If you aren’t on our mailing list yet, then you haven’t heard of our special interior tour of the Chicago Temple Building we are offering this Saturday, August 6. Ever since I first popped into this building while conducting research for our “Inside the Loop: Explore the Unexpected” tour I’ve been fascinated by it for a few reasons, particularly
1. The fact that thousands of people walk by it every day without any idea that this skyscraper, owned by the church, includes a sanctuary with wood carvings, stained glass windows, and full access during business hours.
3. Its “Sky Chapel” – a petite little room saturated with color and filled with quietude above the city.
We step inside the building on our “Inside the Loop Tour,” and of all stops on all our tours, this church has elicited the greatest amount of questions. I’ve met a few times with Senior Pastor Phil Blackwell to uncover answers, and now I have even more questions for this 1 hour, 45 minute long tour this coming Saturday. Through my discussions with him, I’ve found even more interesting aspects of this urban church. It’s an incredible hub for providing social services, such as a special tutoring program for youth at Ruben Salazar, a school of predominantly low-income youth in Back of the Yards, Pilsen, and Little Village neighborhoods. The church also frequently hosts protesters before they march on City Hall in Daley Plaza because the Methodist Church has a long history of fighting for social justice issues.
For the “Exclusive Tour of the Chicago Temple Building,” I’ll be the guide along with Pastor Phil (he’ll be checking me and seeing whether I’ll make it to tour guide heaven). We’ll view the building from the outside, then we’ll go into the sanctuary, then the Silk Road Theatre in the basement, and also the offices and art gallery on the 2nd floor. We’ll stop by Clarence Darrow’s former office, the famous lawyer for the Leopold and Loeb murder trial, on the way to the top of the building for a visit to the Sky Chapel with its carved walnut beams and stained glass windows. We always like to include some kind of a treat on our tours, and this one will be a toast of sparkling white wine on the pastor’s personal balcony with fantastic views. Wine and light snacks included, and if you come, you can get a peak inside the pastor’s mid-century modern interior of his three-story penthouse.
Tickets are $28 for the 1 hour, 45-minute long tour, and this includes refreshments and shared use of iPads with historic images. Reservations can be made at www.chicagodetours.com. Group size is limited, so it’s recommended to reserve as soon as you can!