Hope Presbyterian Church of Chicago
Hope Presbyterian church is a particular church in the Chicago Presbytery, the Synod of Lincoln Trails, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA.
Hope, an all African American congregation, was organized in 1897 by a few members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church who moved from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Chicago and settled in the West Englewood area between Halsted Street on the east, Loomis Blvd. on the west, 59th Street on the north and 67th Street on the south.
These members were led in this venture by The Rev. I.W. Nicholson who felt that a Presbyterian witness should be organized in this area. He was the nephew of Mrs. Ethyl Hargrave, who was an enduring member unto her death in 1994. Their first meetings were held in various homes. The Brumfield family was also involved in the early organization of Hope Church. Later worship was held at a rented store located at 6137 South Carpenter Street. The first installed pastor was The Rev. George Washington Camp in 1909. He resigned in 1910. With hard work and various fundraisers, the members were able to purchase lots at 61st and Loomis Blvd. Ground was broken for the present edifice in 1911 and the building was completed in 1913. The members actually built the church.
The congregation called The Rev. C. Lee Jefferson in 1911 and moved in the present building with the financial assistance of the Presbytery. Hope’s pastors between 1920 and 1941 were The Rev. William Edward Williams, The Rev. H. Beecher Jackson and The Rev. George McKay Miller. Through World Wars I and ** and the Great Depression, Hope Church continued to grow and develop. A great anthem singing choir, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, and Red Cross Girls were part of the expanding ministries of the church. After World War II, the church was faced with the problem of aging members and the membership began to decline. The children of the early organizers were now moving to new metropolitan areas, that is, Park Manor, Chatham, etc. The chance for better housing and school caused a mass migration from their childhood church.
In early 1941, the church called The Rev. Herbert W. Jones whose long and successful tenure ended in June 1980. Under his leadership the church began to sow new life and growth. Many programs were renewed and others were originated under his pastorate. Hope was again alive and well in West Englewood. In the mid-1950s, the manse was burned and rebuilt. Tragedy struck again in November 1967 when the Sanctuary was severely burned. Hope was temporarily relocated and worshipped in the community center of Drexel Park Presbyterian Church at 64th Street and Marshfield Avenue. But the congregation was determined to continue and refurbished the Sanctuary in one year. With the great desire to progress, the congregation under the leadership of Pastor Jones and the Session erected the beautiful, multipurpose Christian Education Center at the cost of $250,000 which was dedicated in October 1976.
With the retirement of Rev. Jones in 1980, the church had a succession of ministers via the pulpit supply format. The Rev. Michael Miller was ordained and installed at Hope church and was pastor for two years. Among his accomplishments were the organization of a youth choir and the much needed change of hymnals to one with more ethnicity. After his resignation in November 1985, we returned to the pulpit supply format.
This lasted until February 1986 when The Rev. Leslie Sanders was recommended to Hope Church by The Rev. Dr. Floyd N. Rhodes, who at that time was Program Associate for Associated Urban Ministries. This was the beginning of a very successful relationship which consummated in March 1987 with Rev. Sanders formally becoming our Stated Supply Pastor. Rev. Sanders brought us a dynamic style of preaching, unique leadership ability, and an abundance of energy and enthusiasm. Under his leadership the church experienced rapid growth spiritual, numerically and financially.