Church of the Advent to Hold Last Eucharist on May 29
May 24, 2016
May 25, 2016—Church of the Advent, an Episcopal Church in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, will hold its final Eucharist on May 29, junior warden Tim van Alstyne announced on Sunday evening.
“The Church of the Advent finds that there is no practical way forward for this congregation to exist,” van Alstyne wrote to Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee. “Our current plan is to celebrate the last Eucharist together as a congregation next week; after that, we plan to meet for Morning Prayer for some weeks in June as we discern our options as a community.”
The church, founded in 1901, had for nearly 40 years shared its building at 2900 West Logan Boulevard in Chicago with Nuestra Señora de las Americas, a Hispanic Episcopal congregation. At the end of 2015, Nuestra Señora relocated to 2837 West Armitage Avenue to share storefront space with St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and pursue a partnership with the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance.
“We mourn whenever faithful congregations come to the end of their life,” said Lee, “but we are also filled with gratitude for the faithful people of the Church the Advent and the congregation’s century of Episcopal ministry and mission at the corner of North Francisco and West Logan Boulevard. Today the Spirit is moving in new ways in Logan Square, and through Nuestra Señora and the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance, the Episcopal Church is responding by doing a new thing.”
Church of the Advent’s most recent priest, the Rev. Peter Siwek, resigned in 2015 after six years as quarter-time vicar, and since then, visiting priests conducted services.
Since Nuestra Señora’s relocation, the congregation of about 20 members had relied heavily on income from building use, primarily from the Open Arms homeless ministry of New Community, a church planted in Logan Square by the Evangelical Covenant Church. But in late 2015, New Community purchased the building formerly owned by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and announced its intent to relocate Open Arms in early June.
Although the congregation had limited building use income from other sources, the current policy of the Bishop & Trustees of the Diocese of Chicago, which oversees and holds title to the property of the diocese, is to reserve income from building use to pay for building maintenance rather than for congregational operating expenses. Church of the Advent had received operating funds in the form of vitality grants from the diocese’s Congregations Commission from 2013-2015, but an appeal to the commission to increase the grant by 80% in 2016 was not successful.
The Bishop & Trustees will meet in July to discuss the future of Church of the Advent’s building and will ensure its upkeep once the congregation has vacated the property at the end of the June.