Cantor Aril Luck of Beth Emet the Free Synagogue and Carmelita Edmonds of the Second Baptist Church led singing for the dinnner.Photo courtesy of Interfaith Action

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Nearly 350 members of congregations affiliated with Interfaith Action of Evanston gathered at the Orrington Hotel for the 16th annual Vision Keepers Dinner On Feb. 20. The record attendance represented 29 congregations in Evanston and Wilmette, honoring members who exemplify their ministries and missions.

The Rev. Wendy Mathewson, a Presbyterian minister and associate chaplain at Northwestern University, delivered the keynote address, “There Is Still a Vision: Stories to Stir Our Imagination.”  She shared stories of witness and care, of ordinary people transcending the troubled divisions between religious groups in the United States.

The Vision Keeper Dinner is the primary fundraiser for Interfaith Action.  Proceeds support a weekday hospitality center that provides job search support, fellowship and an address that participants may use for job applications and other contact.  IA also supports soup kitchens and cold-weather warming centers based in churches.  All programs aim to serve homeless and hungry people in Evanston.

The Rev. Betty Landis, St. Paul Lutheran Church, and The Rev. Daniel Ruen, Grace Lutheran Church, presented awards to these Vision Keepers:

 Alice Millar Chapel of Northwestern University – Suzanne Calder

Bahá’í Faith in Evanston – Cheryll Simmerman

Beth Emet The Free Synagogue – Jeff Forgash

Evanston Meeting of Friends – Margaret Nelson

First Congregational Church – Nicholas J. Tucker

First Presbyterian Church – Nelda Hobbs

First United Methodist Church – Cynthia Changyit-Levin

Fisher Memorial AME Zion Church – Henry Revis, Sr.

Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary – Wilbert E. Cook III 

Grace Lutheran Church – Clare Tallon Ruen

Hemenway United Methodist Church – Chi Leung and Richard M. Locke

Immanuel Lutheran Church – Anne Heider and Steve Warner

Lake Street Church – Gregory Vaughn, Cally McKinney and Deborah Smith

Northminster Presbyterian Church – Heidi Niggli

Salvation Army – Miriam Myers

Second Baptist Church – Tammi R. Turner.

Sheil Catholic Center – Luis Espinoza

Sherman United Methodist Church – Veronica Stanford-Davenport and Martha V. Carter

St. Athanasius Catholic Church -– James and Carla LaRochelle

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – William Kaspar

St. Mark Episcopal Church – Rev. Elizabeth Stout

St. Mary Catholic Church – Gerry and Emmeline Hubbarth

St. Nicholas Catholic Church – Julie Drew

St. Paul Lutheran Church – Carol Garrett

Trinity Lutheran Church – James Geppert

Unitarian Church of Evanston – Meredith Haydon

University Lutheran Church – Alex Hurd and Matthew Reuter