Friday, January 27, 2006

Willow Creek Community Church and Casa de Luz in the News

“God’s community isn’t all one color and doesn’t just speak English. No matter what language people speak or what they look like, we want them to feel welcome at Willow Creek,” says Mark Ashton, director of Spiritual Discovery. “We want to become a church that reflects the ethnic diversity of our community.” -from

Tonight is a milestone in Willow's pursuit of that mission, the Maria del Sol concert celebrating Casa de Luz's launch of it's weekly church services. The Chicago Tribune covers the story in their article, Reaching Out in a New Direction.

The service included a rockin' five-piece band, lyrics projected on a large screen and a casual conversation on stage about spiritual growth between the pastor and a member of Willow Creek Community Church.

It may look like just another Sunday at the South Barrington megachurch, but the 150 or so people gathered inside this intimate chapel were singing and praying in Spanish. And unlike the so-called "unchurched" who traditionally have flocked to Willow Creek's big auditorium down the hall, most everyone grew up with religion, usually Catholicism.

Church leaders started to reach out to the area's growing Hispanic community several years ago by forming a small prayer group on New Year's Eve 1999. They later found that the 2000 census had counted about 112,000 Hispanics within 20 minutes of the church...

But the church's Hispanic neighbors have gradually begun to find their way to Willow Creek, where that small prayer group has evolved into a separate church called Casa de Luz, or House of Light. The church, which draws a consistent crowd of 150 to 200 people, will begin offering two weekly Sunday services this weekend.

At the onset of a recent service, Pastor Hector Hermosillo, clad in jeans and an oversized suede shirt, stood in a second-row pew, singing and clapping to the band's beat. Hermosillo, who joined the church in July, is a former lead guitarist for Luis Miguel, one of Mexico's most popular singers and heartthrobs.

Those rooting for this church say his journey from Mexican rocker to suburban Chicago pastor is another reason to believe that Latinos will find a home at Willow Creek.

The article mentions the Maria del Sol concert tonight (which Steph is going to be working at - and I'm sure she'd appreciate your prayers for the event!) and includes a little of Hector's story. If you live in the area, the concert tonight is free and open to everyone.


Kim Traynor said...

Update: I heard from Steph that about 3500 people attended the concert and 800 people attended Casa de Luz the following Sunday!

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