The Chicago Temple - FUMC
Silk Road Rising is the professional theatre-in-residence at The First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple, an honor we have held since the spring of 2003, forging a secular, non-sectarian relationship between the venerable Loop congregation and our multi-cultural theatre company.
A Mission Based Partnership
The leadership at The Chicago Temple and Silk Road Rising worked over the course of three years to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that documents our unique partnership. We are not tenants in the building, rather, we are a resident theatre company that is provided resources by the church and its members to grow and flourish. The mission, as documented in the memorandum, reads:
The mission of the relationship between Silk Road Rising and the Church set forth in this Agreement is to provide SRR with a visible and stable home, to enhance the Church’s profile as a premier cultural destination in downtown Chicago and a congregation open to all, and to strengthen both institutions through mutually beneficial cooperation and understanding.
A short documentary film, Sacred Stages: A Church, A Theatre, and A Story, further details this inspiring partnership. Watch the film by clicking HERE .
First United Methodist Church of Chicago
"the oldest church in Chicago"
The First United Methodist Church of Chicago pre-dates the incorporation of the City of Chicago by six years, tracing its origins to 1831, back when Fort Dearborn was an outpost on the United States’ western frontier. The congregation has contributed enormously to Chicago’s spiritual, civic, and cultural development, and has been described as “a microcosm of the history of Chicago and of the nation itself.” Celebrated as one of Chicago’s most diverse congregations, members hail from every ZIP Code in the city as well as 80 suburbs. The congregation’s rich ethnic, racial and economic diversity renders it an ideal partner for Silk Road Rising.
The Historic Chicago Temple Building
The Historic Chicago Temple Building was designed by the renowned architectural firm of Holabird & Roche. Completed in 1924, the building has long been heralded for its architectural beauty and magnificent spire. Built of gray and white Bedford stone and mixing the grace of a French Gothic cathedral with the practicality of an American skyscraper, the Temple became, when first dedicated, the tallest building in Chicago. In addition to housing the church, the parsonage, the Chapel in the Sky, commercial space, and of course, Silk Road Rising, the 27-story Chicago Temple building also houses 17 floors of private offices.