What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Placement!!

I wanted to go ahead and let you all know more about my placement now that I have started working there. We all started at our placements on Tuesday of this week. I am working at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, which is three blocks from Wrigley Field and also really close to Lake Michigan. The church was founded in 1884 and now boasts about 350 members. The church is very committed to social justice and has a thriving and active social calendar. It actually reminds me a lot of my home church in those respects. The church hosts a program for the senior citizens in the area everyday that includes a hot meal and some sort of programming be it an exercise class, a book discussion or a movie. The program that I am most excited about though is the one that I will be most active with. The program is called Cafe Pride and is held every Friday from 8 to midnight. This is a program that caters to the Gay, Lesbian, BiSexual & Transgendered youth and young adults of Chicago. Some of the youth are homeless because their parents have kicked them out because of their orientation. Many are inner-city or urban and many are African-American. Cafe Pride offers them a safe, warm place to gather for a few hours free from harassment, discrimination and prejudice. The church provides a space for them to gather with snacks and trained adult volunteers there to watch over them and make sure they stay safe. In talking with the Associate Pastor about it, I have found myself growing really excited about the fact that the church offers this type of programming. Many of these youth have been turned off by the church and view Christianity as bad. That's so sad as Jesus himself would never discriminate against someone. God loves everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. That much I know to be true and it bothers me that so many of my fellow Christians don't see it that way. I love that I get to be a part of this programming and can hopefully show a more loving, positive side of Christianity to these young people (who range in age from 16-24). It's a really great program and I am thrilled that I get to be a part of it every week for the next year. Giving up my Friday nights is gonna be the worst part but I am willing to do it because I believe so strongly in what Cafe Pride stands for.
The rest of my duties will consist of coordinating volunteers for Cafe Pride, spending time hanging out with the senior citizens when they are there, helping set up for Sunday School on Sunday mornings, attending the Young Adult Bible Study on Tuesday nights and other tasks as assigned. Needless to say, I really feel like this church is gonna work out really well for me. The pastor and Associate Pastor have been so welcoming already and I really feel like I am serving an important purpose every time I go in to work. I realize now why God called me to Chicago. I have always found myself drawn to "outcast" ministry or helping those who the Church tends to forget or reject. People who have a very bitter reaction toward religion because of how it has treated them in the past. I can understand and completely sympathize with that reaction so I hope that I can, even in some small way, help them see that the Church and God loves them and doesn't care who they are or who they love. Seriously, why does it matter who they love or want to marry or anything like that? We are all equal in God's eyes.
Well, that's all I got for now. Everything is going great here for me. I love Chicago so far and it is proving to sit well with me. I was made for the big city. I am going to try and post pictures at some point when I get a chance as several people have requested some. The only camera I brought is the one on my phone and I really hate taking pictures but I guess if it's what the people want, then the people shall have it!! Gotta go cause we are watching Lord of the Rings right now!! I love that all six of us are nerds!!

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