“Part of Something Bigger: Exploring our Heritage” John 17:20-26
Rev. Sean Weston
Lyonsville Congregational UCC, Indian Head Park IL
June 16, 2019
It was 1943. World War II was raging. The United States military – still segregated by race – was now an active part of the war. Word was starting to get out about the horrors taking place in Germany, only later to be called a Holocaust. Allied forces triumphed in Italy, yet as the year ended it would be another year and a half before the war would end.
Life at home was lived to the tune of the Glenn Miller orchestra. More and more items were rationed: shoes, canned foot, meat, cheese, butter, cooking oils. Factories that used to employ men making cars were employing women making bombs and plane engines. And even though it would be four years before Jackie Robinson broke the color line and Black players were allowed in Major League Baseball.
Some church leaders got together that year, representatives of the Congregational Christian Churches (of which Lyonsville was a part) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church (of which Burr Ridge UCC’s predecessor congregations were a part). They were looking out at the world and didn’t like what they saw. Death, destruction, and division were the themes of the day. I’d add depression too – 1943 is the year the Great Depression was officially ended, so it wasn’t far from anyone’s mind. Church life didn’t seem to be offering anything different to the world. People were scarce with so many men overseas; money and resources were tight. The church was just as divided as the world. So some church folks got together, and asked “is there a better way we can be doing this?” Continue reading