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Chicago Community Mennonite Church (CCMC) is a small Anabaptist congregation that meets for worship, fellowship and education on the west side of Chicago. 60-80 regular attendees, plus a host of others more loosely connected with the congregation, commute from the four corners of the city, western and northern suburbs for an early Sunday morning worship service. We gather in a building that hosts three separate congregations plus several additional ministries and programs.
Some of us are “cradle Mennonites” having been born into Mennonite homes, raised in Mennonite congregations and educated in Mennonite schools. Some of us found our way to Mennonite faith and community because of our commitments to peace, justice and service.
One significant group of us are part of the generation that gave birth to this church—we are empty-nesters, recent or aspiring retirees, or middle-aged. Another significant group of us are 20-30-somethings who came to the city for our first job after college, for graduate school, or to complete a term with Mennonite Voluntary Service—we tend to be a transient, yet engaged and committed, crowd. Some of us now live far from Chicago, but still consider CCMC to be our true congregational home—this church's true membership is scattered! Many of us don't fit into any of these categories, but we belong nonetheless!
We have varied ages, physical abilities, mother tongues, sexual orientations and family structures.
We are a lively, vibrant and highly committed church. A dedicated group of quality volunteers—our priesthood of all believers—assist our solo pastor in ministering to and through this congregation. Our leaders provide invaluable support as we strive to keep our dispersed group of folks connected to one another and to the Source of all Life, Wisdom and Love—God our Creator.
There are different stories about the founding of our congregation. One is that a group of Mennonites living in or near Oak Park, Illinois began meeting in homes for prayer and Bible study on Wednesday evenings in 1978. Another is that Mennonite church planters thought there should be another Mennonite congregation somewhere in the near western suburbs of Chicago. Another story is that David Whitermore, as coordinator of Chicago Area Mennonites, called together a group from among his Mennonite neighbors in Oak Park. Still another is that the church was the brainchild of Ivan Kauffmann, who was then general secretary of the Mennonite Church and living in Lombard.
The home fellowship became a congregation in late l979 and began acting like a "real" church with regular Sunday morning worship services. The group met in a succession of public rooms before settling, in 1981, into the second floor of the First United Methodist Church, Oak Park, where it met for nearly two decades.
The congregation moved in 1998 to share space with First Church of the Brethren, on Chicago's West Side. A few years after this move, the congregation changed its name to Chicago Community Mennonite Church to reflect its new urban home.
Chicago Community Mennonite Church is a faith community that accepts Jesus' invitation to follow him in love, truth and service. We embrace in warm fellowship all who also hear his call.
We seek and find God in innovative worship, in the Bible, in caring and supportive relationships, in celebration, and in creative engagement with the world.
We expect our encounter with God to be transformed by our chosen urban setting, and we expect ourselves and our urban setting to be transformed by our encounter with God.
Our congregation seeks especially to nurture and support the spiritual development of people of all ages, the work of those who serve humanity, and the quest of those who seek deeper understanding of God's will for their lives. We offer refuge and healing to those who have been hurt by religion and its institutions, and by the pain and crises of contemporary life.
Alison Casella Brookins is our pastor at Chicago Community Mennonite Church. She strives to live into a theology of justice, joy, and humor and works to shape holy spaces where people can engage as their full selves.
Alison moonlights as a playwright with Ted & Company TheaterWorks and is the author of We Own This Now, a touring production exploring the Doctrine of Discovery.
She holds a Master of Divinity from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and was installed as pastor of CCMC on August 13, 2017.