Amid these trying times dealing with COVID-19, quarantine protocols, closed businesses and increased violence across the nation, St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Homewood was without a pastor.
In early spring, the members began searching for a new leader.
Accepting the church’s call to serve, was the Rev. Beverly Dukes, a three-year veteran of ministerial service. She was welcomed to the 60-year-old congregation on Sunday, July 5, via the service presented through Zoom, the video conferencing app.
She earned her Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston. Additionally, she holds a Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University. She previously served as pastor at East Side United Methodist Church in Chicago.
Dukes said she was called to serve as a minister after a 25-year career in child welfare services with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). She worked particularly with children in state care and marginalized communities.
“I had worked so long with families and children, seeing all the barriers preventing them from having a decent life and I wanted to find ways for them to have a quality education and a safe, secure place for them to lay their heads at night,” she said. “In the ministry, we are committed to the work of Jesus Christ. We are to encourage spiritual development and learning to walk with the Lord. In these difficult times we are here to support one another and be connected to the extension of God’s grace.”
According to Dukes, the future for St. Andrew includes the growth of the ministries to the community.
“We want to be more visible and let the community know we are here. We will continue the work of Jesus Christ through the helping of people here who are in need. Families are out of work, struggling to pay bills and trying to keep their families together. We want to minister to them.”
Currently the church has not been able to hold services in the building, due to COVID-19.
“We have an older membership and it is important to keep them safe. Fortunately, we have been able to hold our services through Zoom, but we are working on a date to be able to return to the Sanctuary. We are looking forward to being together again. We continue praying!”
Dukes resides in Lynwood with her husband, Leon Dukes.
For further information on St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 18850 Riegel Road, call 708-798–8904 or visit its website at www.homewoodsaintandrew.org.