Faith United Methodist Church Visioning & Community Reinvestment
Faith United Methodist Church is an important congregation that desires to deepen and extend its legacy of partnership and service in the Chicagoland community of Dolton. From its classic mid-century building, Faith Church represents the optimism and social engagement of its founders. This legacy of a congregation as a community hub motivates the congregation’s leaders today in renewing its mission to the largely Black neighborhoods of Dolton and envisioning an increased role for its property as an asset that supports the needs and dreams of the community. In addition, the congregation seeks to develop a long-term and sustainable response to the challenges of stewarding and maintaining its property.
As a United Methodist church, our social principles teach that we must follow in the footsteps of our founder, John Wesley, who sought to improve the lives of those who suffered from debilitating conditions such as poverty, starvation, illiteracy, imprisonment, addictions, and disease. We have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage the development of the fullest potential in individuals in the place where we serve. That commitment to justice and to the community of Dolton cannot change. While the gifts of our members may keep the lights on and pay the pastor’s salary, the church’s financial capacity is not keeping pace with the needs of ministry. We need to invite more people into our space for our own financial sustainability and for the missional call to be of service to our community.
In 2021, Faith Church is investing in a year-long project to make the church a center of community life and a public resource shared by and accessible to people in Dolton. We will create a more sustainable plan for Faith Church to engage with and serve our community, invite partners to use our space, and identify new sources of revenue consistent with our mission.
We will work to answer some important questions:
- What are the assets and needs of Dolton?
- What are some ways Faith Church’s congregation and building can be resources for the surrounding community? What are ways the community of Dolton can partner with the church?
- How can we come up with a post-pandemic community ministry plan that will allow us to be relevant to the populace that we serve?
- How do we create a better way to invest in community, change lives, and be sustainable?
The church and community partners will engage in an intentional process to answer these questions and develop this new vision for the church and its engagement with the community:
- Intentional one-on-one conversations with neighbors and community stakeholders
- Community asset mapping conversation
- Space re-imagining event to invite community members to see the church and think about possible changes that could enable usage of space by a broader set of partners.
- Report outlining what the church found in this process including: key community needs, assets in the community, resources Faith UMC has to contribute to Dolton, possible space sharing partners, recommended changes to the church building to accommodate new users.
The church has engaged Dr. Ulysses W. Burley III to coordinate this project.
Meet the Project Manager