Cosmopolitan Community Church holds 95th Anniversary and Mortgage Burning

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Cosmopolitan Community Church

Cosmopolitan Community Church, originally St. Mary AME, was formed under the leadership of Dr. John Russell Harvey. Services were held in the home of the legendary Dr. Marjorie Stewart Joyner and her husband Robert and later near 51st & Wabash. The CCC members raised money to purchase the lots at 5247-49 South Wabash Avenue, built the original church building and moved in September 23, 1923. The church was named The People’s Church and Cosmopolitan Community Center. Dr. Harvey was invited to join the Alliance of Community Churches and the church was later renamed Cosmopolitan Community Church. During Dr. Marjorie Stewart Joyner’s lifetime, the church served as an epicenter for the Chicago Defender Charities’ main function, the Bud Billiken Parade.

After completing a very successful revival at Cosmopolitan, Dr. Mary G. Evans, who was the pastor of St. John AME in Indianapolis, Indiana, was asked by Dr. Harvey and the Board of Directors to assume the pastorate in 1932. By 1936, the church was able to retire a $36,000 debt. Under Dr. Evans’ leadership, the church prospered: it was remodeled inside and out in 1938; The Community House, “The House that Faith Built,” was added in 1961; three houses on the northeast corner of 53rd and Wabash Avenue were purchased by 400 faithful members in 1960, and later became the site for The Home for the Aged. Dr. Evans passed away April 12, 1966 and was succeeded in October 1967 by the eloquent and dynamic Rev. Henry O. Hardy, currently Pastor Emeritus. Rev. Hardy shepherded Cosmopolitan for the next 47 years instituting many new church programs and ministries including: the Consciousness Class, The Flame Publication, the Nurse’s Guild, the Institute for Positive Living, the Dynamic Living TV Ministry, the Street Ministry, the Youth Action Ministry and a church-based federal credit union. Rev. Hardy’s vision of a new edifice began in 1983 and, after 10 years of hard work and financial sacrifice from the membership, the vision became a reality with the groundbreaking for the new church structure in 1994. The church was officially dedicated on Sunday, April 21, 1996. After leading the CCC flock for 47 years, Pastor Hardy retired in December 2014. The plethora of programs and initiatives, as well as a modern church with a beautiful sanctuary, chapel, banquet hall, offices and meeting rooms generated through his ministry, will long serve Cosmopolitan.

On September 1, 2016, Cosmopolitan selected Rev. Dr. Eric D. Clopton, Sr. as its fourth pastor. Rev. Clopton brings years of ministerial experience which include religious education, music/worship ministry, and church structure. Cosmopolitan Community Church has been an authentic monument of faith through its various outreaches and programs that, under Rev. Clopton’s leadership, continue to meet the needs of children, adults, and seniors. It is Pastor Clopton’s desire to enhance spiritual growth and community involvement through outreach programs, leadership training, and biblical instruction.

The Church’s mortgage began on September 1, 1996, and the opportunity arose in 2016 to accelerate the payments. Under Rev. Clopton’s guidance and the support of the Board of Directors, the CCC members moved forward for full church ownership with the early retirement of its 25-year mortgage. On December 31, 2018, the mortgage was paid in full! Festivities to celebrate this momentous occasion will be held on Sunday, March 31, 2019 and will include worship services at 10:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. with special music from the Celebration Choir as well as tributes from civic and religious leaders and other dignitaries. All are welcome to attend.

For additional information, contact the church’s office.

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