We welcome you to our centennial celebration and thank God that you are able to celebrate with us this important mile stone in our history. The story of St Andrew’s Pentecost is that of perseverance, hope and defying of every obstacle. Her founders stood against racism and a racist church institution which pervaded the history of their day/nation and sadly continues to remain a cankerworm that must be eliminated.
St Andrew’s humble beginning is the struggle of three women who worshipped at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, Evanston with a great deal of apprehension. Despite the inhumane treatment meted out to them, they continued to attend until their attendance to church was considered a problem. To their shock and dismay, they were told that they were no longer welcomed at the only place they knew and worshiped God. Atrophied by the loss, deprivation and sorrow, they left the church and resolved to establish a place of worship, where with others, they could worship God without rejection, trepidation or harassment.
Mrs. Esther Bryant, Mrs. Mary V. Jackson and Mrs. Louise Scott decided to buy a piece of land at 1928-1930 Darrow Avenue in Evanston. They first began to worship in the building located at 1930 Darrow and started constructing the church located at 1928 Darrow in 1919. Descendants of ex slaves whose ancestors’ settlement rights (Forty acres and mule) were annulled had little to build a church. It was the grace of God, their faith, self-will and resilience that motivated them to keep pressing on despite great difficulty and extreme scarcity. God never left them as he continued to support their diligent efforts to build a place of worship.
Nine years later they were able to erect our present structure and invited the Bishop to dedicate the building where we worship today. Through those years, St Andrew’s has remained an oasis where countless men, women, youth and children have quenched their thirsts. She has been one of the oldest black churches in Evanston and has been a visible presence in the Community. Without a doubt, her humble beginnings have followed her and continues to be a challenge in the exercise of her ministry.
Regardless of her challenges, she has continued to reinvent herself. In 2006 she underwent a merger with Church of the Pentecost thus becoming St Andrew’s Pentecost Episcopal (Anglican) Church. As one body, St Andrew’s Pentecost has redefined her mission, building bridges, becoming more proactive and fully embracing the missional work of Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate the Centennial of our dear church, I applaud the work and effort of the founders and those who have labored to keep the church afloat. As a leader of the church at a time with tremendous religious apathy, I am concerned about what would become of the future of the church. Future generations may not have enough attendance to sustain the work of the church and thereby deny our unborn children the chance to continue from where we stopped.
Together, we can sustain St Andrew’s Pentecost and position her to serve generations to come by donating generously to establish an endowment fund. We do not want the vision of the three disciples to die, neither do we want to deny our unborn children a place of worship, emancipation, prayer, support, guidance, wisdom and godliness. On Christ alone we build. Our goal for a start is $100,000. Your kind and generous donations will go a long way to preparing St Andrew’s Pentecost for the future. Again, thank you for sparing time to celebrate with us today and for your support. May the Almighty God bless you abundantly.
Rev Fr. Chukwuemeka Nwachuku.