- Created on 28 November 2012
Pastor Corey Brooks commemorated the one-year anniversary of the end of his now legendary 94-day rooftop campout by organizing a community tent city Thanksgiving weekend.
For three days Brooks, members of Project Hood and New Beginnings Church camped out in tents day and night on the gravel lot where the old motel once stood. The goal, as is the custom with Brooks, was to keep the spotlight on the continued crime in the community and raise funds for the community center they would like to build on the site.
The temperatures plummeted to below freezing as the campers and fundraisers hit the streets but Brooks and his fellow campers where undeterred by the elements.
"This is something that God has led me to do," said Margaret Taylor, as she solicited donations from passersby. "I am a born again Christian and I'm here to support what God has anointed Pastor Brooks to do and that's to develop the community and help raise a generation that has not discovered who they are."
"I think the community center will help to spark that God-given gift that's in each and every person and to add value to their life, and where there's value there's hope," Taylor said.
After completing his cross-country walk Brooks said he thought about taking a rest, citing fatigue and media burnout, but being idle is not his nature so he decided to bring out his tent one more time.
"I wish I could take a longer break, but the enemy isn't taking a break so I can't take one right now - now is work time," Brooks said.
"Jesus was about seeing needs and meeting needs," Brooks added. "And that's what the church is really supposed to be about and the greatest need in our community is to do something for the children. So that's why we're working so hard to get the funds for this community center."
The community center will cost an estimated $15 million, and Project Hood is just scratching the surface as far as meeting that lofty financial goal. Brooks said that doesn't deter him in the least, especially since he started receiving small donations from incarcerated men from around the country.
"They send in donations of three and five dollars and they write some of the most amazing and encouraging letter," Brooks said of the inmates who learned of him from his first rooftop camp out. "And none of them have asked me for anything, they're just encouraged and supportive of what we do - it's just amazing."
The tent city event didn't draw as many participants as Brooks would have liked, and the blast of cold weather may have had something to do with the low turnout. But Brooks, being an eternal optimist plans to keep pressing on.
"I try to look at the positive and not the negative in a situation. I wish that things could be better and I tell myself that they are going to get better, and the only way we're going to get better is if we make them better," he said.
"We're trying to do our piece on this block, then others will do their piece on their block, and all of us collectively can make a drastic change in the neighborhood."
- Created on 27 November 2012
The world-renowned Chicago Children's Choir returns to Bethel United Church of Christ in Elmhurst to perform two "Christmas Celebration" concerts at 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
The exclusive events will be the only Christmas concerts open to the public this year in the Chicago area by the ensemble's elite Concert Choir. Due to popular demand of last year's sold-out performance, the Emmy Award-winning choir added an additional concert as part of the 14th season of the Music at Bethel Concert Series.
"Last year's show was so inspiring, we are thrilled to be able to bring an additional concert to Bethel this year," says Jeff Panko, minister of music and artistic director of the Music at Bethel Concert Series.
Chicago Children's Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence. Chicago Children's Choir conducts in-school programs for 61 schools serving 2,500 youth, providing interactive arts instruction to schools that have essentially no arts programs. These programs help recruit children to join the eight neighborhood choirs, made up of nearly 600 kids. From the neighborhood choirs, auditions are held to select the best 100 voices for admission into the Concert Choir, which tours nationally and internationally.
"We are so happy to be back as part of the Music at Bethel concert series this holiday season," says Josephine Lee, president and artistic director for Chicago Children's Choir. "It is quite inspiring to the children to know that last year's performance was so well accepted that an additional concert has been requested. It really means so much to this very special group of hard working and talented kids."
For 14 years, Panko has been producing and performing in classical, jazz and world-music events for the Music at Bethel Concert Series. The intimate setting has played host to some of the world's most accomplished classical musicians and singers from the region.
Upcoming performances for the series include Heisenberg Uncertainty Players at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10, and a special piano concert by Jeffrey Panko at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 28.
Bethel United Church of Christ is at 315 E. St. Charles Road. Tickets are available online through www.musicatbethel.com or by calling (630) 279-4040. Ticket prices range from $12 to $35.
- Created on 20 November 2012
A Deerfield woman was charged Monday with stalking the Rev. Michael Pfleger — allegedly violating an order of protection he took out against the woman earlier this month.
Lydia Kuzniar, 55, of the 1100 block of Montgomery Drive in Deerfield, was charged Monday afternoon with felony counts of stalking and aggravated stalking in violation of an order of protection, a police source said.
Police arrested Kuzniar at 11:13 a.m. Sunday at St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Place, where Pfleger is pastor, police said.
Authorities couldn't immediately say what she was doing at the parish, but said she was previously arrested at the church Nov. 8 for allegedly trespassing. Pfleger had a "no-contact" order served to her two days later, police said.
Kuzniar allegedly violated that same order of protection about 11:30 a.m. Nov. 11, when she was again arrested at the church for trespassing and misdemeanor stalking, according to police.
Pfleger, an outspoken anti-violence activist, has been pastor at the Auburn Gresham neighborhood church since 1981.
Kuzniar is expected to appear in bond court Tuesday.
- Created on 23 November 2012
In celebration of the one year anniversary of his sit in on the roof of an abandoned Chicago hotel, Corey S. Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church, is asking supporters to join him this Thanksgiving weekend to continue raising funds for his proposed community center.
From now until Sunday, November 24 at midnight, the Roof Top Pastor is hosting "Tent City" on the site of the former hotel at 6625 S. King Drive. Supporters are welcome to pitch their tent alongside Pastor Brooks, donate funds and call their circle of family and friends to also support his efforts.
Brooks is again using social media to get out the word, sending Tweets, Instragram photos and video from the frigid tent city. His ultimate goal is to raise $15M to construct the center. A spokesperson for Pastor Brooks says the numerous calls from supporters wanting to join Brooks on the rooftop a year ago for his solo sit-in inspired this weekend's "tent city". She confirms people are continuing to come in and they expect a local west side boy scout troop will be joining them later today. Those interested in joining Pastor Brooks or in making a donation may call 773-326-4200.
Track the progress of Project H.O.O.D. - Helping Others Obtain Destiny at http://projecthood.org or follow Corey Brooks on Twitter @CoreyBBrooks
- Created on 18 November 2012
When we look forward or back for the highlights of our lives, we tend to overlook the beauty in the "ordinary" parts of our experience. In this time of "highlights" on TV, we have been taught to wait and look forward to the big events. We have been programmed to only see the big things and ignore the small areas of our lives. But, it is the small areas that define our experiences. It is the "small" things that we remember most.
Ask a loved one what is the one thing they love about you most and most likely they'll recall a small event you did that made a big difference in their lives. Our lives are measured by small acts of kindness. Today, when you count your blessings, remember the little things and you'll find God.