As followers of Christ in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, we seek to join with God in His work of redeeming all things and to “make the gospel visible through the parable of community”.
Our simple purpose is summarized in the following statement:
Living in Christ • With One Another • For the Sake of God’s Mission in Hyde Park and the World
In order to fulfill this purpose, we know that we must become a certain kind of people – a certain kind of community – and we are deeply aware that good intentions alone will not accomplish this goal. As philosopher Dallas Willard writes,
“The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right and the condition we want to enjoy… We intend what is right, but we avoid the life that would make it reality.”
We believe that the tendency toward this “general human failing” requires us to arrange our life together more intentionally. This “intentionality” in our common life begins with the articulation of several core practices and dispositions which, we believe, will become the “sources” of our community. By this, we mean that these are the foundational commitments, practices, and dispositions that will become the conduits of God’s grace in our midst. In order to live out our calling as a community, we all say “yes” to these things every day:
Reconciliation: to God, to Others, and to Self
Reconciliation to God: The gift of Christ’s reconciliation is at the very heart of the Gospel. This work of reconciliation begins when men and women are made right with God through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. As a Christian community, we commit to regularly and faithfully proclaim the good news of the redemption that is possible only in Jesus Christ.
Reconciliation to Others: In Christ, the old barriers of race, gender, culture, economics, social standing, and educational lack and privilege are destroyed. This difficult work of reconciliation to one another requires grace, faith, patience, time, humility, and mutual submission, but it is possible. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we submit ourselves and our preferences to one another as we work toward the goal of becoming a community of prayer, worship and service that reflects the beautiful diversity that God has granted to our neighborhood.
Reconciliation to Self: In Christ, women and men are reconciled to their own hearts. The good news of Jesus Christ liberates us from the “false selves” we create in response to sin, pain, and fear and frees us to discover our true identities in Christ. Through this process of reconciliation to self, we are changed and empowered to live out our true, God-given vocations with courage and perseverance, even in the midst of great challenges.
A Life of Communion with Christ and One Another
Through the rhythms of weekly Worship Services, Bible Study, and regular Fellowship Meals we enter into a life of rich communion with Christ and one another.
We know that, by His grace, God will use these practices to form us into His people. Through these practices, we encourage and support one another as we seek to trust God in every area of life.
We also open up God’s good gift of time by ordering our days, weeks, and years around God’s loving purposes as expressed in the historical Christian calendar.
Welcoming the Stranger
Christ has welcomed us, and we are called to extend His welcome to the people in our neighborhood… long-time residents, students, newcomers… all are invited to participate in and benefit from the life of God in our community.
We seek to recover the virtue of Christian hospitality through the time-honored practice of welcoming the stranger. The stranger is the person in our midst who lacks the relational connections and resources necessary in order to have a sense of safety, security, and well-being.
We also welcome anyone who longs to come stay with us for a time so that they might come and see the reality that the Gospel really does create another way to live.
As an intentional community, we believe God has called us to Hyde Park.
Even though our culture teaches us that proximity is not necessary in order to sustain relationship, we do not live that way. Proximity matters. We draw near to one another in address and in heart so that we might pray together, serve together, and worship together with greater simplicity.
Simplicity of Heart
We seek to live with uncluttered lives and hearts. Together, we walk away from the busyness and hurry produced by lives driven by the accumulation of status and wealth.
We also turn away from the dehumanizing distractions of our culture in order that, together, we might embrace a simplicity of life that leaves room in our hearts for a deep communion with Christ and with one another.
We trust that this simplicity of heart will lead to lives characterized by sharing and generosity. Unlike most North American neighborhoods, the rich and poor live almost side by side in Hyde Park and this unique economic diversity presents untold opportunities to demonstrate the power of the Gospel to turn greedy consumers into generous givers.
Listening to the Neighborhood
Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”… What is it that you seek? That question also serves as our starting place for ministry in the neighborhood. We do not presume to know the needs of the people in our neighborhood, so our fundamental posture toward others becomes that of the listener. Lilla Watson, the aboriginal activist says, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time… But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Listening to our neighborhood means listening to the unique needs of all of the people here… from the materially wealthy to the homeless, from the graduate student to the professor, we seek to extend the kindness of God in Christ to all people. As Brother Roger of Taizé writes, “… the source of happiness is not in prestigious talents or great expertise, but in the humble giving of oneself, yes the quite humble giving of oneself, in order to understand others with kind-heartedness.”
Ministries of Compassion and Justice
We seek to apply the genius of the Gospel to real-world social problems in our neighborhood through holistic ministries of compassion and justice. The Gospel doesn’t just redeem individuals, it can also bring redemption to broken social structures and institutions.
In a place like Hyde Park, we believe this work is best accomplished through listening to the neighborhood, building of relationships, developing leaders within the neighborhood, humble service in existing social services, and the creation of new endeavors to meet needs.
The Whole Gospel for the Whole World