Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Church Reaches Out to those 'Excluded from the Table'
by Cleve Adkins

This article shared 4540 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

At first glance, Chicago is not one of those cities that needs another new church. We already have thousands, from cathedral-size to storefront. So when the Rev. Phyllis V. Pennese said she had been called to start a new congregation for Christian believers, some of her friends questioned her. But never one to doubt God, Pennese has plunged forward and is quickly gaining new followers.

'We started back in February and have grown to 16 full members,' she said. 'I was compelled to do it out of obedience to what I believe God was telling me to do. And I see it as an offering to people of faith—an offer for a radically inclusive justice ministry of Jesus Christ.' Pennese said the idea started from an epiphany she had three years ago when she visited the City of Refuge UCC/Fellowship 2000 in San Francisco.

'The vision I had in my life was being lived out in that community of faith,' she said. 'It was truly a representation of diversity—old, young, Black, white, Latino, Asian, straight, bi-, trans-, gay, recovering, HIV+, AIDS-infected, male and female. All of the diversity of God's landscape worshipping together in one space. I wanted to come back and create that here in Chicago. And because of my religious roots, it's sprinkled with the flavor and spirit of neo-Pentecostalism—a movement that is sweeping the community of faith.'

'I want the church to be a place of healing for those who have been excluded from the supper table of our Lord, for whatever reason. And it is also our goal to do ministry through the lens of social justice so that eventually we will be attentive to the needs of those with AIDS, in recovery or in transition from a prison environment and those who are unemployed. That's what Jesus would be doing.'

Pennese, 46, was born and raised in the Chicago area, the child of an African-American mother and an Italian immigrant father. She identifies and lives her life on a daily basis as an African-American woman. She is also in a five-year committed relationship with Vickie R. Sides, a coordinator for Chicago's Rape Crisis Hotline. And they are raising Brandon, 16, Side's biological nephew.

When asked if her life as a woman-loving-woman impacts what she does in ministry and how she does it, she says, 'It is peculiar that women are excluded from the very places for which they have a particular propensity. There are pieces of nurturing and a need for inclusion that guides my ministry.'

'In the LGBT community we have come a long way but part of what I hope for is to take our community to another level. Is our lifestyle reconciled with our spirituality? For LGBT's we are still novices at that. We have been excluded for so long that many of us are fearful at attempting to even realize the spiritual nature of our being. So creating a safe space that focuses on the grace of God is what we are all about at Pillar of Love Fellowship Church—using that to help folks reconcile themselves back into a relationship with God.'

Pennese previously worked as a coordinator for anti-violence against women programs on the local and national level and was at Rape Victim Advocates as the coordinator of programs.

She is currently working on her Master of Divinity at Chicago Theological Seminary and recently received the G. Campbell Morgan Preaching Award for 2000-2004. She also is the 2002-2003 Castenada Scholar—an award given to an LGBT seminarian that shows the greatest promise for ministry.

In June, the Rev. Yvette Flunder in Oakland ordained her at the Fellowship 2000 annual conference. Flunder officiated the ordination as her first official act after becoming a bishop of the church—the first woman and lesbian so honored.

Call (708) 458-1893. The congregation meets Saturdays at 5:30.

This article shared 4540 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Vatican reiterates opposition to gender change, theory 2024-04-08
- On April 8, the Vatican reaffirmed its opposition to gender changes, gender theory and surrogate parenthood, as well as abortion and euthanasia, Reuters reported. This newest document—the 20-page Dignitas infinita ...

Gay News

LGBTQ Catholic group mourns the passing of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton 2024-04-05
--From a press release - April 5, 2024. DignityUSA joins members of the Archdiocese of Detroit and millions of people around our country and the world in mourning the death of Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Bishop Gumbleton received DignityUSA's Risk Taker/Justice ...

Gay News

United Church of Hyde Park hosts LGBTQ+ storytelling event 2024-03-25
- About 20 people had gathered around four round tables in the community room of the United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St., on March 23. They were listening quietly to a man tell the story of how, on a ...

Gay News

Bring Chicago Home Campaign releases open endorsement letter from 100+ faith leaders 2024-02-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With just over a month before the March 19th primary election, prominent Chicago faith leaders will today release a letter—signed by over 100 religious leaders—endorsing the Bring Chicago Home campaign to restructure the Real ...

Gay News

WORLD Marriage in Greece, UK politics, cruise death, HRC grants 2024-02-02
- The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously agreed at a recent meeting that it is "strongly opposed" to the Greek government's promised bill on same-sex marriage and adoption, Balkan Insight reported. The conservative New ...

Gay News

Ohio man sentenced for firebombing pro-LGBTQ+ church 2024-01-30
- On Jan. 29, 2024, Ohio resident Aimenn D. Penny was sentenced to 216 months (18 years) in prison followed by three years of supervised release for attempting to burn down a pro-LGBTQ+ church, according to a ...

Gay News

VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity 2024-01-02
- The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ peopleā€”a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...

Gay News

WORLD Brianna Ghey, archbishops, HIV, George Michael, Albanian women 2023-12-29
- A boy and a girl, each 16, were found guilty of murdering a transgender teenager in northwest England earlier this year in a knife attack, per a Yahoo! News item that cited the AP. Brianna Ghey, ...

Gay News

Catholic Church allows priests to bless same-sex couples but reaffirms disapproval of gay marriage 2023-12-22
- LGBTQ+ couples can now receive blessings from priests, but the Catholic Church maintained its strict ban on gay marriage, according to a Vatican document approved by Pope Francis Dec. 18. This historic change in doctrine marks ...

Gay News

Greek government vows to back marriage equality 2023-12-22
- Despite opposition from the Church of Greece and within the ruling New Democracy, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government said it will eventually move to legalize same-sex marriage, The National Herald reported. However, no timetable was ...

Gay News

Dignity/Chicago welcomes new rule on church blessings for same-sex marriages 2023-12-18
--From a press release - Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and friends, welcomed the news that the Vatican's doctrinal office has officially declared it possible for Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions and ...

Gay News

New Ways Ministry: Pope's blessings approval is Christmas gift to LGBTQ+ Catholics 2023-12-18
--From a press release - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Statement by Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry: Pope Francis gave LGBTQ+ Catholics an early Christmas gift this year by approving blessings for same-gender couples. The Vatican ...

Gay News

Pope Francis changes policy, allowing priests to bless same-sex unions; GLAAD responds 2023-12-18
--From a press release - GLAAD: "By removing barriers to priests blessing LGBTQ couples, the Pope accurately recognizes that LGBTQ people and our relationships are worthy of the same affirmation and support in the Church, and this strengthens couples in their ...

Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen 2023-11-28
- It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...

Gay News

Ghana cardinal: It's time to understand homosexuality 2023-11-27
- Ghana Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson told the BBC that being gay should not be considered illegal and that people should be helped to understand the issue of homosexuality better. Turkson's comments come as his country's ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.