CELEBRATING GOD'S LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE

© Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60657

A QUALITATIVE NARRATIVE OF VITALITY

    Broadway is NOT your usual church! It is the essence of John Wesley and Methodism! It strives to be the soul of Jesus in ways that most other UM churches blatantly refuse to follow! And it is the only reason why my soul is alive today. How would you measure this in terms of success? Shalom. ~ MJ Grimshaw

 

    Standing in the prayer circle at the 8:45am Sunday Service, I am convinced I am part of a “church without borders.” A sightless person with his service dog at his feet offers prayers of thanksgiving for a new policy requiring electric energy cars to emit sounds for him and his cohorts to safely know their presence at an intersection. A young adult remembers a senior member of a former congregation who told him how his personal statement of coming out encouraged him in his advanced age to find the courage to do the same. An attorney who shelters an immigrant who is in the throes of deportation proceedings gives an update on her condition. A school teacher facing a classroom evaluation that may determine his future in his present assignment, another struggling school, or none at all asks for prayers for himself, his colleagues and students in Chicago schools. Thanks for the vitality of a beloved community where petitions are never “but for the grace of God” rather an inclusive “because of the grace of God.” ~ Robert J. Harman

 

    I found a place where I can truly worship and bring my entire self to church and.....be told that God loves me just as I am, the whole of me, the gay in me....and that I am truly welcomed at Broadway. I go to church on Sunday now because I want to. And that was not true for many many years prior to my coming to Broadway. Gracious God please bless us in our efforts to keep Broadway as a place where all people can freely come to worship and where many ministries can be nurtured as we go about Your work. ~ Richard C. Johnson

 

    i think that God’s spirit and presence is very much alive and i would like to talk about that. And mostly I’d like to write about that even though i am not in worship on most Sundays, i feel the spirit in each of you. and that matters to me. ~ cathy knight

 

    Here is my contribution regarding My Spiritual Vitality: I’m “living my dream.” I’m involved in “the Beloved community” at Broadway. Jesus is teaching me how to love others and myself. I see God shining through the people I meet, daily. I'm aware of my abundance & the joy in Jesus I experience plus the strength that Jesus is with me, and His strength when I grieve for others plus He gives me courage to be a Justice Seeker for the G.B.L.T.Q. people who don't have basic civil rights and suffer BIGOTRY from the non-inclusive churches.

~ Helen M. Nagel

 

    Broadway is a place of intense spiritual vitality to me. From the first time I walked through the doors, to the constant welcome and help of the other members of the Broadway family, to the smiles, the sharing, and the passion that fills the people, I cannot imagine a more vibrant church. This is a place committed to God. This is a place committed to doing the hard work that God calls us to do. This is a place that is committed to being the Kingdom of God to everyone, not just those who are easy or convenient to love. Even as I am away while being a student pastor, the many ministries and gifts of Broadway keep my heart warm and challenged. I am more grateful for this place than I will ever be able to say. ~ Krista Paradiso

 

    Broadway has given me the path to re-connect with my faith journey once again, to embrace all of who I am and all that I struggle with and am challenged by. I'm able to now share my faith and gifts with All the Beloved of God through the various spiritual paths that Broadway provides to ALL who are touched by this faith community! Broadway has given me the opportunity to reach out to those are struggling and affected by HIV/AIDS, to have REAL conversations with my gay brothers through Gay Men's Discussion Group. At Broadway I have been given the blessed opportunity to celebrate Christ's love with persons of all ages, colors, orientations, abilities and faith journeys. Lastly Broadway continues to challenge me by always moving forward even when it's difficult or when Broadway stumbles, staying in the struggle for justice and peace for "ALL THE BELOVED" ever widening the circle of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love in Christ Jesus!!  ~ Victor Ponce, Co-Lay Leader, HIV+ person, UMC member and beloved by God

 

    When I approached the topic of "is it okay to call God 'Mother'?" I had a lot of skepticism, which was founded in what I believed I already knew about God (being raised in the traditional patriarchal Christian setting), but after sincerely approaching the topic (per Paul R. Smith's book) I quickly realized that I would be both disrespecting and marginalizing God in all aspects were I continue holding tight to a "masculine-only" definition of God. ~ Perry Rhone

 

    I grew up in the United Methodist Church. Sunday school, the 11AM service, vacation bible school, MYF at 5pm on Sundays…the whole thing…in a solidly middle class neighborhood in Oklahoma City. After high school, I drifted away from the church. College and career were my focus. Also at that time, conservative politicians began to appropriate religion into their politics, something that was deeply troubling to me and I only turned further from organized religion, even my own.

  Now later in middle age, I sensed something missing, something misappropriated. I didn’t recall Jesus talking much about capital gains tax rates at MYF.  I remembered gospel stories of helping the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed and I set out to see if that story still resonated somewhere in the organized church.

  I’m happy to tell you that it does. It’s a little brick building in the middle of a thriving urban neighborhood in Chicago. It’s called Broadway United Methodist and since my first visit there a few months ago, I can tell you that although I have many questions and not a few doubts…I have reconnected with the church of my childhood. It’s not just a long lost familiarity…there is something different at Broadway. A commitment to social justice and the true meaning of the gospel. A welcoming environment to all people. Outreach to those in need. Joy. Acceptance.  

    I’m just starting on my journey and I don’t know how it will end up, but I couldn’t have found a better place to begin. ~ Hal Stephens

 

    When I first moved to Lakeview, I spent a lot of time wandering around getting to know the new neighborhood. Everyday I would pass a corner building with a huge banner running along the side of it that said, “Rethink church.” At the time I was feeling rather jaded about organized religion. The strict Eastern Orthodox church in which I’d grown up had come to feel like a brick wall of rituals that had grown inaccessible to me, and traditions and views that were never going to fit with the person I was turning out to be. I’d always felt like there was a religious person somewhere inside me, but I could never make that person fit with the rest of me. I guess for this reason, I decided to follow the advice of the banner. The first time I attended Broadway, everything about it was a culture shock—the projector screen, the drum set, rainbow streamers, songs sung in English, women preaching, people wearing jeans. I never realized you could attend church without having to worry about breathing too loudly, or that church could be so celebratory. Of course, it makes perfect sense to me now—celebrating God by celebrating life and all that that means. Encountering the incredible sense of community, the brave openness of everyone at Broadway, and the tangible actions that community takes together, all helped me to be more open and active in my own life, and to begin to see a spiritual life as something inseparable from, rather than at odds with, the rest of my identity and beliefs.

  One of the things I love most about Broadway is that there’s no air of stuffiness or uneasy tension the way there is at other churches I’ve encountered. Maybe that’s because other churches let so many elephants sit quietly in the room—our differences, our doubts. Broadway introduces every elephant by name and basically offers it tea and crumpets. Radical hospitality at its best.

~ Julie Yerganian

 

    When I walked in the doors of Broadway almost 7 years ago now and heard Greg Dell preach the first time I knew I had found a home.

    The amazing, prophetic message of justice that is the heart of Broadway has never failed to challenge, inspire and move me! ~ Teresa Seliga