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Neighborhood Spotlight | The 'CURE' for your Vocation

Category: Neighborhood Spotlight

Greetings and Happy October!

Leaves are officially changing in Chicago, which means it’s Fall and officially the best time to explore all of Chicago’s neighborhoods! Once a month CURE brings you one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods. Not only are they part of our great city, but these neighborhoods are part of McCormick’s urban classroom. Up this week: Lake View!

As you can probably tell in the map, Lake View’s shape is a bit awkward. The yellow splotches in the middle are actually neighborhood – Wrigleyville on the left and Boystown on the right – that have been created within Lake View’s boundaries. From my time spent in Chicago it is clear that not a lot of people actually know Lake View’s boundaries, and for good reason, as neighborhoods tend to shift with time.

Despite Lake View’s ever changing shape, it is one of my favorite neighborhoods for many reasons. I had the opportunity to do some research on Lake View for a paper I wrote in my first year at McCormick, and what I learned was quite fascinating.

When Lake View was originally established, it was a small suburban community set between Chicago and Evanston. It was incorporated into Chicago in 1889, and has been a thriving neighborhood ever since. Lake View has since become a neighborhood full of young professionals and young families, as well as gay men.

Lake View and Boystown (which was created out of Lake View) is home to one of the largest amounts of youth homeless in the Mid-West. This partially attests to the grim reality that a lot of youth struggling with their sexual identity are not welcome in their families, and the kids have no where else to go. As Chicago, like many cities, is not the best at serving those needing the most support, several churches and other non-profits have provided space for the homeless youth to be themselves. Local laws keep beds for homeless youth at a minimum, but Lake View Presbyterian and Broadway United Methodist Church, as well as the Night Ministry, are able to still do what they can. McCormick Students have been big parts in both Cafe Pride at Lake View and Youth Lounge at Broadway, and they continue to be.

Lake View, as well as Boystown, is also home to Chicago’s Pride Parade – which is one of the biggest in the country – held the last Sunday in June each year. Local churches, included Broadway United Methodist and Lake View Presbyterian, march in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Lake View is home to many congregations in which to worship, including Lake View Presbyterian and Broadway, as well as many others. Other cool aspects of Lake View include on of Panera Bread’s pay-what-you-can restaurants.

Me and my lovely wife at last years Pride Parade

Thanks for checking into one of Chicago’s many wonderful neighborhoods.

Check back on Friday for a look into what it is like to be married in Seminary!

Neighborhood Spotlight: Hyde Park

Happy Friday McCormick!

The First Friday of every month CURE will bring you another neighborhood spotlight. This month – our very own Hyde Park.

Located on the South Side of Chicago, Hyde Park’s northern boundary is 51st streed (East Hyde Park Blvd), Washington Park to the west, Lake Michigan to the east, and the Midway Plaisance to the south.

The 1893 Worlds Fair was held in Jackson Park (beginning in the southeast corner of Hyde Park) and the Midway Plaisance. Today, Hyde Park is primarily known as the home of the University of Chicago as well as President Barack Obama.

Flowers blooming in Hyde Park - Picture by Megan Cochran


Being home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world is quite impressive. But Hyde Park not only about the University of Chicago. Also located in Hyde Park are 5 Theological Schools – Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Theological Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Meadville-Lombard Theological Seminary, and yes, our very own McCormick Theological Seminary. That’s half of the ACTS Consortium schools! In one neighborhood!!

Need a book? Hyde Park has you covered. Not only do the Theological Schools have libraries, but the University of Chicago has five of them. Five! Including Regenstein Library, which houses 4.5 million books.


Hyde Park is home to many world class museums, including the Museum of Science and Industry, The Oriental Institute Museum, Smart Museum of Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History. In addition to museums, Hyde Park is home to the Robie House, one of Frank Lloyn Wright’s most famous designs.

If museums and architecture aren’t your thing, don’t fret! Hyde Park is also home to fourteen parks and a beach!

A view of the Museum of Science and Industry from Promontory Point - Picture by Sergio Centeno

Food and Drink:

Living in Hyde Park, I have had the great chance to frequent several of the neighborhood’s food and beverage offerings. Among McCormick Students favorites are: Salonica, Medici, Noodles, etc., Z&H, Giordano’s, Ribs ‘N Bibs, The Sit Down, Seoul Corea, and the list could go on and on.

Need caffeine? We’ve got 2 Starbucks locations, a Dunkin Donuts, plus a plethora a small coffee shops, including student favorite 57th Street Cafe, where they make a mean latte.

Not enough? Need a cold beer after class? Hyde Park isn’t known for it’s bar life, but the few we have are pretty great. Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap is a favorite for students and other neighborhood residents. Where else can you talk biblical exegesis or Koine Greek with a bar tender?

Spiritual Life:

Being the home of 5 Seminaries and the U of C Divinity School, you might think there are a lot of church offerings in the neighborhood. You’d be right! Whether your’re Unitarian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, Quaker, Jewish or Muslim – a house of worship is never too far off.

How to get here???:

Hyde Park isn’t known for it’s ease of access to the rest of the city, but we have a few tried and true methods to get downtown and further. Served by Metra, Hyde Park has two stations – 55th/56th/57th and 53rd. Using Metra it’s a quick 15 minute trip downtown. Trains not your thing? Try taking the X28, 6, 10, or 2 buses. For those with cars, Hyde Park is right on Lake Shore Drive, so driving in is quick and easy.

See you next week!

Well, McReaders, this is the last blog you’ll get from me. Wes will be taking over soon, and I’ll be done with seminary after 3 glorious years.

Thinking about the past 3 years is a bit overwhelming. As I’m leaving seminary, I’m not one of those prefect Presbyterians who passed all her ordination exams in the first try; I’m not walking out of seminary with a job in hand, ready to become ordained; I’m not in the minority. I am, once again, in the majority. I’m walking out of seminary with debt, no job, very little idea of where I am going to live, and a car that requires prayer each time to drive it down the Dan Ryan (which, given the shape it’s in, I don’t go down the Dan Ryan with it if I can help it). It’s not that I don’t have skills, I have mad skills. It’s just, there really aren’t many jobs out there. Recently, several people have asked me, “So, if you had to do it over, would you do it all again the same?”

Yes. I’d do it all over again and I would not do it differently. Here are a few reasons why:

1. I met Megan, Alex, TC, Sylvia, Tracy, Jon, Joe, Holly, Kim, Jason, Bong, Lilit, Ching Boi, Tyler, Ken, Lora, Matt, Jenny, Hannah, Amber, Molly, Han Kook, Dave, Kristi, Meredith, Kristin, Robyn, Tina, Karl, Michele, Vimary, Abby, Nathy, Nancy, Jeanine, Sergio, Kristin, Deanna, Mo, Stephanie, Melva, Kathi, Wes, Liz, Albert, Mike, Monica, Daniel, Sarah, Sarah, Katie Jo, Kate, Kirk, Jamie, Matt, Allison, Casey, Phil, Jeff, JC, Honna, Jake, Kelly, Megan, Sarah, Melvina, Delores, Kay, Sheila, Chris, Brenda, Peter, Heather, Jamie… the list is endless. This only includes the people that I could think of in 5 minutes and doesn’t include staff, professors, students from other seminaries, people in the community… Need I say more?

2. The friendly folks at the Starbucks at 55th and Woodlawn know my name.

3. I now know that Joel is an actual book in the Bible.

4. Ted Hiebert taught me Hebrew and Sarah Tanzer taught me Greek.

5. Janaan Hashim and Bob Cathey answered all my ridiculous questions and never told me to shut up. Ever.

6. I got to be Lib Caldwell’s EA.

7. If you ask nice enough, Luis will put on his Dracula cape.

8. Christine Vogel lets me cry in her office and Frank Yamada lets me cry in the halls.

9. Dr. Daniels made singing “Welcome Table” my favorite communion tradition.

10. Deb Mullen helped me accept who I was on my first day of classes.

11. Joann Lindstrom has a puppy in her office.

12. Sam Evans talks in a French accent when he’s in the office.

13. David Crawford is my friend and I know how hard he works for the seminary and the people there.

14. My classmates are fabulous dog-sitters, bird watchers, fish sitters, and plant waterers.

15. Melody Knowles taught me how to write a better paper.

16. Ted Hiebert made me re-think how I read the Bible.

17. Jennifer Ayers made me appreciate food and be thankful that I have it.

18. Ken Sawyer.

19. Ken Sawyer’s Mustache.

20. David Esterline’s wife’s cookies.

21. Knowing that Priscilla Rodriguez is always laughing at my facebook posts and understands my existential angst and will always have a hug for me.

22. Christine Vogel has a constant and steady supply of chocolate in her office.

23. No one reads the Psalms quite like Nanette Banks.

24. Dr. Frank Thomas taught me how to preach like I was on fire and then he made us go play in the snow.

25. Joann Lindstrom has my back.

26. Deb Kapp is an awesome cook at Iron Chef.

27. Monica actually smiles, you just have to know how to make her do it.

28. Natasha thinks I’ve already graduated.

29. I sort of have teacher crushes on Bob Cathey, Ted Hiebert, Lib Caldwell, Melody Knowles, and Janaan Hashim.

30. Community meals are always better food than I have in my apartment.

31. David Crawford often confuses me and Abby Mohaupt.

32. Boundaries don’t actually exist at McCormick despite Joann Lindstrom’s attempts at educating us.

33. Kimchi and Chapchae are two of my new favorite foods.

34. After being her EA, Abby Mohaupt and I now know that Lib Caldwell drinks Diet Coke at break and her Starbucks order is a grande unsweetened passion fruit iced tea.

35. I learned more about YAV’s than I ever imagined was possible.

36. I learned that Frank Yamada used to be in a band.

37. Anna Case-Winters lets me call her A.C. Dub.

38. Ken Crews can eat ungodly amounts of fast food in one sitting.

39. Deacon retreats aren’t the same without Christine Vogel present.

And last but not least…

40. The University of Chicago has a library. Thank God, or none of my work would have ever gotten done.

Well, that’s it. There are other things I could have talked about on here, but this is all I had time for, I have to finish a project for Bob Cathey. Go figure. Graduation, here I come!

Peace – Shelley D.

Since Spring has sprung and the weather is warming, I thought it would be nice to introduce you to McCormick’s urban classroom: the city of Chicago. Chicago is a city of many incredible neighborhoods, each with its own flair. Once or twice a month I’ll highlight a new neighborhood, give a little history and introduce you to some of the fun things to do there. This week: Pilsen.

Pilsen is located near the heart of Chicago, bordering the Chicago River on the East and South sides, 16th Street to the North, and Western to the West. Originally named for a city in the Czech Republic, Pilsen is now home to Chicago’s Mexican community. Served by the Pink Line, Pilsen is easy to reach from just about anywhere in Chicago.

Me taking a really awkward picture in front of a garden, in Pilsen of course

My first visit here was last Friday, Good Friday, to participate in a Mexican tradition : Via Crucis Vivente (Link goes to a YouTube video of last year’s march), or “Living the Way of the Cross” which has been taking place in Pilsen for 37 years. The Via Crucis take place down 18th street, and provided a great opportunity to see much of the neighborhood. After that taste of Pilsen, I had to go back, so my wife, a friend and I went and spent the afternoon looking in the vintage shops and enjoying Mexican food and adult beverages.

My friend in front of a public art installation entitled, "Before I die"

Pilsen has an up and coming art scene, which is evident by its many art galleries and public art installations. Near the intersection of 18th and Halstead is a line of art galleries, open by appointment only, but really interesting to look at. If you come in by bus, don’t miss them. Another don’t miss gallery is the National Museum of Mexican Art. An added bonus, it’s free!

Coffee shop - and an example of some of the great architecture Pilsen has to offer!

One of the best things Pilsen is known for is food. Being a predominately Mexican neighborhood, you’ll be able to find some of the best authentic Mexican dishes Chicago has to offer. A favorite for many, or so I’ve been told, is Nuevo Leon, located on 18th near Ashland. Not only does Pilsen have good Mexican options, but Barbecue, Asian, and many more. Some of the best tortilla chips in Chicago are also made right here.

Lastly, Pilsen’s architecture is wonderful. There is a mix of old and new, everything is colorful and there is a lot of exciting history. For great examples, check out some of the churches in Pilsen, like St. Aldabert’s Catholic Church.

Check us out later this week for an update on visions for the Church, with a guest blogger, Stephanie Levan! Until then!

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