Congregational Church of Jefferson Park

Regarding Fringe Festival

We have reached the time of year where we, as a neighborhood and as a congregation, begin preparing in earnest for the arrival of the Chicago Fringe Festival. The Congregational Church of Jefferson Park United Church of Christ has been a host venue for the Fringe since it moved to Jefferson Park. We love the arts and are happy to support artists. We have been pleased to have our building go to good use, as well as to welcome visitors from around the neighborhood, the city, and the world, through the Fringe. We have come to look forward to the bustling crowds, and the positive financial impact they bring to our neighborhood.

This year, as we all prepare for the Festival, there has been much public discussion of one specific show among the 50 that will be staged. There has been a fair amount of news coverage and a great deal of social media discussion around the show “A Virtuous Pedophile.” The title and one-line description of this show are cringe-worthy. We are, frankly, relieved that this show will not be performed at either of the venues within our building. We do not condone any relationship that is exploitative, whether sexual or otherwise.

We do, however, support freedom of expression, including the freedom of artists to provoke and even disgust audiences. Whether or not any one individual attends the aforementioned show is up to them, by virtue of their own freedoms. We will continue to support and host the Fringe Festival this year, as planned. Many of us will attend or even volunteer at various shows during the Festival. We invite you to use your own best judgment of which shows you may or may not view by reading the descriptions given on the Fringe Festival website, just as you would in deciding whether or not to go see specific movies.