Under Mize, the Glenview Community Church has become ‘intentionally loving’

0


Surprised Monday as he walked into the sunset with his wife, Jeanie, Reverend Dr. Charles Mize was one day removed from his last day as senior pastor at Glenview Community Church.

Some 275 people attended Mize’s last day of service Sunday at 1000 Elm Street, after 41 years in the ministry.

It capped a somewhat unlikely career given that, growing up around St. Louis, with a father he said worked in an oil refinery, Mize was perhaps expected to follow this path.

He entered Elmhurst College with the intention of majoring in chemistry.

“Except God got in the way,” said Mize, 66, known as Chuck.

Ordained in 1980 in his native church in Wood River, Illinois, he followed the divine in three pastorates in Illinois, one in St. Louis and the other during an extended stay in Green Bay. , Wisconsin, before arriving at Glenview Community Church in 2013.

Now, said Mize, “it’s time” to give up the leadership.

Reverend Dr Kent Ulery, originally from Indiana, began Monday as the church’s acting senior pastor. Among other positions, Ulery has served as a minister of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ and, most recently, an associate minister of the UCC Wisconsin conference. For several years, he was president of Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine.

“He has deep and varied experiences,” Mize said of Ulery, who lives in Arlington Heights.

Ulery will continue his pastoral leadership during a time when Mize believes the church as a whole is on a shaky surface.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the doors of Glenview Community Church, Mize said Sunday attendance would be between 300 and 350 people. Since it reopened in January, average attendance has been around half that.

Mize, who obtained both his masters and his doctorate in divinity from the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, released statistics such as a loss of 1.3 million members of the United Church of Christ since its inception in 1980, or a decrease of 1 million people in the Presbyterian Church between 2005 and 2015.

“In general, the church at one time was a cornerstone of our society. And that’s not true now,” Mize said.

“People really believed that there had to be a church, that you had to belong to a church, and that you had to go to church if you were a respectable citizen. The church doesn’t have the same effect anymore, so the church is trying to find its way, ”he said.

Glenview Community Church, with roots dating back to 1897, aspires to lead and attract these citizens.

As an open Church and affirmer of the United Church of Christ, it promotes social justice, disowns systemic racism, and welcomes all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. Several times earlier this year, a Progress-Pride Mize flag displayed outside the church was vandalized.

Mize is proud that, under his leadership, the community of Glenview has attempted to move from a “transactional church to a transformational church” – a church that places more emphasis on service than programming.

“How do we express our faith in the world? he asks rhetorically. “The church has a very active social concerns committee that is engaged in the issues of the day. It means we’ve got our hands on our mission.”

He said that greater devotion to mission parallels changes in the organizational hierarchy of the church. He oversaw the reorganization of 13 independent councils into five ministerial groups, producing a more coordinated effort.

“The church has really, I think, become more harmonious and intentionally loving,” Mize said.

A $ 4 million investment project, which in 2018 updated the infrastructure and accessibility of buildings, was the biggest effort of his tenure, he said. But Mize also relished the simple act of participating in the ordination ceremonies of new ministers.

“It’s an honor,” he said.

As he and his wife, Jeanie Bond, headed for their future on Monday – Chuck will officially retire on sabbatical until April 2022, as the investment project delayed his planned sabbatical – he said he would like to travel, maybe do some writing about history and about his time in church.

At least in the short term, he said, the couple, who have one child, will remain in Glenview.

“It’s what feels good and comfortable,” Mize said.

“It was a great race,” he said. “I served six congregations in five different places. Each was different, and the church with the greatest potential was certainly the Glenview Community Church.

“However, I’m still a Packers fan. Eighteen years in Green Bay is not going to go away.”


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.