Friday, January 17, 2014

Ramon Nieves, Pastor of Humboldt Park United Methodist Church

English ... Español ... Memorial

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. It is with profound sadness in our hearts that we share with you the news that our beloved pastor, the Rev. Dr. Ramon L. Nieves, Jr. has passed away following an accident while on a mission trip to Guatemala. Rev. Nieves’ last days were a reflection of his life: serving God. He was born in Humboldt Park and he completed his ministry here in Humboldt Park after 30 years of faithful service. In Guatemala, Rev. Nieves and his wife Yolanda Nieves trained over 180 teachers who will be forever changed because of Rev. Nieves’ wisdom and experience. They will go on to touch the lives of many others because of Rev. Nieves’ work.

It is with joy in our hearts that we can celebrate that work, as well as the life and service of Rev. Dr. Ramon L. Nieves because we are confident that God has welcomed him with open arms saying “well done, my good and faithful servant”.

We ask you to keep Yolanda, Yvonne, Laura, and Vince and the entire family in prayer, as well as the Humboldt Park United Methodist Church. Thank you for your prayers. We appreciate your respect for the privacy of the Nieves family in this difficult time of grief.

Thank you to all who contributed funds to bring Rev. Nieves back to be with his family in Chicago. We are eternally grateful. May God richly bless you. We will keep you informed regarding funeral arrangements as they become available.

Gracia y paz a ustedes en el nombre de nuestro Señor y Salvador Cristo Jesús. Es con gran tristeza en nuestros corazones que compartimos las noticias que nuestro amado pastor, el Rev. Dr. Ramón L. Nieves, Jr., ha fallecido después de un accidente durante un viaje misionero en Guatemala.

Los últimos días del Rev. Nieves fueron de refleción de como él vivió su vida: sirviendo a Dios. Él nació en Humboldt Park y terminó su ministerio aquí en Humboldt Park después de treinta años de servicio fiel. En Guatemala, Rev. Nieves, junto a su esposa Yolanda Nieves, entrenaron a más de 180 maestros a quienes la sabiduría y experiencia del trabajo de Rev. Nieves cambiaron para siempre.

Es con gozo en nuestros corazones que podemos celebrar el trabajo, la vida y el servicio de Rev. Dr. Ramón L. Nieves porque tenemos la confianza que Dios lo ha recibido con brazos abiertos diciendo “bien hecho, mi buen y fiel siervo”.

Les pedimos que oren por Yolanda, Yvonne, Laura, Vince y la familia y al igual que por la Iglesia Metodista Unida de Humboldt Park. Les agradecemos sus oraciones y respeto de privacidad para la familia Nieves durante estos momentos de perdida.

Gracias a todos los que nos apoyaron con sus donaciones para poder traer al Rev. Nieves a Chicago para estar con su familia. Lo agradecemos con todo nuestro corazón. Que Dios les bendiga grandemente. Los mantendremos informados acerca de los detalles de los servicios funerales cuándo estén disponibles.

Memorial Service and Celebration of Life Worship Service

The Nieves' family will hold a Memorial Service and Celebration of Life Worship Service for Rev. Ramon Nieves at Humboldt Park UMC on Sunday, February 2nd at 10:30 am.

Additionally, Visitation, Viewing, and Service is planned for Monday, January 20th from 4 pm to 9 pm at Alvarez Funeral Home located at 2500 N Cicero, Chicago IL 60639.

On Tuesday, January 21st, there will be a final Viewing from 9 to 10 am after which the Burial will take place at Acacia Park Cemetery located at 7800 West Irving Park Road, Chicago IL 60706.

The Family asks that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to Ramon's youngest child Vicente Ramon Nieves' Education Fund via Paypal to (subject: "for Vicente")

Please continue to lift the entire Nieves family and the Congregation of Humboldt Park UMC in your prayers.

Delia Ramirez on behalf of Humboldt Park UMC

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance (LSEA) -- Coming Into Its Own

The Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance (LSEA) was founded by a group of Logan Square churches in 2012. The initial impetus was a public witness on Palm Sunday 2013 -- "Occupy Palm Sunday!" -- organized by First Lutheran Church, Humboldt Park United Methodist, Kimball Avenue Church, and St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square. LSEA built upon discussions that had been ongoing over a period of years among leaders at these churches about finding ways to work together in the Logan Square Community.

2013 was a year in which LSEA solidified itself.

Regularity - We moved to a schedule of regular monthly meetings. We have been graciously hosted by the Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) -- which focuses on violence prevention -- at 2401 W. North. In relation to this, we have developed a routine of providing agendas and minutes, and sharing of tasks.

A goal for 2014 is to continue to put this structure to work to build an even more effective LSEA.

Outreach - In 2013, two major organizations in Logan Square became de facto members of LSEA: ALSO, and Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA). One new congregation became a frequent participant - a new UCC church plant in the neighborhood, Root and Branch Church. Moreover, we gained a route for passive participation (i.e. a path to awareness) by a large number of Logan Square congregations, in that our meeting agendas and minutes are frequently cross-posted with the list related to the housing campaign in Logan Square -- which contains a large number of local faith leaders.

A goal for 2014 is active participation by a larger number of congregations, and by a larger number of members of each participating congregation.

Clarified Goals - The consistency and intentionality with which LSEA participants have approached this work in 2013 have helped us make progress in answering the question, "What's special about LSEA? What do we really want to do?" We are beginning to see the importance of complementing and building upon (rather than trying to duplicate) the work of the very effective community organizations we have in our neighborhood. We are recognizing the special contribution we, as congregations, can make by providing public witness around important social issues. And we are realizing that being relevant and effective requires us to be very tuned into the current developments and issues in the neighborhood: Logan Square is an extremely dynamic social setting, and the needs that must be addressed are rapidly evolving.

Clearly, there is much room to refine and expand this understanding in 2014.

Events - In 2013, LSEA held two major events: the "Remedy for Violence" witness on Palm Sunday, and the "POSADA for Affordable Housing" during Advent. In addition, there were numerous events that were spawned by LSEA connections, including: participation by various congregations in the ALSO Walk for Peace in June; the collaboration between the St. Luke's and Kimball Avenue Church social justice groups to screen "The House I Live In" (about mass incarceration) in July; and the collaboration with ALSO and LSNA in the 2013 Boulevard in August.

We will continue our program of events in 2014, starting with a Palm Sunday event in April.

The prospect for 2014 is to further expand the connections between LSEA and its member congregations and organizations with the Logan Square and Chicago communities!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Agenda - LSEA January 15, 2014 Meeting

We look forward to seeing everyone Wednesday, January 15 - 11 a.m. - offices of ALSO (2401 W North)  for the meeting of the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance.

Please arrive as close to 11 as possible - we have a lot to cover. Our updated agenda includes:

11:00 a.m. Welcome and opening prayer                  

11:10 a.m. Dec 21 POSADA event:  quick debrief

11:20 a.m. Housing (see Community Feedback on the Five Year Housing Plan from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square)

11:30 a.m. Campaign for Better Illinois

11:40 a.m. Planning for rest of 2014

12:00 noon Set next meeting date

12:05 p.m.  Announcements/Upcoming Events

12:15 p.m. Closing Prayer

There will be bagels and coffee!