Bethel Mennonite Community Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

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The Bethel Mennonite Mission (Mennonite Church USA) of Chicago, Illinois, is located at 14th Place and Laflin Street. It started in 1944 as a project among the African American people by the Mission Board of the Illinois Mennonite Conference. Under the leadership of Lester Hershey, Walter Yordy and James and Rowena Lark, a successful Bible school was held in the summer of 1944. That August, the workers organized the congregation.

James H. Lark, formerly of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, was asked to take charge; in 1946 James was ordained a minister and in 1956 a bishop. He was the first African American minister and bishop in the Mennonite Church. The total membership in 1953 of Bethel, together with that of Dearborn Street Mission (an outpost at 1808 Dearborn Street), was 53 exclusive of workers. A fire in the building where the congregation met meant a new facility was required; the new building, about a block from the former building, was dedicated in September 1954. It also began to use the name Bethel Mennonite Community Church.

The Bethel mission grew out of the Chicago Home Mission, which recommended to the Illinois Mennonite Conference the opening of a mission to African Americans. The Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities also supported the work.

The church sponsored a daycare center at the church for many years, beginning in the 1950s.

Bibliography

Huber, Tim. "Chicago church organizes neighbors to hold leaders to housing commitment." Anabaptist World 24 March 2023. Web. 3 January 2024. https://anabaptistworld.org/chicago-church-organizes-neighbors-to-hold-leaders-to-housing-commitment/.

King, Paul and Lois. "Bethel says 'Thank you'." Gospel Herald" 48, no. 25 (21 June 1955): 590.

Lark, James H. "Bethel Mennonite Mission." Gospel Herald 45, no. 27 (1 July 1952): 655-656.

Smith, Willard H. Mennonites in Illinois. Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, 24. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1983: 427-430.

Additional Information

Address: 1434 South Laflin, Chicago, Illinois 60608

Phone: 312-720-9355

Website: https://bethelmennonitecommunitychurch.org/

Denominational Affiliations: Illinois Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Bethel Mennonite Community Church

Name Years
of Service
James H. Lark (1888-1978) 1945-1956
Paul O. King (1921-2016) 1953-1962
Cecil A. Ashley (1930-2015) 1960
Joseph L. Holloway 1963-1966
Leamon R. Sowell (1918-1987) 1970-1983?
Clarence N. Yutzy 1970
Alvin Brown 1971-1973
Lay Leadership 1983-1985
Lee A. Lowery 1985-1990?
Konstance Bell 1991-1994
Raymond Bell 1991-1994
Tony Bianchi 1995-

Bethel Mennonite Community Church Membership

Year Members
1950 52
1960 61
1970 40
1980 44
1990 64
2000 33
2009 40
2020 40

Maps

Map:Bethel Mennonite Community Church (Chicago, Illinois)

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By James H. Lark. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 310-311. All rights reserved.

Bethel Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA) of Chicago, Illinois, is located at 14th Place and Laflin Street. It was started in 1945 as a project among the African American people by the Mission Board of the Illinois Mennonite Conference. The total membership of Bethel, together with that of Dearborn Street Mission (an outpost at 1808 Dearborn Street), is 53 exclusive of workers, with James H. Lark as pastor in 1953.


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published January 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Bethel Mennonite Community Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2024. Web. 17 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Mennonite_Community_Church_(Chicago,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=178073.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (January 2024). Bethel Mennonite Community Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Mennonite_Community_Church_(Chicago,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=178073.




©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.