Hundreds gather for church service inside Macy's - Fox 2 News Headlines

Hundreds gather for church service inside Macy's

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(Photo by FOX 32's Tisha Lewis) (Photo by FOX 32's Tisha Lewis)
FOX 32's Tisha Lewis and Chicago Pastor Charles Jenkins FOX 32's Tisha Lewis and Chicago Pastor Charles Jenkins
(Photo courtesy of Caldorwards4 via Wikicommons) (Photo courtesy of Caldorwards4 via Wikicommons)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Hundreds of people who work downtown are trading in their lunch break for a mid-day blessing.

The sound of a typical Chicago day fills State Street outside Macy's, but inside is a different tune, having service in the middle of the business day.

"Initially we weren't sure if people were going to come, 12 noon, middle of the week, middle of your day and people rushed in, bosses were sending their employees saying they came back ready to go and it's been our commitment to kind of bring a spiritual oasis to the middle of the week," said Fellowship Chicago Pastor Charles Jenkins.

"To take an hour out your day to come in here full, not off food but off fillings, off emotion, and it's just a wonderful feeling," said Darnelle Sledge, an attendee.

On Wednesday, nearly 400 people packed the seventh floor of Macy's.

FOX 32's Tisha Lewis sat in on the sermon - the message was about hope. The unlikely venue transformed to a place filled with praise and worship, as well as a big mix of worshipers.

"There's senior executives, there's middle management, there are employees from city hall," said Jenkins.

"Being with this many people in the middle of the city praising God is just an encouragement to me," said Marj Mokry, an attendee.

But what about those who say sermons belong at good ol' fashion church, and not department stores?

"We wanted to do that to dispel the mystique that you can only worship God or get the word in a traditional facility," said Jenkins.

Jenkins' untraditional approach and ability to attract younger people landed him on stage as the first gospel music artist to perform at Jay Z's Made in America Festival.

His monthly mid-day sermon at Macy's is another example of his alternative outreach.

"They invite their friends because they get something to help them go forward," said Jenkins.

The Worship in the Workplace Lunch for Your Life started nine years ago at the Club Quarters Hotel in Chicago. The last three years it has taken place inside Macy's.

Jenkins said 90 percent of the attendees are not members of his church, but most do work in Downtown Chicago.

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