What is the Role of Religion in a Multicultural Community?
The neighboring communities of Rogers Park and West Ridge truly represent The World in One Neighborhood, where people from all nations make their homes and about forty different languages are spoken by the families of children in our local public schools. Long-time residents and newcomers practice many different religions, some based on the established traditions of their ancestral homes and others forging new traditions to serve the multicultural environment in which they now live. In this exhibition, we share the story of just a few of our local congregations, highlighting their place in the history of the neighborhood and exploring how they contribute to the life of the community today.
About this exhibition
In September 2018, the Rogers Park/West Ridge Open Houses of Worship Weekend gave visitors a chance to learn more about thirteen local religious congregations. The idea originated in Professor Patricia Mooney-Melvin’s Public History: Methods and Theory class at Loyola University where first-year graduate students were asked to create a program for the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society.
In November 2017, Emily Davis, Nathan Ellstrand, Alexandra Gradwohl and Lisa Hartman presented their proposal to the RPWRHS Board of Directors. We recognized the idea as an opportunity to preserve and share the stories of ethnic groups and faith communities who not only played a role in our neighborhood’s past but contribute to its cultural richness today. With this goal, we invited the students to help make their proposal a reality.
With the help of student researchers and many long-time volunteers, we documented the history of each participating congregation and their activities in the neighborhood today. As you read their stories and take a virtual look inside each congregation, we hope you gain insight into the historic role of religion in our community, and gain a deeper appreciation of the faith traditions that are part of Rogers Park and West Ridge today.