March 30, 2017
Last week I was reminded, once again, of the discrepancy that exists in the way people live.
I went with one of our elders to visit a K-8 Christian school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. The school has existed for over 35 years and is housed in an old church. The sanctuary is still intact and the classrooms are in the basement, ground floor and second floor.
The mission of the school is: We are dedicated to preparing godly leaders within our community who will be the “salt of the earth,” full of hope, excelling in their educational pursuits, fulfilling their call, serving and exemplifying the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul and mind.
They make their education available to students regardless of their family income. Tuition is very reasonable, but many of the students are granted a tuition reduction through scholarships, or parents serve at the school and affiliated ministries to help pay for their tuition.
Around the corner from our church is Timothy Christian School. Timothy is as a K-12 school with separate facilities for elementary, junior high and senior high students. It is a school that attracts students from the surrounding suburbs and parts of the city of Chicago. There is a significant minority population who attends. In fact, the minority student population at Timothy is a much higher percentage than those who attend the local public schools.
These schools are in very different locations, serving very different populations, in very different ways. They also operate with very different levels of financial support.
Timothy Christian high school students are issued iPads for their course work.
The Director of Humboldt Community Christian wasn’t sure where she would get 20 Bibles for her students.
Timothy Christian has a significant budget for capital expenses which puts a strain on resources.
Humboldt Community Christian has an old heating system that is giving it problems and they are not sure where the money will come from for repairs.
Timothy Christian is handicap accessible and is constantly working to make sure all students have access to everything. Humboldt Community Christian has three flights of rickety stairs, narrow hallways and doorways. Handicap accessibility is a huge concern.
Timothy Christian has raised approximately $16 million for a new building project which is sorely needed.
Humboldt Community Christian is having an auction soon and hopes to raise $15- 20 thousand, which would help them immensely.
The contrast between Timothy Christian and Humboldt Community Christian is a microcosm of the differences between suburban lifestyles and those of many of the neighborhoods of the city. The public school district in Elmhurst can be similarly contrasted to many Chicago Public Schools.
When you experience that contrast in the same day it leaves your head spinning!
As a pastor, I am committed to helping both of these schools survive and thrive. Timothy Christian School is providing a quality education to students in a distinctively Christian environment. Humboldt Community Christian is doing the same.
One isn’t better than the other because it has more or fewer resources. They are very different schools because of their location, their constituents and their resources. Both are serving God and God’s people in unique ways.
My visit to Humboldt Park reminded me that there is an entirely different world that exists only a few miles east of Elmhurst. As I returned to Elmhurst, I gave thanks for what I have and made a pledge to God, once again, to express my gratitude by helping both institutions fulfill their mission.