoolers.' All use of the church needs to be approved by our leadership board and there may be a small fee.
Why are there always people working on the building? We are blessed to be able to worship God in this sacred space. Part of its beauty and charm is knowing that some many people have worshiped in this space before any of us ever did. But older buildings require maintenance so that they do not fall a part. We are always working to keep the building safe for all who are in it or around it. Plus, we are trying to preserve it for future generations.