Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson defines the challenge in the last stage of a person's life as involving looking back on it and closing it out with a feeling of integrity instead of despair. It's the stage in which individuals know they will soon die, and look back on their life in an attempt to figure out if that life was worth living.
Rev. C.J. Hawking is an Oak Park resident and the Harry F. Ward Social Justice Pastor at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church. So maybe it is not a surprise that she was among 22 Occupy Chicago protestors arrested Oct. 10 for blocking the Monroe Street entrance to the Art Institute in downtown Chicago.
When Deb Dworman walked into MacDaddy on Madison hair salon, at 7506 Madison St., a couple weeks ago to have her nails done, she was blown away by the art on the walls — mostly because it's alive. The walls are draped—no, covered—with what husband and wife, John and Jane Morocco, of River Forest, refer to as plant art. John and Jane, who did the installation at MacDaddy, own a small business called Living Art.
On Aug. 21 the small congregation of Austin Boulevard Christian (ABC) Church voted unanimously to close its doors on Dec. 25, now just two months away. The August meeting was not contentious. "We had been struggling for awhile," said Rev. Dwight Bailey, ABC's pastor, "trying to decide what the path of the church was going to be."
Unity Temple is growing. That's news because denominations that have been around for more than a hundred years haven't been doing so well lately — last year Southern Baptists were down .42 percent, United Methodists down 1.01 percent, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) down 1.96 percent, Presbyterian USA down 2.61 percent, Episcopalians down 2.48 percent. (National Council of Churches Yearbook)
On Aug. 14, the sold-out house at the Gene Siskel Center in the Loop rose to its feet to give a standing ovation to Oak Parkers Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz at the end of their film, The Interrupters.
Fr. Phillip Owen would be the first to tell you the Roman Catholic Church needs reforming. Ordained on May 21, the 26-year-old priest who grew up in River Forest knows from firsthand experience that changes need to be made. As a child, however, he had no sense of calling whatsoever to the role of reformer.
Would the Comcast building development have been voted down had the community organizing coalition, United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) not been pushing for it from the start of the approval process in January to the project's approval by the Oak Park Board of Trustees on May 23?
When Park National Bank was seized by federal regulators on Oct. 30, 2009, the cell phones belonging to an informal network of social justice activists in Oak Park, Austin and surrounding communities began ringing "off the hook." Jackie Leavy remembered the nature of the phone calls: "Oh my God! Park National is closing. What are we going to do about it?"
Rabbi Yitzchok Bergstein insists he is not a missionary, but he is definitely a man with a mission: "To give every Jew the ability to celebrate Judaism." Bergstein, who moved to Oak Park in 2008 with his wife Nechama Dina and their family, is a "schliach" or emissary from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, based in Crown Heights, N.Y.