Doing Church Differently

By Rachel Duncan


As I think about my time at Wicker Park Grace (now called Grace Commons), it's become very clear the influence it played on my ministry discernment.  One of the greatest lessons and points of hope for me, as a Christian, was that church could happen another way and that the community of believers could operate in a way that I hadn't found in the many other churches I had already attended.  The worship and the approach to worship was different.  But more than that, it was meaningful and helped me (and other Christians and seekers) to have real worship in which we felt God's presence.  This is not a small point, especially as traditional church worship tends to leave so many empty these days. 

Grace Commons is a place where people can explore and express their faith and encounter Jesus.  For many I met there, it is the first place they've been able to do that since leaving the churches of their youth.  I cannot emphasize enough how important this is for a modern generation of believers and sometimes-believers.  Grace Commons does so much to help people re-encounter or encounter for the first time the living body of Christ in this world. 

As I proceed in my ordination and as I work as the pastor of a much more traditional church (both in theology and in worship), I am more and more convinced of the importance of Grace Commons (and of other churches like it).  I am certain of the positive impact it had on my faith, on my place in the church, and on my call to ministry as a pastor.  I hope and pray and will work to do church like that in my own ministry, God willing.

After participating in the life of Grace Commons, (then called Wicker Park Grace), Rachel went on to Yale Divinity School to receive a Masters of Divinity degree and is in process of moving towards ordination in the Methodist Church.