Updated: April 29, 2011 1:18PM
Though the Chicago Board of Trade may not seem like a holy place, some people go there to get closer to God.
A group of traders and other professionals meet weekly at the downtown building for Bible study to help strengthen their faith before heading to work in what is usually a stressful and chaotic Wall Street environment.
“Essentially it brings light to a dark place,” said Bob, a futures trader who founded the group about six years ago, and who did not want his last name used.
What started as a meeting of six people has grown to roughly 50, largely a result of the economy’s instability and the uncertainty that traders feel in regards to their future.
“They want answers, they want security, they want peace,” said Roy Schwarcz, the spiritual leader of the group. “They are dealing in risk with thousands of thousands of dollars, every day, every hour. People have gone from millionaires to owing millions in hours.”
The Bible study — which teaches Christianity from a Jewish perspective — exists to help traders and others calm their fears and to provide spiritual insight that they can apply to their lives in the marketplace.
“It allows people to operate in wisdom rather than panic, to be cautious rather than speculative, to be wise instead of foolish,” Schwarcz said. “It assures them that God is aware of their situation, and if they would just trust and believe His word and understand what His word teaches, they can experience a peace that the world cannot give them.”
For Bob, who works as an independent floor trader in the pit, as well as a screen trader using the computer, the group has helped him realize that he can’t always be in control.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of systems that you can trade,” said the 56-year-old Chicagoan. “Ultimately, if God wants those to work, they work. If He doesn’t, they don’t.
“If I operate within His system, then I can have peace and He makes order out of chaos for me.”