Twelve IMS students lived in community for a few days at Community Mennonite Church in Markham, Illinois, a poor suburban area south of Chicago. Pastor Cyneatha Millsaps led the students on a driving tour of the neighborhood, pointing out signs of poverty and violence, but also signs of hope. Students spent much of the time volunteering in the church run day-care reading and playing with children ages 1-4. Students also scraped paint and prepared a garden area for a community garden project.
Living together meant cooking and cleaning. One night three students prepared an excellent Mexican meal and the next day, a Korean dish was served for lunch.
On Saturday students traveled to Reba Place where Bryn Hovde’s brother David shared about living in community at Reba Place. Students visited a nearby Ten Thousand Villages store, and a large rock and fossil shop before eating Mediterranean food at a nearby restaurant. We then stopped at Millennium Park before visiting the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sunday morning the group worshipped with Community Mennonite and the students sang several songs as part of the worship service. Pastor Cyneatha spent time with students discussing urban life, racism, and the future of the church, which along with the experience at Markham and Reba Place provided many important issues on which to reflect.