Archives for posts with tag: Kroc Centers

We returned home this afternoon from a few days on the road.  This morning we were with the Salvation Army in Warsaw IN.  Lieutenants Esteban and Karen Pommier are the corps officers.  The chapel was comfortably filled and their three young sons were among several young children present this morning.  We enjoyed sharing fellowship and worship with the corps.

Yesterday we crossed over into Ohio to meet with Leroy and Lillian Chambliss for lunch at La Rosa’s in Englewood, a suburb of Dayton OH.  Leroy is the pastor for Stillwater at the YMCA, a United Methodist missional congregation that meets in and serves families and staff at the YMCA.Leroy and Lillian Chambliss  2  February 2013

I think Pastor Chambliss’ situation is very much like our Salvation Army Kroc Centers.  We talked over pizza and then visited the Kleptz YMCA where the congregation meets Sunday mornings.  Gail and I can see how our congregations in the new Kroc Centers can become similarly missional.

Pastor Leroy is also a trained Kaleidoscope Institute Associate.  I met Leroy last fall when he trained Salvation Army leaders at the Kansas and Western Missouri Division’s Multicultural Retreat.

Friday we left Chicago early and the roads were decent considering the Thursday night snow.  US 30 across Indiana was the messiest but by the time we turned south pavement was much better.  We arrived in Marion IN at lunchtime to meet with Lieutenants Jason and Dana Bigelow who are corps officers for the Salvation Army in this small city north of Indianapolis.  It’s home of Indiana Wesleyan University.  IWU spring break is early March.  Twenty-four of its students will then travel with the Bigelows to New York City for a week of urban mission work at the Harlem Temple Corps.IWU

Jason and Kelly Pope will work with the Marion mission team in projects and seminars.  It’s a busy schedule but rewarding and full of learning about urban ministry and how the Salvation Army serves in American cities.

Lieutenants Bigelow are also the parents of six week old Noah who will accompany his parents.  An urban mission baby!


Gail and I visited the Chicago Kroc Center this morning.  Major David Harvey spoke to us of the woman who showed her gratitude to Jesus by anointing him with nard.  Smelled good.  I never thought of it until this morning when the Major said the fragrance stayed with Jesus as he was arrested, tortured, went to Calvary.  That’s a powerful image, or can I say that when its a smell?

The Singing Company this morning at the Kroc Center in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood

For 3 or 4 years Majors David and Darlene Harvey have been leading their Soldiers in setup and takedown every weekend for Sunday worship at a Chicago public school.  Hard work.  And conducting youth programs and much more in that temporary home.  Now they are in a beautiful facility on 119th Street just east of I 57, a couple blocks from Christ Universal Temple.The Chicago Kroc doesn’t have thousands attending like at Christ Universal, but they are well over a hundred now.  I sat in on Major Dave’s Recruit class.  Twenty men and women today completed several weeks of classes, learning what it means to be a Salvation Army Soldier.  They will have an opportunity in the next few weeks to make a decision whether to be enrolled as a Soldier, become an Adherent (that’s like a church member) or neither.

Kroc young people with The Singing Company

West Pullman and Roseland are Chicago neighborhoods with serious violence and gang problems.  You wouldn’t know it at the Kroc Center.  People treating each other as brothers and sisters.  No communion.  Just hot coffee and a fresh donut.  And talk of how lives have been changed.  People now ready to step up and join an army that is making a difference in their part of the world.  On Chicago’s south side.


I felt bad. 

We missed the grand opening last weekend of the newest of six Kroc Centers built by the Salvation Army in the Midwest.  The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center located in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood on the far south side.

Here’s John Byrne’s Chicago Tribune article on the Kroc opening with some video.  Chicago Alderwoman Carrie Austin (34th) spoke a hope shared by a lot of people when she said that the construction itself provided jobs “that transformed some lives”.

Alderwoman Austin may be prophetic.  I hope, I pray that she is. 

In the days and years ahead, young people and families, men and women, may just be transformed by a Kroc Center offering abundant life, life which Jesus spoke of when he described his mission.  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

I saw Corps Sergeant Major Vincent Johnson the Sunday before.  He’s one of the energetic Soldiers led by Majors Dave and Darlene Harvey at the Chicago Kroc.  Vincent asked if I would be at the big weekend and I felt badly to say we would be out of town.

Gail and I have enjoyed visiting with the corps from time to time as it’s met for several years in a Chicago public school.  The corps hosts one of the largest Sunday morning Salvation Army gatherings in the Midwest.  In a borrowed building.  Amazing.

It’s been a long sojourn for the Harveys and their growing corps.  Congratulations.  God bless you.


Last summer our daughter Kirsten served as a trainee with Majors Bob and Collette Webster at the Kroc Center in South Bend IN.

Kirsten wrote at that time –

The Kroc Center here in South Bend has a Unity Garden.  It is part of a community initiative to make sure everyone has access to fresh vegetables, as well as educating everyone about how to grow this food.  I spoke with a volunteer on Saturday about her Unity garden- she said last year they had to replant the garden because the whole first crop died- the learning curve.  Education about fresh vegetables is critical in this community to help people access the food available growing from the ground 🙂  And it is provided by this initiative.


Here’s specific mention of the Salvation Army’s partnering with Unity Gardens.  Scroll down and you’ll see a couple photos of work on the Army’s garden (sorry, I couldn’t post them here).

Good investment in the community, and a nice collaborative arrangement!


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.

John, you were right.  Smashburger is the best.  The best tasting hamburger.  And the sweet potato fries with bits of rosemary.  With a cherry Coke.  And a charming 7 month old baby girl seated next to me.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Sydney is the daughter of Jason and Kelly Pope.

It was lunch this afternoon after the MAP Conference in Grand Rapids.

Some of my personal highlights of the Mission and Purpose Weekend based at the Grand Rapids Kroc Center:

  • John Kim Friday night showing us how Korean grandmothers clap for his son Josh as he runs in a foot race
  • A solemn faced delegate quietly coming up to me then pulling out of his pocket a 12 gauge shotgun … shell, a rifled slug.  He found it Saturday afternoon while part of a I’ll Fight Day Mission crew cleaning up a neighborhood lot.  What do you do with ammunition?  I forgot about it until on the drive home and felt it in my jacket pocket.  Gail suggested I take it out now before I have the TSA people find it on me at an airport.  Good idea.
  • Mary, a Soldier from the Milwaukee West Corps, sent by her Corps Officers, Captains Steve and Latdavanh Kounthapanya.  Mary is Burmese and has a heart for Burmese Christians who have relocated to the USA, struggling to keep their faith while trying to adjust to the American life.  She would like to do something to help minister to them.
  • One young man who saw the promotional cards and is now interested in the St Louis Temple Houses.
  • The chatter all day Saturday after Jason and Kelly Pope’s presentation on organic officership, organic Army.
  • Commissioner Carol Seiler’s Sunday morning message, particularly one phrase, “the freedom of responsibility” which was also flipped around to “responsibility of freedom”.  I immediately cross referenced it to Bonhoeffer’s “world come of age”, a tantalizing phrase in Letters and Papers From Prison.  Human autonomy.
  • Superb food and ‘radical hospitality’ courtesy of the Kroc food department led by Ben Price.  Who holds a degree from Asbury Seminary in missions.  Ben’s theology of the table guides his ministry on the Kroc team.
  • The pleasure this morning of watching Commissioner Carol preach and Major Marc Johnson translate into Spanish.  The Grand Rapids Kroc Church is a multicultural church where worship is bilingual on Sunday morning.
  • The pool, gym, game room and other pleasant pursuits available after plenary sessions and the IFD Missions, but what did most delegates chose?  To spend time visiting.  Meeting and getting to know one another.
  • Shawn Okpebholo revealing that The Singing Company is his 7 month old daughter’s favorite.  When played, TSC music soothes Eva.

One last highlight.

Saturday afternoon Captain Melissa Fry of the Heartland Division was working with a team raking leaves.  She looked over and saw an old man trying to move a large piece of wood.  She watched and then offered help.  They struggled but together succeeded in moving it.  She asked him what was he thinking, trying to move something he could not move.  He said he knew that God would send help.

Note to self.  I googled and there is a Smashburger just ten minutes away.

Later today we will leave the Kroc Center in Grand Rapids MI where we’ve been meeting with 164 delegates of the Mission and Purpose weekend.  Great speakers, workshops, and the weather cleared up for work outdoors Saturday afternoon.

After lunch MAP delegates divided up into twelve teams of workers to join the Kroc Center’s I’ll Fight Day Missions.  Raking leaves in their neighbors’ yards, picking up trash along Division Street, randomly treating drivers at intersections with fresh donuts, visiting homes of students to celebrate their progress at the Kroc’s tutoring program, distributing batteries for smoke detectors.  Very real ways to go and to give in the Kroc neighborhood.

We shared our stories with each other at the evening plenary session led by Captain Scott Shelbourn of Omaha NE.  We also heard Dr. Shawn Okpebholo tell his story of how his and his family’s lives were changed because they were visited by Salvation Army people.   Shawn is now a professor of music at Wheaton College as well as a part of the Army’s Oakbrook Terrace Corps, an outstanding place of Salvation Army mission to its community in Chicago’s western suburbs.

Frank Massolini also was with MAP on Saturday night.  He showed us a video telling about the PROMISE Initiative in Chicago.  PROMISE is the Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation which tells you how the Salvation Army under Frank’s leadership is dealing with a widespread yet virtually unnoticed injustice in Chicago, its suburbs, the Midwest, in the USA.  In fact, Frank pointed out to us that even as we picked up trash along Division Street he watched a pimp at work.

Frank has been involved for 24 years in this initiative.  He told us why.   Today Frank serves as Director of PROMISE, a full-time work which he does as a volunteer.  His story was moving.  He is a man with a mission who has found the Army to be his place of mission.  Thank you and God bless you, Frank.

Time to begin the day, got to go.  Try to write again later today about MAP to share more.

Looking for an opportunity to serve in the name of Jesus in an under-resourced urban neighborhood?

Major David Harvey of the Chicago Kroc Center shares –

If you have a passion for sports or the arts and want to change the world by bringing

 Jesus to Kids trapped in a community of violence and few opportunities,

Keep reading…

 Job Postings

For Immediate Hire

 The Salvation Army

Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center

P.O. Box43095

Chicago,Illinois  60643



Positions Available

 Director Of Operations

 Sports and Fitness Director

 Facility Director

 Resource and Development Director

 Business Director

 Aquatics Director

 Education and Arts Director


To learn more or to apply, please visit our web site at:

Go to the CAREER page and read the descriptions and submit your resume.

Last Wednesday morning it rained in Atlanta, heavy at times.  Not an icy cold rain like we would have this time of year in Chicago.  The rain seemed to feel and smell like spring is on the way.  It felt good.

The painting crew of Indiana Wesleyan students was dodging drops as they assessed what to do next.  They had been painting staircases all week in an apartment building near the Atlanta Kroc Center.  For several years the apartments have become a focus for Experience Mission teams working with the Salvation Army in the neighborhood. 

Residents have been asked what could be done to help them.  One of the ideas is fresh paint.  Paint goes on.  Relationships are deepened with residents.  The owner treats students to lunch.  Does this help the community?  Yes.  Will it benefit the Army?  Hard to say.

Is the Army’s mission to benefit the Army?  Or to meet human needs? 

Do we have difficulty distinguishing mission?  At times.  We struggle to be free with releasing resources of manpower, time and money.  We worry too much and come close to being ungenerous.  Prudence and wisdom, who can argue.  But parsimony and fear are just so close that at times we err, not going and giving as we ought.

Here’s the thing.  College students during their spring break.  Pay with their own money.  To sleep on the floor of a corps building.  So they can paint someone else’s building, play with and teach other people’s children, visit the elderly parents in nursing homes of men and women they will never meet, stock shelves in the food bank for families they will never see. 

What’s wrong with these college kids?

This thing is mission.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only son … God sent his son into the world (John 3:16-17).  Mission is simply going and giving in the name of Jesus.  When we give and go we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It may also make words credible. 

     I by my works will show you my faith …  James 2:18

                     It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching …  St Francis of Assisi

Yesterday I visited the Grand Rapids MI Kroc Center in preparation of the Mission and Purpose Conference, October 28-30, to be hosted at this newest of six Kroc Center openings in the Midwest.

In the course of our MAP planning Major Marc Johnson and Captain Peter Mount began sharing the vision for the Grand Rapids Kroc.  I tend to think in terms of programs conducted in the Kroc Center.  It’s easy to do so.  A large, well staffed, busy building.  Lots of people coming and going.  Gym, exercise areas, a cafe greeting all who walk in, state of the art auditorium/chapel, etc.  But after listening to Major Johnson and Captain Mount it’s clear that they are thinking in terms of community development.

Major Johnson shared demographics of the 1 mile radius for this southeast area surrounding the Kroc.  Almost evenly Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian.  What should those walking into the Kroc look and sound like?  You figured it out.  And what can be done in the building and programs to make the Kroc a welcoming and meaningful place to participate in its programs?  Right again.

Back to community development.  Captain Mount described a monthly commitment made by the corps of the Kroc Center, the fellowship of Salvation Army officers and soldiers who gather for spiritual formation through worship and discipleship.

The corps opened in October and soon decided to devote one day a month to go out and give to the surrounding neighborhoods of the Kroc Center.  Last fall, raking leaves.  This winter, shoveling sidewalks so children can get to school.  Helping those living on the streeets of southeast Grand Rapids with their needs, hurts, and hopes.  Lawn care for those who can’t, and even those who could but haven’t yet seen what it can do for their home and community.  Captain Peter shared one story of a woman who was so deeply moved at the Kroc crew that she disappeared, returning from the store with refreshments for the crew.  It’s nice when streets and homes are fixed up.  It is glory to see lives touched and a day transformed.

Go and give.  Mission unadorned.  For God so loved the world, that he … for God sent His Son …

MAP weekend?  October 28-30 we may join the corps in its mission while we are at the Grand Rapids Kroc Center.

%d bloggers like this: