Austin Community Fellowship
Circle Urban Ministries
Continued in Rock Church History
As Related in Breaking Down Walls by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein
- Came from small Wisconsin town with no African-Americans where he lived with two parents and two siblings.
- Came to Chicago to go to Moody Bible Institute at the age of seventeen, not sure what to do with his life.
- Working with Cabrini Green youngsters at Sonshine Gospel Mission made him realize that he was not that different from the kids in the club–the difference was an accident of birth. He had been born white in Wisconsin while they had been born black in the Cabrini Green projects.
- Riots after assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. created a crisis of faith for him. He started searching for a way to become part of the solution to injustice, poverty, racism.
- He and Lonni got married, settled in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, and got involved with a youth club at Salem Evangelical Free Church. They started attending Circle Evangelical Free Church in 1971 which had a vision of different races and classes coming together to appreciate and celebrate in Christian harmony their differences in culture, class, and race.
- He got a degree in sociology from Wheaton College and became a church staff member working for Pastor Clarence Hilliard doing neighborhood outreach. During this time Glen started looking for a good location for a new community center and decided the Austin Community in Chicago was a good choice because it was still racially changing and they might be able to help stabilize it.
- Moved into Austin in 1973 as part of a subgroup of Circle Church that called themselves Austin Community Fellowship. This group provided many of the leaders for the ministries that would be developed.
- Was hired by Circle Church to develop the Circle Community Center in spite of his youth.(pictured in 1975)
- The African-Americans left Circle Church in 1976 and Glen felt lost as part of an all-white group living in an African-American neighborhood without African-American friends who could help them get through rough spots as they developed relationships across cultures.
- A friend who worked for the Evangelical Free Church of America asked Glen to meet a man named Raleigh Washington who was considering planting a church in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Since they needed somewhere to meet and Raleigh had ruled out a storefront, Glen said the new church could meet in the CCC building. Raleigh and his family bought a house in the Austin neighborhood and Glen and Raleigh gingerly started to work together.
- In 1985 Circle Community Center moved to 118 N. Central and became Circle Urban Ministries.
- Glen and Lonni left Austin Community Fellowship to became members of Rock Church.
The story of Glen and Pastor Raleigh’s partnership is continued in Rock Church History.
Glen was an early participant in the Christian Community Development Association.
Glen died of cancer on November 12, 2011 but Circle Urban Ministries and Rock Church live on.