Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Non-affirming church offers inviting space for youth
LGBTQ Youth Series from Windy City Times
by Bill Healy
2012-12-19

This article shared 6228 times since Wed Dec 19, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


East Lakeview might be the last place you'd look for a Baptist missionary church, but on Aldine Street, just a few blocks west of Halsted, there's a 40-person congregation called C3. The Chicagoland Community Church, as it's known, is part of the Southern Baptist, or Great Commission, network of churches.

Pastor Jon Pennington is a loquacious man who moved to Chicago 12 years ago to start the church.

C3 is "not a church that is open and affirming," he says. But "we are a church that is open."

He means that while his church views homosexuality as a sin, every Sunday after its 4 pm service, the congregation offers a hot meal to anyone who wants to join. The dinner is part of the church's "Safe Haven" program, which caters primarily to young LGBT people.

"Hate the sin. Love the sinner," Pennington says. "We mean it and try to live it."

And so, on Sunday afternoons when the bars and restaurants on North Halsted are packed, a group of young people often waits outside the modest-looking church for worship services to wrap.

"We honestly and completely and totally love people who are in the LGBT community," Pennington says. "And we say that without flinching. I loathe the fact that some Christians try to use this book [the Bible] as a justification to scream hate and to come by with horrible signs that the scriptures don't even say. That absolutely nauseates me. Though there's a problem with the other extreme. When people just put a rainbow on the church, they're ignoring a good portion of the scriptures. And once you start bringing your scissors to the text, that's never gonna stop."

Neighbors have chided Pennington for attracting "that element," meaning young people, to their part of the neighborhood. But he insists on not only hosting the weekly meal, but also making sure young people feel at home there. Guests at C3 are welcome to sleep if they're tired—something that's often banned at other service centers. And the church opens its closets too, giving away jeans, hooded sweatshirts, socks and underwear.

Dee Heldenbrand cooks Sunday meals. She prepares for 50 people but says the church usually only gets 25-30. Some weeks she'll make chicken and rice. Others it's macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs.

"They eat until they're full," she says.

Church member Colby Mowery, 21, runs the "Safe Haven" program. He says it's a time when young people can get off the street, grab a bite to eat, share in some conversation or sit alone if that's what they need. The church has instruments that it lets young people use. (The opening video in this series includes an original piano composition played by a young person during one of the weekly dinners.)

"We are not anti-gay. We are pro-Jesus," Mowery says. "Our purpose is not that we are against anyone."

Mowery says a few people have sought his counsel when thinking through their sexuality. When they do this, Mowery says the most important thing he can do is be a good listener. And when people ask for guidance, Mowery points toward passages in the bible that he believes indicate homosexual behavior is a sin.

But, he says, many of the youth have lives that are complicated, and their sexuality is often tied up in family and support systems. Many mention some kind of rupture with their families.

"A lot of people put on masks and say, 'I hate my parents,'" Mowery says, "but really when you get through that, they say: I wish that I knew what my brother does every day. I wish I could go to his football games.

"They've grown up very fast. They've been exposed to everything — drugs, sex, alcohol — very quickly and with no one to explain it to them. No one ever had any types of birds and bees conversation with them. No one ever told them what alcohol was. They learn these things on their own. And so, because of that, they became adults really fast. And because of that you've got them exposed to a lot of things without a lot of education.

"And I think that, mixed with a lot of hurt from their parents rejecting them, causes a different culture to happen. And they are their own culture."

Mowery says many of the young LGBT people he sees often choose new names for themselves.

"That's one thing where they can take back the reigns of their destiny," he says. They think, "'I don't care what other people think about me.' And that's why sometimes other people in the neighborhoods get frustrated, because the street kids are acting crazy in a place where its not okay to be crazy. There's less of a sense of: It's okay to drink in a bar but it's not okay to drink in a church. There's not that same compartmentalization."

Mowery says a lot of the young people he encounters are disillusioned by how they are received in Boystown and feel isolated. "What they need is for someone to say: You do matter. I see you, and I'm willing to listen to you. And you are important."

That's a role C3 is happy to fill.

Generation Halsted is an eight-week series that seeks to capture youth voices not typically represented in Windy City Times and other media. The young people portrayed have many housing situations, gender identities and sexual orientations. The series looks primarily, but not exclusively, at Boystown, where an influx of young LGBTQ people has been a source of controversy. Windy City Times will continue to explore the issues raised here beyond this series.

Look for WindyCityTimes on www.youtube.com/windycitytimes and www.vimeo.com/windycitytimes or click the "YOUTH" tab at www.WindyCityMediaGroup.com .


This article shared 6228 times since Wed Dec 19, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

More than 45,000 trans youth put at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care 2021-04-13
--From a Williams Institute press release - An estimated 45,100 transgender youth ages 13 and older in the U.S. are at risk of being denied gender-affirming medical care due to proposed and enacted state bans, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School ...


Gay News

Trans, non-binary youth influencers launch book collection with "A Kids Book About" 2021-04-12
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - April 12, 2021 - While many teens took e-learning as an opportunity to level-up their gaming skills, a group of young people chose instead to write a collection of books about their lives. ...


Gay News

Study: 30% of young LGBQ people have attempted suicide in their lifetimes 2021-04-09
--From a press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults experience greater psychological distress and suicidal behavior than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in ...


Gay News

Arkansas legislature overrides governor on anti-trans measure 2021-04-06
- On April 6, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state, ABC News reported. The "Save Adolescents ...


Gay News

LGBTQ students sue U.S. Department of Education 2021-03-31
- More than 30 LGBTQ students are suing the U.S. Department of Education in a class-action lawsuit filed March 29, NBC News reported. The students allege that they dealt with discrimination at 25 federally funded Christian colleges ...


Gay News

New Equality Map: Bans on transgender youth participation in sports 2021-03-29
- (March 29, 2021) — Across the country, state legislatures have introduced bills that would ban transgender youth from participating in K-12 school sports, and in some cases in college as well. This year alone, at least ...


Gay News

POETRY E'mon Lauren Black talks queerness, podcast, Black mobility 2021-03-11
- Even though she's only in her early 20s, E'mon Lauren Black has accomplished so much. Not only was Black named Chicago's first youth poet laureate in 2016 (an honor from Young Chicago Authors, in partnership with ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project connects youth, elders in conversation 2021-03-10
- A chance encounter in 2019 has blossomed into an intergenerational dialogue project that brings together younger and older LGBTQ folks. Adam Greteman, a gay philosopher and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty member, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Nebraska measure, Williams Institute, Audre Lorde, journalist dies 2021-02-28
- In Nebraska, the Lincoln City Council passed an ordinance that bans licensed mental-health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the discredited practice of conversion therapy, according to a Trevor Project ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth 2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


Gay News

WORLD Canadian groups, Moroccan refugee, LGBT+ Rights Ghana, trans heroine 2021-02-21
- From $400,000 in funding for a national initiative aimed at expanding two-spirit advocacy, to $239,000 to improve LGBTQ youth housing access in the Prairies, 76 Canadian community groups are being sent nearly $15 million from the ...


Gay News

Court Theatre announces 2021 Southside Youth Fest, platform for teens 2021-02-18
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, announces Court's 2021 Southside Youth Fest, inviting South Side teens to submit original digi ...


Gay News

WORLD School items, Olympics, Angola law, Dutch senate 2021-02-14
- Toronto's Catholic school board reinstated the link to an LGBT support phone line on its website following outrage from the community, according to Yahoo! News, citing The Canadian Press. The school board removed LGBT YouthLine from ...


Gay News

ACLU of Illinois reacts to Auditor General's report on LGBTQ youth in DCFS care 2021-02-10
- In response to the Auditor General's report on LGBTQ youth in DCFS care, Ghirlandi Guidetti, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Illinois made the following statement: "Today's Auditor General's report reveals a sad but unsurprising truth: ...


Gay News

GLAAD: Senators vote against response to riot but introduce anti-trans bill 2021-02-10
--From a press release - Five of the eight senators objecting to Electoral College votes and voting against the second Trump impeachment trial have cosponsored a new bill targeting transgender youth, adding to history of anti-LGBTQ votes and views GLAAD: "More ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.