Morton Grove pastor finds love, commitment in new career
The Rev. Isabel Hughes, pastor of St. Luke's Christian Community Church in Morton Grove, in the sanctuary of the church Nov. 20. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:13AM
MORTON GROVE — Serving as pastor of St. Luke’s Christian Community Church is a third career for the Rev. Isabel Hughes.
Hughes first worked as a teacher, then as a hospice worker with Rainbow Hospice for 13 years before taking what she thought would be an early retirement.
“At 53 I was just going to do some volunteer work in church,” Hughes said.
But she began taking classes at North Park Theological Seminary and eventually entered the Masters of Divinity program.
The Park Ridge resident has been at St. Luke’s in Morton Grove since Jan. 1. She will be ordained in June, a year after she graduated.
She also is a member of Morton Grove’s Community Relations Commission, and was involved in a recent forum on the Muslim religion. Hughes grew up in Dundee and has been married for 38 years to a man she met in college.
St. Luke’s hosted an interfaith gathering the night before Thanksgiving.
Q: What is the nature of a Christian Community Church?
A: It’s very open, very welcoming. It’s very mission oriented. It’s a lovely concept. We’re growing and very diverse. We have Hispanic members, African Americans, a large number of Filipinos. Our potlucks are great. The American church is a struggling entity now. Our membership is increasing.
Q: What was it like coming to your first church as a pastor?
A: They have been extraordinarily kind. They decided to love me before they met me. I’m a servant of the community. I’m a servant of the congregation. I learn so much more than I teach.
Q: What made you decide to become a pastor?
A: I’ve always had a deep communication with God. When I retired I felt I had been tossed into a blanket. I had always been active in the church. It’s a sense of calling I take to be a very humble one. I don’t have all the answers.
Q: Why do you think religion or a belief in God is important?
A: My feeling is that one big defect of post modernism is the sense of isolation and everybody can go it alone. We don’t connect with each other the way we could and lose a lot of richness. When we reach for a homeless person, when we help somebody find a job, we do that in Christ. The question is always what can we do to help?
Q: How have you become involved in the larger community of Morton Grove?
A: I’m newly appointed to the Community Relations Commission. We sponsored the Muslim Q and A as a reaction to the shooting last summer. We’re part of a community where there is misunderstanding. We need to meet and start to see the human side of each other.