If you have questions about a particular position, please contact the listing entity directly. 
If you have a position you would like to list, send an email to communication@chicagopresbytery.org with the pertinent information.
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The We Church Living in an I World by Craig Howard

I’m sitting in my sister’s kitchen as she is getting breakfast together for my then young nephew. She asks, “Do you want Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes?” And then, “Do you want toast or English muffins?” I’m in shock. It’s not because of the overdose of carbs for breakfast, but that she is giving my nephew a choice. Growing up, my experience around breakfast was my mom saying, “Here’s your cereal. You’re gonna eat it before it eats you!” Those were my choices! Choice would characterize my nephew’s generation in a way I could not have imagined.

I grew up in the “we” generation. The news came across CBS, NBC, or ABC. WLS was the primary radio station (WVON for African Americans) and there were a few others. But most played the same music. They decided what we would watch or listen to. We all watched and listened to the same thing.

Fast forward to my nephew’s post 1960s generation. He chooses from cable TV what he wants to watch and when. He chooses from satellite radio from hundreds of stations exactly what fits his taste. I’m simplifying a major point. The American culture has shifted from “we do” to “I want.” From a unified way of thinking and believing to an individual way of choosing and being in the world.

In his latest book, Countercultural: Subversive Resistance and the Neighborhood Congregation, Gil Rendle takes a deep dive into the cultural divide of “we” versus “I.” Gil argues that the church is a “we” institution living in an “I” culture, and that the church is challenged to move society in the direction of a healthy “we.” Gil wonders if the church can find spaces where we all can live. “ In the search for a shared story, in which all can live, congregations, at their best, welcome all seekers, and intend to include with them all the differences they bring.”

Is there a story we can all claim and live into as Church? Is there a story that opens pathways to bring us together and not solidify lines of division and separation? Perhaps it is the story Gil recounts Karl Barth saying when asked to sum up his life in one sentence. Barth replied, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

What is the unifying story of your faith that connects you the Church?

Rev. Craig Howard

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Films For Tough Times (June)

“Juneteenth” is being honored on June 19th, based on the date which was celebrated to proclaim freedom for slaves in Texas in 1865.  The day was first recognized as a federal holidayin 2021, when Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, and signed by President Biden.

Because we remain ignorant of our neighbor’s needs, especially African-American civil rights, the Mental Health Committee suggests the viewing of these two films, in order to encourage the spiritual practice of compassion-building.

Till (2022) is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmet Till.  He was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi.

In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.  The film’s release coincided with the October 2022 unveiling of a statue in Emmet Till’s memory in Greenwood, Mississippi.

However, as late as 2019, people were putting bullet holes in a sign that marked the site of Till’s lynching.  The New York Times reported, “Emmet Till Memorial Has a New Sign.  This Time, It’s Bulletproof.”

The Emmet Till Anti-Lynching Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 29, 2022, sixty-seven years after Emmet’s murder.

​​​​AND / OR

The Best of Enemies (2019) is based on the true story at Durham, North Carolina, in 1971, about remarkable hope, daring, and vision.  Racial confrontations were addressed with a process (called a 10-day community charrette), where enemies are transformed into friends.

“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.  Among us, you are all equal.  That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.”​​….Galatians 3:28, The Message

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For Memorial Day weekend, I am going to Canada with my daughter on our first Daddy-Daughter trip! I’m excited to spend a few days with my daughter. I am also anxious over the time I’ll be away from the office and work of the presbytery. I look at each day and think of all I could accomplish instead of how I might enjoy time with my daughter.

Since right before Easter, my schedule got a super boost. I can tell when the calendar and schedule is overwhelming. It’s when I’m in a Zoom meeting, while taking a phone call and writing an email at the same time. The other sign is when appointments are back-to-back-to-back, without time in between to think about what went before or what is coming after. Being busy is exhausting, but it is also a badge of worth and value in our society.

In his article “The Busy Trap” (New York Times, June 30, 2012), Tim Kreider writes that “People who talk about being busy are often boasting in disguise. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.” Kreider sounds a bit harsh, but he is making a point about busyness and responsibility. It reminds me of what I learned about dieting and eating. Everything I eat, I put in my own mouth! No one forces it upon me. The same can be said about my schedule.

To slow down, to be idle, goes against my internal parent and memories of childhood of being scolded if I were caught daydreaming. But for Kreider, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice. . . The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” Idleness can be the source of vision and inspiration. Idleness can be productive.

Kreider makes one more statement about work and busyness. It affects how we are in relationships. He writes, “But I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. Life is too short to be busy.” Amen, Mr. Kreider! Amen!

Rev. Craig Howard

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Director of Connectional Relationships, Presbytery of Chicago, Full-Time

All resumes and PDFs should be sent to employment@chicagopresbytery.org


The Presbytery of Chicago is seeking an individual who will build and strengthen the fibers of connection between the presbytery and its congregations. The Director of Connectional Relationships(DCR) will use a variety of communications tools to meet with leaders and members of congregations to learn, listen, and share their mission, ministry, challenges, and opportunities with one another and other congregations. The DCR will cultivate relationships within and between congregations and the presbytery. The DCR will work with presbytery leadership and congregations to discern the post COVID future of ministry. The DCR will be the eyes and ears of the presbytery in the life of congregations, while sharing presbytery resources and encouraging congregations to fully live into their God given mission. The DCR will help the presbytery live into its mission of relating churches to one another in Christ Jesus.

This is a full-time position that is shared with the Synod of Lincoln Trails with 75% (30 hours per week) of time working with the presbytery of Chicago and 25% (10 hours per week) of time working with the Synod of Lincoln Trails per week. The DCR will do similar and overlapping work with the Synod.
Duties & Responsibilites

Relationship Cultivation

Share stories and ideas from congregations across the presbytery and synod.
Connecting those with similar interests/challenges for further dialogue. 
Providing platforms to share ideas and resources throughout the presbytery and synod.
Creating space and opportunities for leaders to have generative discussion.

Communications support 

Collaborate with Digital Marketing and Technology Specialist Consulting oncommunications development and strategy.
Assistance to presbyteries and congregations with digital communication and social media platforms (newsletters, website updates, articles). 


Initiate opportunities for congregations to dream and cast visions for their communities.
Bringing focus to the question of “What’s next for the church?”
Helping congregations and presbyteries develop plans to consider who and what they are called to be.
Develop synod-wide systems to explore emerging contextual issues and trends and how the church with both be impacted and may be called to respond.

Other duties as assigned.


A Bachelor’s degree is required.
High level communication skills required including writing, editing, hosting and moderating conversations. Excellent overall computer skills, including Mail Chimp, Microsoft Office products and Adobe Creative Suite, Google Suite.
Excellent interpersonal skills.
Experience in a faith-based or non-profit environment is preferred.
Knowledge of Presbyterian polity, practices, and procedural operations preferred.
The ability to function well within a complex, multi-cultural metropolitan environment.
Ability to make decisions and work independently.
Ability to work remotely.
Clearly defined professional boundaries and an ability to balance the multiple aspects of one’s life.
Ability to work successfully with ministers and entities constituted by members ofpresbyteries.
Ability to work with highly confidential and sensitive materials.
Physical Requirements
The position requires physical and cognitive endurance; the DCR must be able to work long hours Must have reliable transportation.
Evaluation & Overview
This position will be reviewed annually by the Executive Presbyter, in consultation with the Personnel Committee of the Presbytery of Chicago, under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery CoordinatingCommission.

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Presbytery Assembly Is Live and In-Person


I am trying to hold back my enthusiasm for our first in-person Presbytery Assembly since the pandemic! After meeting these past two years in small squares on our computer/tablet/smart phone screens, we are going to see one another face to face. I have met many of you when worshiping at your congregation or session meetings, but now will be a chance to meet and greet many more for the first time. It’s going to be great!

Hosting the Assembly on Zoom has been beneficial. It has allowed people to conveniently participate from all corners of the presbytery. Our plan is to have two of our four Assemblies inperson and two on Zoom. Of the two in-person Assemblies, one will be in the city of Chicago and one in the suburbs. The two Zoom Assemblies will be held in the winter months of November and February.

Presbyteries across the country have attempted hybrid assemblies with mixed results. We have yet to find a way for people participating at home to have the same experience as those in-person. This is especially difficult with voting and debating because of the timelapse experienced on the Zoom platform. For this reason, we have decided not to attempt hybrid meetings. Instead, the meeting will be live streamed for those who have registered but cannot attend. Unfortunately, only those who are in-person will be able to vote and debate.

The format for the Assembly is slightly different. We will begin with business and then move into worship followed by fellowship dinner. Our speaker is Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis, Co-Moderator of the PC(USA). In addition to preaching, Co-Moderator Starling-Louis will participate in a time of questions from you! This is the opportunity to ask the Co-Moderator that burning question you’ve been holding for years! She will then preside over communion as we prepare for fellowship together. Co-Moderator Starling-Louis’ biography can be found here.

It appears that the weather will be dry and warm. I can’t speak for the traffic, though. Just give yourself plenty of time to arrive at Glen Ellyn, First Presbyterian Church, 550 North Main Street

Glen Ellyn, by 4:00 pm. Registration will open at 3:30 pm. Bring your best smile and a gentle spirit as we plan to discern, have devotion, debate, and decide together!

Rev. Craig Howard

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Those Answering The Call to Ministry By Ken Hockenberry


So far in 2023 our Presbytery has participated in four Installation Services for Pastors and Associate Pastors – and there are more to come:

Matt Lang was installed as Pastor of First in Homewood, and Calvary United Protestant in Park Forest (Feb 26).
Jim Cochrane was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Lake Forest (Apr 16).
Kat Hatting was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Wheaton (Apr 30).
Kara Smith-Laubenstein was installed as Associate Pastor at First in Wilmette (May 7).

The “more to come” include:

Holly Hoppe is to be installed as Pastor of St. Luke in Downers Grove (May 21).
Elias Cabarcas Arroyo is to be ordained and commissioned as Pastor / Evangelist of Dia Nueva, our latest New Worshipping Community, in Hanover Park (Jun 4).
We had a similar streak of six ordinations and installations last fall (2022) – all of which means our now Past Moderator David Thornton, current Moderator Barbara Gorsky, and current ModeratorElect Jim Davidovich have all been very busy over the past 10 months.

These services of worship are uplifting for those attending, and encouraging to these congregations and these new ministers. These events are clear signs that the Holy Spirit is still at work in our congregations, calling women and men to the ministry of word and sacrament.  

This call, however, is not for ministers only. Part of the liturgy we use at these services includes the words: We are all called into the church of Jesus Christ by baptism, and marked as Christ’s own by the Holy Spirit. This is our common calling. We are all called to be disciples and servants of Jesus Christ. Some are called to particular service, and to particular forms of ordered ministry, as ruling elders, teaching elders (ministers), and deacons.

Such a statement lifts up our Reformed understanding of the priesthood of all believers. All are called, all are invited to engage in mission and ministry. Some, yes, are called to particular service – but the essential call of God is to all of us, who are part of God’s family by baptism. All have been gifted with the Holy Spirit – including you.

May we all seek to live out this common calling, to demonstrate the love and justice of Jesus Christ, as the Spirit leads.
Ken Hockenberry
Stated Clerk

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Treasurer Position Open


Job Description    

Treasurer, Chicago Presbytery, 2023

Responsibility Summary

The Treasurer is responsible for the oversight of the financial operations of Chicago Presbytery and providing financial leadership and guidance to the Presbytery through its committees, commissions, and other entities. The Treasurer works closely with the Business Manager and the Executive Presbyter, while assisting the outsourced vendor of financial bookkeeping. The Business Manager manages the day-to-day financial operations of the Presbytery under the direction of the Executive Presbyter. Ordinarily, the Treasurer attends Presbytery Assembly,Presbytery Coordinating Commission meetings, Administration Committee meetings, and meetings with the Business Manager and Executive Presbyter.


The Treasurer has a one-year renewable term. The Treasurer will be elected by the Presbytery Coordinating Commission and Church Extension Board at its first meeting in each calendar year(or upon a vacancy in the position) and the term will begin on that day. This position will be remunerated $24 per hour for not more than 8 hours per week. As a part-time staff position, there are no benefits provided and time sheets will be submitted.


Work with the Business Manager and Executive Presbyter to provide current financial reports to the Administration Team, Presbytery Coordinating Commission, and Presbytery Assembly.
Maintain and update budgets for presbytery and all entities.
Make a periodic review of the payroll functions and reports.
With the Administration Team provide oversight and review of investments according to the Investment Policy of the Presbytery.
Work with Business Manager and outsourced accountants.
Work with the auditor for the annual audit as needed including:
o Work with the staff to make any changes deemed necessary after an audit.
o periodically review financial controls.
Review and approve any adjustments to the consolidated financial statement and any journal entries and reconciliations.
Review bank statements, including cancelled check images.
Approve any wire transfers as directed by the appropriate entity.
Act as a signer on all bank accounts and investment accounts.


Commitment to Jesus Christ and a ministry of faith and integrity.
Experience with congregational and/or governing body finance.
Understanding of basic accounting practices.
Capacity for interpretation of financial reports and budgets to groups.
Ability to think strategically about financial forecasting.
If inteested in appling, please submit your resume to Craig Howard – choward@chicagopresbytery.org

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Painting a Beautiful Tomorrow

Presbytery of Chicago Mission Statement 2023

Pursuing worship, service, and communities of justice, we are the Presbytery of Chicago, flourishing together by relating people, neighbors, and churches to one another in Christ Jesus.

Anat Shenker-Osorio is a communications specialist and highly sought after political consultant. In the book, The Persuaders, she talks about using images instead of words when helping people understand a policy. For her, Climate Change becomes clean fresh air to breathe and water to drink. Classism becomes paying people enough to provide for their families. Get the idea?Shenker-Osorio likes to say, “Sell the brownie, not the recipe,” and “Say what you’re for,” and “Paint the beautiful tomorrow.”

I wonder what is “the beautiful tomorrow” your church is painting? What does your church or institution look like in flesh and blood? What does the mission statement of the presbytery look like if we could visualize it?

Playing around with the mission statement of the presbytery, I came up with the following.

Pursuing worship looks like this:

Where people leave better than they arrived.

Where learning is met by action.

Where all generations find home.

A church flourishing in community appears like this:

The church in community means to calm and excite, to lead and to follow, to show all what it means to be a member of God’s family.
When people hear us say Jesus,” they smile because they know we care and love them for who they are.

As we meet and make difficult decisions, we know other churches in the presbytery support us, will help us, and encourage us.

These statements are only the beginning of painting the picture of a beautiful tomorrow. What about your church? Try closing your eyes and seeing the people in worship. Visualize the people in the community and see the community coming in the church. Now see people exiting the church and going into the community! See their smiles? See their laughter? See their connections and caring for one another? Feel their hope? Let’s make that beautiful tomorrow happen!

Rev. Craig Howard

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Films for Tough Times (May)

Films for Tough Times — May 2023

The Mental Health Committee has selected the spiritual practice of viewing selected “Films for Tough Times.” The scarcity of mental health therapists and clinical psychologists, as America’s mental health needs have climbed, calls for the practice of self-care in not only personal relationships, but also with Planet Earth.

The newly-named Compassion, Peace, and Justice Mission notes that in order for there to be peace, there must be justice, and in order for there to be justice, there must be compassion.

The over-all topic of Mental Health for the month of May will be honored with the suggested viewing of two films, in order to encourage the spiritual practice of compassion-building.


                A Beautiful Mind (2001) is based on the true story of mathematical genius John Nash (1928-2015).  He became stressed over feeling isolated from his Princeton classmates, which triggered his paranoid delusions.  Director Ron Howard worked with John and his wife Alicia, to gain their approval of accuracy about their lives, in order to evoke the world as seen by John.


                Their psychiatrist diagnosed John with schizophrenia, and explained to Alicia about this mysterious and tragic disease.  After many treatments and medications, finally a new insight came to John’s mind, the cloud lifted, and clear thinking returned to him.  He, with Alicia and their son, traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to receive his Nobel Laureate in Economics in 1994.


                                                                AND / OR


                Martian Child (2007) is based on a true story (though fictionalized) about a widower and lonely science-fiction writer adopting a boy, who claims to be from Mars.  “Dennis” is an abandoned child, moved from one foster home to another.


                As a socially rejected 6-year-old, he doesn’t quite fit into his group home.  The new father with help from his friend and from his sister, discovers that being an adoptive parent means that anything is possible.  The authentic “Dennis” is interviewed at the end of the film.


                                “The Lord is gracious and righteous.  Our God is full of compassion.”

                                                                …..Psalm 116:5

Here are the qualities used for evaluating the films for compassion-building, and for the outcomes hoped for, after watching each film:

Qualities for evaluating films include:

1. Demonstrating compassion given to all of humanity and to all of creation, so that the film makes us feel good about humanity and creation;
2. Making kindness a priority;
3. Working through uncomfortable situations, especially coming to terms with one’s own personal hurt, disappointment, and/or loneliness;
4. Having a joyful ending; and
5. Being free for borrowing at local public libraries or on YouTube.

Outcomes realized after watching a film includes these hopes:

Take note of the scene(s) which built up compassion within, for both humankind, and/or for nonhumankind.
Reflect with self, or a group, on the wisdom of compassion which could be applied to another current situation.
See, hear, and then act. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going,” wrote songwriter Kurt Kaiser in 1969: “That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread God’s love to everyone, you want to pass it on.”


​“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.”

​​Matthew 5:3 (Common English Bible) 

By the Presbytery of Chicago Mental Health Committee

Rev. Jefferson Caldeira, Moderator

Email: mentalhealth@chicagopresbyterty.org

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Focusing on What We Have In Common


Presbytery of Chicago Mission Statement 2023

Pursuing worship, service, and communities of justice, we are the Presbytery of Chicago, flourishing together by relating people, neighbors, and churches to one another in Christ Jesus.

I had a wonderful day preaching at First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville on Sunday. The gracious and hospitable congregation ushered in worship with singing, clapping, strong liturgy, and lots of children! Worship was fun! Afterward I had lunch with two session members. We discussed their anti-racism work and their work on gender-equality. Both efforts are strong, challenging, and difficult. But Libertyville has the spirit and stamina to keep at it. I’m very proud of what this congregation is doing.

What became clear in our conversation is that there is similar work being done in other congregations in the presbytery. Similar, but not exact.

In the new mission statement of the presbytery, churches are challenged to be connected to one another. It is great when congregations reach out to one another and find common ground and ways to work together. Perhaps the presbytery can play a more significant role in connecting congregations while amplifying the mission and ministry they are doing. The challenge will be to connect congregations who may not share the exact same values and mission but have enough overlap to work together on projects. How do we create space for difference as we work together in ministry?

In the book, The Persuaders, Anand Girdhariadas interviews Loretta Ross and talks about her concept of Circles of Influence. Ross breaks down relationships based on the percentage of values groups have in common. She talks about the 90 percenters who share much more in common than the 50 percenters or even the 25 percenters. But one mistake all these groups find themselves doing is focusing on what they don’t have in common. “Instead of focus on vast areasof overlap, they fixated on the divergence. They spend too much time trying to turn people into 100 percenters, which is unnecessary.” Groups must learn to work together in areas they overlap, and not find division in other areas.

What does this look like in the Presbytery of Chicago? For example, what if the people who focus on Creation Ministry could also connect with those who focus on anti-racism work? What if those focused on church vitality and church growth also connected with New Worshiping Communities? These groups do not share 100% of mission with one another, but they have enough in common to support one another and move the dial on their work.

What ministry and mission do you have in common with other congregations or organizations in the presbytery? How can connections be established with churches that may not be perfectly aligned, but have enough in common to support one another in ministry? Perhaps the greatest challenge is to focus on what we share and have in common and focus less on areas of conflict or separation.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

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