First United Methodist Church of Evanston and Sherman United Methodist Church invite the Evanston community to join them at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, October 16 to stand against hate. The rally will take place at Dawes Park (1700 Sheridan Road). "The rally is open to all who want to stand with us and voice their opposition to hate and racism in all its forms," said Grace Imathiu, pastor at First United. Participants are encouraged to bring anti-hate signs to show support for hate-targeted communities. "Though our two United Methodist congregations may look very different, we are united in our desire to combat hate in all its forms," Imathiu said. We are taking a stand to show our commitment to love over hate."
First United, at 516 Church Street, is a predominantly white Reconciling Congregation (inclusive to all) which has been in ministry for over 160 years. Sherman United, at 2214 Ridge Avenue is the only historically African-American United Methodist Church on the North Shore and will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. The Rev. Dennis M. Oglesby is pastor of the congregation. The event will feature music, story-tellers, and opportunities to serve or partner with organizations already working to address inequities and/or eliminate hate. Speakers will tell the stories of two historically important, but not well known, African-American women who are part of the two congregations' histories. Rev. Grace Imathiu was appointed Senior Pastor of Community UMC in July 2012 after serving eight years as Lead Pastor in Brown Deer, Wisconsin and earlier as Senior Pastor at Green Bay UMC. Rev. Imathiu has also served churches in Kenya as a church planter; a superintendent minister overseeing 68 rural churches in Nkubu; and an urban minister to an ecumenical congregation in Nairobi with strong outreach to the neighboring slums of Kawangware.
Dennis Oglesby Jr. has been an ordained minister for 25 years. Prior to coming to Sherman, he served as Senior Pastor of Transformation Community United Methodist Church (formally First Wesley Academy UMC). Pastor Oglesby served as the first African American Pastor appointed as Senior Pastor of the Multi-Racial / Multi-Cultural Park Avenue UMC (Minneapolis,) 2006-2013. He served as pastor of Sherman United Methodist Church once before, from 1991 to 1997.