History of SpeakEasy
SpeakEasy Spiritual Community, which meets Sunday mornings in Hinsdale’s historic Immanuel Hall, has sprung to life and has been steadily growing. SpeakEasy started as a seedling of a community that began March 15, 2015, as a collective of thirsty souls seeking an alternative Sunday morning. December 13, 2015, the group moved to Immanuel Hall in Hinsdale where it continues meeting today.
The magic word at SpeakEasy is “care.” The folks at SpeakEasy refer to themselves as the “un-church” and happily hold the door open to everyone. Every creed, color, and spiritual background are welcome. “If it’s about God, we want to talk about it,” says founder and Spiritual Director Maureen Muldoon. But the title she prefers is “Spiritual Vixen.” Muldoon is both storyteller and minister, maven and mystic. She delivers a hot topic and stirs the pot with her vast understanding of spiritual principals and the human condition, gained through years of study, practice, and the best teacher of all, life experience.
“I have always been a thirsty soul, so SpeakEasy helps to quench my spiritual thirst. We cannot have a universal theology, that would be impossible, but we can strive to have a universal experience of love and respect. Anyone craving meditation, inspiration, and a conscious conversation can find a home here.”
SpeakEasy is a progressive, spiritual community of open-minded individuals sharing a message of love and engaging in conversations that promote well-being and personal growth. It’s a community knit together by the common desire to love more and fear less. It’s a safe sanctuary where all are welcomed and no one is turned away, no matter their beliefs, backgrounds, or baggage.
This little engine that could is picking up steam, and the laughter and rock and roll can be heard vibrating through the neighborhood. It’s obvious that SpeakEasy offers more than just a place to fulfill the requirement of spending Sunday morning in a pew.“My wife Eileen and I were introduced to Speakeasy by her sister’s family. After many weeks of urging us to join them, we finally agreed and immediately wished we hadn’t waited so long. We haven’t missed a Sunday since,” says Ray Redmond.
“Speakeasy is different from our past church experiences because of the conversational aspect,” adds his wife Eileen Redmond. “We grew up accustomed to being talked to- strictly a monologue. Having the opportunity to participate in a multi-dimensional discussion brings a deeper understanding of the message. It also creates wonderful bonds amongst the members of the community.” The positive and inclusive message continues to draw people back, plus it’s not every day that you get a rockstar performance in church.
Cathy Richardson, rock legend and lead singer of Jefferson Starship and Nelson Street Revival, acts as the Music Minister/Rock Goddess most Sunday mornings, keeping the community smiling, dancing, or simply sitting back in awe. Like many aspects of this Sunday morning experience, it’s not the usual type of music heard in church. She has performed Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” on Easter, for example, and might pull out John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” if the spirit moves her. Inevitably, she keeps the community nodding heads, tapping toes, and cheering for more. Muldoon notes, “Cathy brings the tunes and talent that gives new meaning to ‘speaking in tongues’.”
Muldoon is a former actress whose resume includes dozens of TV and film credits amassed over two decades in the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, she eventually turned her talents to a different calling. Today her role is less self-seeking and reflects a dedication to helping others heal and step into their own spiritual limelight. Instead of a sermon and rote ritual, she stirs up a conversation and asks everyone to share. “We sit knee to knee and eye to eye, and we are each teachers of love.”
SpeakEasy’s Board of Directors includes her husband, Will Schaub, also a former actor and writer, who heads the community’s Media Team. Local banker and philanthropist, Jim McMahon draws on his substantial experience in helping navigate the many considerations involved in running a non-profit organization. Board members Jim Peterson and Ray Redmond head the Prosperity Team that guides the legal decisions and financial growth of the community. Vice President and Local artist Pam Peterson contributes her talents with hosting the weekly meditation group as well as heading the Community Art Show a fundraising and community outreach gala that raised funds for several local charities and supported many local artists. Dave Hamm contributes his graphic design expertise, and his wife Carol serves as the lead of the Welcome team. The community boasts a Men’s Group, Goddess group, movie night, book club, and many classes and gatherings.
“We have an ambitious vision to make a significant positive impact on the greater community- from the local to the global level. We know that we have to walk before we can run, and run before we can fly. We’re probably still the walking phase, but we’re moving at a good pace and in the right direction,” says Muldoon. “This old chapel is a treasure of the past, and it’s nice to know that it’s still an option with a modern twist.
Clearly, SpeakEasy Spiritual Community is something different, it is not only a place to be fed but a place to be heard as well. We are filling a need where people want connection, collaboration, and conversation. At SpeakEasy, we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we’re not afraid to ask the questions. And we’re also not afraid to work through the process of coming to the truth.
The congregation is made up of artists, activists, and average folks like you and me. The happiness is served up every Sunday at 10 am in historic Immanuel Hall, located at 302 S. Grant St., Hinsdale, IL.
Love is our religion, care is our currency and peace is our goal.
We are here to love more and fear less.