A New Office Strategy

The Presbytery of Chicago is one of a few urban presbyteries in the PC(USA) with congregations only in the city and suburbs. There are no congregations in rural, country, or small towns. The Presbytery serves four counties with a combined total population of over seven million people. The 22,000 Presbyterians who worship in the 79 congregations and 4 new worshipping communities are huddled primarily in the northern, western, and northwest suburbs, forming a halo around the city’s outer edges.

Craig Howard in the Elk Grove office

The staff and administration committees have spent the past 10 months searching for a new office location. The current location has become untenable because of parking. Unfortunately, an attempt to move into the Worldwide ELCA Center near O’Hare did not work. A nearby office building in Elk Grove Village presented a spacious suite with ample parking and competitive pricing. This five-year commitment to Elk Grove means moving the office from downtown Chicago, providing access for the majority of congregations and members. It also recognizes that the Presbytery’s focus goes beyond the city of Chicago and into Chicagoland.

A key post-COVID reality is hybrid meetings. The new office provides for face-to-face and hybrid meetings. As part of the new office strategy, we are looking for satellite meeting space in congregations on the Southside, South suburbs, and Northside. These satellite meeting spaces will provide opportunities for Presbyterians to meet face-to-face while connecting with others technologically throughout Chicagoland. The option to Zoom in from home will continue to be available. The Presbytery has purchased equipment that allows any congregation to become a hybrid location meeting space.

Having a primary office where staff can work, meet, and safely store records and technology equipment is a necessity. By having satellite meeting spaces throughout the Presbytery, everyone is welcome to participate and serve without burdening those who depend on public transportation or who are geographically far away. This is a strategy for being connected and living justly.

More will be said about the new office move and connectional strategy at our upcoming Presbytery Assembly on May 21. You may register here. I’m looking forward to seeing you in person or online as we live into being the Presbytery of Chicagoland in the post-COVID reality.