Eating locally, thinking globally


Wednesday's Div School lunch, the first of the new school year, added some locally produced items to its standard vegetarian menu. The tomato-and-spinach quiche, roasted potatoes, and apple crisp were the same—but the bread, usually store-bought, was baked in the kitchen attached to the Swift Common Room, and the Disciples Divinity House residents grew the herbs used to season the dishes.

After the meal Dean Richard Rosengarten, AM'88, PhD'94, introduced another local: his former classmate Phil Blackwell, DMN'86, pastor of the Loop-based Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church, who talked about the nature of an urban ministry—accommodating thousands of visitors of diverse faiths while staying true to his Methodist worldview. The oldest church in the city with more than 1,000 members, the Chicago Temple shares a multiuse building with more than 15 floors of lawyers and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which moved a little less than a year ago from its previous spot at 60th and Kimbark. The basement houses an organization independent of the church but with similar missions of dialogue and tolerance: the Silk Road Theatre Project. Founded in 2002 by GSB-student-turned-producer Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury, AM'92, the company showcases playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds. Said Khoury, who spoke after Blackwell: "[Phil] is in the business of storytelling; we are in the business of storytelling—it's a great complement."

Some things at the lunch were imported—one of the guests, for example: a first-year MDiv student who commutes weekly from Rochester, NY (yes, you read correctly—that's New York), where he used to work for Bausch & Lomb. Flying to Chicago every Monday for classes, he returns home Thursdays to spend the weekend with his wife and two children.


Yohen is the first play of the Silk Road Theatre Project's 2008–09 season. It runs through November 2.

Photo courtesy the Silk Road Theatre Project

October 3, 2008