By Jake Howell
Albany Park is incredibly diverse—in fact, it is “the city’s most ethnically diverse community!” Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to many that we are also incredibly diverse on the religious spectrum. I’ve spent over three years wandering down Lawrence and Kedzie in trademark Chicago wind, and in my travels I have encountered a person of almost every faith group I have ever heard of: all denominations of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Pantheists, Wiccans, Agnostics, and Atheists.
A “yellowbook” search for Albany Park religious organizations (which includes churches, synagogues, mosques, and even basement church gatherings) yields over 7,000 results, just to give a rough estimate of how plugged in residents are to religion in the community.
Acknowledging the intensely diverse nature of Albany Park religion, an obvious, lingering question would be—how well are they all coexisting? In the search for this question, I stumbled across an Everyblock advertisement which read: “Spiritual Beans – Interfaith Discussion Group.”
Hosted by Treasures of Uptown, an ‘interfaith action coalition,” the group met on Oct. 27 to discuss the link between religion and politics. “When we talk about the separation of church and state, what does that really mean? Can you leave your faith behind when you go to the polls? Should you?” questioned the Everyblock poster, Seth. “With the next presidential election upon us, let’s take on a taboo topic and talk politics!”
Treasures of Uptown hosts an interfaith discussion every month at Inspiration Kitchens, an Uptown restaurant dedicated to providing “essential social services to Chicagoans hardest hit by homelessness and poverty,” making it an ideal place to host an event such as this, considering that a primary goal of Treasures of Uptown is to foster “programs and activities that provide active care to people in Uptown.”
Other primary goals of the organization are to “build relationships among people of various faiths and philosophies, to learn from and listen to one another, and to heal prejudicial divisiveness.” How wonderfully admirable, that in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world, a group of people have made it their goal to come together and foster intelligent growth and conversation.
It is organizations like Treasures of Uptown that give this cynic hope for the future of this neighborhood, this city, and, I guess ultimately the human race as a whole.
– ‘’Yellowbook’’— http://www.yellowbook.com
- Tel: 1-800-YB-YELLOW
– ‘’Treasures of Uptown: An Interfaith Action Coalition’’— http://www.treasuresofuptown.org
– Albany Park Chamber of Commerce— http://www.albanyparkchamber.org/
- North River Commission
3403 W. Lawrence Avenue, Suite 201 Chicago, IL 60625
Tel: (773) 478-0202 ext. 12, Fax: (773) 478-0282
– ‘’Inspiration Kitchens’’— http://inspirationkitchens.org/
- 4715 North Sheridan Rd. Chicago, IL 60640
Tel: (773) 275-0626
– ‘’Everyblock’’— http://chicago.everyblock.com/
- —Treasures Advertisement: http://chicago.everyblock.com/neighbor-events/oct27-spiritual-beans-interfaith-discussion-group-5433157/
—Treasures Advertisement Poster ‘Seth’ profile: http://chicago.everyblock.com/users/47303/