Restoration Church meets at museum
By Wendy Foster For The Sun August 29, 2012 7:08PM
Restoration Church members participate in a 5K in 2011. | Submitted by Restoration Church
On Sept. 29, Restoration Church and DuPage Children’s Museum will collaborate on a concert starring family-friendly musician Jim Gill. All proceeds from the event, which will be in the Washington Junior High School gymnasium, will benefit Exodus World Service. Tickets will be available for $3 a person through DuPage Children’s Museum.
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:16PM
Restoration Church of Naperville draws young families, so its venue makes a lot of sense. It also serves the young and young at heart: DuPage Children’s Museum.
The small but growing church attracts mostly families with young children and uses the museum for its services and Sunday school.
“DuPage Children’s Museum is right in the middle of downtown and has a like-minded mission of trying to serve the community,” Pastor Brian Park said. “They’re closed on Sunday mornings, so we’re pretty much able to use as much space as we need. It’s like attracting like. Kids have a strong presence in our faith community.”
The non-denominational Christian church was launched less than two years ago because a group of Naperville families “had a real heart for our city.”
“We felt like one of the implications of our faith is serving the community and doing everything we can with whatever resources we’ve been blessed with to meet needs that might be here,” Park said.
The congregation wants to be service-oriented both within Naperville as well as throughout the broader west suburban community. They also work hard to instill this passion into their children from an early age.
“We want to raise our kids to be able to be part of the vision of the church providing service within the community,” said Sandy Cho, a founding member of Restoration Church.
Helping others is core to Restoration Church’s mission for several reasons.
“I think service and social awareness are culturally a cool thing to do right now, and I think that’s great,” Park said. “For us as a church, we feel compelled by our faith. We believe in a God who cares deeply for our world and for its people, and part of showing our devotion is loving our neighbor.”
Additionally, Park said that service helps to ward off a stereotypical yet sometimes accurate perception of organized religion.
“It’s a gentle answer to criticism against churches. We’re often seen as being more concerned about personal piety rather than our own community,” Park said. “We hold firmly to our faith beliefs and don’t apologize for that, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t care for the welfare of our fellow man.”
A beneficiary of Restoration Church’s philanthropic efforts is Exodus World Service, a nonprofit organization in Itasca that works with refugees.
“What Exodus is great at is partnering with relocations agencies to support refugees from all over the world to settle here,” Cho said.
On Sept. 8, members of Restoration Church will participate in the Long Grove Heritage 5K Run and 3K Walk. Organized by the Rotary Club of Long Grove, the event permits various not-for-profits to raise money through participant sponsorships. For the third consecutive time, about a dozen children and adults from the church have registered and will raise money for Exodus World Service.
“We first did this race around the time we started as a church,” Park said. “I hope that bears witness of how central of a core value serving is to us.”
Cho said that a large percentage of the 5K participants from Restoration are children.
“We want to raise our kids to be able to be part of the vision of the church, to serve the community,” she said. “How that looks right now is that we have second- and third-graders raising money because they wanted to do the 5K.”
She said one seventh-grader has participated for three years and hits his $500 every year.
“We want our kids to have a heart for making a difference,” she said. “Exodus has given them that direction. It’s been really great. We have more kids running now than parents.”
Cho concluded that present in everything that Restoration Church does is the desire to make a difference.
“We want to live out what God wants us to do. Not just be here by namesake alone, but to do life here … to be part of a community doing life here.”
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