How Palatine pastor led spruce-up of Community Resource Center lobby
As pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Palatine, the Rev. Karl Fay regularly weaves in the value of art into his sermons -- and its worship space.
Just last spring, he led members in creating butterflies to hang over the sanctuary as an uplifting symbol of new life and resurrection for their Easter celebration.
Now, Fay is spreading his love of butterflies to the Community Resource Center in Palatine, where he just wrapped up a renovation of its lobby -- complete with images of 60 butterflies -- as part of a community-created artwork.
"They're just plain beautiful and inherently evoke childlike delight, hope and happiness," Fay says of the butterflies. "And I find that immigrants also identify with them."
Before installing the wall hangings, Fay led volunteers in bathing the lobby in a creamy white paint that extended to the brick wall that surrounds its fireplace. He hoped to create a bright, new space with vibrant imagery.
Fay then invited center clients of all ages to help create the butterflies. Preschoolers decorated them with colored pencil sticks and markers, while women in its leadership program embellished them with colored paper and even origami designs.
"It has been such a heartwarming experience," says Kathy Millin, executive director of the Palatine Opportunity Center who programs services in the building. "It depicts what many of our clients were able to voice, of what brings them joy and hope."
In fact, the restoration included positioning on the wall of an overarching quote that sums up the center and its effect on clients: "When I came here, I was looking for a community. Then I realized I was helping to create one."
The Community Resource Center is on Rand Road in Palatine and is owned by Northwest Community Health Care as part of its community outreach initiative.
The hospital partners with the nonprofit Palatine Opportunity Center, which coordinates the many organizations that provide multilingual services, referrals, programs and assistance to the thousands of people who come through its doors.
In fact, the one feature of the former lobby that remained is a giant map showing the many different countries where patrons have come from before landing at the CHC for services.
Among the agencies providing care are Harper College, the Palatine Public Library, Palatine Elementary District 15, the Palatine Park District, the Palatine Police Department, Palatine Township, WINGS and other charitable organizations, as well as NCH Cook County Public Health professionals.
"A project like this is so greatly appreciated," says Karen Baker, executive director of community services and advocacy for NCH. "It really shows how our community comes together in a collaborative spirit to support the center and the clients it serves."
Fay and his Prince of Peace congregation have been longtime supporters of the CRC and have collaborated on many ventures, including establishing a community garden.
Working on the new lobby and its artwork are part of a new mission at the church: to invest 50,000 hours of service in the community by October 2021, its 50th anniversary.
Fay, who was an art major in college before going to the seminary, is trying to lead by example and share his passion and gifts with the community.