Ministry Updates

 

Our church has several ways, inside and out of committees, of doing the important work. Whether it’s fighting for a South Side trauma center at The University of Chicago Hospitals (done!); pushing to end the death penalty (accomplished…in Illinois); providing affordable housing in the community (we own and manage two buildings in Woodlawn that do just that); protecting individuals in danger of deportation or offering temporary housing and support to asylum seekers (we’re doing that now!); or coordinating the next Resale Shop, planning the next game night, hosting a social hour on Sundays after worship, or helping with the garden outside…there are ways to make that happen! University Church is all about connections and building relationships — within our church community, in our neighborhoods, and in the world.

Click on the arrow to learn more about each ministry, get important updates, and get info on how you can get involved (because that’s what church is: people getting involved!)

We want you to meet new people and be part of God’s loving work in the world. If you don’t see below what you’re looking for, reach out to us and we’ll point you in the right direction!

 

Youth Ministry
Our youth are at the center of our church community. We love, respect, and regularly invite them to participate in every aspect of church life, including board leadership!

Each Sunday children and youth are invited to:

Nursery, second floor: childcare providers are present nearly every Sunday during the service.

Sacred Circle, second floor: this class is for ages 3-8 during the worship service. Children will hear a story, then visit hands-on centers to further experience the story through music, play, drama and art.

Junior Church: children in grades K-6 have their own worship service and learning curriculum. During the main service (usually once Prayers of the People begin) they go to the library across the hall from the main sanctuary to worship in their own style and language.

For older youth (teens and young adults), we have regular programming – usually outside of worship space – to provide community and spiritual support.

Contact Pastor Tiant for more information.

Justice Initiatives

We don’t sit by and WATCH things happen. We MAKE things happen! Here are some of the ways University Church is making a difference in our community and in the world:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

University Church has a long history of providing affordable housing in Woodlawn, a few blocks south of University Church. Check our History page for more details about Covenantal Community Housing Cooperative and Woodlawn Development Associates. Contact Housing Director Vince Cole for more information.

IMMIGRATION & ASYLUM SUPPORT

Our immigration and asylum ministry began in the midst of Central American civil wars in the 1980s. As our own government was supporting the dictatorships that were creating exiles, University Church opened its doors to civilians whose lives were threatened. Out of this grew our Guatemala Partnership, which continues to this day, and since 2016 we’ve made a room available as temporary housing for a number of immigrants seeking asylum and support. Learn more about our guests here.

We partner with agencies, other congregations, and generous individuals to provide safe temporary housing, food stipends, clothing and phone/internet; legal assistance; accompanying them to doctor appointments and help enrolling children in school; and opportunities for community and fellowship. We do everything we can to provide the stability, comfort, and confidence they need to navigate their new home. Once they are ready to go out on their own, we continue to offer support through rent assistance, ESL, or…whatever is needed! Contact Alison for more information, or if you would like to help or donate food or financial support to a family.

BLACK LIVES MATTER-UCHURCH

This group has kept the congregation informed about reparations, housing inequities, police reform, and events and conversations about racial equity. Contact Martha White for more information and for upcoming meetings.

ILLINOIS YOUTH CENTER

The Illinois Youth Center-Chicago is a medium security facility on the West Side that provides individualized programming to meet the needs of each youth, such as GED and high school diploma academic services, mental health and medical services, leisure time activities, and more. University Church’s relationship with the Center includes facilitating a book group, tutoring, buying games and snacks for holiday treats, and helping fund outings. Contact Martha White for more information.

GUATEMALA PARTNERSHIP

Our ministry of accompaniment with the Mayan community of Saq Ja’ in the Guatemalan highlands began when we gave sanctuary to a family who had escaped the wars in their country. This led to a vision of solidarity that includes helping to rebuild the village of Saq Ja’, with University Church members traveling to the village nearly every year since 1998. We’ve provided resources and labor for building a community center, a well, a school, and we continue to send scholarship funds for students to attend school. Contact Sharon Hunter-Smith for more information.

The Arts

We love music, liturgical dance, visual arts, theater. Maybe you do too, and would like to share your gifts. Contact Charles Hayes for more information.

ReSale Shop

We hold a re-sale shop the first Friday and Saturday of nearly every month. Proceeds go towards supporting our community outreach efforts, and to provide newly housed individuals and recent immigrants with clothing, kitchen and household items they need. Contact Danielle Horton for more information or to volunteer with the shop.

Hospitality

Social hour, memorial services, repasts, special events like Advent Festival and Soul Food Potluck. If you like to plan events (mainly around food!), or help coordinate social hours, contact Thora Nurse.

Care and Nurture

Do you have an interest in keeping in touch with members who are sick, or listening to someone who is struggling with life-changing news? Contact Minister Allen for more information.

Worship Planning

Is planning worship your thing? Maybe you have ideas for creative worship services. Contact Pastor Julian for more information.

Board Involvement

Joining the board is one way to get to know how the church is structured and a chance to make decisions about the budget, bylaws, and much more. Email the church moderator for more information.