Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Gallery : The Public Faces of Religion
The Public Faces of Religion
Defining Territories
Providing Services
The Business of Religion
Religion and Society
Public Gatherings
Church and State
The Business of Religion

David Swing on Christianity in Chicago, 1873

A year before theologically conservative Presbyterian ministers put David Swing on trial before an ecclesiastical tribunal on charges of doctrinal error, Swing contributed an essay on "the Chicago of the Christian" to a magazine that presented a series of perspectives on the city. Swing saw religious concerns as inevitably lagging behind the commercial energies of a booming young city, but he also offered insights into the ways in which the gritty business of the city put a characteristic stamp of practicality on the city's religious expression. David Swing, "The Chicago of the Christian," Lakeside Monthly October 1873.

See also: Business of Chicago; Religion, Chicago's Influence on; Places of Assembly; Protestants; Presbyterian Church (USA) (Map)

Niche Marketing

From the perspective of the secular world, one effect of religious practices and identities has been to define potential markets. Mandel Brothers, a downtown department store, took out a full-page ad in a 1934 publication of the Archdiocese of Chicago to announce the existence of private shopping accommodations for nuns. The practical needs of diverse faiths in Chicago have supported religious supply stores, bookstores, architects, stained glass artists, specialized sculptors and painters, and furniture suppliers. Mandel Brothers Advertisement in New World, 1934.

See also: Advertising; Convents; Department Stores; Retail Geography; Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

Religion and the Business of Recreation

In establishing a fine restaurant, the Nation of Islam sought to encourage by example African American entrepreneurship and self-help, and to provide a model of "the better things of life," a taste of heaven on earth. Religious institutions have often organized and provide space for secular social events such as dinners, bingo, and neighborhood festivals. For some groups, such as the Nation of Islam and the evangelical Christian Willow Creek Church, careful engagement in secular pursuits has been an important part of their religious mission. "New Salaam Restaurant: A Palace in Paradise," Muhammad Speaks, 7 June 1968.

See also: African Americans; The Nation of Islam; Religious Institutions; Restaurants; Willow Creek Community Church