World Cafe Introductions

The World Café Design Host team gathered for its first meeting the end of March. Our first order of business was introductions. Not all members of the team are from the Presbytery and some are not even Presbyterians. We are a wonderful mixture of Teaching Elders, Ruling Elders, and participants from community partners in the grand Chicagoland area.

And we’d like to start introducing ourselves to you! We’ve each answered a few questions about ourselves and why we wanted to serve on this team. Below, you will meet the first four of our number.

Roger Wilson
Ruling Elder
Chicago Fourth Presbyterian Church

What excites me about World Café? The unknown is the best part about a process that gives a wide variety of people an opportunity to be heard and contribute to the future of the Presbytery of Chicago.

What has been my favorite job? For my last three years of corporate life I was Chief of Staff of the information technology department. That’s not the head of the department but a direct report who does a lot of special projects, plans and conducts department meetings, and even some great social events.

Nancy Kim Phillips
Ruling Elder
Evanston Northminster Presbyterian Church

What excites you about World Café? The opportunity to engage in spirit-led conversations about the possibilities for community.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? I love walking to the lake and sitting on “my” rock.  I listen to the waves, feel the sunshine and the breeze on my face, watch the birds, and marvel at the colors.

I’ve enjoyed playing in the bell choir for a few years now.  I like how each individual is important to the whole group. When you are playing bells, you aren’t ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future. You are Just. Playing. Bells.

I volunteer as a tutor for adult ESL students one evening a week, at Evanston Township High School.  The students come from Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Senegal, Albania, Greece, and Ukraine; they range in age from young adults to seniors.  They are very inspiring.

What are you most proud of in your life?  One thing I am proud of is the photo book I made of my mother’s paintings, which she had created over forty years.  Together, the pictures illustrate a life of beauty, love, generosity, and faith.  She inscribed the books and gave them to friends and family shortly before she passed away, prompting many last letters and phone calls.  It brought her joy to connect with each person, and the book now is a reminder of her to so many loved ones.  I’m grateful to have gotten that one right.

Marilyn McKenna
Education Coordinator
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America

What excites you about World Café?  I am very excited about the opportunities to deepen existing relationships and to build new relationships with mutual respect and deep listening that the World Cafe process provides. The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) has worked with the Presbytery of Chicago for more than twenty years on human rights issues in our hemisphere and we appreciate the opportunity to learn together during this time of reflection and renewal.

What are your favorite activities/hobbies?  I really enjoy working with U.S. and Cuban partners to create opportunities for  meaningful dialogue between the people of both countries.

What are you most proud of in your life?  When the work of CRLN and its partners have caused a change in an unjust U.S. policy in the world I am very inspired by the power of people working together.

David B. Thornton
Teaching Elder
Sixth-Grace Presbyterian Church

Why did you want to serve on the World Cafe design team? I decided to be a part of the Café team in an effort to hold the group accountable and to agitate it appropriately towards the end of always discerning and thinking with inclusivity in mind. To this end, as I project about life together as a Presbytery, I envision multiple paradigms of communication, liturgy, to celebrate a glorious tapestry, that bears increasing resemble to the beloved community of God.

What was your first job? My first part-time job was that of serving as a micro-filmer of bank records and teller at a savings and loan association in Columbus, GA. In 1975. I had to carefully film old bank records, as they had to be archived for a certain period of time. This work was done in the basement area of the bank and was very tedious, not much excitement. It was the highlight of my work schedule, however, when I was able to serve as a bank teller and thus help customers to attend to their banking needs. This opportunity afforded me a chance to have brief conversation with a multiplicity of personalities. I enjoy meeting people and thus work was always fun and exciting as a teller.

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