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Chicago church to take a virtual field trip on race and suffering on Good Friday

Urban Village Church will stream short “meditations” from outside the Cook County Jail and local sites associated with the Underground Railroad and Emmett Till.

The Rev. Hannah Kardon of Urban Village Church
The Rev. Hannah Kardon of Urban Village Church
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A Chicago church is trying something new on Good Friday.

Instead of holding a conventional service, Urban Village Church will offer a series of seven recorded and livestreamed “meditations” hosted by church members at locations that have ties to historic inequities in the Black community.

The first meditation begins at 10 a.m. from the Mamie Till-Mobley Forgiveness Garden in Woodlawn, named in honor of the mother of slain Chicago teenager and civil rights icon Emmett Till.

The meditations will be broadcast on the church’s Facebook page, where viewers will be encouraged to engage in digital dialogue on societal change and Jesus’ crucifixion.

A noon mediation will take place at a site marking an Underground Railroad location in Maywood. The 1 p.m. mediation will be conducted outside the Cook County Jail.

“Jesus was targeted by the state and a lot of those experiences are reflected in Black experiences today,” the Rev. Hannah Kardon said.

Members of the church have demonstrated outside the jail against racial and health disparities highlighted by the high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

A complete list of locations can be found on the church’s website, www.urbanvillagechurch.org, and Facebook page.

“On Good Friday, people might think about their own individual sin, but we also hope that people will think about this systemically, too, and think of who else in this city and throughout history have been treated unjustly,” said Christian Coon, who co-founded the church in 2010.

Urban Village Church has about 750 members who attend services at rented spaces at four locations around the city and one in River Forest.

Church leaders saw the new Good Friday experience as a sort of virtual field trip.

“Livestreaming during the pandemic is usually a bit sad, a bit less, but we thought, ‘What if we could use it to go out in and learn about the city?’ a place we love and where we see Jesus in all of our communities,” Kardon said.