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Congregants use Yelp to critique Chicago-area religious institutions, services

Men pray at the Downtown Islamic Center, about which one Yelp reviewer wrote, “What I appreciate the most is how welcoming” the members are.

Men pray at the Downtown Islamic Center, about which one Yelp reviewer wrote, “What I appreciate the most is how welcoming” the members are. | Sun-Times files

Yelp, the popular website, doesn’t just let consumers critique restaurants and other businesses. Many Chicago-area religious institutions also are the subject of Yelp reviews and ratings.

There are comments posted on everything from the diversity of a congregation to the quality of sermons, the beauty of the grounds and the cleanliness of bathrooms.

One Yelp reviewer wrote this about a Chicago mosque: “What I appreciate the most is how welcoming” the members are.

A review of a North Side synagogue described the rabbis as “kind, caring and interesting” and gave it five stars — meaning it’s “as good as it gets.”

Referring to a Hindu temple in Lemont, a visitor noted that the faith has “many different deities” and that the “temple does a very good job” of having space “dedicated to those variations.”

Salem Baptist Church on the Far South Side, the evangelical Willow Creek Community Church and the Catholic Church’s Holy Name Cathedral are among other religious institutions that have gotten reviews on the website.

And, as is the case with Yelp’s restaurant reviews, which at times can be harsh, not all church-related comments on the site are uplifting.

The Religion Roundup is also featured on WBBM Newsradio (780 AM and 105.9 FM) on Sundays at 6:22 a.m., 9:22 a.m. and 9:22 p.m. For more religion coverage, check out suntimes.com. Email tips and comments to Robert Herguth at rherguth@suntimes.com.