Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pilgrim Baptist was originally founded by ten members from
the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church that was located in the Millgate
community of South Chicago. These people came together in 1917 to form
and establish the beginnings of the future Pilgrim Baptist Church. The
church's first Pastor, Reverend Frank Gaskin, led the growing population
of the church which was originally, and still are, African American congregants.
Shortly after 1929 the church was in its third building at 3311 E. 91st
Street. By that time they longed for a new church building, but an existing
one was selected which is now its present location. The building had previously
been home to the Zion Lutheran Church. In September of 1945 the congregants
had a candlelight procession to their present location 3235 E. 91st Street.
They had a building to call their own. This Bible believing, spirit-filled
church, also takes pride in its history making events. The gospel scene
of the original "Blues Brothers" movie that started Dan Akroyd and John
Belushi was shot in the church as was Oprah Winfrey's movie turned series
"Brewster's Place". The church is in need of repair work and new construction
of annexations are needed to serve Sunday School classes. In 1993 the church
had laid out plans for new building projects, but all have not been completed.
During the 90's the church grew and conducted workshops for all leaders
and established fellowship with the neighboring Catholic Church Our Lady
of Guadalupe, and scholarship programs to help the youth attend college.
At present the church continues under the leadership of Pastor Hudson.
St. Bronislava Church
The Polish were coming over to the Southeast Side in large
numbers during the 1920's. Their first parish was Immaculate Conception,
but even though the building was constructed to hold many families, it
was not adequate to satisfy the nees of the growing Polish family population.
The parish of Immaculate Conception realized this problem and came up with
the solution to split the parish up into three different organizations.
Over the period of several years Immaculate Conception was broken up to
create three additional Polish parishes in South Chicago, St. Bronislava
being one of them. Officials were sold fifteen lots for $54,000.00 from
87th street to Colfax Avenue. Fr. Cyril was the organizer and new Pastor
of St. Bronislava. The final building would take up to a year to be finished
and until then Pastor Cyril was pushing to rent out the auditorium at Bowen
High School to hold the masses. January 8, 1928 was the first mass held
in the auditorium. Mass was from 8:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m all throughout the
month of January with about seventy five people in attendance. A temporary
building was being constructed at 8700 S. Colfax Avenue during this time.
This church would hold up to 400 people. Fr. John Lange of St. Michael's,
held the first services on February 12, 1928. Immediately afterward, parishioners
of the church started organizing to build a church-school combination structure
for St. Bronislava. After months of organizing and planning the ground
breaking day had finally come. On May 3, 1928 architect, Leo Strelka, made
the first move toward the construction of the new church. An opening ceremony
took place that morning as well. It consisted of a play from the Dramatic
Circle called "Skalmierzanki." Construction of the building went rapidly
after the problem with quicksand in the beginning. Msgr. Ostrowski, a pastor
of a church on the north side of Chicago, blessed the cornerstone of Bronislava
on July 4, 1928 and Fr. Frank Wojtalewicz of Immaculate Conception delivered
the first sermon. In September of that same year St. Bronislava School
opened with 500 students. To this day the school is under the direction
of the Felician Sisters of Chicago, Illinois.
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