Still Singing

In the Midst of Dementia: Joy
group of older people clapping

Tuesdays at 6:15 a.m., Bob Nelson gets in his car and drives 120 miles from his home in Milwaukee to Chicago. There, he picks up his 91-year-old father-in-law, Charles Custer, and accompanies him to the rehearsal of Good Memories, a choir for people with early-stage dementia and their caregivers. Anna Brothers of South Holland also…


Lessons in Empowerment

College for Congregational Development equips laity to lead

The Diocese of Chicago had a specific vision in mind when it instituted its new partnership with the College for Congregational Development (CCD). “I think CCD has the capacity to really change how our churches approach their futures,” says the Rev. Andrea Mysen, director of ministries. “It is all about creating practitioners on the ground who…


Learning to Juggle

A changing church seeks new flexibility from its clergy

As the church adapts to serve a changing world, the traditional model of a single congregation worshipping in a single building, with a single full-time priest is no longer the norm. More than half of Episcopal congregations do not have a full-time priest, and more clergy are bi-vocational or serve more than one community. In the…


Living in a Climate of Fear

Latino congregations struggle to cope as racism and raids heighten anxiety.

Life changed for the members of Spanish-speaking communities in the Diocese of Chicago after the election of Donald Trump. “As a Latino/Hispanic clergy and person of color in the United States after the election, I have been reminded again and again that some people think I don’t belong here,” says the Rev. Victor Conrado, associate…


Hard Questions, Free Food

The diocese’s campus ministers create a safe place for spiritual exploration

If media accounts are to be believed, pundits, psychologists and professors all agree that millennials—people born since 1980—are fragile, lazy and entitled. Ask many Episcopal leaders about young adults and you’ll hear that getting them to come to church is both nearly impossible and essential to the denomination’s survival. But campus ministers in the Diocese…


Gifts to Give, Skills to Share

Lay people play a prominent role in parishes across the diocese

Sometimes quietly, sometimes reluctantly but most often with great joy, lay leaders are coming to the fore in parishes across the Diocese of Chicago, sharing their gifts for ministry and building the church, not just in times of trouble or transition, but day-in, day-out. For some—including churches that can’t afford a priest and parishes whose clergy…