When was it founded: 1937
Where is it located: 501 South Emerson Street
Has it moved: Yes
First Pastor or Priest: Edwin Stevens
History and interesting stories about the church:
In 1935, a group of thirteen Mount Prospect citizens gathered in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Johnson with wild aspirations of organizing a new church. They hoped to establish a community church that would serve every denomination and be affiliated with the Chicago Baptist Association. Despite initial doubts, disagreements, and a “temporary disbandment,” the first service was held in the lounge of the Mount Prospect Country Club in 1937. In September of that year, the ground was broken for the church on previously purchased lots of land. A mere three months later, on December 19, the first services were held inside the newly built church. In that same busy year, a Bible School was founded, a constitution was written, a new pastor (Reverend Edwin Stevens) was welcomed, and a name for the church was chosen–“South Church” with the sub-title “Community-Baptist” affixed to it.
In 1942, with the United States propelled into war following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Reverend Stevens felt he would be better serving God and his country by enlisting in the army as a chaplain. During his absence and until his safe return in 1945, his position was temporarily filled by two other pastors.
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, South Church experienced an ever-expanding congregation and numerous building additions. For instance, in 1957, a Christian Education addition was built and dedicated a year later to accommodate all church children from ages 3 to 12. In those times of seemingly expansion chaos, Marion Stevens began a Memorial Cross display in 1955 in hopes of re-emphasizing the church’s original theme of community. In this display, roughly 125 crosses from across the country and the world were assembled and exhibited. Following her death in 1962, her family graciously donated the entire collection to the church. A decade later, Reverend Stevens retired from the ministry and was replaced by Reverend John Clements in 1974.