Welcome to DOOR Chicago's Programs
Yes we have a Facebook Page
Weekends in Chicago are a Great Introduction to Urban Ministry
We love hosting volunteers on weekends. It can be the best way to show off all that is great about our city of Chicago. We have hosted some weekends around specific themes and others around confirmation. Still other weekends have no theme or purpose other than to serve and learn alongside the many agencies and ministries that support the people and neighborhoods of Chicago year around.
Urban Leadership Development Weekend Gathers
We are hosting a weekend with some of the best of our local young adults across our 6 city network. This weekend (thanks to our partner in this project- Volunteers Exploring Vocation) we are reflecting with former local staff members on issues of leadership, ministry, vocation. We'll get to some nuts and bolts discussions over grant writing, facing conflicts, and cross cultural communication. This not only a look at the future but a look into the present reality of leadership in our urban areas. God is present and real in these lives. We are excited to spend the weekend together.
Chicago Dwellers Settled In and Blogging
Check out their electronically shared reflections. Others in the house are keeping with the ole Paper and Pen versions.
Kiva Nice-Webb http://kivadwellsinchicago.blogspot.com/
Sarah Bennett http://sarahinthewindycity.blogspot.com/
Faith House Video Log http://www.youtube.com/user/FaithHouseVlog
You can apply by filling out the application and returning it by mail, fax. or email.
You can find the address, fax number, and email by clicking on the 'Contact Us' tab under DOOR National Office.
Excited for the Arrival of Dwell and Radical Journey participants next week
Monday marks the beginning of a new program year for Dwell in Chicago as well as our partners Radical Journey. Together we share, learn and experience Chicago to prepare our minds, hearts and attitudes for the year before us. Our Dwell team will consist of Nataniel (returning for his second year,) Denis, Erin, Sarah and Kiva. We're looking forward to getting started.
Operating as a team
As August draws near, many participants and staff have more responsibilities closing in on them. Some have to start school soon. Some leaders are taking vacation after everyone else they work with. Some participants have activities and teams that require their participation in late summer. It serves as another reminder that God does the real work in each of us. We are honored to get to play on the team, whether that is in family, at school or in service in Chicago.
Unpacking our Bags
We all bring a lot of baggage with us. We're not thinking of the participants who bring a separate bag just for their shoes. This week we encountered opportunities to examine some of the baggage that our culture, media and experience has packed for us. Most of us don't even know all that we carry. We're thankful that God provides situations that bust open our bags and lay out our stuff before us.
Powerful moments and deep reflections
So many things happened this week, between our daily service and interactions to our evening speakers, activities and our final night's reflections. There is honestly too much to say in such a short space. We are so very thankful for God's presence and gentle peace.
Reflection on Leadership by Austin Brown
PASSAGE TAKEN FROM STICKY TEAMS BY LARRY OSBORNE:
I once worked with a young track coach who asked me to help him hone is his leadership skills. His unusual passion, drive, and skills make it obvious that he was going to be something special.
But as is often the case with high-performers, he had a hard time getting in touch with and then communicating to others the unique perspective and insights that set him apart. His leadership was so instinctive and intuitive that it was almost impossible for those around him to understand what he was thinking or how to duplicate it.
So we began to work on getting in touch with and then articulating his coaching plumb lines [organizational proverbs- a list of pithy sayings that describe clearly and concisely what we value and what I expect our staff to think through when making decisions]. The first list he came up with was filled with standard clichés. When I asked, “Do you really believe this?” he said, “No, not really.”
But one statement on his list jumped out at me. It said, “Every athlete should reach the potential he or she wants to reach.”
When I asked him what he meant by that, he said, “If someone wants to be a champion, then it’s my job to push them to a championship level, but if they want to run track, play in the band, and smell the flowers along the way, then it’s my job to help them do that to the best of their ability.”
Now that was a new one to me. He was the first coach I’d ever heard articulate a desire to help athletes become what they wanted to be instead of all they could be.
We wrote it down as his first plumb line. It was clear and concise, and it reflected one of the unique values and priorities that guided his approach to coaching. It was also something that no one on his staff would know if he didn’t articulate it. It was counterintuitive. If he didn’t spell it out, the rest of his coaches and leaders would almost certainly head off in the direction of pushing everyone to reach their full potential, all the while frustrated and angry at the slackers who were satisfied to be less than their best.
His final list included a few other unique, clarifying statements like, “Hard work can and should be surrounded by fun,” and “Our ultimate goal is a lifetime runner, not a high school champion.”
By the time we finished, he had a short list of powerful organizing principles that he could share with his staff and his athletes and their parents. It told them what to expect. It told his assistants how to coach. And it explained to everyone why the campouts, parties and ancillary activities were just was important to him as the workouts.
It’s no surprise that his teams grew from a handful or athletes to well over a hundred in just a couple of years, or that they went from the bottom of the pack to competing on a national level., or that my daughter is now a lifetime runner and my son didn’t feel guilty about going to the prom the night before a big race- or that one of his athletes became a national champion.
His plumb lines kept everything in alignment. They let everyone know what was important to him, what he expected, and how success would be measured. They ensured that his genius and insights were not only present when he was in the room but also when others were taking the lead. And once it was clear where he was headed and how he planned to get there, it was easy for everyone else to decide if they wanted to jump aboard or not.
This passage from the book reminds me of both our dwell programs and our discern programs. I love that both are self-directive by the students. Even when we think someone would be a great ____ our programs allow for them to determine where God is leading them. I also love the concept of the “plumb lines” that seem to clarify the mission statement. Yes, we want people to see the face of God in the city… but what does that look like? Which set of God’s principles are supposed to shine? How much are we supposed to influence, push or create these opportunities? I think the answers to these questions may be different for each city but important to talk about with incoming dwellers and new summer staffers.
The Good… The Bad... The Beautiful
All 67 of us ate a home-cooked meal together.
We ran out of food the first night.
Without the help purchasing and cooking all that food, we would have had McDonalds dollar meal each night!
Everyone took care to clean up as needed.
The vacuum blew up in the middle of the week, spewing filth all over the floor.
Two guys broke out a tool box, did surgery on the vacuum, put it back together, and it works like new!
We didn’t have to call any plumbers for the toilets
Though a number of them got plugged up over the course of the week.
Often they were fixed by the group before I knew anything was wrong!
Everyone remained safe as they travelled to their sites across the city
Quite a few of them got lost (one because I had the wrong address)!
One of the kids remarked at the end, that even getting lost revealed a piece of God- that sometimes we have to struggle in our journey.
One group was from Mississippi, the other from Canada. There were a lot of “hey yalls” and “ehs” throughout the week. We sang together. We prayed together. We ate together. It was a beautiful week in the Lord- not perfect, but quite beautiful!
I went with one of the groups to a soup kitchen called Dignity Diner, located at Holy Covenant Church. Dignity Diner is a soup kitchen that has been in operation for more than ten years. They serve diners a fresh, vegetarian meal every Tuesday night. Fifty to seventy-five diners, mostly homeless men, sit at tables with their friends and are served by us- the volunteers. We become their wait staff for the evening. We serve three courses and offer coffee service. We prefer that diners not get up for anything- we will bring silverware, food, coffee and seconds. It is our job to serve them- literally.
I was struck by many things as I served that evening- the efficiency of the regular volunteers, the number of people among this group who are strict vegetarians (even when meat is offered), and the amount of fun we had helping prepare the meal. I even learned how to steam fresh broccoli, something I had never done before. With all of that said, few things struck me more than WHERE all of this took place.
Dignity Diner does not take place in the basement of Holy Covenant Church, nor does it take place in its fellowship hall. Holy Covenant Church did not create a new facility next door or add a community center to house this weekly operation. They use the sanctuary. Every week the chairs are cleared, the podium is moved, tables are set up, chairs are added, table cloths are draped, and food is served right in the center of the sanctuary.
I can think of dozens of churches that would never agree to moving everything out of the sanctuary to feed the homeless. Their spaces are too sacred, too holy, too permanent... and yet, I wonder if there is anything more sacred, more holy than serving ‘the least of these’ in the place where God resides. Is there any greater act of worship? Is this not the fast that God wants? Is this act of obedience to care for others, to serve by giving dignity, to humbly invite in, to strap on your tennis shoes to make others feel as comfortable, as welcomed, as loved as possible- is this not how we show our love for God- by loving our brother?
Off the Beaten Path
I didn’t spend much time with the group on Wednesday because it was their free day, but I was absolutely amazed by what the group had chosen to do. In a city where there are numerous museums, restaurants and sights to see this group decided to step off the tourist path. They split into two groups.
One group went to enjoy Millennium Park. It was so cold that day, no one was there but them! They had the entire park to themselves. They described the park as being like Narnia- peaceful, full of wonder, beautiful. They had stepped through the closet and found beauty beyond the traffic, crowds and fast pace. They found a place to slow down, to reflect, to breathe deeply- right in the middle of the city.
The other group? Well, they were on their way to a tourist attraction when one member of the group started a conversation with a stranger on the El. The African American man was a creative writing teacher at one of Chicago’s schools and offered a suggestion to the group: go to a spoken word/poetry session at Harold Washington Library. The group thought it was a great idea. It took awhile but they asked as many strangers as it took how to get to the library. Though they arrived a little late, they made it.
They readily admitted to being instantly uncomfortable. Most of the attendees were African American, and in a group numbering 7 there was no possibility of this Caucasian group sliding in unnoticed. They received a few curious looks as they all stood awkwardly at the door and were relieved when enough seats opened up for them to sit down and at least be amongst the crowd.
The woman who spoke talked a lot about being a black woman; she spoke of her fondness for Jimi Hendrix, and talked openly of her love for writing. The students were a little knocked off their feet at the words this woman spoke. They did not elaborate on what caught them off guard specifically, but came to this conclusion, “we were in their space. We were the visitors, and this was not a show for us. This was not about us being made comfortable. They were being honest. They were sharing their hearts. I knew I was in a sacred space… uninvited but welcome as long as I could handle the truth of their experience.” They heard what it is like to black in America… and they chose to hear.
I'm so proud of both groups- one for finding the peace of God smack in the middle of the city and of the other for purposefully making themselves uncomfortable to understand a life experience different from their own.
Valentine's Party gathers senior citizens and young adults
Today's holiday fell on DOOR Chicago's year long participants' Community Day. Community Day is the day we set aside for discussion, common service, or skill building. With our Dweller's in a variety of agencies and ministries, everyone has unique schedules. Community Day is a day to put the "intention" into intentional Christian community. Today's activities were coordinated by Nathaniel. He had us all to his agency placement to party with the senior citizens in the Adult Day Center. What a great time of making card and other crafts, visiting and generally sharing a good time together. We topped the night off with formal attire and a visit to the local White Castle.
A new year, a new program director, a new group! This week we welcome our first group of 2011- college students Ithaca, New York- for a week of service that just happens to correlate with our national celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Today our group will join volunteers from all over the city for "a day on, not a day off". Working in tandem with complete strangers and good friends to renovate elementary schools there is no doubt this group will have plenty of stories to share when they return home. What a great way to start 2011- joining in service with others, giving children a renewed space to enjoy, and continuing to be inspired by the life of Martin Luther King Jr and all the men and women who participated in the Civil Rights Movement!