You’ve heard it said that the past is always with us. It’s also true that the future is with us, in our hopes, dreams and plans, and in the laughter of children. And sometimes there is a very unique moment when the past and the future are brought together. Church of the Redeemer is in that kind of a moment now, as the past history of a sacred place in Chicago’s North Shore is renewed for ministry now and for generations to come.
A Home for Redeemer
For two decades Church of the Redeemer has carried out its mission as a place of worship, healing, transformation, and sending disciples for Kingdom witness. This fruitful work, which has touched so many lives, was for many years carried out in rented facilities throughout Chicago’s North Shore region. After these years of sojourn, in November 2019 we opened the doors of our permanent home in Highwood, Illinois.
God enabled us to purchase and renovate the former Swedish Methodist Church in Highwood, built in 1904 and virtually unused for the past 50 years. The building sits in the center of the Highwood community, two blocks from the train station, near Highway 41, nestled between Highland Park and Lake Forest, with Deerfield to the West. Historically a town of immigrants, Highwood is ideally suited to our identity as a global church, and it will present many opportunities for us to engage in local service and outreach. In addition, we were able to use 1% of the funds raised in our ‘Homeward’ building campaign to build a church in Rwanda as a witness to our global connection.
Coming Home to Highwood
Now that we’ve come home to Highwood, we’re taking time to discern ways in which we can partner with what God is doing in this community. That discernment includes a lot of prayer, as well the efforts of a “listening team” whose job is to get to know the local community — particularly social institutions already embedded in the fabric of Highwood — to get a better sense of where God might be calling us as a worshipping community to invest and serve.
As we pray and listen, we are also working to meet local needs, particularly local food needs in the wake of the global pandemic and winter clothing needs at Oak Terrace Elementary School. We’re also beginning to form a partnership with the Highwood public library across the street (literally!).
Our desire is to truly make Highwood ‘home’ — to be embedded in this community and shaped by it, so that we can love our new neighbors as Jesus loves us. It’s a journey, and we pray for the Spirit to lead us and guide us along the way.