This morning Gail and I visited the Chicago Kroc Corps for their Sunday worship.

The Corps continues to meet in the Higgins Community Academy at 117th and South Morgan Streets until the new Kroc Center is completed early in 2012.  It means equipment setup and take-down in the school gym every weekend by Majors Dave and Darlene Harvey and their Soldiers. 

Majors Dave and Darlene led classes of adults and children to prepare them for enrollment to join the Kroc Corps Salvation Army Soldiers and Junior Soldiers.  The worship service that followed was a little different today because major Sunday worship leadership was gone, deservedly for some rest and relaxation.   Which explains how I got drafted to play keyboard. 

And it was a treat to play this morning with Jason Ferguson and Nate Latham.  I’ve known Jason and Nate since our years together at the Chicago Temple Corps.  And, Leonora and Kym Lewis, mother and daughter, formerly of the Chicago Midwest Corps, now transferred to the Kroc Corps.  An unexpected and happy reunion this morning with these four former westsiders.

After worship, Majors Dave and Darlene brought a group of us on a tour of the Kroc Center construction site.  The building is now close to completion.  I like the ‘green’ roof on the northside of the building; it will be filled with plants next summer.  It will cover the largest Kroc Center in the Midwest, in the most challenging neighborhood of all six Kroc Centers.  South side Chicago’s West Pullman is a rough place with many of the problems associated with inner cities.  But it’s also a place with many families and neighbors doing their best to make their community a livable place to raise families.  The Kroc Center will help strengthen and enrich the West Pullman neighborhood.

As we finished the tour and were leaving, a man was out on the corner, raking leaves in front of his house.  As Gail and I drove away Major Darlene walked over to greet the man.  He smiled, they began talking.  The Kroc Center is already making good neighbors.

Here’s an earlier Chicago Kroc Center story.