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Deacon Wes’ farewell on
Sunday 18 November

On Sunday 21 October, Deacon Wes announced during his sermon that he has taken a position at our sister church in Downers Grove. 

It was 10 years ago on 11 October 2008 that he met with Pastor Catiana at Common Cup coffee house [one block east of UCRP]. There, he shared with Catiana God’s call to start a youth program at UCRP.  Pastor Catina gave her blessing but made it clear that there was no money for his idea. 

The youth program started off with poor attendance.  What he learned in school did not work in the real world of inner-city children.  No one showed up for pizza during an youth night at the church.  Having to change the expectations he had learned in school about youth programs, Wes instead listened to the community’s needs, and then the program grew. 

First, the two-day a week after school program with about 10 children grew to 5 days a week. This free program is host to about 30 children.  There is also a free summer day camp, with lunch, that has served up to 90 children in a day.

With no money, Wes raised funds from donations, grants, and the community.   A current example is the Pumpkins Patch Sale.  UCRP Pumpkin Patch sells pumpkins at three times the price than at the neighborhood grocery store, Morse Market.  Wes believes this is because the community understands they are not buying just a pumpkin at UCRP; they are buying for their community and its children.   

God called Deacon Wes to UCRP and now God is calling him to First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove.  During his interview at Downers Grove, they asked why he was leaving UCRP?  He told them that while at times UCRP  is unable to reach it payroll on time, UCRP is more powerful and will overcome with Rogers Park community.  Unbeknownst to Wes, after his interview was over, the powerful story of UCRP and it community that he shared led to one of the interviewees at Downers Grove to send a considerable donation to be used to support the clergy and staff salaries.  “This is because the value of UCRP to this neighborhood is known them.”

In his sermon, Wes said, “The major news you hear about in the news is all happening at some level in Rogers Park--immigration and refugee issues, poverty, hunger, gun violence...and we address that”   He feels strongly about this statement.  But God has called him to move to his next chapter.  “We cannot build a house of God because God is too big for just one house.  God is in each one of us.”  

Every church he has served: Mississippi, Barrington, Roselle still feel like home to him when he visits.  UCRP will also always be home to him. 

Wes ended with tears saying, “I’ve have been called and I’ve got to go.”

Our music director made a last minute change to the response hymn, to sing "Here I Am, Lord."  Only 13 people sang the hymn after his message.  It is believed that many in the congregation were absorbing his message. While Wes' departure will leave a large hole at UCRP, Wes believes that there are many volunteers who will fill these positions that Wes held.  Deacon Wes' last Sunday will be the 18 November, and we send him to the next stage of his journey with love, admiration, and the deepest of gratitude for his service to this congregation and community. 

"I will go, Lord, if you lead me.  I will hold your people in my heart." 
- from Here I Am, Lord

With or without his beard, Wes’ smile and deep blue eyes will leaves a mark on one’s eyes, but his passion and strong will leaves a mark on one’s heart.
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On Saturday 20 October was UCRP’s first Sponsored Fun Walk. The walk was at one’s pace UCRP to Lake Michigan via Morse Avenue. Following the walk was a delicious Spaghetti Lunch!

A big thanks goes to all those volunteers making this fun-raiser day great.


Honoring Falon Daugherty
3 July 1982 - 6 July 2018

There was  a memorial service for Barbara Wrancher's daughter, Falon Daugherty on Saturday 28 July.  She died in her sleep on 6 July.  She was 36 years and 3 days old.

Family and friends gathered and shared their memories about Falon.  Pastor Lindsey shared, "God made Falon in God's image.  We knew God better through Falon."

Falcon's cousin, Pastor Donald Gordon, shared how Falon was a durable woman.   "She was a strong cup of coffee - No cream. No sugar," said Gordon.  He continued,  "She had a passion for education, and a passion to educate us."  

Falon's sister share a favorite poem by Mother Theresa:

candle flame AD.gif

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it
Life is beauty, admire it
Life is a dream, realize it
Life is a challenge, meet it
Life is a duty, complete it
Life is a game, play it
Lide is a promise, fulfill it
Life is sorrow, overcome it
Life is a song, sing it
Life is a struggle, accept it
Life is a tragedy, confront it
Life is an adventure, dare it
Life is luck, make it
Life is too precious, do not destroy it
Life is life, fight for it

Falon had bipolar disorder.  She hid and suffered many bouts of depression  alone.  Her mother, Barbara fought very hard for Falon as any mother would. 

To Barbara:  UCRP is your church family where we will have arms to hold you and shoulders to cry on.  God will hold you as you did for your daughter.  All the forces of your church, will never beat that of God's motherly love for you.

To those who suffer depression, physical or mental illness: You are not alone.  There are folks at UCRP who suffer like you.  Seek out help.  If you feel no one is listening, see Pastor Lindsey, Pastor Hope, or Deacon Wes.  Rev. Dr. Steve Lobacz, psychiatry works out of UCRP.


To everyone else: Depression and anxiety are so common that it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll know someone who might be experiencing it.  People with depression and anxiety are more likely to get through with help and support than on their own.  Being depressed and anxious can be a really lonely experience.  Sometimes the most important thing is having supportive people around or checking in. Having a coffee, watching television, phoning or texting to say ’Hi’ can help a lot.  Often when people are feeling bad they don’t want to go out and do anything. Everything feels just too hard. So encouraging them to do something with you is a great support. It could be something small like watching funny video clips, listening to music, going for a walk or window-shopping. Think about something you both like to do. 


Baptism has been the topic for the month of July's sermon series.  Sunday 22 July service took it a step further by having the baptism of Robert Henry Nocek-Eastman.  Robert's father, Niles Eastman, preached the previous Sunday [15 July] on baptism.  With the wording, this baptism was an unique baptism from the usual Methodist style.  To a Methodist, it would be more high-church.  The service included the congregation not only remember their baptism vows but also their vows as a Methodist and to the universal church.
[Click picture to advance]

 Picture 1 - Jen Schmidt holds the microphone for Pastor Lindsey as she baptizes Robert.
Picture 2 - The congregation reaches out as the family, God-parents, and friends laying of hands on Robert.

Picture 3 - Laying of hands on Robert.
Video on right - David Gunnell, Rev. Lindsey Long-Joyce, Jen Schmidt, and Ron Johnson, sang   “Down to the River to Pray”  before the Robert's baptism.
[video by Katrina Petkovic]

Click here to take a short quiz to test your knowledge on the sacrament of baptism in The United Methodist Church. Be sure to share the link with friends so you can compare scores later.  This link is to the United Methodist Church website.

On Monday 16 July, Chester [Virginia] United Methodist Chancel Choir, tour this simmer to Chicago under the direction of Joshua Wortham, presenting "Joy In Our Hearts."   They performed a free concert of worship featuring a diverse program of choral music including classical, gospel, spiritual, and contemporary selections.  This concert was full of spirit and drew one into the presence of God.  Preceding the concert followed a free cookout of hot dogs and chips.  At the cookout, UCRP members and Roger Park neighbors joined in fellowship with the folks from Chester UMC.

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Last picture is Chester UMC

The night's weather was hot and humid, but that did not stop people from coming. This 32 person choir had a powerful voice that filled UCRP sanctuary.  So powerful, their singing was power over the white noise of the many fans.  

This was the only Chicago performs.  Before coming to Chicago,  the Chester Chancel Choir performed in West Virginia,  Kentucky, and Indianapolis, Indiana.  After their performs in Chicago, their next stop is Ohio before heading back to Chester, Virginia.  Chester, Virginia is about 17 miles south of Richmond.   For more information about Chester UMC,  click

A big thanks goes to Chester UMC for sharing their spirit-full music to UCRP and the Rogers Park community.  Below are two pieces they performed.

Chicago welcomes immigrants and refugees from all over the world.


On Saturday 30 June,  church members gather in downtown Chicago's Daley Plaza to demand migrant families be reunited and released from detention immediately.  


The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church joined other faith organizations in a statement urging the U.S. government to stop its policy of separating immigrant families. 

From the bishop's statement; "We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. "

To see the full statement, click here

We stand with all Christ's children  as UCRP Mission statement declares:
                    United Church of Rogers Park United Methodist Church seeks, by thinking globally and acting locally, to make known
                    God's love for persons of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical and mental abilities and economic classes.

Pictures are from Ron Johnson and Jen Schmidt

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On 23 June 2018, Ron Johnson and others marched from the Morse el stop to Touhy Park declaring Rogers Park welcomes immigrants and refugees from all over the world.

Transgender person commissioned as deacon

By Heather Hahn June 5, 2017 | UMNS

The Northern Illinois Conference on the evening of June 4 commissioned an openly transgender individual as a provisional deacon.

The United Methodist Church has ordained transgender clergy before. However, the Rev. M Barclay is the first openly “non-binary trans person” to become a United Methodist deacon, according to Reconciling Ministries Network. Non-binary means Barclay identifies as neither male nor female but as gender neutral.

Barclay — who uses singular they pronouns — serves as director of communications at Reconciling Ministries Network. The unofficial United Methodist group, based in Chicago, advocates for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in all aspects of church life.

“For so long, I’ve longed to be a pastoral presence in the world — and certainly you can do that without a collar — but we have ordination for a reason, and part of that is that I can publicly identify as a pastor now,” Barclay said.

“I know it’s not particularly common in The United Methodist Church, but I intend to wear a collar every single day because for a person like me to navigate society in a collar provides some profound and urgently needed pastoral opportunities, particularly for queer and trans people.”

The United Methodist Church has no official position on the ordination of transgender individuals. The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s governing document, declares all people are of sacred worth but states that “the practice of homosexuality” is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Since 1984, the Discipline has prohibited the clergy candidacy, ordination and assignment of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”

Bishop Sally Dyck, who leads the conference, celebrated all who were ordained or commissioned June 4.

“While M’s journey over the last few years has included gender identity, all of those who were commissioned or ordained on Sunday have been on some kind of journey that has brought them to new places of faith, life and relationships,” Dyck said.

“Likewise, I hope the church will find itself at a new place in the near future when it comes to full inclusion. That said, M and the other candidates for commissioning and ordination are all a part of the church’s witness and outreach to people who need the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Good News, an unofficial United Methodist group that advocates for maintaining church teachings on homosexuality, has never made a definitive statement on transgender clergy.

However, the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht — Good News’ vice president and general manager — said most in the group likely would maintain that people “ought to live in accord with their biological gender.”

“We would of course wish to welcome transgender people into our churches and offer them the ministry of the church,” he said. “We would probably draw the line at leadership, seeing transgender persons as not qualified for leadership (either clergy or lay.”

He added that he believes much of what leads people to want to be the opposite gender is driven by gender stereotypes. Release from these cultural expectations “would free many persons to remain in their biological gender while finding a personally comfortable way to live out that gendered reality in their own lives,” Lambrecht said.

In Barclay's case, Lambrecht said, "it is premature for the Northern Illinois Annual Conference to move ahead to commission M Barclay, given the present state of knowledge and the questions her commissioning will raise in the minds of many faithful United Methodists."

Not everyone fits into the box of one gender, Barclay said, noting that other cultures have recognized more than two ways to be gendered.

The new provisional deacon previously identified as a lesbian but came to identify as a “non-binary trans” individual while investigating how to be a better ally to transgender individuals.

“For me, once I was exposed to the reality of non-binary gender, it was for the first time recognizing who I am,” Barclay said, “and what made sense for me in how I carry my body, how I explain myself to the world and how I know myself to be internally. It’s certainly not man nor woman.”

Barclay’s journey to commissioning also has been a long one that at one point resulted in a case before the Judicial Council. Barclay began the ordination process in 2006, before coming out as queer or transgender.

In 2013, Barclay came out as a lesbian in a partnered relationship to the district committee on ordination, which nonetheless recommended Barclay to the board of ordained ministry for commissioning.

The board, in what was then the Southwest Texas (now Rio Texas) Conference, removed Barclay from the ordination process without an interview. The board cited church law restrictions against “practicing” gay clergy. But the Judicial Council eventually affirmed a ruling by the conference’s bishop that the board had erred in its process and Barclay must get an interview. In May 2014, Barclay got that interview and the board subsequently voted against recommending commissioning.

Barclay afterward went to work for Reconciling Ministries Network and continued to feel called to ordained ministry. The commissioning now allows service to others with “my whole self,” the deacon said.

Barclay said the commissioning is “a sign that the church wants to move forward.”

“The church doesn’t want to be associated with discrimination,” the new provisional deacon said. “And I think the church recognizes that, especially after doing the harm that we continue to do, we desperately need trans and queer pastors to help people heal.”

Clergy, laity file complaint against Sessions


Annual Conferences are putting out statements condemning Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ actions of separating children from the parents at the United States border. This is a slow process as Annual Conference meet once a year.  However, over 600 clergy and lay members of the United Methodist Church filed charges with our church’s Judicial Council [the Supreme Court of the United Methodist Church] against Jeff Sessions.
At UCRP, we are quite familiar with charges filed against pastors that support the LGBTQ community.  This is a rare event that charges are pressed against a lay person.  

By Sam Hodges
June 18, 2018 | UMNS

More than 600 United Methodist clergy and laity say they are bringing church law charges against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a fellow United Methodist, over a zero tolerance U.S. immigration policy — a policy that includes separating children from parents apprehended for crossing into the U.S. illegally.

However, an authority on church history and polity said he’s unaware of a complaint against a lay person ever moving past the district level. 

The group claimed in a June 18 statement that Sessions, a member of a Mobile, Alabama, church, violated Paragraph 2702.3 of the denomination’s Book of Discipline.

Specifically, the group accuses him of child abuse in reference to separating young children from their parents and holding them in mass incarceration facilities; immorality; racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines” of The United Methodist Church.

All are categories listed in 2702.3 as chargeable offenses for a professing member of a local church.

“I really never would have thought I’d be working on charges against anybody in the Methodist connection, much less a lay person,” said the Rev. David Wright, a Pacific Northwest Conference elder and chaplain at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State, and organizer of the effort to charge Sessions.

But Wright said the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy as enforced by Sessions, combined with Sessions’ use of Romans 13 to justify the policy, led him and others to conclude that more than a statement of protest was needed.

Sessions did not immediately respond to a request for comment left with his press office. In recent speeches, he has said the zero tolerance policy on illegial immigration is in the national interest and will protect children by discouraging immigrant parents from taking them on dangerous journeys to cross into the U.S.

The Rev. William Lawrence, professor emeritus at Perkins School of Theology and an authority on Methodist history and polity, said anyone in the church can bring a charge against anyone else. While it’s not uncommon for pastors, district superintendents and bishops to get complaints about a layperson, he said a formal complaint bringing charges is extremely rare.

The Book of Discipline allows for a church trial and even expulsion of a lay member, but the first step in a long process would be for the member’s pastor and district superintendent to solve the complaint through “pastoral steps,” Lawrence said.

“I’m not aware of any circumstance in the 50-year history of The United Methodist Church when a complaint against a lay person moved beyond the stage of its resolution by a district superintendent or a pastor,” he added.

Wright said the group’s goal in filing charges was to prompt such discussions.

“I hope his pastor can have a good conversation with him and come to a good resolution that helps him reclaim his values that many of us feel he’s violated as a Methodist,” Wright said.

He added: “I would look upon his being taken out of the denomination or leaving as a tragedy. That’s not what I would want from this.”

Wright said the complaint has been emailed to Sessions’ home church in Alabama, and to a Northern Virginia church that Wright said he understands Sessions regularly attends.

Sessions’ pastor at the Alabama church did not return calls.

Bishop David Graves of the Alabama-West Florida Conference did not respond to a request for comment on the group’s move against Sessions, whose home church is in that conference. A spokeswoman said he hasn’t been given details of the complaint.

Graves did release a statement that specifically addresses the separation of parents and children.

“I implore Congress and the current administration to do all in their power to reunite these families,” he said. “Changes to these laws need to be addressed starting today. Let us join our voices in prayer for the separated families, for those working to end this injustice and for our nation’s leaders.”

The Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, specifically the separation of parents and children, has been widely criticized by religious leaders, including conservative evangelicals.

Last week, Sessions cited a verse from Romans to support the policy, prompting another round of criticism. Those critics included United Methodists.

The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, decried both the policy and Sessions’ invoking of the Bible in its defense.

Calling the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy “immoral,” former first lady Laura Bush, a lifelong United Methodist, said the policy that separates children from parents “breaks my heart.”

Bush, writing in the Washington Post, said people on all sides agree that the current immigration system is not working but said zero tolerance is not the answer.

“In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis?” she wrote. “I, for one, believe we can.”

Laura Bush and her husband, former President George W. Bush, are members of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

Some individual United Methodists have written Sessions’ pastor on their own, asking for accountability from Sessions on the immigration policy.

The Rev. Valerie Nagel Vogt, associate pastor of Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio, mailed such a letter on June 15. She said she was prompted, in part, by imagining her own feelings if she were separated from her two young children.

Vogt also hopes for a searching conversation on immigration and United Methodist values between Sessions and his pastor.

“I believe it is in community that we learn, grow and become more like Jesus,” she said. “There is abounding grace and an ongoing need for all of us who claim to follow Jesus to ask for forgiveness.”

The Rev. Abigail Parker Herrera, community outreach coordinator for Servant (United Methodist) Church in Austin, Texas, also wrote a letter to Sessions’ Alabama church.

She too is hoping Sessions will be persuaded to a new position on immigration, based on conversation with his pastor.

“Christianity wouldn’t exist if we didn’t believe people could change,” she said.

A number of interfaith leaders signed a June 7 letter calling for an end to the policy of separating families, including two United Methodists, Bishop H. Kenneth Carter Jr., president of the denomination’s Council of Bishops, and Jim Winkler, top executive of the National Council of Churches.

“Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children,” the letter said.  

The Clergy Letter Project, an organization representing a wide array of religions and denominations, including The United Methodist Church, also has voted to condemn the government’s separation of immigrant children from their parents.

Criticism of the use of family separation as part of a zero tolerance policy has come from a number of other religious groups and individuals, including Roman Catholic bishops and the Rev. Franklin Graham.

Hodges is a Dallas-based writer for United Methodist News Service. Kathy L. Gilbert and Linda Bloom of UMNS contributed to this story. Contact them at 615-742-5470 or To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests


Thursday, June 7, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is joining other faith organizations in a statement urging the U.S. government to stop its policy of separating immigrant families.


Below is the full statement signed by dozens of faith organizations. Bishop Kenneth H.  Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, signed on behalf of the Council.


Recently, the U.S. Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the well-being of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news. 

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.  

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian                                                                                                          The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens                                  
Diocesan Legate and                                                                                                                                                 General Minister and President                                                 
Director of the Ecumenical Office                                                                                                                       Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez                                                                                                                                                          Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President                                                                                                                                                                      President
Islamic Society of North America                                                                                                                       Union for Reform Judaism  

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera                                                                                                                          Mr. Anwar Khan     
Bishop of Scranton, PA                                                                                                                                           President
Chair, Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Inter religious Affairs                                                 Islamic Relief USA

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.                                                                                                                        The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District                                                                                            President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church                                                                                                     Moravian Church Northern Province

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.                                                                                                                                 The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II
President, Council of Bishops                                                                                                                              Stated Clerk
The United Methodist Church                                                                                                                            Presbyterian Church [USA]

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry                                                                                                                            Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Presiding Bishop                                                                                                                                                       Director
Episcopal Church [United States]                                                                                                                      Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer                                                                                                                              The Rev. Don Poest
General Minister & President                                                                                                                              Interim General Secretary
United Church of Christ                                                                                                                                        The Rev. Eddy Alemán
                                                                                                                                                                                         Candidate for General Secretary
                                                                                                                                                                                         Reformed Church in America

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton                                                                                                                                    Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
Presiding Bishop                                                                                                                                                       Presiding Bishop, The 8th Episcopal District
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America                                                                                                        Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. David Guthrie                                                                                                                                           The Rev. Phil Tom
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference                                                                                                         Executive Director
Moravian Church Southern Province                                                                                                                International Council of Community Churches

Mr. Glen Guyton                                                                                                                                                         Senior Bishop McKinley Young
Executive Director                                                                                                                                                    Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
Mennonite Church USA                                                                                                                                          African Methodist Episcopal Church

Sunday 10 June 2018 Homecoming

We welcome our Pastor Lindsey back to her congregation following eight short weeks of maternity leave.  She returned to a full work schedule last week, but preached at our co-church, Irving Park UMC.  In her absents, she unknowingly set up through the Holy Spirit, the CTA Circuit Riders Sermon Series – so that her pulpit would be covered during her absents. Now, she may not take credit for creating this Sermon Series – but here at United Church and its Worship Committee, we know how God works.

We thank God for Sabrina Bermingham serving as Pastor Lindsey’s proxy for representing United Church for the CTA Circuit Riders Sermon Series.  We also thank Deacon Wes and Pastor Hope filling in to cover Pastor Lindsey’s duties at United Church.  And mostly, we thank the Worship Committee for their hard work seeing that worship go without a flaw making worship seem smooth and prayerful.

The church honored Pastor Lindsey back as our shepherd with a stole as a covenant with UCRP.  It may be seen that giving this stole to Pastor Lindsey as gift, but it is not a gift from us.  Rather, it Pastor Lindsey who is our gift to us.  This stole is God’s divine symbol that we give to Pastor Lindsey who has been brought back to us.

                                                                                                                                 picture 3        Kim Coffing from ChildServ preached.  She is the Director of Faith and
                                                                                                                                                          Community Relations. of this over 100 year organization.  ChildServ
                                                                                                                                                          believes that all children should have the same opportunity to reach their
                                                                                                                                                         full potential. We treat the children and families in our care as if they were
                                                                                                                                                         our own children or family members, helping them to build a strong                                                                                                                                                                         foundation for the best possible life. It's mission is to protect, heal and
                                                                                                                                                         educate children and families so that they can build better lives.

  picture 4           Katrina Petkovic
reading the Gospel.


United Church would like to congratulate our Music Director,  Jeremy Ramey,  for winning his 5th Jeff Award for Music Direction for Sweeney Todd with Theo Ubique theather on 11 June 2018! We are blessed to make joyful noises with him and enjoy his talent every Sunday morning! Way to go, Jeremy!


"Perhaps the biggest star of the show [aside from Sweeney] is the ensemble here. The Ensemble's vocal work [Jeremy Ramey is again credited with music direction and arrangements)]on The Ballad of Sweeney Todd is particularly chilling." 

- from Review: Theo Ubique's Chillingly Exciting SWEENEY TODD by Misha DavenportMar. 19, 2018,  




"Theo Ubique is raising the last bit of money to build out its new digs a couple of miles up Sheridan Road, just across the Evanston border. It should all be buttoned up by the fall.  Great.  But I’ll really miss this space.  I’ve seen the most profound kind of communication within its walls.  Happily [or not], a certain pervasive sense of melancholy always enhances one’s appreciation of Sweeney Todd.

So the doings of the old demon barber of Fleet Street represent something of a grand hurrah, here, for director Fred Anzevino — an exit from the No Exit in a way that makes a statement. Probably more than any other show Anzevino has staged here, this spirited “Sweeney Todd” is a truly environmental production [the set is by Ben Lipinski]. Go to the men’s room and you nearly end up in the lap of musical director Jeremy Ramey."

- From Theo Ubique says farewell to the No Exit with well-sung 'Sweeney Todd' by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 13 March 2018


Wes Award 6-7-2018.jpg



On 7 June 2018, United Voices for Children brought together 95 persons for its Annual Breakfast last Tuesday. The gathering honored a variety of ministries and initiatives with children, youth and families. Here Deacon Wes Dorr of the United Church of Rogers Park is given the Bishop Jesse DeWitt Advocacy Award.

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On Friday 25 May, singer and songwriter Danny Schmidt performed at UCRP.  The Chicago Tribune's 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, named Austin, TX-based Danny Schmidt for his amassed a cult following for his stunningly poetic, poignant imagery. With lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, and Dave Carter, Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, leading Sing Out Magazine to tag him as: "Perhaps the best new songwriter we've heard in the last 15 years."

Performing solo almost exclusively, armed with just his voice, his acoustic guitar, and his acute commentary, Schmidt's an authentic timeless troubadour, one man sharing his truth in the form of songs, unadorned and intimate. The understated effect can be startlingly powerful. As songwriter Jeffrey Foucault put it: "Everything about the man is gentle, except for his capacity for insight, which is crushing."


Performing solo almost exclusively, armed with just his voice, his acoustic guitar, and his acute commentary, Schmidt's an authentic timeless troubadour, one man sharing his truth in the form of songs, unadorned and intimate. The understated effect can be startlingly powerful. As songwriter Jeffrey Foucault put it: "Everything about the man is gentle, except for his capacity for insight, which is crushing."

For the last song, Danny Schmidt asked Jen to help harmazey to one of her favorite songs. 

Return of the Prodigal Child

Prodigal means “wastefully extravagant.”  We’re not going to talk about this.  We are going to talk about homecoming.

Months ago, Pastors Lindsey and Hope reached out to other new urban pastors on the northside of Chicago.  They shared common goals and problems unique to city churches.  These seven pastors came up with sharing their pulpit by creating the CTA Circuit Rider Sermon Series.  For the past seven weeks, each of these pastors have been making the round to each other’s church.  However, as far as UCRP, the Holy Spirit had different plans.  Pastor Lindsey had a baby.  This put her out of the Circuit Rider Series.

Click picture to advance slide.

Step up our own Sabrina Bermingham.  She is a person that wears many hats at UCRP.  She is co-chair of the Trustees; She runs our church office; All along while attending school toward become a Deacon within the United Methodist Church.  These are just the official positions she holds at UCRP.

Sabrina step up and replace Pastor Lindsey in the CTA Circuit Rider Sermon Series.  Sabrina represented our church.  She stood out among these ordained ministers as the student, but her stoutheartedness and vigor made her as our pastor from United Church, and she did the task with great distinction for UCRP, as well as the whole United Methodist Church.

While doing the Circuit Rider Series, it has become clear that Sabrina is the essential point-person at UCRP.   She may hold the titles as student, office manager, and co-chair of our Trustees -  it has been learnt that she does other little tasks that go unnoticed.  Little things, such as, purchasing the coffee and sugar for our fellowship after worship.  She took on the duty of our poinsettia ornament tree and its donation. Her knowledge of our church renters and outreach programs.  This all came to light during her absence.

cta Circuit Rifers Sermon Series.png

UCRP was well into being a Reconciling Congregation, the full inclusion of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered, and Questioning folks, when Sabrina and Nikki first came to this church.  What is not known by many, is that they were the first same-gender marriage at United Church.  Their holy bond gave a significance sign to the LGBTQ community that United Church was truly committed to full acceptance and equality in the United Methodist Church. Both Sabrina and her wife are more than active within UCRP, for Sabrina it seems to be her way of life, and poor Nikki supports Sabrina’s actions. Thank you, Nikki, for sharing Sabrina with us.

As Sabrina works toward becoming a Deacon, she must be taking lessons from the best – our own Deacon Wes Dorr.  Unknowingly, Sabrina and Deacon Wes often dress alike.  Deacon-dressing class is for third year students.  Be as that may, the student has become the teacher.

It is with all this, we acknowledge our own Sabrina Bermingham for the work she does at UCRP.  And we thank her for representing us at these other churches all while being a modern-day Circuit Rider.  Return of the Prodigal Child.  Prodigal means “wastefully extravagant.”  Child means “Sabrina.” We welcome her back to her family at United Church of Rogers Park.

Given to Sabrina Bermingham by the congregation of United Church of Rogers Park - United Methodist
on Pentecost Sunday where she preached about evangelism.  

20 May 2018

ron retirment.jpg

Congratulations to Ron Johnson


ron draw.jpg

On May 15, the choir and other church members surprised Lay-Leader and choir member Ron Johnson with a retirement party at  Leonas on Sheridan and Morse.  Ron retired after over 30 years as a piano tuner.  According to Edvitte, "while faithfully attending church, providing his skills and knowledge as church council lead, music leader and a being a great brother to us all."






The picture on the left was a drawing contest of self portrait.  Guesss Ron won.


Fifty years ago, the  United Methodist Church was officially formed

Back on April 23, 1968, the United Methodist Church merged with the unification of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, along with the dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction, a segregated group of African American congregations.

On April 23, UCRP honored the United Methodist Church birthday with cake. Speacil thanks to Alfie Gunnell for making the cake.

The celebration anniversary is throughout 2018, especially around Heritage Sunday on May 20.

Palm Sunday - A service of lessons, hymns, and table

First picture: Sanctary ready for Palm Sunday
Second picture: Deacon Wes helped lead this special worship that started outside the sanctuary.  The congregation marched into the worship space by waving palms and singing, "Jesus is coming. Pave the wave with branches." 
Third Picture: Northern Illinois District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Ziki help by reading the role of Jesus during the telling of the Passion Story.  Ziki is standing on far left with Worship Committee member Elaine Wolensky. and with communion.  The service ended differently with the sanctuary being stripped of its colors and black cloths placed over the low alter, baptism font, and cross.
The fourth picture: Choir practicing Easter music

Margaret Derry.jpg

It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Margaret Derry, the beloved manager of New to You Thrift Shop. Margaret managed the shop for over 15yrs before retiring in 2017. She was loved by many people in the Rogers Park neighborhood most of whom she called by name. Known for her colorful head wraps, and jovial attitude, "Have a blessed day" was always at the end of a sale and "Hello, dollbaby" a name of endearment she gave people she cared for. Margaret was a member of the United Church of Rogers Park where she loved each and everyone she served with, even mentoring some to be the best person they can, and to be gracious in their living. 

The Derry family is thankful to all whom knew and cared for their beloved.

A memorial service will be held at UCRP on Saturday, March 24
Noon Gathering
Memorial Service at 12:30 pm
followed by a Pot Luck Meal  - please bring a dish to share. 

New to You Thrift Shop, and the United Church of Rogers Park, will be taking cards, prayers, and any donations you would like give to the Derry family. Donations can be made to the church in honor of Margaret.  All donations will be given to the family to help cover expenses.  

Harper Ann!

Harper Ann was born on Sunday, March 4.  She and Pastor Lindsey are home and doing well.  

Here is a ink to a mail train if you would to provide food to the new family.

Pastor Lindsey's Maternity leave began on March 4. We have made sure that every Sunday is covered by a preacher and a presider. Deacon Wes will be taking on some more of the pastoral care and worship duties, and Karsten will also be taking on more duties as he finishes up his internship with us this year. If you have any questions about the details of the coverage plan, a hardcopy of the coverage plan for Pastor Lindsey's maternity leave will be available in the office. Please continue to reach out to Pastor Hope and Deacon Wes as you normally would. 

Harper Ann.jpg

Chili-Cook Off
March 3 2018

The guests vote on their favorite chili

First picture:
      Second-place winner Jen Schmidt [left] and third-place winner Pastor Lindsey and her husband Adam hold their awards.
      The Edvitte [right] announcing first-place winner. 
Second and Third picture:
      Alfred Gunnell first-place winner.

Maidel Cason (1928-2018) passed away on January 8 after a long journey with Alzheimer’s.

She was a feminist, a fierce seeker of justice who put on no airs and lived her values. She loved to learn and to teach, but mostly she loved to help others.

Throughout her life, Maidel worked hard for racial and economic justice in her local community, nationally and internationally. She greatly admired Eleanor Roosevelt and was a passionate supporter of Planned Parenthood. She was a part of local Evanston struggles for affordable housing. Maidel was also active with the Democratic Party and registered voters for the League of Women’s Voters. After she retired from Dominican, she joined the board of the Evanston Public Library.   

A short obituary at

A celebration of her life will be held at the United Church of Rogers Park on Saturday 3 March with a gathering at 1pm, Celebration Service at 2pm followed by a reception.  In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the United Church’s Community Feast.

United Church of Rogers Park Christmas Concert

Click picture to view next slide

All Saints Sunday 

5 November 2017

...naming and lighting a candle for the saints around us every day...

...naming and lighting a candle for the saints around us every day...

On 5 November 2017, UCRP celebrated All Saints Sunday. We remembered those that came before us, and the work they did. We recognized the saints around us, and the work we have to continue. And we expressed hope of those that will come after us, and lead our church in the future. Such light in the world!

..and the saints to come...

..and the saints to come...

Pastor Lindsey leading All Saints Worship Service

Pastor Lindsey leading All Saints Worship Service

Slide show of All Saint Sunday below.  Click picture to advance to next picture.

UCRP Past News

Thank you Aqua-Volunteers

Much obliged to all the aqua-volunteers who helped unload 500 pumpkins of all sizes for the Pumpkin Patch Sale during a rain storm on Saturday 7 October 2017.  The truck delivering the pumpkins was to arrive at 10 am, but was delayed and arrived at 4 pm.  These drenched volunteers came through whether the weather was rain or shine.  The Pumpkin Patch is to help raise funds for the After School Program.  Funding is needed since the Chicago Public Schools will not be financing the After School Program.  Due to the shortage of funding, this program will be only 3 days a week instead of 5 days.*  To all the water-logged folks that unloaded, displayed the pumpkins, and floored the ground with hay, deserve a big thank you.  At the end of their hard work, a gift from the heaven shined across the Pumpkin Patch -  a double rainbow.  See pictures below by clicking picture to advance.

*since the time of this writing, UCRP's after school program has received Safe Haven funding and is currently operating 5 days a week. Thanks to all who donated!

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Lunch Lady

Pastor Lindsey's first official duty at UCRP


Rev. Wesley Dorr, Deacon, facilitated a work group to build a greenhouse for the Peace Center of Rogers Park.

The Peace Gardens are found on the south side of the church building on Ashland Street side.