Brashinger: Living Streams church small but thriving
By Ginger Brashinger Citizen Journalistemail@example.com May 2, 2014 6:38PM
Trish Rickard stands at the storefront of Watershed Cafe, a Christian coffeehouse that is part of Living Streams Christian Fellowship in Frankfort. Rickard's husband, Dan, is the senior pastor of the church. | Ginger Brashinger~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 5, 2014 6:09AM
There’s a little piece of heaven among the tattoo parlors, bars and restaurants along a strip of U.S. 30 in Frankfort Township.
Living Streams Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church, holds a Sunday morning service, Tuesday evening women’s Bible study and Wednesday evening Old Testament scripture study.
Senior pastor Dan Rickard and his wife, Trish, started the ministry in the living room of their Frankfort home about eight years ago “out of need,” Trish said.
She said the couple were looking for a church where the Bible was studied “verse by verse the way we were brought up when we became Christians.”
The Rickards met in 1977 when they were involved with Shiloh — a Christian ministry that sprang out of Calvary Chapel, which originated in California, Rickard said, and the place where her husband was ordained in the early 1970s. The couple met while working in one of Calvary Chapel’s outreach ministries in Ohio.
When the Rickards decided to marry, they moved to the Southland, where Dan was born and raised, hoping to fulfill his dream.
“He always had a desire in his heart, or a burden, to someday come back to Chicago and open a Christian coffeehouse,” Rickard said.
In 1980, the Rickards opened Morning Star Coffee House in a 150-year-old barn in Blue Island. Less than two years later, they founded a church at the site because patrons began asking the Rickards to hold a Bible study.
After establishing the Calvary Chapel, which still remains on the same site, the Rickards moved to a new home in Manhattan.
Rickard said when the couple moved, they thought they “would never start another coffeehouse because we felt so old. But God just started putting that desire back in our hearts again.”
Another move, this time to Frankfort about eight years ago, resulted in the couple holding home-based Living Streams services, at which the idea of a Christian coffeehouse resurfaced.
A small group of church members in 2007 joined the Rickards in opening Watershed Café in the Trolley Barn in downtown Frankfort as part of their Living Streams fellowship.
The venue worked well for several years, Rickard said, especially for the coffeehouse, which offered events with live music and other group activities. But the need for more visibility for the church and some expansion led them to look for a larger place.
Their current site, 7837 U.S. 30, is large enough to accommodate a church sanctuary for services, which doubles as a venue for workshops, musical events and seminars; a space for a children’s church; a large fellowship hall with a kitchen and more than two acres of outdoor space that includes a children’s playground, fire pit and sandbox.
Of course, the most unique feature of this Christian center is the new Watershed Café, Rickard said. Not yet open to the public, the café offers church members or the public light refreshments, books and media for sale among other retail items and sponsored events.
“All the events we do are open to the public,” she said.
The church members are planning to open the Watershed Café to any musician who wants to come in and “jam” with others, Rickard said, and they are hoping to incorporate a youth night soon as well.
Rickard said Living Streams has reached out to the community, making donations to the Frankfort Township Food Pantry, renting out its facilities for showers, birthday parties and family get-togethers and holding a chili cook-off with participation by nearby businesses.
The Rickards realize there is competition for members among the many non-denominational churches in the Lincoln-Way area, but they believe that Living Streams’ smaller size may be a strength.
“We have very welcoming and loving people so it’s easy to get to know other people,” she said. “That sense of family or community, which is really important, you don’t get in a bigger place. It’s easy to be lost in the crowd.”
For more information, visit www.lstreams.com or call (815) 464-5230.