Chicago Churches
February 18, 2014 3:38 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a church in Chicago - one that meets a few particular requirements.

I enjoy:
a young-ish population
diverse congregation (I am Black, female, in my late 20s)
a pastor/leader who is grounded in the text (I'm trying to avoid the simple, "life advice" sort of sermons)

And most importantly, I need:
something on the North side (Lakeview-ish?), train-accessible if at all possible
a strong choir (I really like choirs! And don't love the one- or two-person outfits that run worship in many places)

If it's helpful, some more details:

-I grew up in Baptist churches, the raucous, speaking in tongues type, but I don't particularly need that now.
-United Methodist churches sound good on paper, but of the few I have visited, they have felt too old-fashioned for me; I have had success with non-denominational churches before.
-Diverse does not mean Black to me - I just would like to not be the only brown face in the crowd.
-I try to avoid the anonymity of the megachurches, but I don't necessarily need to know everyone by name either. A mid-size, couple hundred person or so church would do just fine.
-The hardest part of my church search has seemed to be the choir part of the equation. I only find the traditional choir vibe I'm looking for at older, Black churches, which is fine, but I haven't found any on the north side and I REALLY hate the Sunday morning traffic trying to get to the south side. Since moving to Chicago, I have learned that I am not going to make it to church if I have to think about an hour-long drive to get back home.

Help, please!
posted by Ruby Me to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total)
I don't think you're going to get the help you need here...and your requirements are pretty specific.

Your best bet may be to contact the UChic Divinity School and see if they can direct you to somewhere you would like.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:23 PM on February 18, 2014

I'm assuming you want Protestants.

Have you tried the Moody Church? It ticks the choir box and aren't Methodists or Episcopalians, but it's ridiculously large. I'm not certain of the diversity (and it's not easily deducible from the website). They have a clear theological line, but you can listen to the sermons online.

Google turns up diverse-seeming churches in Rogers Park and Evanston, but they skew small and choir-less. (The Rogers Park Baptist Church apparently has a choir, but no idea about anything else.)
posted by hoyland at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2014

You might look into Living Waters Community Church. I think it meets all of your desiderata, although I haven't heard their choir for a while. It's at 6808 N. Ashland.
posted by willF at 5:52 PM on February 18, 2014

Perhaps Resurrection Lutheran on Seminary at School.

Note: this recommendation is based almost entirely on the very positive things my kids' godparents have said about "Rez" (they attended for years before moving to St Paul almost 20 years ago—I'm sure they are still in touch with the Pastors and members of the congregation). Specifically, diverse (you certainly won't be the only brown face), has been LGBTQ friendly for many years, active in the community, i.e., focus on "walking the walk".

I've only attended a few times and I was always greeted warmly and enjoyed the discussions during coffee after the service. I don't remember the sermons, but had they been of the general "life advice" variety (assuming that means the same to you as it does to me), I expect that I would not have such positive memories of the experience. More significant, there is no way the kids' godfather (former Lutheran minister) would be happy with such sermons.

Unfortunately, I remember nothing about the choir, but this is from the website:

Worship the LORD with gladness; come into God's presence with singing. –Psalm 100:2

Worship at Resurrection is lively, blending traditional liturgy with creativity and musical variety. Our service is based on the worship patterns of the earliest Christian church, emphasizing Scripture, sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion), prayer and song. The 8:30 AM service is more intimate and streamlined; the later service is more festive and elaborate.

Anyway, if Rez isn't for you, someone there may be able to offer other suggestions.
posted by she's not there at 7:33 PM on February 18, 2014

I am not a churchgoer, but I know smart people who like music and who like Holy Trinity Lutheran on Addison.
posted by HeroZero at 9:44 PM on February 18, 2014

I haven't specifically trawled the reports, but there seem to be some Chicago entries in the Ship of Fools mystery worshipper section. I have used it for Toronto, ON, with some success.
posted by sarahkeebs at 4:07 AM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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