Faith | Politics

79th Street Remembers

Residents come together to mourn lost loved ones and pray for an end to gun violence

Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Jason Schumer)

On Saturday morning, the sound of honking cars echoed up and down 79th Street. Passersby were responding to a group of young people waving signs reading “Free Prayer” and “We Believe,” as part of the Prayer on the 9 prayer line and peace march.

Faith | Features | Food | Food Issue 2017

Cultivating Faith in Food

Religious institutions use urban agriculture to supplement food sources, social justice programs across the South Side

Jason Schumer

Two long, drip-irrigated plant beds run parallel to the southernmost wall of KAM Isaiah Israel, a Reform synagogue that straddles the border between Hyde Park and Kenwood. Some sections of the two beds bear different varieties of kale and collard greens. Others are filled with what appear to be weeds but are actually a cover crop, storing up carbon and nitrogen in the soil for produce that will be planted in weeks to come.

Education | Faith

When a Door Closes

The shuttering of St. Columbanus School marks the decline of Black Catholic populations in Chicago

Jenna Johnson

For everything there is a season—innocence, adolescence, first love. One major life experience, though, is not temporary, but changes along with the seasons of life: learning. A solid grammar school education can set a solid foundation for life. For many years, St. Columbanus School served that role in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Park Manor, providing a culturally rich, warm environment, as well as an academically rigorous one. According to St. Columbanus alumna Leslie Cain-Cauley, who graduated with the class of 1980, what made St. Columbanus special was that it was a family; parents were friends with each other outside of the school and supported the teachers, and the students had pride in the school. In 2015, however, St. Columbanus had to close its doors and merge with St. Dorothy School due to low enrollment. The merged schools became the Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy, which has a STREAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math). The new school not only marks the end of an era in this community, but points to the variety of changes in the Catholic community as a whole—economic, educational, and social.


The Shrine Survives

How parishioners, community members, and preservationists saved a landmark Woodlawn church from demolition

Courtesy of Save the Shrine

“Of course, as good Chicagoans, we ignored this.”

Faith | Features

Prisoners of Hope

After a century, Saint Sabina's fights an uphill battle

Luke White

Fifteen years ago, when Mack Julion first came to Saint Sabina’s in Auburn Gresham, the church didn’t have a youth ministry. After working for a few years in the office of the church’s longtime pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, he managed to convince Pfleger to let him start one. Now, the church’s youth ministry has programs for parishioners from ages thirteen to thirty-five. In some ways, Julion is a perfect Saint Sabina’s success story: the church empowered him to empower others.


Have a Little Faith

Father Wolf Werling discusses faith, history, and his South Shore nonprofit

Jordan Jackson

“When you empathize with someone, those are the only answers that really make sense.”

Bronzeville | Faith

The Gospel of Albertina Walker

Bronzeville church remembers a legendary singer

Anna Belle Newport

West Point Baptist Church, the longtime home church of gospel legend Albertina Walker, sits squarely next to Ellis Park in Bronzeville. Just a block north at 35th Street, a commemorative street sign reads “Albertina Walker and the Caravans Drive,” marking this span of Cottage Grove a homage to the “Queen of Gospel” and The Caravans, the gospel group with which she grew to international acclaim.  Continue reading


Breaking the Chain

Chatham minister Terry Shanks recalls his past

Lexi Drexelius

Terry Shanks leaned back in his chair and chuckled while swarms of shrieking children ran past his office to gym class. As we returned to his story, told in his firm but earnest voice, Shanks beamed with a cheerful smile. Currently in his role as a part-time locker room attendant for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Shanks also works as a minister with the United Praise Ministry, a church in Chatham. Shanks was born in 1957 and lived between 47th and 43rd in what he calls “a rough little area.” He now lives with his wife Mable Shanks—his four grown children have moved out. Continue reading