Our Address: 6201 South Throop Street ยท Chicago, IL 60636

Our History

 

Greater Saint John A.M.E. Church is anchored in the unique history of the parent A.M.E. denomination. The denomination, founded by Richard Allen in 1787, was established in protest against segregated worship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The A.M.E. denomination, the first African American independent religious body in the United States, was organized in 1816.

 

Greater Saint John was founded in 1887, in Chicago, Illinois. It is the oldest African American Church in the Englewood Community of Chicago, Illinois.   The church represents the dreams of former African slaves of the 18 century and the works of Black migrants leaving the  rural south. A group of Christian people, who were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, met and organized the church. The first church was a storefront, located at 63rd & Yale. The pastor at the time it was organized was Rev. A.B. Collins. The church remained at this location from 1887-1892. Subsequently, Rev. D.E. Posey became pastor and moved the congregation to another building at 65th & Halsted.

 

Greater Saint John African Methodist Episcopal Church

"Saving Souls, Renewing Minds, Transforming Hearts, Restoring Communities"

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In 1898, Rev. Horace Groves became pastor. He served the congregation for three years and the church relocated again, this time to 6221 South Throop Street. There, the congregation remained until 1907, at which time the Rev. Jesse Woods, who served as pastor for three years, moved them into their first church building at 62nd & Elizabeth Street.

 

During the four-year tenure of Rev. I.N. Daniels as pastor, the vision, courage, and cooperation of the small congregation reached a new high, and they set aside over $4,000 to build a new church.  After Rev. Daniels left, the spirit of the congregation continued to grow and they were ready to move forward.

 

In 1921, Rev. S.E. Maloney came to serve the congregation. With faith, ambition and an explosive mind to proceed, along with $4,000 in the building fund, a resolution was unanimously approved by the congregation to erect a new church. In 1923, the dream became a reality and the cathedral of love was completed, standing tall as the first church built by blacks in Englewood. This structure remains the home for worship at Greater St. John to this present date.

 

Under the pastorate of Rev. Langston Poole, the original mortgage was burned on August 17, 1947. After Rev. Poole left, the Rev. Frank Madison Reid, Jr. committed himself to a great and magnificent service to Greater St. John.

 

Under the administration of Rev. David E. Readye, there was a great movement in the church. The church building was renovated and redesigned, and a new personage was built. This fulfilled Rev. Readye's dream of erecting a comfortable place for the servants of the congregation to live. Rev. Basil A. Foley continued the work that Rev. Readye began.

 

In 1976, the Official Board and the Church Conference began initial steps for a total renovation of the church. During the administration of Rev. Cornelius Hayes, the church was renovated and rededicated.

 

In 1989, Rev. O.L. Powell was assigned as pastor of Greater St. John. During his tenure, the mortgage for the church's remodeling was paid. In 1997, Rev. Jesse W. Cotton was assigned as pastor. During his tenure, Pastor Cotton instituted a Sharing Fund to assist members financially in emergencies. A scholarship fund was established as a memorial to the late Rev. Roland R. Reed, one of the sons of Greater St. John to provide financial assistance to our college students. Computers were donated to the church by the University of Florida School of Nursing, and the church provided basic computer skills training for school children and senior citizens.

 

Under the leadership of Rev. John Nettles, Jr., Greater St. John organized the Voices of Praise Choir and the John Nettles Jr. Usher Board.

 

On July 9, 2011, Rev. Samuel Mendenhall was appointed pastor of Greater St. John. Under his leadership, the church renewed its focus on community outreach and evangelism, including establishing partnerships with Woods Elementary School, Clara's House and Alden Wentworth Nursing Home.

 

In November 2014, Bishop John Richard Bryant, appointed Rev. K. Andre Brooks as the senior pastor of Greater Saint John AME Church.  Rev. Brooks has sparked a Church revival and city-wide campaign focused on decreasing the high crime rate in the crime rampant neighborhood by meeting with elected officials, gang leaders, police, city agency officials, and business owners to address the major issues of work-force development and economic revitalization

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