Deep Hunger, Deep Gladness

Deep Hunger, Deep Gladness

From this week's newsletter:

What are you doing?

(Why are you doing it?)

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." Before it was on magnets and in email signatures, it was in Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner.

This Sunday, we're launching Deep Hunger, Deep Gladness, a new series on vocation, on what calls to you, and how better to hear that voice. Part of our project is reclaiming the word vocation and the idea of calling. Some of you have already demurred, "I don't know if I'd say I have a calling..." But there you are, running marathons, having hard conversations with people you love, discerning whether to stay at your job or do something new. There you are, moving away for love, or work, or grad school (we sorta hate that, but only because we miss you). And we're all trying to figure out what we should be doing in light of terrible violence, in light of a country where racism thrives even at the highest levels, in light of a world that values productivity and profit over all. So whether or not you think you have a vocation, this is for you.

Read the rest of the newsletter here.

Risky Business: out of our comfort zones

Risky Business: out of our comfort zones


From this week's newsletter:


On Monday afternoon, some Gilead folks joined a group outside of the Moody Bible Institute. We were there to proclaim that the Church loves LGBTQ people, that the Church is LGBTQ people, and to show love especially to LGBTQ students and staff there, after the president and several faculty signed on to the Nashville Statement (a document condemning LGBTQ people and any other Christians who affirm them). We sang, prayed, and talked to students. Or some of us did.

I (Rebecca) am hugely uncomfortable in this kind of setting. I don't like protests and rallies. I don't like arguing. I don't like worrying that I won't know an exact Scripture reference. If I'm honest, I don't think this kind of confrontation leads to change. I was happy enough to be there, being a sign of love to anyone passing by or peering out the windows but God knows: I didn't want to talk to anyone. Not really.

So I was in awe of the people who did engage in conversations. I heard real, seemingly irreconcilable disagreements, and I heard questions. I watched people listening to each other. I saw people hug. I saw lots of people praying. And I was reminded by Josh Lee — who's preaching this coming Sunday at Gilead — that students there may not know that out, queer Christians or affirming churches even exist. "This kind of confrontation" does indeed lead to change: it's Good News that can save lives. 

And that seems worth being uncomfortable.

Read the rest of this week's newsy news here


Not-that-kind-of-church Music Gig

Not-that-kind-of-church Music Gig


“It’s-Not-That-Kind-of-Church” Musician Gig

We're hiring! We need a musician who plays, sings, and leads beautiful, singable, music — sometimes churchy and often not-that-churchy. So far this year, we’ve sung Katy Perry, R.E.M., Bobby McFerrin, Wailin’ Jennys’, and a few hymns too.

We’re looking for someone with chops on keyboard or guitar, comfortable playing in a variety of styles, good at getting others involved, organized and fun to work with in a collaborative environment.

The Music Director at Gilead is a part-time, salaried position with an understood commitment of 5 hours per week, on average.  Typical hours for this position include:

  • Sunday afternoons from 3:30 – 6:30 (set-up and rehearsal for worship, through the end of worship),

  • up to one hour of liturgy/music planning

  • up to one hour additional prep (including administrative tasks; see below)

  • one hour for monthly supervision meeting

Must be available Sunday evenings. Person of color preferred. LGBTQ+ candidates and those of all faiths or no faith encouraged to apply. See the description below for more details. Check out the church on the website, Facebook, Insta, and when you wanna talk, let us know:




  • Proficient in at least one instrument (including keyboard or guitar)

  • Reads music

  • Comfortable in multiple genres, including pop/rock

  • Able to teach multi-part pieces to congregation and/or pick-up choir

Weekly Worship Experience. Create beautiful, meaningful engaging weekly worship experience through music by

  • Choosing and planning, with pastors music for weekly service (< 1 hour, regularly-scheduled conversation)

  • Be well-practiced by Sunday rehearsal/warm-up

  • Leading one-hour rehearsal before worship with other musicians

  • Accompanying music during worship

  • Ensuring needed instruments/musicians are available

Community-Building/Leadership development. Build core group of musicians from congregation who will help lead weekly worship by:

  • Cultivating relationships with additional musicians/singers (primarily on Sunday evenings)

  • Inviting musicians from beyond the congregation to supplement when appropriate

  • Creating atmosphere of significant participation (in pick-up choirs, ensembles, and for the congregation as a whole)

Administration. Take primary responsibility for relevant administrative tasks by

  • Communicating with musicians/singers to arrange rehearsal, distribute music

  • Maintaining/updating contact info with current musicians/singers

  • Finding/creating appropriate arrangements

  • Meeting once/monthly with pastor for supervision (big picture planning and questions)


Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

Some translations are better than others.  (From our June 7th newsletter):

"You can't tell me that bad theology doesn't kill people."

Bri Crumbley, a fellow Gilead-ite who works at Interfaith Youth Core, was sitting across from me (Rebecca) at Rogers Park Social. I thought, "Yeah. The stakes don't get much clearer than that."

All of us are translating all the time, making sense of what's going on around us. Some of us, forced to do more translation than others, are pretty adept at it: "Every time you say 'husband and wife,' I translate it as..." Institutions and communities, including the Church, do translation too, of ancient texts and stories, of traditions and practices, of how to live in faith and what it means: that's theology. Some translations are, to put it mildly, better than others. For the next few weeks, we'll be telling stories of some of the bad, ugly, and dangerous translations we've heard, and  — for the next few weeks and beyond — we'll keep on trying to do the work of good, beautiful, generative translations.

Read more here...

Learning New Languages (June 4 sermon)

Learning New Languages (June 4 sermon)

On Pentecost Sunday, June 4, Matt Richards was our guest preacher.  Matt has an M.Div/MSW from the University of Chicago. He’s Program Director of Care2Prevent at the U of C, where they take a holistice approach to providing comprehensive care and prevention education for young people living with HIV/STI and individuals who are most at-risk for new infections. A Gilead regular, he also shares a back porch with co-pastor Rebecca Anderson where they discuss theology and men.

He agreed to share his sermon and story here. From Matt's sermon:

"...I realize now that Rob—like all of us—needed new languages and stories for making sense of his vulnerability, of reconciling to a past that could not be changed, of finding peace in relationships with people that will never say the words of apology that we so badly need them to utter. I realize now that the stories we tell about our lives have the ability to harm us or to save us.  They can make it easier or almost impossible to ask for the help that we need.  Gilead talks about how stories can save lives.  I wish I had realized that sooner."

Read the rest.

And if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, or would like emotional support, please reach out to us at or to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, at 800-273-8255.





Know-and-be-known dinners

Know-and-be-known dinners

Who even is Gilead?  Let's get to know each other!

Josh Lee is coordinating an effort to get us sharing meals and conversations over the next few months. No agenda except conversation at a time and in a neighborhood that works for you.  Here's how it'll happen:

  • Go to this Google doc.
  • Some lovely souls have signed up to host. Maybe you will too!
  • Find a date and place that's good for you. Hosts provide a little bit of info to help you decide (is there a cat in the house?, is their place kid-friendly?, etc.)
  • Add your name(s), email, and what you'd like to bring to share.
  • As the date gets closer, your host will let you know any details or last minute info (where to park...)

No place like home.

No place like home.

(From our latest newsletter)

There's an idea in the book of Hebrews that the human condition is marked by a yearning for home. As the writer there says, we are all "strangers and foreigners on the earth," desiring a better country.

So while we're at the end of our month of Wanderlust, we're obviously in no way at the end of our journeys, as individuals or as a new church. Still: on Sunday, we'll hear and tell stories of finding and making home, of seeing home with new eyes, of never going home again...(read more here)


Know-it-all Mama Bunny God

Know-it-all Mama Bunny God

Well, shucks.

We could've been posting our newsletters here all along! Now we actually will. Here's the most recent. From that link, you can also get to "past issues." This is how this one starts:

Good news/bad news:
God is everywhere.

We're halfway through our month of Wanderlust: detours, roadblocks, and shortcuts on your spiritual journey. This past week, the good news/bad news that wherever you go, God is there, like that relentless mother in The Runaway Bunny. (See also: Sufjan Stevens' song "Seven Swans." Listen to the end. Terrifying.)...

Read the rest here and/or subscribe to get your own.

A Non-religious Clown Goes to Church

A Non-religious Clown Goes to Church

When Maria Vorhis agreed to tell a story at Gilead's third ever worship service, she didn't know The Today Show would be there recording. Firstly, because they weren't planning on it yet, and then later because Rebecca forgot to tell her. Whoops.

But it all worked out.

Maria, a Chicago writer/performer, filmmaker, and teaching artist, wrote about the experience so beautifully over on her blog. You should read all the way to the end. It's worth it and says so much about why we think Gilead needs to exist!

As seen on TV?!?

As seen on TV?!?

Did you end up here because you saw us on The Today Show? You're not wrong: that was us, talking about a church where we tell true stories that save lives, share good food, and make beautiful creative worship together.

Wanna find out more? Subscribe to our newsletter, get in touch to have a coffee or beer with a pastor, or come to church!

At Gilead, we want to be church for and with people who’ve been turned out, turned off, or just left cold by church. We believe God welcomes all — and we have the stories of Jesus hanging out with all the “wrong” folks to prove it — and so we do too. 

Whoever you are, whatever your story is, you are welcome here. 

We are a "congregation-in-formation" of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the UCC (United Church of Christ). That's church-ese "we're not in this alone. We're got a history, and community, and body of people pulling for us and working alongside us." We're also in relationship with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), kissing cousins of the UCC in the Protestant church family tree.