Members of aChurch4Me?, a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), began meeting at United Church of Rogers Park, April 1.
What originally started as a small Bible study at the Center on Halsted in 2007 blossomed into an MCC congregation hosting worship services for more than 70 members at National Pastime Theater in Lakeview.
The theater moved locations, so aChurch4Me? had to find a new venue, leasing Second Stage Theatre temporarily. The congregation has now entered into a space sharing agreement with United Church of Rogers Park, allowing them meet on Sundays on the third floor.
The new worship space is large enough for 150 people and is accessible through an elevator. It also has a stage, kitchen and parlor.
In the past, aChurch4Me? has only leased space for Sunday mornings, but United Church of Rogers Park has given aChurch4Me? access to the entire facility all week long, including office space.
"We'll have the opportunity to do more events and be more involved and have an address to do that out of in a true sense of space sharing," said Pastor Rachelle Brown of aChurch4Me?.
Gay men, who were kicked out of their own churches because of their sexuality, founded MCC in 1968. MCC prides itself on non-traditional, contemporary spirituality worship, and aChurch4Me? is grateful to have found a new home in the LGBT-affirming United Church of Rogers Park.
"It felt like just a really good fit," said Brown. "This is huge. It's really a big deal. I'm excited."
While aChurch4Me? will no longer be meeting in Lakeview, the congregation still plans to support the Lakeview Pantry, Lakeview Action Coalition and Night Ministry.
"The GLBT community doesn't just live in Lakeview. The GLBT community is far broader," said Brown. "With that in mind, we're reaching out to where people are living. It's not just one neighborhood like it was 50 or 20 years ago."
In an effort to reach out to Spanish-speaking LGBT community on the South Side, aChurch4Me? is hosting book studies, Bible studies and conversations in Spanish.
United Church of Rogers Park and aChurch4Me? will collaborate in several aspects of ministry, including children's chapel on Sundays. But the main Sunday morning worship services will still be independent.
"We're still who we are. We're still our kind of radical, out-there selves, and we've finally found a space that understands what we're trying to do, understands who we're trying to be," said Brown.
Worship services for aChurch4Me? convene Sundays at 11 a.m. at 1545 W. Morse Ave.