Orland Park Church
Just about every church has a physical location. How Churches interact with that physical location can vary wildly. Hope’s physical location is in the Historic District of Orland Park and we believe it is our duty, first and foremost to be a neighborhood church.
Gone are the days where the majority of attendants at any church walk to church on Sunday mornings. And as churches attendees have come from broader and broader areas, to say nothing of those who attend virtually from all over the globe, Hope, planted from Community Covenant Church in Lockport, still retains communal memory of that neighborhood church DNA. Planted in 1873, every initial attendee of Community Covenant started out walking to church. The building we currently reside in has a similar history. Built in 1898, the Twin Towers Chapel was one of the first churches in Orland Park and served as a gathering place for the early residents of the now sprawling suburb. Perhaps this shared historical identity was what attracted Hope to purchase the building in 2009 and make it our forever home. At our core, Hope is a church who’s primary mission is the service of those in our neighborhood, which we believe to be Orland Park and its neighboring suburbs.
We know many churches are moving to more corporate structures and positioning themselves on large campuses by express ways or main thoroughfares to attract people from more widespread communities. Their services are conducted in large auditoriums with people from all over the south suburbs. Their primary messaging relates to how individual believers might be changed and challenged by the church and their understanding of scripture… and let’s be honest, their worship is AMAZING. We think that’s awesome and we are glad that those churches exist to provide that service to the south suburbs. That’s just not part of our core mission.
Our core goal is to be a church that blends in with the community we serve, taking steps to assist that community achieve the best flourishing for all its residents and stakeholders. We absolutely are interested in the individual growth of our members and attendees but generally we orient that growth into how we can better become a beloved community, both in and out of the church. Things that might be considered “divisive” or “not appropriate for church” at larger more commuter churches are some of the main things we talk about on Sunday Morning and in small groups. Race, poverty, incarceration, immigration, sexuality, the #MeToo movement, and yes, even politics, are things we discuss regularly. As our pastor likes to say, “Politics affect people and Jesus came and ministered for people.”
Please do not assume that we are politically, ideologically, or even theologically monolithic, however. Far from it. We have people who vote for candidates on all sides of the political spectrum and feel all sorts of way about doctrinal and theological issues. We just choose to agree to disagree, not passively but actively; learning from one another and growing together in Christ. After all, there is so much those who disagree can do together when the focus is on serving their community; in our case Orland Park.
This is why we established the first Homeless Shelter in decades in our building: to serve the most vulnerable members of Orland Park. While many of the nay-sayers to the shelter incorrectly asserted that the shelter would not serve Orland Park, but rather other municipalities and urban areas, we were intentional about making sure the shelter, first and foremost, was for our physical neighbors who were in the most need.
We have seen students from Sandburg and their families and decades long residents of Orland Park come through the shelter system to get the help they need to gain permanent independence and housing security during some of the most challenging times in recent history. We do this because our focus is on serving the community of Orland Park.
This is also why we have a long standing and ever deepening relationship with the Orland Township and Orland Park Library. We partner to provide supplemental resources to township residents and communicate well with Orland Township to make sure that we are not providing overlapping services. We are in this to benefit the community of Orland Park, not for our own glory or self satisfaction.
If you live in the Orland Park area or surrounding suburbs and are looking for a community to connect, serve, and grow deep in your faith, Hope might just be the place for you. If, however, you’re looking for a place to sit back and consume “church” without being challenged or called to a deeper love for your neighbor, Hope is likely not the place for you. We are a church about our neighborhood because we are a church focused on loving our neighbors, even when it gets a little uncomfortable.