Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Benefits Care for Real Food Pantry

One of the most beloved and enduring traditions in our community is the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service conducted by ECRA, the Edgewater Community Religious Association. It is a time when we come together to celebrate our diversity and give thanks for all we have. Care for Real (CFR), the Edgewater Communtiy Food Pantry, is honored and fortunate to be the beneficiary of the special collection taken at this service. In recent years, more than $2,000 and a ton of food were donated to CFR. These donations enable CFR to make Thanksgiving dinner possible for hundreds of their clients. In 2011, St. Gertrude Catholic Church hosted the event. This year, it will be held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana at 1124 W. Rosemont, Chicago. For more information, contact Rev. Jacki Belile, an ECRA volunteer, at 773.655.4357 or

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A History of Care for Real in Edgewater

Care for Real Care for Real was established in 1970 by Father William Johnson of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Emanuel Congregation and other members of the Edgewater Clerical Rabbinical Association. This organization, which is now known as the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA), wanted to provide emergency help to victims of fires in "Arson Alley," the Kenmore-Winthrop corridor between Foster and Devon. It was intended to be a short-term solution to a specific problem. However, it soon became clear that there was a need in Edgewater for an ongoing safety net for neighbors in need. Today Care for Real is the safety net for the entire Edgewater neighborhood and surrounding communities. Today, Care for Real is an independent 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help neighbors in the Edgewater community by providing food, clothing and counseling services to those in need. They do this through on-site food distribution, deliveries to the homebound, a free clothes closet and a case-management program to help clients connect with other services they may need. Atonement supports Care for Real through a variety of programs. For more information about Care for Real, visit their website. Source:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Edgewater - United in Hope (Interfaith Memorial on Sept. 11, 2011)

Edgewater residents gathered on Sept. 11th at the Clark Street Fire Station near Ridge to remember not only the nation’s tragedy but also Chicago police and firemen who were killed in the line of duty this past year. A bell was rung after each name was read by their commanding officer. Cdr. Lucy Moy-Barstok, 20th Police District had the sad duty of reading the most names. Thankfully there were no losses in the 24th Police District. Each of Edgewater's religious leaders, Christian, Jew and Muslim, read a pledge to peace in our community. They were organized by the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA). The shofar was blown by Rabbi Michael Zedek of Emanuel Congregation and the Emanuel Junior Choir sang under the direction of Ruthie Seidner. Colors were presented by the students of Rickover Naval Academy. The Chicago Fire Department bagpipers opened and closed the ceremony with renditions of God Bless America and America the Beautiful. Alderman Patrick J. O’Conner (40) gave the keynote address, stressing the need to live together but also maintaining our alertness. The outdoor ceremony was organized by Alderman Harry Osterman (48) and Alderman Patrick J. O’Conner (40) in cooperation with ECRA. Fire Department Grounds were decorated with US flags and other historical banners which are still on display. Read more and see more photos at Edgeville Buzz. This story adapted with corrections. Photo credit: Edgewater – United in Hope. Tracy Poyser, PhotoART

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Praying for the Heart of Edgewater

Sunday, May 15, 2011. 2-3pm.

Join Edgewater neighbors of all backgrounds and ages in this rally for peace. We will bear witness to the tragedies of the violence in which we live, and to the power of community in seeking real solutions together. We will lift up our visions of a safer, healthier, and more just and unified neighborhood. We will meet near the Thorndale El stop, join together in lifting our concerns and hopes, and then march throughout the neighborhood together to bless sites of particular vulnerability.

Volunteers from local faith communities are especially urged to consider becoming a team leader to assist with publicity, signage and the neighborhood walk which will follow the 2pm launch event.

Contact a member of the Planning Committee for more information:
Rev. Jacki Belile at 773.655.4357 (or
Mr. Tom Robb at 773.274.2380 (or
Rev. Dr. Barb Cathey at 773.577.7363 (or

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sacred Seeds: Children of Abraham Reading Text Together

Since 2008, ECRA has sponsored ongoing interreligious gatherings called "Sacred Seeds" in Edgewater. At each event, local leaders of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities discuss a chosen shared sacred texts and their tradition's understandings of the images, metaphors and purpose of these stories. So far, several hundred people from the neighborhood have been richly blessed by these encounters. Watch videos here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Care for Real!

Check out the devoted and diligent outreach of our neighborhood's food and clothing pantry, Care for Real, which ECRA founded.