Un-Establishment of Religion: Chicago Mayor Daley Freaks out the Methodists

Note: if you arrived at this thread looking for information about disability events Friday and Saturday (from chicagotemple.org):

The Disability Community Open Mic will be hosted by the Temple on July 24th from 6-8:30pm in the James Parlor. This is an annual event that provides a forum for people to share their thoughts, writings, and poems about the disability experience. Food and drinks will be provided.

Come watch the Disability Pride Parade on Saturday July 25th with your family and friends. Parade steps off is at 11am from Van Buren St and marches north on Dearborn to Washington St, ending at Daley Plaza. Over 40 disability groups march as a way to increase disability awareness and promote the belief that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. Stay for the fun post-parade celebration with music, performances, and speakers in Daley Plaza. There are also exhibit booths where the Temple will have a booth to share information about our church.


Can you close down a church with uneven parking regulations? The Methodist church in the historical Gothic building across the street from Daley Plaza is about to find out. Churchgoers who tried to park in front of the church Sunday found themselves greeted with the following sign:


Do Not Park Here

After 30 years of cooperation the city has decided to withdraw its permission for us to park on Washington and Clark Streets on Sunday mornings. They will tow without regard for our attendance at worship services.
You may park for $5 at the Washington-Wells Madison Self Park Garage. Enter at 172 West Madison or 170 West Washington. Get an over-ride ticket available from the person on duty at the Temple’s Washington Street entrance.

The street, usually parked full on Sunday morning all around Daley plaza, was totally deserted.

Methodists during 11 am service

but a few did make it into the church:

Do Not Park with handicapped cart

Compare this to the vibrancy of the city on Easter Sunday:

Easter Sunday-Washington avenue

How does the city deal with other churches about parking?  I walked over to the Gold Coast to see how the Mayor’s own church, Holy Name Cathedral, was faring.  As it turns out, God is on vacation over at Holy Name:

Holy Name on vacation

but the parking situation couldn’t be better.

Holy Name across parking lot

In case anyone is wondering, the parking lot belongs to Holy Name Cathedral and the Archdiocese of Chicago:

Holy name parking sign1

And other churches?  I walked over to St. James Episcopal, also a historic church, famous for their weekly rush-hour wine-tasting concerts, and found a quiet side street equipped with paid parking machines, as is the area surrounding Holy Name.

St James Pay to Park

Although the city is no doubt desperate for more revenue to pay for it’s O’Hare expansion and other projects, “Pay to Park” is not a viable option for Washington Avenue where the Methodists hang out–it’s a very central street prone to rush hour gridlock.

Instead of trying to shut the city down to residents during the weekend, City Hall should be trying to open it up.  Like most American cities, Chicago experienced a decline in the 60’s , and is now beginning an upward trend. The city has a new vitality in the city center, typified by overall gentrification and some new condo developments on the near south side.  Although not as well funded as institutions like Fourth Presbyterian and the Pacific Garden Mission, the above church has done way more than its share for those who have fallen through the city’s safely nets–the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill–even though it has meant church members being accosted on their way in and out of the church and some older church members being afraid to walk even as far as the bus stop. Now many of those social services have been shifted elsewhere and I no longer see large numbers of panhandlers and homeless in the immediate vicinity of the church and plaza.  But the city should be taking advantage of the new atmosphere of security to promote the city, and to turn it into something the residents can use, rather than trying to turn it into a ghost town and shut down those who are making a positive contribution.

Here is an example of what the plaza should look like.  It’s a group of children playing on the Picasso during one of the festivals last year.

I love photographing the Picasso and somehow manage to take a picture of it almost every time I’m downtown, which isn’t that often due to parking and transportation costs.  But at any rate, this is what art is for. This is what Chicago is for.
picasso eyes

temple and picasso picasso with children temple and picasso1

*”Unestablishment of Religion”:

The First Amendment
“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”

UPDATE: Temporary signs have been posted permitting Sunday parking with a permit.

3 Responses to “Un-Establishment of Religion: Chicago Mayor Daley Freaks out the Methodists”

  1. A. J. P. Crown Says:

    I like the idea of rush-hour wine-tasting concerts. ‘Holy Name’ is a peculiar name, they should have been more specific.

  2. A. J. P. Crown Says:

    And nice pictures of the city, by the way.

  3. Nijma Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. I love showing off my city.

    I went to one of the wine concerts when relatives were in town–they found it in a brochure. It was very nice. The acoustics aren’t bad, although I’ve heard better, like maybe at the last church pictured here. Although Methodists never have wine in the church.

    Maybe “Holy Name” is easier to spell than “Tetragrammaton”.

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