Editor's note: This story is part of a new series I'm working on that highlights our local places of worship. If you'd like to see your church featured in this series, contact me, editor Korrina Grom, at email@example.com.
Located on Church Street next to the Libertyville Civic Center, St. Lawrence Episcopal Church is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Episcopal churches, the Rev. Patricia Snickenberger said, are part of the Anglican Communion, with its origin in the Church of England.
"We consider ourselves both Catholic and reform," she said. "We're a unique animal."
There is a focus on scripture, the priesthood of all believers and taking responsibility for one's gifts. Snickenberger said liturgy and sacraments — including baptism and Holy Communion — are important. Women can be ordained and have families.
"We're a very inclusive church," she added. "We welcome people wherever they are on their journey."
That hospitality, Snickenberger said, is important in helping people feel that they belong.
"If you begin by knowing that you're welcome, knowing that you're loved by God, then wherever you are in your spiritual life, this is a place you can be," she said.
Snickenberger has been a part of the Episcopal church her entire life. She used to work as a social worker and then took time off to have three children. After dealing with some health issues, Snickenberger said she found herself "trying to decide where I was being led."
She was living in New York at the time.
"My priest came to me and said, 'I think you may have a calling to the priesthood,'" said Snickenberger. She prayed about it. "It became clear that I was being called to be a pastor," adding that it would give her the chance to use her experience with illness "to be a healer."
She relocated to the Chicago area to enter a seminary in Evanston and was ordained in 2000, originally serving at Christ Church in Winnetka. She was called as the rector, or head priest, at St. Lawrence Episcopal in 2007.
Snickenberger said she enjoys helping people see their worth.
"That's been a huge joy," she said. "I love what I do."
She also loves the Libertyville community — and that the church is such a part of it.
"We love the fact that we're located right here in town," said Snickenberger.
The church offers two Sunday services — at 8 and 9:30 — along with a Thursday service at 8:30 a.m. All services include the Eucharist.