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Apr 01, 2011

Transforming Churches, Transforming the World Releases Third Video

Music spanning the globe and the ages. Flexible space for multi-uses. Wide diversity in membership. Welcoming in spirit. Children participating prominently in the liturgy.


St Paul & the Redeemer in Chicago has transformed itself  from a church once described as conflicted to a vibrant worshiping and social community. A product of a 1968 merger of two churches in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, near University of Chicago, the transformation at St Paul & the Redeemer was initiated by one rector, and then continued by the next, with ongoing support from the congregation.


St. Paul & the Redeemer is the focus of the third of five videos in the groundbreaking series, Transforming Churches, Changing the World. Produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communication, the video is available on the home page of the Episcopal Church website the Congregational Vitality page  and on the Church’s Facebook page


“St. Paul & the Redeemer is located in a really vibrant culture because of the University of Chicago’s environs,” noted the Rev. Bob Honeychruch, Episcopal Church Officer for Congregational Vitality.  “The neighborhood is eclectic – mixed race, mixed age.  And the congregation more and more reflects its neighborhood.”


To Honeychurch, St Paul & the Redeemer “exemplifies transformative work.”


Honeychurch added, “This congregation sees its primary point of contact with the wider community through its Sunday morning experience. The worship becomes its witness to the world.”


“What we do is the Episcopal liturgy,” the Rev. Peter Lane, rector, explains in the video.  “We just do it in creative ways.”


During its transformation, the first major change was the music. "That was a signal to the people" that change was here, notes former rector, the Very Rev. James Steen


Under the direction of Dent Davidson, Associate for Music and Liturgy, three different services reflect a variety of worship needs in the community, which Honeychurch called “one of the real cornerstones of their worship. Period of composition, style of composition, origin of composition. Jazz with Gregorian chant. It’s an incredibly rich and diverse music environment.”


The church boasts two children’s choirs which fully participate in the worship.


In addition to musical alterations,  the building itself was transformed, reflecting more open space that can be utilized for many purposes. This change was another important signal, notes Steen. “The space reflects a community that gathers around the table.”


Transforming Churches, Changing the World

The purpose of the Transforming Churches, Changing the World video project is to present identifying characteristics of healthy churches with a focus on ministry and outreach.


A new video in the Transforming Churches, Changing the World series will be presented each month through May 2011. 


Previous videos featured Christ Church, Philadelphia, PA (Diocese of Pennsylvania) and Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix AZ (Diocese of Arizona) and are available here:



The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations.  The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.



St. Paul & the Redeemer:


Diocese of Chicago: