A Place of Grace and Gladness: The Campaign for St. James Commons
A mission on Chicago’s West Side knew they needed a change. A suburban parish saw a chance to reach out to their Spanish-speaking neighbors. Both congregations found support from the Diocese of Chicago in the form of vitality grants. Now that mission is growing, with a booming Gospel choir, a neighborhood theater program, and a budding outreach agenda. The suburban parish that needed seed money to reach out to their Spanish-speaking neighbors now, just a year later, may soon need to add service a second Spanish-language to serve all of its new members.
These vitality grants are
among the many ways the Diocese of Chicago quietly supports the work of
Some of the congregations who benefit from these grants have long histories while others are new missions in growing neighborhoods. Some are moving
to become self-sustaining, and others are faithful communities discerning how best to minister as small churches. In all of them, God is working with faithful Episcopalians. From emergency property support to vitality grants to a clergy training program emulated by national organizations and seminaries, our diocese distributes nearly $715,000 a year for ministry in our communities. Read more.
The Dedication of St. James Commons
April 25, 2013
Meet Some of Our Lead Donors
Mimi murley - reaching beyond the walls
Sometimes what moves a donor is a cause. Sometimes it’s a project. For Mimi Murley and her husband Bob, it was a leader.
“One of the beautiful things that the diocese is doing right now is really reaching beyond their immediate walls and realizing that there is partnership and possibility with other institutions,” says Mimi, a lead donor to the Campaign for St. James Commons and a former senior warden at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest.
“Bishop [Jeff] Lee has really demonstrated a commitment to that across denominations and across institutions, and I was thinking today that one of the things that is most meaningful to me is that you can see the Lord leading and guiding and teaching us through the work of Bishop Lee and the diocese. I believe he has really channeled that effort in a very humble and compelling way,” she adds. Read more.
Eleanor and Nick Chabraja, Anne Bent - Something Big Is Happening
Clearly something big is happening at Chicago's 65 East Huron Street, and it involves much more than steel frames and cranes and concrete. The massive, ongoing renovation exemplifies people of faith's abiding belief in the importance of presence for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Chicago.
"This is a high impact project for the diocese," said Nick Chabraja who, along with his wife Eleanor, is a lead donor for the renovations at St. James Commons, a property that includes the Episcopal Church Center, St. James Cathedral and the plaza.
"In my view, as Episcopalians, it is our responsibility to take care of the episcopacy," Chabraja said. "I think this project, if properly executed, may very well energize the diocese. And that is what you hope for." Read more.
Kitty and David Beecken - Kyle's Place at St. James Commons
Sometimes the veil between heaven and earth seems particularly thin. The line between the inside and the outside dissolves, and there is no other, only us.
That’s the feeling and the spirit called forth by Kyle’s Place, the affectionate name for the D. Kyle Beecken Memorial Gallery that is planned for St. James Commons on Huron Street, Chicago.
With wide doors and an abundance of clear glass, Kyle’s Place will serve as an inviting, visible place where the Episcopal Church meets and mingles with the city of Chicago. Offering free Wi-Fi and state of the art technology, it will create a friendly environment for casual visitors checking email, home office workers meeting clients, or formal presentations by St. James ministry groups. Read more.
St. James Commons
The first floor of the Diocesan Center will become a technologically equipped space for receptions, classes, or presentations. It will also house a cafe and provide wireless Internet access.
LABYRINTH AND GARDENS
A new labyrinth and landscaped gardens will offer visitors an oasis for contemplation in the midst of the city.
The newly renovated plaza will extend the Episcopal Church’s hospitality to the thousands of Chicagoans who walk by it every day.
This new “front door” will connect the Diocesan Center and St. James Cathedral and eliminate significant physical barriers for people with disabilities.