The Oak Park–River Forest Community of Congregations plans on changing its name to The Community of Congregations. The move comes in the wake of the board’s decision to expand its influence into Chicago, particularly the nearby Austin community.
“Our board recommends changing our bylaws to reflect our expanding demographic and recruit board members and officers who live and attend congregations beyond the borders of Oak Park and River Forest,” the organization’s president, Rev. Alan Taylor, of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, said in a recent statement.
According to a joint message from the organization’s board, the change in name and bylaws builds on several years relationship-building between congregations in Oak Park and River Forest, and those in Chicago.
“In a recent visioning session attended by over 30 faith leaders and members, clear support was identified for continued engagement with faith communities beyond our historic geographic borders,” the joint statement read. “We have long enjoyed membership support both financially and through volunteer involvement from congregations in Chicago and other cities, towns and villages in the western corridor of this area.”
The board will consider the proposed changes at its annual meeting on Jan. 26, which will take place at Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin.
In recent years, numerous members of the Community of Congregations have ramped up their presence in Chicago, with Taylor and Rabbi Max Weiss, of Oak Park Temple, taking up active roles in the Leaders Network a West Side faith-based organization helmed by several West Side pastors, including Rev. Ira Acree, the pastor of Greater St. John.