As the stories go, Restore Church doesn’t have a long one. But it is certainly impressive.
Founded in the fall of 2004 by Jordan and Melissa Gash after the couple moved to Oswego, membership grew rapidly in rented facilities, then continued to expand after Restore purchased 34 acres of land in Yorkville in 2017 and a few years later launched in its new location off Route 71.
Among the missions stated on the church’s website is to serve others and the community.
And one of the needs that Jordan Gash saw, especially after 2020, when civil unrest and a pandemic brought so many new challenges for law enforcement across the country, was to show more support for the local police.
So the following year, he became a volunteer chaplain for the Montgomery Police Department, which sowed the seeds of an idea: to extend such a service to other departments in Kendall County.
It turns out that this goal of combining the volunteers into a strong team had been rolling around in Cmdr. Jason Langston, who not only is with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department, but is also a member of Restore Church.
“We both found a passion to put it together,” said Langston, who had been unaware of such a chaplaincy program in his 22 years with Kendall County.
“We saw a void that needed to be filled,” he added, “and we finally took the step forward to bring people to the table and make it happen.”
Discussions began in March and eventually culminated in a meeting a few weeks ago which brought together those who were interested in being part of this program which is expected to launch in January.
So far, about 20 spiritual leaders have expressed interest in going through the necessary verification, training and accreditation to become a police chaplain.
But Gash and Langston encourage others to look into the program, as it will indeed take a community of faith leaders, volunteering on already busy schedules, to help make this project a success.
The program is operated by the Kendall County Association of Chiefs of Police and will serve all counties within that jurisdiction, including Oswego, Yorkville, Plano, Sandwich, Minooka and “technically parts of Aurora and Joliet,” a added the commander, who is vice-president of the board of directors of the association.
“The more we have, the better,” insisted Langston, whose years in law enforcement include making these “difficult notifications” to families of victims.
That is why he is well aware of the support that chaplains can provide to officers who “might not otherwise benefit from it”.
That’s really how Reverend Gash became the spearhead of this project.
In the summer of 2020, as law enforcement came under increasing scrutiny and criticism, Restore Church launched the “Cult of Freedom Experiment,” a- he said, “where we all came together to express our support for law enforcement…to thank them and the veterans and first responders. »
After speaking at a law enforcement banquet for Kendall County, Montgomery Deputy Chief Armando Sanders asked the pastor to become village chaplain.
“It really started there, as a direct opportunity” to make a difference, Gash said.
Langston told me that for many years there had been talk – a committee had even been created within the association of chiefs of police – about the establishment of this service. But it wasn’t until he and his pastor agreed that something finally began to take shape.
“The box had been thrown down the road long enough,” said the commander of this team effort for a network of chaplains.
“I’m personally invested and super excited to see this finally take off.”
Gash, of course, shares this enthusiasm.
“I am honored to be a part of it. I appreciate more than ever the hard work of our police day and night, work that most people never see,” he said.
“And it’s a way of saying thank you…reminding them how important they are.”