A Brief History of St. Thomas Church

The Mother Church of African American Episcopalians

in the Diocese of Chicago

St. Thomas Episcopal Church has the distinction of being the first all Black Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Chicago, and is celebrating 130 years of service in the same community. The first church service was held in 1878 by eight dedicated people intent on forming a church where Blacks were welcomed to worship God. Their goal was not to be just a strong Black Parish, but a parish that would reach out to those in the surrounding community who needed to see the manifestation of God's love through His people.

The present edifice at 3801 S. Wabash Avenue was consecrated on September 11, 1977. The original church, erected in 1910, was completely destroyed by fire in 1962. With a succession of dynamic and enthusiastic rectors and dedicated parishioners, St. Thomas Episcopal Church rose from the ashes and continues its service to the community.

St. Thomas offers two Masses each Sunday and adult and youth Christian Formation classes(Sunday School). St. Thomas Church was instrumental in the renovation and reopening of the historic Wabash YMCA that is next to the church. The "Y" is a facility of 101 permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless adults, and is also a functioning YMCA with adult and youth activities. Our church pledges to continue to serve and provide leadership that will aid and enrich its membership and the community.

"A Church in the Gap to fill the gap"

  April 2020  
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