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The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now
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The Congregational Church of Park Manor -- Then and Now

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  • 1. The southwest corner of 70th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive (formerly South Park Avenue) has housed a congregational church since 1891. In 1950, the church members began facing the challenge of a racially changing neighborhood, as Blacks began moving in – amid conflict.<br />In September, 1952, negotiations began by the former Park Manor Congregational Church with the Chicago City Missionary Society, to transfer or sell the building to a new group within the same Congregational Christian fellowship, at a greatly reduced price, if such a new church could be organized. The proceeds would perpetuate the old name, Park Manor Congregational Church, by establishing a $50,000 endowment fund in the Chicago Theological Seminary for the training of candidates for the Christian ministry.<br />In January 1953, a Planning and Advisory Committee was formed consisting of representative of Lincoln Memorial Congregational and The Church of the Good Shepherd Congregational Churches, the City Missionary Society, the Chicago Theological Seminary, Park Manor Congregational Church and the National Board of Home Missions. Convinced that the community wanted a new church, the City Missionary Society appropriated a substantial amount of help found and develop the church in 1953.<br />THE FOUNDING<br />
  • 2. THE FOUNDING<br />In February, 1953, as a result of a canvas of residents of the Park Manor area by sixty members of The Church of the Good Shepherd Congregational and Lincoln Memorial Congregational Churches, the foundation was laid for the organization of a new church to be known as The Congregational Church of Park Manor.<br />On April 10, 1953, the new church was staffed: The Reverend John R. Schwenke, Organizing and Interim Pastor, Mrs. Catherine Adams, Choir Director; Ms. Jane Molden, Director of Christian Education; and Ms. Rachel Ferrill, Parish Visitor.<br />On May 3, 1953, the Church held its first service at 7000 South Park Avenue. <br />
  • 3. THE CLERGY<br />The Reverend Dr. Reuben A. Sheares, II, after fifteen (15) years as Director, Office of Church Life and Leadership, United Church of Christ, came to The Congregational Church of Park Manor on June 1, 1988. Dr. Sheares served the congregational until his death on July 11, 1992. <br /> <br />The Reverend George Thomas, former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Atlanta, came to The Congregational Church of Park Manor to serve as Interim Minister – March 21, 1993 – August 1995.<br /> <br />The Reverend Dr. Luther Holland, Jr., formerly Chicago Metropolitan Association Minister and Ohio Conference Minister for Church in the World, became Senior Pastor and Teacher - September 1, 1995 – May, 31, 2010.<br /> <br />Associate/Assistant/Student Ministers<br /> <br />Reverend Dr. Kenneth Smith, Reverend Elmore Giles, Reverend Jimmie Sawyer, Reverend Ronald Roberts, Reverend Stephen Camp, Reverend Lilton Marks, Reverend Dr. Brenda Aghahowa, Reverend Dr. Erwin A. France, Reverend James E. Fouther, Jr. and Reverend (Ms.) Leslie R. Dowdell, Dr. Oscar Varnadoe, III, Minister Joseph Ragland, had served The Congregational Church of Park Manor in the capacity of associate, assistant and student Ministers.<br />The Pastors<br /> <br />The Reverend John R. Schwenke, of the Chicago City Missionary Society, served as the Organizing Interim Minister – April 10, 1953 – October 25, 1953.<br /> <br />The Reverend Dr. William J. Faulkner, after twenty years as Dean of Chapel at Fisk University, served as Senior Pastor – October 25, 1953 – June 15, 1962<br /> <br />The Reverend Dr. Arthur D. Gray, former President of Talladega College, became the second minister – September 2, 1962 – January 1977.<br /> <br />The Reverend Dr. James H. Hargett, an innovator and civil rights movement participant, was elected the third minister – May 1977 – August 1986.<br /> <br />The Reverend Dr. George Polk, Pastoral Counselor at Bethany Hospital, served as Interim Minister for two years, following Dr. Hargett’s departure.<br /> <br />
  • 4. WHO WE ARE<br />Since The Congregational Church of Park Manor opened its doors and celebrated its first service on May 3, 1953, the Church’s overall mission has been to promote the well-being of the human community. The Church has been in the forefront of the civil rights movement, participating in, both financially and with personal involvement, those activities which seek justice and equality for all human beings. The Church has been a staunch supporter of those organizations working towards bettering the human condition, worldwide. The Church has support the activities of The United Negro College Fund, through fundraising and scholarships. The Church has partnered with Park Manor Elementary School in its commitment to maintain stability and encourage educational pursuits in the community. The Church, in conjunction with, the City of Chicago, provides meals for seniors daily. The Church, in conjunction with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs, has instituted “Saturday at Park Manor” to provide a safe place and quality programs for community youth and to institute a summer camp program. <br />
  • 5. THE MUSIC<br />George Cooper, Music Director, celebrates African-American composers. The Chanel Choir and Men’s Chorus embrace the African-American experience through interpretation of spirituals, gospel and classical music.<br />
  • 6. A NEW BEGINNING<br />On June 27, 2010 the Church will install Reverend Michelle Hughes as its Intentional Interim Minister and begin the search for a Senior Pastor.<br />Reverend Hughes offers years of experience in pastoral care, community organization, and non-profit endeavors. Currently serving as Associate Chaplain to Elmhurst College, she has also served as Associate Pastor for Coppin African Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago, and Dupage A.M.E. Church in Lisle, Illinois. In her secular ministry, Reverend Hughes has provided consultant services to the Chicago Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, University of Illinois Hospital, the Children’s Place Association, and the Chicago Housing Authority. She has served as project director for the State-wide faith based organization, Protestants for The Common Good, as well as worked for the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office and the National Rainbow Coalition.<br />
  • 7. A NEW BEGINNING<br />A seasoned trainer, Reverend Hughes, founded Hughes &amp; Associates Consulting, which specializes in pre-employment and personal development training. Her education, life experience and effective communication skills, has provided her with a unique vantage point from which to assist individuals and organizations in achieving their personal and organizational objectives.<br />Reverend Hughes is a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary and was one of fifty religious professionals selected nationwide to attend Harvard Divinity Schools Summer Leadership Institute in 1999. In 2004, Reverend Hughes was recognized by the Illinois State Treasurer, and received the “Woman to Woman – Making a Difference Award.” She is also listed in the 2004-05 editions of Marquis “Who’s Who of American Women.”<br />Professional Affiliations include:<br />Theta Alpha kappa<br />The National society of Experiential Education<br />The Association of University Women<br />The Professional Woman Network<br />Reverend Hughes is a long-time resident of the Park Manor Community and is the mother of two, Nia Randall (24) and Joshua (19). <br />
  • 8. THE FUTURE<br /> “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1<br /> <br />The Church is now entering into a new era and is excited and encouraged as it seeks a new Senior Pastor. Under the capable leadership of Intentional Interim Minister Reverend Michelle Hughes, Moderator, William A. Johnson, Vice Moderator, Nedra A. Durham and Chairs from twenty Boards, Committees, Fellowships, Ministries and Councils, the Church is posed to face the challenges of the future and to grow our congregation. Our mission is “To know God’s word and to do God’s Will.” With this in mind, we will reconstitute existing programs and develop new programs relevant to the needs of our community. We will continue to work on empowering the laity through Bible Study. The Church has reaffirmed its commitment to community outreach and activism, promoting activities which enhance the well-being of our human community and supporting worldwide organizations which seek justice and equality. We will continue to strengthen our involvement in the total life of the United Church of Christ.<br />

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