A space for telling stories about the church and the people who gather here.
On August 11-16, an intergenerational group from the DMMC community came to Chicago for a week of service and learning through the D.O.O.R. Chicago program ( www.doornetwork.org/chicago).
DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) Chicago is housed at First Church of the Brethren in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. East Garfield Park is a community full of potential and has a rich history of strong community leaders and activists, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an office in First Church of the Brethren as he fought for fair housing rights. DOOR Chicago partners with established and well rooted organizations and churches that have been serving the city for many years to provide service opportunities for participants.
Monday, August 12: Green Star Movement
On Monday, the group joined up with the Green Star Movement to help design a mural that honors Hispanic members of the 2016 World Series winning Chicago Cubs. The mural is located in the Hermosa neighborhood.
The Green Star Movement inspires students and community members through the creation of public art. This interactive process builds teamwork and self esteem in participants and revitalizes urban neighborhoods.
Since the founding in 2005, Green Star Movement has provided more than 10,000 students with mural arts programming and successfully transformed the interiors and exteriors of over 140 public spaces, including schools, parks, community centers and underpasses.
The vision of Green Star Movement is to create public art throughout the world that connects youth and builds community. It was a unique privilege to participate in their work in Chicago!
Tuesday, August 13: Trinity Community Center
On Tuesday morning, the group traveled to the Southside to serve at God's Closet, which is one of many ministries at the Trinity Community Center.
Heeding the biblical commands to care for the poor, to clothe the naked, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, and recognizing the call of faith to be responsible stewards and caretakers of an increasingly fragile planet, God’s Closet at the Trinity Community Center strives to provide an alternative source for clothing and other goods in the Bridgeport community.
The intent of God’s Closet is to provide both resources for those in need in a life-giving way, and a “green” venue for the redistribution and re-purposing of clothing and other goods.
In the afternoon, the group took a quick trip over to China Town to explore and enjoy Thai Rolled Ice Cream. While, in the evening, the group returned to Trinity Community Center to serve and eat a meal with members of the local community.
Wednesday, August 14: Life Directions
On Wednesday, the group traveled to the Southside to visit Bowen High School. Here, they partnered with a multi-faceted organization known as Life Directions to plant a flower garden that will provide students an uplifting and beautiful image as they begin school this fall.
Life Directions’ mission is to motivate young adults, ages 13-35, to mature into responsible, productive adults through self-direction.
The core values that center their impact are: self-responsibility, balance in relationships, partnership in diversity, and mission-driven attitude. Life Directions promotes the powerful dynamic of “Peers Inspiring Peers” in neighborhoods, high schools, and middle schools.
The values promoted by, and incorporated through, the core programs benefit young men and women throughout their life so they can mature into excellent adults capable of giving life to their families and communities. In this respect, Life Directions represents a proven, prudent investment in our future, from generation to generation, compounding with time. We enjoyed the experience of helping make Bowen High School a more refreshing environment for students!
In the evening, the group had an opportunity to experience downtown Chicago and all of the cool things it has to offer including: Millennium Park, McCormick Plaza, Maggie Daley Park, Buckingham Fountain, and Willis Tower (formerly Sears!).
Thursday, August 15: Lawndale Community Garden
Beginning in the 1940’s with the Rainbow Beach Victory Garden, Chicago has become home to hundreds of community gardens, many of which can be found in parks across the city. The practice of community gardening, whether inspired by the desire to transform outdoor space or contribute to healthier lifestyles, is now deeply rooted in modern culture. One such community garden is located in the Lawndale neighborhood in Westside Chicago. On Thursday, the group joined Miss Johnson to weed, mulch, and restore a garden that was once a vacant lot.
In the late afternoon, a few members of the group returned to Lincoln Park and the North Avenue Beach to see Lake Michigan.
On Thursday evening, Charles Perry, a local community organizer for violence prevention, high school football coach, and father of five shared his story of returning from prison after 20 years to make a positive impact in Chicago.
Friday, August 16
On Friday, the group traveled back home to Des Moines after a wonderful week of serving, learning, and exploring the city of Chicago. We are grateful to the wider DMMC community for supporting the DOOR Chicago team this year in many different ways!
Listen to Pastor John's sermon about Chicago "Seek the Peace of the City" by visiting www.desmoinesmennonite.org/recent-messages.html.