Category: Religion

With Maywood Prayer Walk, A Pastor Returns to His Old Stomping Grounds

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Participants in Saturday’s prayer walk, hosted by Impact Ministries, pray for Impact’s leaders, Pastor Anthony Pelegrino. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On July 29, Pastor Anthony Pelegrino, who heads up Impact Ministries in Maywood, led around two dozen people on a prayer walk along the Prairie Path, from 17th Ave. to 11th Ave. and back.

The walk through Maywood was more than a demonstration for the 42-year-old resident of Downers Grove.

“I used to buy drugs out here,” Pelegrino said while standing on a plot of grass where the path meets the concrete road at 17th Ave., near Madison St.

Continue reading “With Maywood Prayer Walk, A Pastor Returns to His Old Stomping Grounds”

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Maywood Board Approves Special Use Permit for Church Seeking to Expand

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New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave. | Google Earth

Friday, June 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a June 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance approving a special use permit that would allow New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave., to buildout and modify existing unoccupied commercial space.

The space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., is separated from the church facility by a vacant, fenced-in lot. The church owns both properties. Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Kimyada Wellington abstained from voting.

Wellington explained that she would not be voting because she’s related to New Hope’s pastor, Bishop Anthony G. Wellington. Perkins did not offer an explanation for her abstention at the June 20 meeting and could not be contacted on Friday afternoon to comment.

Months before the vote, however, several trustees had expressed some wariness about permitting the special use.

According to a business plan that Wellington submitted on behalf of his church, the new facility would host weekly job training sessions, prayer meetings, “biblical guidance sessions” and “biblical enhancement sessions.”

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A space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., that New Hope is seeking to turn into usable space. | Google Earth

But village staff members and some board members stated that were worried that “this project may be an expansion of the [tax-exempt] church into the C2 Pedestrian Oriented Commercial District,” according to an April 26 village memo written by Josh Koonce, the village’s planning and zoning officer.

An a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting in April, former trustee Michael Rogers expressed some reservations over the village allowing the church to turn the commercial property, which currently generates commercial property taxes, into tax-exempt property.

“The whole concept of our [taking the] limited commercial property that we have off the tax rolls is problematic,” Rogers said.

“That zone, when you cross the tracks, is called Broadway. That’s a heavy commercial usage. The non-conforming uses already there are grandfathered in, but it’s important not to lose any more commercial property with the straits that the village is in.”

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An architectural drawing of New Hope’s plans for its new training facility. 

The board nonetheless voted to allow the matter to go to the village’s plan commission, which, on May 30, voted in favor of the special use permit. According to the ordinance, the permit is limited to “the types of educational and job training activities” laid out in Wellington’s application. VFP

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Local Churches Provide Summer Jobs for Two Dozen Youths

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Min. Albert Johnson during PTMAN’s summer youth employment orientation session at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside. | Michael Romain/VFP

PTMAN thing IIWednesday, June 21, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Roughly two dozen young people are gearing up to start summer jobs this month as part of a program initiated a year ago by the Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance (PTMAN), a large network of west suburban churches and clergy members.

The four-week work program, designed for young people ages 13 to 16, matches local students from all over the western suburbs. Last year, said Min. Albert Johnson, PTMAN’s outreach coordinator, the program outdid expectations.

During an orientation session and monthly PTMAN breakfast meeting held on June 10 at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside, Johnson shared the story of Darnyce Springfield, who worked for the summer at Marcus Wright Dental in Maywood.

“They were so impressed with this young lady that they decided to bring her on permanently,” Johnson told the teenagers as they gathered inside of Freedom Baptist’s cavernous sanctuary (a converted movie theater).

More than 10 local employers, including Marcus Wright, Triton College, the Maywood Park District and Kathy’s Cafe, have agreed to temporarily employ the youth for four weeks — four hours a day and four days a week —  at roughly $8 an hour. Johnson referred to the setup as the 4-4-4 plan.

The money to pay the young people, Johnson said, comes from PTMAN’s member churches and local entities that pledge to donate different amounts. One church in Naperville even hosted a benefit concert for the program.

The program is the brainchild of PTMAN’s chairman, Bishop Dr. Reginald Saffo, the pastor of United Faith M.B. Church and head of United Faith Christian Institute Bible College, both located in Maywood.

During an interview last year about the employment program, Saffo said that he wanted to demonstrate that local institutions, particularly churches, could drive the local economy in their own ways, independent of government funding.

“A lack of government funding should never preclude our children from having a safe and productive summer,” he said. “We felt that it was our moral obligation to provide our youth with this experience. Churches that have an understanding of their role in community are very supportive and positive about these kinds of projects.”

During the June 10 meeting, Saffo said that the goal of the program is to do more than provide young people with jobs. He said he hopes the program can help teenagers find what it is that fulfills them and gives them purpose.

Most of the teenagers sat silently through the orientation process, which included some of the program’s coordinators briefing them on workplace etiquette (the need to come on time and to dress properly, among other protocols).

The teenagers came from Maywood, Bellwood, Chicago and as far away as DuPage County. When asked how they hoped the program will benefit them during the orientation’s first hour, most responded that a summer job would keep them busy and occupied.

“We have many partners looking forward to meeting you all,” said Johnson before referencing Springfield’s success story. “This is an excellent opportunity to go out and do what your best because you never know the possibilities.”

PTMAN announces new Community Partner Initiative 

At its June 10 regular meeting, the Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance (PTMAN) also announced the creation of a new program designed to enhance local civic engagement.

The Community Partner Initiative is an effort “to get all of our member churches and partners involved in community civic activity,” said Bishop Dr. Reginald Saffo, PTMAN’s chairman.

“We want you to attend village hall meetings and school board meetings, come back and share what you heard and saw,” Saffo said. “We recognize the power in unity and we want to restore that. You’re restricted henceforth from using the word ‘hood.’ We are a neighborhood.”

The new initiative, Saffo announced, will be led by a PTMAN committee that comprises local elected officials and clergy men. VFP

F E A T U R E D  P R O G R A M

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Rev. Tyrone Crider, Maywood Native and ‘Pastor of Pastors,’ Dies at 58

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Maywood native Rev. Tyrone Crider, who died Friday at 58. | Family photo

Monday, May 29, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Rev. Tyrone Crider, a prominent South Side pastor and social justice activist who fought alongside some of Chicago’s most notable cultural icons — from Harold Washington to Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. — died from cancer on May 26 at a hospital in Chicago. He was 58.

Crider was once the national executive director for Operation PUSH, the national nonprofit founded by Jackson in 1971. Crider also rallied votes for Jackson (when he ran for president) and Mayor Harold Washington, according to Crider’s Chicago Sun-Times obituary.

Crider was a Maywood native, born into one of the village’s most distinguished families. His grandmother, Kentucky native Quinella Watson Hathaway, moved with her family to Maywood in the early 1900s.

Since the Watsons were among the first black families to live in the village, Hathaway was the only black student in her elementary and high school graduating classes. She was the first black female graduate of Proviso East High School and one of the first black students to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Quinella’s husband, Walther Hathaway, was Maywood’s first trustee, according to an online historical database at the University of Kentucky, which references a 1999 Maywood Herald article.

The Hathaways gave birth to one son and six daughters, one of whom, Bernice Hathaway, would marry Lilton Tyrone Crider, and give birth to Tyrone, who seemed to embody two qualities that were abundant in both the Hathaway tribe and in Maywood more generally: faith and athleticism.

Crider’s aunt, Bettye Rivers, was the mother of former NBA player and current Los Angeles Clippers coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, who is the nephew of former NBA player and Maywood native Jim Brewer.

In a CBS 2 news report, Jackson remembered Crider as “a brilliant speaker” who had “the it-factor,” “the stuff,” but who was also a great athlete in his own right.

“He was very close to Doc Rivers. He (Crider) was a great basketball player,” Jackson said. “I would never tell him that to his face. We would always laugh about it. He was a great athlete.”

Crider distinguished himself on the basketball court for Walther Lutheran in Melrose Park before heading off to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he was influenced by the social gospel of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

In addition to his activism, Crider was what Rev. Chris Harris called “a pastor’s to pastors,” the Sun-Times reports. Harris, who described himself as Crider’s “spiritual son,” said that the Maywood native was “a man of integrity” who “made everybody feel extremely important.”

Addressing a 2014 controversy, which involved Crider resigning from the board of the Regional Transportation Authority due to allegations that he’d steered investments to a bank where he had a debt, Jackson said that the late preacher’s legacy would span beyond those headlines.

“His memory will be as an activist and a leader involved in helping resolve violence conflicts,” Jackson told CBS. “His preaching, his speaking on college campuses, inspiring youth, his voter registration, his feeding hungry people.

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“Tyrone Crider never stopped serving. He’ll live as long as we remember them. We will never forget.”

Word of Crider’s passing even prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to release a statement, perhaps a testament to the Maywood native’s enduring influence.

“I was very saddened to learn of the passing of The Reverend Tyrone Crider, Sr,” stated Emanuel. “He was a preaching giant, a civil rights trailblazer, and someone who cared deeply about Chicago, our state, and our nation.”

In addition to his prolific preaching and activism, Crider was also a publisher, of the Chicago Gospel Tribune (a monthly magazine), and a pastor, who founded the New Hope Community Baptist Church in Chicago 1991 before becoming the pastor at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Crider pastored Mount Calvary for 14 years until his death.

Crider is survived by his wife of 23 years, Regina Crider, and their five children. According to the Sun-Times, a “two-hour viewing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 1259 W. 11th St. in Chicago.”

Crider’s home-going celebration will take place on Saturday, June 3, at House of Hope, 752 E. 114th St. in Chicago. The wake will start at 10 a.m. while the service will start at 11 a.m. A repast will take place after the service at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. VFP

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Stricken by a Stroke, Maywood Grad Finds Her Voice in Faith

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Shantal Cole during her May 7 graduation from Dominican University in River Forest. | Below, Cole performing her poem at the college’s traditional Candle & Rose ceremony held May 6. || Photos provided 

Shantal Cole photo II.jpgTuesday, May 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On May 6, a day before she graduated from Dominican University in River Forest, Shantal Cole, 26, walked to the podium during the college’s annual Candle and Rose ceremony and recited a poem she’d written for the occasion.

The poem included the line, “We are often broken, but never shattered.”

It’s sort of the story of her life.

Between the ages of 7 and 12 years old, Cole said in a recent interview, she was molested and constantly bullied by relatives on her father’s side — trauma that she spent much of her youth attempting to suppress and hide.

“It wasn’t until I made it to high school that I didn’t allow the molestation to mess with my mind,” Cole, a resident of Maywood, added in a follow-up email.

And while attending Triton College several years ago, Cole — a passionate dancer who had been pursuing a liberal arts degree at the junior college — suffered a debilitating stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed and with a speech impediment. The physical ailments would open her up to even more humiliation and harassment.

“It was a very emotional time for me,” she said. “I used to cry and I wanted to harm myself. I was like, ‘Why am I here?’ I wanted to commit suicide because it hurt. I wanted to be normal so bad.”

The compounded trauma would lead Cole to seek sanctuary through her faith. She calls her gradual recovery from her stroke, which she said happened roughly five years ago, a miracle because she eventually re-learned how to walk and speak without the aid of physical therapy or medical procedures, such as Botox, she said.

Cole, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology and aspires to become a minister someday, said that her spirituality helped her to own her suffering and to use her trauma to help others heal.

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Dominican University students during the college’s annual Candle and Rose ceremony, a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1928. | Photo provided 

Cole, who attends Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood, said she drew spiritual insight from the sermons of her pastor, Rev. Marvin E. Wiley, and also got critical support from her three siblings (Cole is the youngest) and her mother, Edna Harvey.

“I tried to be a father and a mother to her and her sisters,” Harvey, a single parent, said. “We try to be there for one another and help one another and hang in there for one another when we need help.”

While at Dominican, Cole threw herself into her theology studies and forged her own presence on campus.

“Shantal really seized her voice through her involvement in University Ministry,” said John DeConstanza, the director of Dominican’s University Ministry. “She provided important leadership in prayer and praise, and exercised her gifts and talents in preaching and embodying an important characteristic of the Dominican Order.”

Amy Omi, Dominican’s coordinator of liturgy and music ministry, said that Cole “took her passion for ministry and the arts and merged them with a theology internship this year.”

Cole said that her college experience may have ended, but she’s only starting her ministry, the central premise of which was encapsulated in another line of the poem she delivered during the May 6 ceremony, which dates back to 1928.

“During the ceremony, seniors and their chosen partners fill the Quad in a pageant of candle light — seniors process across the top of our Cloister Walk and assemble in the Quad where they meet individuals who have been important to them during their college experience,” said Jessica Mackinnon, Dominican’s public information director.

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Shantal Cole, far right, with her fellow Dominican University graduates. | Photo provided

“We are often wounded, but never damaged,” Cole said, reciting her poem as a crowd of onlookers basked in candlelight. “Every wound has given us the strength to keep fighting.”

“You don’t know what someone is going through,” Cole said during an interview a few days after she’d graduated.

“We need to accept people as they are and embrace them, because we don’t what their story is,” she said. “We all have a testimony and we all have struggles, but those struggles make us who we are. Without those struggles we wouldn’t be able to find our strength through God and our own faith.” VFP

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Shantal Cole’s Candle and Rose poem 

Seniors class of 2017

We are One

We are Strong

We are Leaders

We are Powerful

We are often broken but, never shattered

We are often wounded but, never damaged

Every wound has given us the strength to keep fighting

Despites the No’s,

Despite the laughter,

Despite people not seeing what we see

We are strong enough to beat the odds

We are strong enough to win the battle

We are strong enough to conquer the enemy

We are strong enough to push through pain and suffering

We are One !

One is unity that can never be broken

One is you and me

One is togetherness

One does not separate the races, the genders, and those of different sexual orientations,

but combines them all into one unity

Because we are graduating seniors that can never be divided.

We are One

We are Strong

We are Leaders

We are Powerful

        CLASS OF 2017 WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!

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Featured Event: Maywood Church Celebrates Women’s Day, May 20

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Saturday, May 20, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

The women of Second Baptist Church, 436 S. 13th Ave. in Maywood, will host their annual Women’s Day Celebration on Sunday, May 21, 10:45 a.m., and they cordially invite the public. The theme is “Women Trusting that God Will,” based on Matthew 6:25-30:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Sunday’s speaker will be First Lady Eler Coleda Blair of Able Ministries, 433 S. 13th Ave. in Maywood.

Come celebrate with us!

Cordially, Shirley Cornelious, chairperson; Marlene Freelon, Floydean Jackson, Sandra Mallory, co-hairs; Rev. Wallace W. Sykes, pastor; Minister Jeff Harris, assistant pastor. VFP

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Op-Ed: One Year In, We’re Still Committed to All Generations

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People worshipping during a 1-year anniversary service of Empowerment Church in March. | Below, Empowerment’s pastor, Rev. Teddy Matthews, preaches during service. || Shanel Romain/VFP

emp1Sunday, April 30, 2017 || By Rev. Teddy Matthews || @maywoodnews

Starting a church is no easy task. In the beginning, we had no members, no facility, no budget. What we did have, however, is a call and the understanding that it was time to act on that call.

My wife, daughter, mom, and a few close friends and family began a local Bible study in the fall of 2015 at the River Forest Public Library. That’s when the vision was cast and the need for a church became clearer than ever to me.

Despite reports stating that churchgoing was declining nationally and that young people were turning away from the church, our Bible study proved that people of all ages have a desire to grow and learn.

In early 2016, I shared publically for the first time that we were starting a new church in order to reach people, restore lives, and impact generations — which remains the mission of Empowerment Church.

In our short existence, we’re proud to say that we serve five different generations—from our babies to our seasoned saints. We’re living out our commitment to impact generations.

We recently celebrated our church anniversary with record-breaking attendance, which indicates clearly that we’re going in the right direction. In just one year of existence, we’ve executed a range of outreach initiatives.

Some of those initiatives include partnering with District 89 to provide backpacks and school supplies in the fall, hosting a coat drive in the winter and serving over 100 kids in the community during our first Easter egg hunt. The list could go on and on. We’ve seen God do amazing works through the hands of those committed to serving his church.

We host our weekly services at the Cinemark Theater in Melrose Park, where we have seen growth and life transformation take place. Our E-Kids children’s ministry meets weekly during the same time as our adult service. It is an experience where children under 12 are provided the opportunity to learn and grow on their level.

Our online platform and social media allow us to serve those all over the world. Our street team goes out weekly to provide outreach and evangelism in some of the local community hotspots, including the malls and restaurants.

Suffice it to say, I’m excited about what is happening and consider it a great privilege to serve our church and the community at-large. I’m excited to see what God will continue to do as we stay focused on His purpose and mission of reaching people, restoring lives and impacting generations.

For more information about Empowerment Church, you can visit www.empowerment.church or Facebook.com/empowermentchurchchicago. VFP

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