My heart breaks for the families of Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego just as it did for the many, many families who lost loved ones during the coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka that included three Catholic churches celebrating Easter mass. The rise in hate-related incidents in the world is disturbing. Here in our own nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports a significant rise in anti-Muslim and anti-semitic incidents.
It is important to acknowledge that we here in the near western suburbs of the Chicago area are not immune to bigotry and hate. In Oak Park alone over the past months, there have been three instances of Israeli flags being desecrated or stolen. One Jewish household had their house egged on Halloween when other homes near them did not.
Last fall, a man walked by West Suburban Temple on Harlem Avenue as many members of the congregation were celebrating Sukkot. Several youth were playing soccer on the lawn when a man walking by yelled disrespectful things. When the soccer ball rolled towards him, he grabbed it. Instead of returning the ball, he yelled truly hateful things, including threatening the lives of the youth. Many people witnessed this. Several members of the congregation shared with Rabbi Adir Glick that this was the most traumatic anti-semitic incident they had ever witnessed.
These are not victimless crimes. They leave scars, especially on the people who witnessed the hateful epithets and the people who live in the homes where these flags were stolen or desecrated.
As hate and bigotry are on the rise, love calls us to resist despair, to live abundantly despite our fear, and to take care of one another. We need to be vigilant against the normalizing of hate rhetoric. All the great religious traditions call us to transcend and resist such rhetoric—now so often shared on social media. The fabric of a pluralistic society relies on people of faith and people of compassion to sing a different song, one of hope, collaboration, and unity in our humanity.
As we cultivate relationships with one another faith to faith and face to face here in the near western suburbs, we strengthen our own community and remind those who are most vulnerable that none of us are alone. We need not be isolated.
As I step away from my ministry for the second half of my sabbatical over the next three months, it is my prayer that together as people of faith we will further the good work of building relationships across boundaries of religion, race, class, and all others that potentially divide us.
Rev. Alan Taylor
Thank You to Our 2019 Members
Baha'i Community of Oak Park Dominican University, River Forest Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, Oak Park Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest Oak Park Friends Meeting Pilgrim Congregational Church, Oak Park St. Catherine of Siena - St. Lucy Parish, Oak Park St. Edmund Parish, Oak Park United Lutheran Church, Oak Park Unity Temple UU Congregation, Oak Park
2019 Membership Drive
Congregations in Oak Park, River Forest, and surrounding areas participate with the Community of Congregations through membership which supports our ministries including Celebrating Seniors, Holiday Food and Gift Baskets, Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Our membership year begins in January and we hope that your faith community will actively participate. Please consider contributing at one of the recommended levels:
Up to 25 members: $100 25-50 members: $200 51-100 members: $300 101-200 members: $400 More than 200 members: $500
Please send your membership dues along with the names(s), address, email, and phone number for your faith leader(s), administrator, and up to three delegates to:
Community of Congregations P.O. Box 3365 Oak Park, IL 60303-3365
Please contact Katie Avalos with questions at 312-560-3968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time Exchange Coalition Meetings are held the third Friday of the month at the Oak Park Public Library on the first floor behind the check-out desk from 10 am to noon. Next meeting is May 17th. Join us!
BLOOD DRIVE at FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
324 N. Oak Park Ave, Oak, Park, Illinois
Second and Third Tuesday of every month 4 - 7:30 pm
Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. requires a blood transfusion. Supplies, especially during the winter months can drop to a 1-2 day supply. Giving blood is an easy way to assist others.
The second and third Tuesday of every month from 4 - 7:30 pm LifeSource (Vitalant) collects blood in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church, 324 N. Oak Park Ave. Enter through the Superior St. door. Donor requirements can be found at the Vitalant website (vitalant.org) under FAQ or call them at 877-258-4825.
The Leader's Network Monthly Meeting
The Leader's Network is a gathering of church and community members working together to organize, strategize, and mobilize to improve the quality of life for West side residents and greater Chicago. We believe all people are valuable and for this reason we are committed to social justice and disaster relief both locally and globally, continuing the path of those who have gone before us.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Columbus Park Refectory 5701 W. Jackson Blvd.
Upcoming West Side Bridge Meetings
West Side Bridge Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 8:15 am L!VE Cafe 163 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park
West Side Men Friday, May 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm MacArthur's Restaurant 5412 W. Madison Avenue in Chicago