After nearly 20 years as pastor of the historic Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Reverend James M. Moody is retiring and will preach his final sermon at 10 a.m. Sunday, September 19, the Chicago Crusader has exclusively learned.
Quinn’s former pastor, Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram, will preach at the 10:00 a.m. worship service on Sunday, September 12, 2021.
Asked why he is retiring from the first African American church established in Chicago in 1844 by seven former slaves, Moody told the Chicago Crusader, “I am retiring to add some more years on my life and to enjoy my wife,” he said, referring to Corlis S. Moody whom he married 48 years ago.
Questioned as to who would take his place, Moody, who has been a minister since 1991, said, “It is my hope that our executive pastor, Troy K. Venning, is selected.” Venning could not be reached for comment.
During his tenure, Moody worked hard to restore the historic church located at 2401 S. Wabash Ave. behind the former Chicago Defender newspaper. The church was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1891. Members purchased the land at 24th and Wabash and in 1892 the church was built and has continued services there since 1893.
Quinn Chapel AME has hosted numerous civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Jesse Jackson, Mayor Harold Washington and many others.
In making sure that the church’s historic lineage continues and in the same place, Moody worked hard to restore the structure, which was once an Underground Railroad safe house, thanks to its original founders, the seven former slaves who were also abolitionists. During his administration, Moody completed a number of building improvements to enhance and maintain the dignity and beauty of the edifice, including adding a handicap-accessible ramp, a fellowship hall, commercial kitchen, conference rooms, an elevator and central air conditioning.
Moody says he came to Quinn Chapel AME with a mission of restoring the church and those who attended. He feels his mission has been completed, and it is time to move on and let others follow in his footsteps.