History of Holy Bethel -
The City of Praise Church of Chicago
Holy Bethel Pentecostal Fire Baptized Holiness Church was organized and founded in 1932, under the legacy and leadership of the late Reverend Odell McKinley Sr., on the corner of Maypole and Leavitt Street in a basement. After the need and demand of more space and a bigger facility, under the auspices of the Holy Spirit the church moved to 1960 W. Adams Street. Reverend Odell Mack McKinley Sr. was our Founding Father, our Abraham and hailed for 31 years from 1932 to 1963.
On November 8, 1963, Holy Bethel was re-organized under the leadership of the late Reverend James A, Newton. Reverend Newton took the torch and shined bright for Holy Bethel and the FBH Movement for 14 Years.
Reverend James Newton was Pastor of Holy Bethel from 1963 to 1977.
On October 24, 1977, Holy Bethel was re-organized under the leadership of the late Elder J.D. Goodbread, it was at this time Holy Bethel received our first Elder as Pastor and we became the Head Quarters for the Southwest Ohio District.
Elder J.D. Goodbread was Pastor of Holy Bethel for 4 Years and our first Elder as Pastor from 1977 to 1981.
On October 18, 1981, Holy Bethel was re-organized under the dynamic teaching leadership of Elder J.O. Hargrove. During his Pastorate our sanctuary was remodeled, removing factory lights in the entire building, new walls, and new block windows to replace the stolen stained-glass windows and to add a new appeal to the building. Elder Hargrove purchased our first Church van to enable us to attend local and national functions as a Church. Elder Hargrove invested much of his retirement fund in effort to keep this Church active and abounding. Elder Hargrove had a uncompromising love for his Church, District and especially the youth. Elder Hargrove was a teacher who taught in parables symbolizing the awesome words and teachings of Christ.
Elder J.O. Hargrove was Pastor of Holy Bethel for 8 Years from 1981 to 1989.
In December of 1990, Holy Bethel was re-organized under the leadership of Elder William James Culliver Jr. Elder came in like fire and stood firm and proud on the principles of the FBH Church. Through Elder Culliver’s Pastorate we installed new cement floors in the fellowship hall to replace the old broken wooden floors and replaced the outside steps. Elder Culliver had a plan to put Holy Bethel and the Southwest Ohio District back to the forefront of the Movement.
Elder W.J. Culliver was Pastor of Holy Bethel for 7 Years from 1990 to 1997
On October 26, 1997, Reverend Dr. Samuel L. Day Jr. and 1st Lady Mary E. Day became the proud First Family of Holy Bethel FBH Church, becoming her 6th, Pastor. Pastor Day did not hesitate with 10 active members; Pastor Day held his first meeting on Friday October 31, 1997, at 7:30 pm in our fellowship hall. Many changes were to Holy Bethel, installing a heating unit to accommodate worship in the Sanctuary year-round, until this time we were only able to hold worship service in our sanctuary during the summer months. Pastor Day was a Pastor on the move and the Church began to travel again for conventions, workshops, fellowships, and revivals, we were known as “a going Church for a coming Christ!” Pastor Day was Pastor of Holy Bethel from Sunday October 26, 1997, to Sunday October 25, 2009.
On Sunday October 25, 2009, Holy Bethel Fire Baptized Holiness Church was re-organized and Reverend Joseph L. Roberts became our Joshua and 7th Pastor.
Being led of God, the spirit spoke to Pastor during the ministries revamping in December of 2009, and Holy Bethel became known as “The City of Praise Church of Chicago”! Through Pastors leadership, on Friday October 9, 2015 we purchased and moved into our current location here at 3250 W. 60th Street, from 2200 square feet to 22, 000 square feet of community and ministry opportunity. We developed our 5013C, The Source Multicultural Center and work with various community organizations to ensure the continuance of the word and expansion of the kingdom.
Through Pastors vision FBH CHICAGO is partnered with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Survivors, In-Covenant Fellowship, Englewood Senior Nursing Home, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, our Alderman’s Office, and various other community organizations in effort to enhance our youth, church, community, city and the FBH Organization. His vision is to see this ministry open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, meeting the needs of the community and city.
On October 16, 2016, Holy Bethel became officially The City of Praise Church of Chicago and Pastor was appointed to the Pastorate of St. Peter Fire Baptized Church in Evanston Illinois, as her 7th Pastor, and serve dual as Pastor of two churches, working in both communities to bring the Fire back to Chicago.
The history of the origin of the Fire Baptized Holiness Church in Evanston unfolds itself around the late Bishop W.E. Fuller, Sr. D.D. One of his greatest desires and expectations was to see a church in Evanston. His labor forever lives in Evanston.
Many devout leaders consumed with a zeal for God succeeded each other in leading this little band of believers; they were: Rev. P.S. McDaniel, Rev. Asa Williams, Rev. Hodge, Mrs. W.L. White, Rev. J. Johnson, Rev. A.L. McCracken, Rev. J. Slappy, Rev. U. Darkins, Rev. L. J. Jenkins, Rev. S. T. Ryals, Rev. W. L. Neals, and Rev. A. Thompson.
The church in Evanston had its beginning long before there was such a thing as a special building or any other place where the people of God could come together to worship the Lord.
Rev. P. S. Mc. Daniel in the year 1923 organized the church at Evanston with a very few members. Many difficulties and obstacles confronted them. They were met with opposition. Many were suspicious of these people who should and gave God the praise. Oppressed on every side, they moved from place to place trying to become established.
In the year 1949, a few saints of great faith prayed to God to send to Evanston the one of His choosing. Over twenty years passed and still there was no place for service. Evanston needed someone with great influence; someone to restore their faith and to give new courage. Some had become weakened and had all but despaired. It seemed all hope was gone; “but man’s extremity is God’s opportunity”.
Rev. Mrs. L. J. McCracken was sent to Evanston from Detroit, Michigan. Rev. McCracken was the answer to prayer. She proved to be the stimulus needed for this small membership. “We will build a church!” were her words. The idea began to take root and sink deeper into our hearts. An immense expectation filled our souls. At Last, we were going to enjoy an edifice, a Holy structure all our own. In face of all adversities, Pastor McCracken encouraged the members to hold on and to look for the blessings of God.
God has so richly blessed, and the saints of Faith Tabernacle can lift their voices in prayer and thanksgiving that God will fill His church with all truth; for its foundation is built upon truth and righteousness, with walls hut in love and happiness. Its furnishings are the fruits of the spirit. Where in anything it is amiss, we must reform it. Where it is right, it must be established, where it is in want, the Lord will provide.
We shall always be indebted to Bishop W. E. Fuller, Jr. D.D., presiding Elder A. L. McCracken, alone with the many others for their loyal support both financially and physically.
Pastor McCracken claimed 1712 Hovland Court, this very spot of ground of faith and it was consecrated as The Tabernacle of God. Greater St. Peter Faith Tabernacle stands as a beacon light for those in darkness to come and find. At the end of each year Pastor McCracken would pay thousands of dollars toward the principal. After 14 years, in 1976 as the Lord was leading her, she said “the time has come to pay off the mortgage. In April 1976, thank God, the debt was paid in full. Many leaders have followed the leadership of Pastor McCracken and we salute their time, talent and treasure, the late Pastor Mary E. Nebitt, the late Elder Ben Campbell, the late Elder George Clark, Elder William J. Culliver Jr, Elder M. Anthony Durham and our current Pastor, Reverend Joseph L. Roberts.
Greater St. Peter remains faithful and focused to meeting the needs of our community, with community feeding, Harmony on Hovland our community back to school day, our partnership with Evanston Own It, our virtual worship, and classes through our 5013C The Source Multicultural Center. Faithful to finish we are Greater St. Peter.