In the Fall of 1955, Friendship led by Chairman, Deacon Jesse Worthy, called the Reverend Shelvin Jerome Hall of Texas to be our next pastor. His request was: “If I am to be pastor, then let me pastor.” These words marked the beginning of what has been to date, a 50 year saga. Under his visionary and insightful leadership, the following were initiated: Sunday Night Services because the people needed the opportunity to be saved at night as well as the morning and the Wednesday night Mid-Week Services.
the Business and Professional Club,(now the E. L. Twine Club, named in honor of Reverend E. L. Twine; Release Time School, Usher Board Number Two, now Usher Ministry Number Two; Youth Ushers, Baptist Youth Fellowship; the Young Married Couples Club; Boy Scouts; Young Adult Choir, now the Contemporary Choir. Two funds were established to meet our needs: The Auxiliary Fund/Mr. Henry Lyles, Secretary and the Building Fund/ Deacon Carlton Shanks, Chairman. Our Church slogan was, “We Are The Church With The Neighborly Spirit.”
Our doors have been opened to many civic and religious organizations: Namely: The National Parent-Teachers Association, The Urban League, NAACP, Bishop College Choir, Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education, Ministers Conference, Civil Rights Movement; the West Side Federation, and the Tri-Faith Employment Agency. Outstanding ministers and Civil Rights leaders also were welcome at Friendship, including: The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Reverend Dr. Ralph Abernathy, and The Reverend Dr. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
$30,000.00 mortgage was accomplished in three years and eight months instead of the allotted five years. The mortgage was burned on Sunday, July 31, 1966. Being a considerate and thoughtful leader, Pastor Hall named Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1966, as the “We dedicate this house” Day. This day was commemorated with the unveiling of a bronze plaque that was placed in the Church lobby. This plaque bore the names of those who had given sacrificially to make the final mortgage payment possible. On July 10, 1967, we laid a cornerstone so that posterity might know from whence we came.
Seven departments were organized: Education, Worship, Fellowship, Youth, Evangelism, Service, and Children. Also an annual Leadership Training School, (now the Ann Miller Leadership School . Mrs. Miller was instrumental in attendees of the Mid-Week Bible Study receiving one college credit in 1976; the Vacation Bible School., With the grace of God and the loyal support of our members, we published the Diamond Jubilee History Book in 1972. This book denoted the mood and passions of Friendship from our beginnings until the time of the publication.
Five Deacons were ordained on December 3, 1975: Woody L. Collins, Percy Fultz, Mario McManus, J. B. Bates and Elvin J. Simpson. Several new Auxiliaries were organized in 1975: the Youth Nurses, the Explorers and the Young Christian Women’s League. Our Unified Choir was featured on the “Rock of Ages” telecast in September, 1976.
A Church Office with Mrs. Dolores Cross Johnson as the first Church Secretary. Later, the positions of Church Secretary and Church Clerk were combined and Mrs. Bertha Handy Brown (pictured on left) was selected to fill the position. A Unit System to track the scattered members and a New Membership Roll was established. Being blessed with foresight, he organized the Hall’s Ensemble,
On Wednesday, August 4, 2004, Pastor Shelvin Jerome Hall was honored at the Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education. He received a plaque that praised him for being “A Preacher of High Esteem” and complimented him on his exemplary dedication to Christian Education. On August 20-22, 2004, Pastor Hall and Friendship were featured in the Religion section of the Chicago Defender entitled “And Yet He Obeyed God" where his leadership and obedience to God in the face of political pressures during the 1960’s and specifically 1967 was praised. Pastor Hall was cited as one who is “Standing Up for Righteous.” August 28, 2004, the church re-instituted our annual church picnic. The picnic was held at Columbus Park. On Saturday, September 4, 2004, Covenant Chapel Baptist Church moved into their new location at 4639 W. Washington Boulevard. The pastor, Reverend Charles Gordon, is a son of Friendship.
On September 19, 2004, U. S. Senator, Joe Biden of Delaware and Illinois Senator, Barack Obama of Illinois visited Friendship and expressed their gratitude to Pastor Hall and Friendship for their vision and support. Barack Obama was campaigning to become the U. S. Senator for Illinois. If elected, he will become the fifth Black person who has served in this capacity.On
September 23, 2004. Willia Mae Carlos, the oldest living member of the Friendship Baptist Church, celebrated her 105th birthday.
October 1, 2004, at the church’s 47th Annual Banquet and 49th Annual Pastor’s Appreciation Banquet, Paige Greenwood won the title “Queen of Friendship Baptist Church” representing the Youth Department. This was the first time in many years that the Youth Department had captured this title.
Pastor Hall and Mrs. Hall celebrated 60 years of wedded bliss on December 25, 2004.
In 2005, The Friendship Baptist Church initiated “Celebration Sunday” in appreciation of Pastor’s Hall up-coming fiftieth year as pastor. Every third or fourth Sunday, a guest preacher will deliver the morning sermon. A church department will assume the responsibility of serving dinner for that particular Sunday.
February 1-4, 2005, Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall was an honoree of “Iron Sharpens Iron" Ministers’ Conference Awards” held at the Rock of Ages Baptist Church where the Reverend Marvin Wiley is pastor. Pastor Hall was recognized as one of ten most prominent ministers in Chicago. Pastor Hall and Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall were pictured in the February 14, 2005, publication of the Jet Magazine acknowledging them for sixty years of marriage.
On March 22, 2005, Mrs. Willia Mae Carlos, the oldest living member of the Friendship Baptist Church, died at the age of 105.
The 49th Annual “Seven Last Words-Good Friday Services, was held April 9, 2005 – 12:00 Noon to 3:00 P.M.. Again, Friendship was blessed to be featured with a 10-piece chamber orchestra that this year included an oboe and a flute.
On April 16, 2005, Pastor Hall was invited to conduct the official Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at St. Michael Baptist Church. Reverend Clifford Spear is the pastor. On April 20, 2005, Friendship and Pastor Hall were cited in the editorial section of the Chicago Defender for being one of the few churches that ignored threats by the political forces of that day and allowed the venerable Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach from its pulpit. April 30, 2005, Our First Lady, Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall, had the distinct honor of being chosen by Operation Push and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson as one of the “Outstanding Mothers” in Chicago.
May 1, 2005 –Women’s Day, 3:30 P.M. Guest Speaker was Dr. Lillie M. White Shaffer. The theme was “God Keeps His Promises” Psalm 37:23-29. Johnnie Edward Smith, Sr., was chosen as “The Man of the Year.” May 9, 2005, the Friendship Baptist Church donated $750.00 to the USA for United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and $750.00 to the Baptist World Aid. The money was given to aid the victims of the Tsunami Disaster that occurred on December 26, 2004.
On June 5, 2005, Pastor Hall was interviewed by The History Makers-A National Archive of African American Notables. Reverend Hall was selected and inducted into the “History Makers” and his memories recorded on videotape in an eight-hour interview that is an historical record available on line for all time. This organization is dedicated to capturing the voice of a people. They strive to show that African American History did not begin or end with the Civil Rights Movement. Men’s Day, June 5, 2005, - special guests were Reverend Steve Spiller, Sr., pastor of Greater Galilee Baptist Church and his congregation. Ms. Bernice Smith was chosen as “The Woman of the Year.”
This entire year has been devoted to celebrating Rev. Hall's 50th year as Pastor of the flock known as Friendship. The celebration included monthly "Celebration Sunday" events featuring guest speakers for the morning worship experience followed by lunch in the Worthy Auditorium. The highlight of the celebration was the 50th Gala Dinner that was held October 7, 2005 in the Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Library. This black-tie gala was attended by state and local dignitaries, public officials, members of the religious community and the Friendship family. The focus of the Gala was to honor and salute Rev. Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall for 50 years of dedicated, untiring, sacrificial service to God's people at Friendship.
During the Church Annual Retreat in December 2005, Rev. Hall announced the formation of a Pastoral Transition Team to be headed by Rev. L.K. Curry former pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church. It was determined that the team would be comprised of members of the Deacon Board, Trustee Board and each department chairman. The Pastoral Transition Team began work in January by conducting surveys of the congregation to determine the type of pastor the membership would like to have. This survey included questions on age, marital status, educational background and pastoral experience. An additional survey provided an opportunity for members to name three ministers that they would like to recommend as pastor. After all of the surveys were reviewed, five candidates were brought before the church between February 5, 2006 and March 5, 2006.
On April 16, 2006, The Sunday Church school presented the Passion Play, "No Greater Love," written and produced by Mrs. Carolyn Davidson, Sunday School Superintendent.
The Unity Celebration Session of the Greater New Era District Association and the Salem Baptist District Association was hosted by Friendship Baptist Church April 17-21, 2006. Both of these Chicago-based organizations celebrated their 60th Anniversary. Rev. Dr. William Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc. was the special guest.
Church in Kansas City, Kansas and the 2nd Vice President of the National Baptist Convention, comes to us from First Regular Missionary Baptist Church in Lawrence, Kansas where he was the Pastor. Pastor Bachus is the 8th Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. Friendship remains prayerful and hopeful as we begin this new journey.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Bachus, the following major repairs and improvements were made to the church structure: painting of sanctuary; upgrade of electrical system; refurbishing of baptismal and pulpit; upgraded sound system; reupholstery of pews; carpeting of sanctuary and choir stand; replacement of church organ; new flooring for upper and lower level floors and stairway, installation of hallway and entry runners; improvements to elevator and upper level bathrooms; complete renovation of the Worthy Auditorium/Fellowship Hall [including painting, lighting, installation of sound system, upgrading utility room, remodeling kitchen and upgrading heating and air conditioning system]; new roofing and fascia, newly concreted porch, steps, walkway and handicap ramp and power washing of exterior walls. The majority of these renovations were completed in March, 2008, when Friendship paused to celebrate during the Pastor’s first anniversary celebration. Several guest Ministers stopped by Friendship to preach and to congratulate Rev. Bachus on his first year anniversary including Rev. Dr. Rogers Jackson, Emmanuel Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. George W. Waddles, Sr., Zion Hill Baptist Church; Rev. Charles Gordon, Covenant Chapel Baptist Church and; Rev. Leroy Elliott, New Greater St. John Community Baptist Church. While working on the building structure, much work has also been done on the people of God that are members of the Friendship Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Pastor Bachus the following accomplishments and achievements have occurred: development of a Vision Statement and Mission Statement for the church; adoption of the four Pillars of Faith; establishment of an Economic Community Development Fund; Wednesday Noon Bible Study Class; Leadership Development Certification Series; establishment of Church In-Take Counselors and the creation of a Recommendation Team.
The mission statement developed for the Friendship Baptist Church is: “The Friendship Baptist Church of Chicago is a congregation of Baptized Believers who strive to meet the Great Commission of Jesus Christ as recorded in St. Matthew 28:19-20 by: Exalting the Savior through meaningful worship and Godly living; Equipping the Saints through the teaching of God’s word; Entreating the Lord through prayer; and Evangelizing the Lost through fellowship and ministry.” This mission statement incorporates the four Pillars of Faith – Exalting the Savior, Equipping the Saints, Entreating the Lord and Evangelizing the Lost.
The 40-hour Leadership Development Certification Series began in January 2008 and continued through May 2008. These classes were taught by Dr. Bill Burwell of Burwell Ministries. The first Leadership Development graduating class of Friendship Baptist Church celebrated with joy on May 18, 2008 as they received a certificate of completion. The course was designed to enlighten, enrich, empower and develop leaders and future leaders within the church.
In addition, the Church has instituted Foundations of Faith Training courses for youth and adult members of the congregation. This course is designed to provide foundational instruction to new members. All new members must complete the Foundations of Faith Training Course prior to receiving the Right Hand of Fellowship.
Church In-Take Counselors have been instituted who are available to accept new members when they come forward after the Call to Discipleship has been extended. These counselors have the responsibility of sharing the Plan of Salvation and the Four Spiritual Laws with persons who seek membership with the Friendship Baptist Church of Chicago.
The recommendation team has been instrumental in providing guidance and support to the Pastor as he leads the people of God and provides for the structural upkeep of the Church building.
Another new ministry established under Pastor Bachus is the Praise Dancers. This group of young ladies, ages 9-19, made their debut on Sunday, June 8, 2008 during the afternoon Youth Day service.
The 2008 Women’s Day and Men’s Day Celebrations each included speakers from within the Congregation. The early morning service speaker for Women’s Day was Mrs. Crystal Mobley. For Men’s Day, the early morning speakers were Pastor Reginald Bachus, Deacon James Lucas, Deacon In Training Eric Pratt and Mr. Matthew Burrell. The afternoon speakers for these events were Mrs. Wilma Bachus for Women’s Day and Rev. Stephen Spiller and the Greater Galilee Baptist Church for Men’s Day.
The In-touch Ministry was established in 2008 for the purpose of meeting the spiritual needs of homebound and sick members. The Anchor, Friendship’s monthly news publication, and worship service CDs are delivered to these members each month.
On October 10, 2008 Friendship Baptist Church honored parishioners who celebrated 50 years or more of faithful service. Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall delivered a special poem that she wrote for the occasion.
In August 2014, Rev. Bachus was appointed 1ST Vice President of Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education of Illinois.
Friendship expanded its social media presence by establishing a Facebook account in September 2014. Within the year, Friendship had reached over 1,000 people.
At the age of ninety, Catherine Stovall retired from teaching the Adult Class #2 Sunday School Class. She was presented with a plaque of appreciation on September 28, 2014 for 52 years of teaching Sunday School. On this same day, Agnes McGregor was also presented with a plaque of appreciation for 51 years of teaching Sunday School in the Children’s Deparment.
Online and Mobile giving became available in October 2014. The goal was to increase giving by making it more convenient and accessible.
On June 13, 2015, Rev. Bachus received his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Congregational Leadership from Northern Baptist Seminary.
During the 118th Church Anniversary, Rev. Scott Onque, who was the guest preacher for the evening of July 9, 2015, joined Friendship Baptist Church. He had just preached a sermon titled, “How to Serve Christ With A Spirit of Excellence” indicating that it all starts with the capacity to love. The motion to accept Rev. Scott Onque on his Christian Experience was unanimously accepted by the congregation.
On July 19, 2015, Friendship burned the renovation mortgage!
On April 26, 2009, Pastor Bachus was presented with a crystal plaque for recognition of 20 years of diligence and dedication of preaching the gospel. The Summer Teen Employment Project was implemented during July 2009 and ran for four weeks. In the fall of 2009, Pastor Bachus began serving as a mentor for boys at Leslie Lewis Middle School. In November 2009, Friendship joined ranks with the US Census Bureau to be a testing site for people looking for census jobs and to be a participating member of the Complete Count Committee.
STEP UP - SUMMER TEEN EMPLOYMENT PROJECT: UNLOCKING POTENTIAL
The Summer Teen Employment Project was implemented during July 2009 and ran for four weeks. The purpose of the project was to equip the church's teenagers with practical work experience, provide a biblical model for work ethics and provide marketable training and development. Mrs. Faye Fairchild, who supervised the program, coordinated various workshops for the teenagers that included: team building exercises, personal finance, job interviews, college preparation and financial aid and resume development. Mrs. Detra Bachus and Mrs. Cynthia Brown Greenwood served as mentors and presenters during this project. The teens worked in various administrative capacities within the church, assisted with Vacation Bible School and performed various maintenance functions. As part of their work experience, the teens spent two days at Jackson Square Nursing Center where they served as activity aides for the residents. Pastor Bachus plans to enhance and continue this work project so that more teens could participate and more work opportunities could be identified. The following teens successfully completed this work project: Larry Fairchild, Aramis Gills, Jaquisha Gills, Paige Greenwood, Dominique Jackson, Monique Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Maurice Minor and Melvin Pierce.
In July of 2009, the Bereavement Ministry was established. The mission of this ministry is to help members who are struggling with the loss of a loved one. Later that year, the ministry was renamed Grief Ministry.
Rev. Bachus expanded his mentorship to include Michele Clark High School in 2010.
In January 2010, Worship on Wednesdays (WOW) was added to the church calendar on the first Wednesday of each month. WOW replaced prayer meeting on the first Wednesday. The Health and Wellness Ministry was established to promote a healthier lifestyle amongst parishioners.
On Sunday April 4, 2010 Pastor Bachus rolled out “The Power of the Penny Mortgage Reduction” program. Each member was asked to participate with a donation of 1¢ the first week and to double that amount each week through June 2010. The remainder of the doubling would occur on a monthly basis July through October with a total contribution of $1,310.71 per participant.
In April 2010 Pastor Bachus was appointed the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) 15th District Faith Based Chairperson. He is a member of the Steering Committee for Austin Coming Together (A.C.T.) and in June 2010 was appointed Chairperson for 100 Churches on 100 Blocks with responsibility for heading up the prayer efforts in the community. To reach the community, prayer meeting was moved outside of the church and onto the streets during the entire month of June. In addition, the Evangelism Ministry began providing street prayer in June.
The Women of Faith Ministry was launched in October 2011, and the first invitational meeting occurred in January 2012.
Friendship partnered with the Posse Foundation May 2012, which now gives the church the ability to nominate students for scholarships.
Friendship partnered with Herbert Spencer Technology Academy located at 214 N. Lavergne Ave., Chicago, IL 60644 in October 2012.
Rev. Bachus was elected First Vice Moderator of Salem Baptist District Association - announcement was made on July 28, 2013.
FBC began the Community Meal Program January 11, 2014 and fed over 100 people from the community. This program occurs the 2nd Saturday of each month. Sharon Hartshorn was the lead person in getting FBC organized for this endeavor. Wallace Wilbourn and Carmella Parker are the lead people with monthly food preparation.
FBC hosted its first Women’s Retreat March 21-23, 2014 at the Oak Brook Hills Resort. The theme was “Transformed Women Through the Bond of Love” and the presenter was Cynthia M.A. Butler McIntyre, the immediate past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. A reception was hosted in her honor following morning worship on Sunday, 3/23/14.
Rev. Jesse Burrell was ordained on March 22, 2014 and had his ordination service on March 30, 2014. He is Pastor of God’s Grace Baptist Church.
On Thursday, June 7, 1990, congratulations were unanimously extended to Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall, upon his election as the President of Baptist General State Convention. Illinois, Inc. A plaque acknowledging Pastor Hall’s esteemed accomplishment was presented on Sunday June 10, 1990 by Ms. Janet D. Jamieson. It read: “ They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like an eagle; they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint…WAIT ON THE LORD.” The Installation Services of Baptist General State Convention were held in conjunction with our 93rd Homecoming Services on Sunday, July 15, 1990. A motorcade of 12 limousines, along with a number of private cars, paraded from the Chicago Stadium to the Church for these services.
We traveled to Nashville, Tennessee in May, 1991 to fellowship with the American Baptist Theological Seminary where our Pastor, the Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall, would have the distinction of delivering the Baccalaureate Sermon at the Baptist World Center. Then on June 5, 1991, Pastor Hall gave his first Stewardship Address as president of Baptist General. Also in June, 1991, Pastor Hall had the honor of serving as Presiding Officer of the National Congress of Christian Education which convened in Los Angeles, California.
It was during the 1992 March Election Primary, that the Office of Circuit Court Judge was won by the daughter of Pastor and Mrs. Shelvin Jerome Hall. The Honorable Shelvin Louise Marie Hall accomplished this feat by a landslide vote. On May 3, 1992, Jackson Boulevard, from Cicero Avenue on the East to Austin Boulevard on the West, was designated the “Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall Drive. In August of this same year, we assumed ownership of a parsonage in Hillside, Illinois. In June 1993, Friendship again hosted the Annual Session of Baptist General State Convention and our pastor was reelected to serve another three year term as Convention President. We were the special guests of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia in August, 1993 for the installation of the Reverend Martin Henderson as pastor.
Seeing the need for additional Deacons, Pastor Hall set aside Deacons in Training and began weekly sessions of instructions for the prospective deacons and their wives. In November 1995, we journeyed to Corpus Christi, Texas to worship with the Saint John Baptist Church as they celebrated their 120th Church Anniversary. Pastor Hall had served this congregation as pastor before he was called to Friendship in 1955. Saint John honored him for the role he had played in their history. St. John repaid our visit by coming to us June 14-16,1996 for our Annual Men’s Day celebration.
Pastor Hall ended his tenure as President of Baptist General State Convention of Illinois, Inc. on June 7,1996 in Peoria, Illinois. He had served two consecutive terms of three years each and delivered his final address as President on Thursday, June 6,1996. During his address, he made reference to the financial, numerical and spiritual advancements made by the Convention over the past six years. He further encouraged the new administration to “ Keep Moving”.
The “Tending Sheep Ministry was begun by Pastor Hall in 1996. This was a renewed effort to keep track of the new members and those who had strayed away. Later, due to a rash of teen suicides, the Christian Care Ministry was started. The first Chairman was Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall. Its purpose is to reach out to teens and the community. The Tending Sheep became an auxiliary of the Christian Care Department.
In anticipation of our Centennial Celebration in 1997, we purchased a new organ and piano. In addition, several areas of the Church were redecorated and remodeled. This included landscaping, refurbishing of the Bell Tower and front doors; remodeling of the men and women’s restroom facilities; the kitchen and several Department rooms were painted and redecorated.In January, 1997, the Centennial Committee began holding weekly meetings on Wednesday nights. This was to aid them in planning of special events. Our Theme for the year: “Through The Years”, Scripture: Psalm 90: 1-4. On February 16, 1997, Brothers Jerry Wilson, James Lucas, Sterling Grandberry, and Joseph Jackson were ordained as Deacons of Friendship Baptist Church.
During our Centennial Celebration, Father Michael Ivers, (St. Agatha Catholic Church) brought Pastor Hall seven bricks from Douglas Boulevard. They were placed before the altar and represented the seven pastors in the life of Friendship. The Centennial Celebration culminated on July 13, 1997 with a parade from our humble beginnings at Lake and Sangamon, continued through the various neighborhoods in which Friendship had been located to our present location at 5200 West Jackson Boulevard. We were joined by many friends and well-wishers. On December 17, 1998, Brother John Wilson was ordained as Deacon.
Flanked by news reporters, journalists and a Church full of faithful members Rev. Shelvin J. Hall delivered his final sermon on November 12, 2006, "The Unfinished Song." After fifty-one (51) years of faithful service, Rev. Hall retired as the captain of the great "FriendSHIP."
On November 19, 2006, Friendship Baptist Church welcomed its new Pastor, Rev. Reginald E. Bachus, to the pulpit for his inaugural sermon,"Waiting On the Next Move of God." Rev. Reginald Bachus, the son of Rev. C. L. Bachus, Pastor of New Zion Baptist
Due to rapid membership growth, we realized the need for a larger edifice. In 1962, we purchased property at 3411 West Douglas Boulevard for the sum of $ 60,000. On Sunday, July 29, 1962, with a motorcade of more than 100 cars, we marched into our new home. The enormous task of paying off the $30,000
Our story begins with the Reverend General S. Coleman coming to Chicago in 1894 from Fairfax, West Virginia, accompanied by his wife, three daughters, Sadie, Mary and Frances and his mother. He met the Reverend Harry W. Knight and from that initial meeting, a beautiful Christian relationship developed.
In March of 1897, Reverend Knight and Reverend Coleman organized the Friendship Baptist Church with the assistance of their families and the following individuals: John Rodgers, Margaret Russell, Josie Arnell and George Bently. The first meeting place was located at Lake and Sangamon Streets. Reverend Harry W. Knight was elected to serve as pastor. Reverend Knight resigned in June, 1909 and the Church called the Reverend Sandy S. Matthews from Tennessee. The church, then located at Lake and Ann Streets had a membership of 300. Property was purchased at 218 North Ada Street for $15,000.00 and we moved into our new home on the Second Sunday in May, 1911. Mrs. Bessie Harding served as our first organist. Reverend Matthews passed on December 12, 1914.
In 1915, the Reverend Lucillious L. Drane, also from Tennessee, was called as pastor and served for 14 years. During his pastorate, our membership increased to 900. Many of the members owned and operated their own businesses. There was also a complete Junior Church and a baseball team. In 1919, a Ford truck was sent to Africa for Mission work and in 1925, a bus was purchased for the Sunday School.
We had many Associate Ministers who went on to pastor churches in the suburbs. Namely, Reverend George Ramsey was called to the Second Baptist Church/Harvey; Reverend Wesley to the New Hope Baptist Church/Morgan Park (a Chicago suburb at that time); Reverend David Pitts organized the New Friendship Baptist Church of Robbins while the Reverend Frenchie Smith was called to pastor the Metropolitan Baptist Church in the City. Pastor Drane died on May 14, 1929 after 14 fruitful years. Friendship became known as one of the leading Churches on the Westside of Chicago.
The Church, in 1929, then called Reverend S.. S. Jones of Oklahoma as pastor. This was during the Great Depression and our membership declined spiritually, financially and numerically and after serving for six years under these trying conditions, Reverend Jones resigned in 1935.
In the Fall of 1935, the Reverend E. L. Twine, of Mississippi became pastor. Our active membership had dwindled to 300, but after a few years under his leadership, we regained our rightful place as a leading church. One of our young ministers, Reverend Henry McCory, received his Call to the Ministry and later organized the Mozart Baptist Church (now known as First Baptist Congregational) We moved to 1958 West Washington in 1943 with Ms Willie Mae Amos as Church Clerk. After ten years of faithful leadership, Reverend Twine departed this life on July 19, 1945.
The year was 1946 when the Reverend Joseph Rufus Davis was called to pastor Friendship. During his nine years pastorate, approximately 1,000 members were added to our congregation. Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson served as Church Clerk. Notable among our accomplishments was the purchase of a Hammond organ by the Beautifying Club and their president, Sister Thelma Cross Harston. Reverend Davis resigned in February 1955 and organized the Saint Joseph Missionary Baptist Church.
The Church, in 1929, then called Reverend S.. S. Jones of Oklahoma as pastor. This was during the Great Depression and our membership declined spiritually, financially and numerically and after serving for six years under these trying conditions, Reverend Jones resigned in 1935.
In the words of Pastor Reginald E. Bachus, "I Know He's Alright!" As Friendship ushered in a new year with a new Pastor, the excitement of a new beginning was evident. On the first Sunday of the new year Tariq Hill, Primary Class-Sunday School student, was the first person Baptized during the newly implemented 8:00 a.m. service. In addition, Pastor Bachus' son, Rev. Reginald L. Bachus, delivered the 8:00 a.m. sermon. During the mid-morning service, the pews were filled with parishioners waiting to hear the Word. Pastor Bachus’ message to the worshipers was, "We Need to be Good Stewards." The text was taken from I Corinthians 4:1-2. Pastor Bachus reminded everyone to be faithful to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in order to be a good steward. As Friendship goes through 2007, they will do so with much PRAISING, PREACHING, PROCLAIMING & PRAYING!
Pre-Installation services were held on March 7-9, 2007 with the following ministers leading the worship services: Rev. Dr. Rogers Jackson, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. George W. Waddles, Sr., and; Rev. Charles Gordon, Pastor, Covenant Chapel Baptist Church. The Celebratory Banquet was held on Saturday, March 10, 2007 at the Double Tree Hotel in Oak Brook, where Rev. Alvin Love delivered the message and Rev. Michael Griffin served as Toastmaster. The formal Pastoral Installation was held on Sunday, March 11, 2007. Our special guests were St. Andrews Baptist Church and Mount Zion Baptist Church from Kansas City, Kansas. Rev. Reginald L. Bachus, son of Pastor Bachus, delivered the early morning worship sermon. Rev. C.L. Bachus, father of Pastor Bachus, preached during the 11:00AM morning service. Rev. Selwyn Bachus, brother of Pastor Bachus preached during the official Installation Service.
Rev. Antwon Funches and Rev. Randall Harris assist Pastor Emeritis Shelvin Jerome Hall as he passes the gavel to Pastor Reginald E. Bachus, the newly installed 8th Pastor of "The" Friendship Baptist Church of Chicago. Truly, God has great things in store for Friendship Baptist Church!
Under the leadership of Pastor Bachus, Aron J. Davidson, Jr. was thefirst member of Friendship Baptist Church to publicly announce his call to the ministry. On March 18, 2007, Brother Davidson gave his initial sermon during the 6:00PM service. Let us continue to thank and praise our Almighty God as he uses us in His Kingdom Building. At the conclusion of Brother Davidson's sermon, Pastor Reginald Bachus presented him with a framed license to preach. Praise God! "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how they shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Roman 10:14-15
A TIME OF REMEMBRANCE - Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall passed on May 1, 2007 in Loyola University Medical Center after suffering a stroke. Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall was the First Lady of Friendship Baptist Church for 51 years. She will always be remembered for her dedication to Friendship Baptist Church where she served in many capacities. One Friendship member, Reginald B. Greenwood, Sr., recalled walking past the Jr. High Sunday School class being taught by Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall and Mrs. Minnie R. Davis. Although he was on his way to his own class, Mrs. Hall called him into the class she was teaching. She eloquently pointed out to the class that this young man was a student of the Bible, and requested that he say a few words. With those few words, Mrs. Hall was convinced that Reginald could teach the class and make an impact on the students. With Mrs. Hall as a mentor, it wasn't long before Mr. Greenwood took over the classroom. That was in 1989, and now 18 years later, Mr. Greenwood is still teaching in Friendship's Sunday Church School.
Rev. Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall, Pastor Emeritus, passed on May, 21, 2007 just 20 days after his beloved wife of 62 years. Rev. Hall passed after suffering a cardiac arrest while at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, IL. Rev. Hall had been the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church for 51 years. He was highly respected within the church and throughout the community for the work he did in the ministry, education, civil rights, housing and economic development. His famous words, "If I am to Pastor, then let me Pastor" remains etched in the hearts of many. For truly, Rev. Hall was a leader amongst leaders.
Under the leadership of Rev. Reginald E. Bachus, Friendship Baptist Church held its first outdoor"Worship Under the Tent" service on September 7, 2007. Pastor Bachus wrote, "I have been praying that the Lord will bless our endeavors and most importantly that the Word might reach some person that otherwise might not hear a gospel song or the preached word. As I write, rain is falling but according to forecasts the weather today should be a very comfortable day. Praise God for His goodness!" The Lord heard the prayers of many because this day was perfect in every way with sunshine, comfortable weather and clear skies. But, most importantly, the gospel reached the masses and many people were compelled to join the Church on this day.
2008 - The first year has gone by so quickly since Rev. Bachus arrived at Friendship. Although his time as Pastor of Friendship has been short, Rev. Bachus has made a great impact within the church, within the religious community and within the neighborhood surrounding the church.
During the week of June 6-10, 1977, we entertained the Baptist General State Convention of Illinois, Inc. The church was completely redecorated for this event. On November 3, 1977, the Westside Baptist Ministers’ Conference held their Commencement Exercises here during which they received Associate Arts degrees from the McKinley Theological Seminary of Jackson Mississippi. The Gideon Band was renamed the Ada l., Rodgers Gideon Band in honor of their organizer, for her many years of dedicated service to the Club.
Early in 1978, Sister Curlie Dunn presented the idea of honoring our deceased members and Pastor Hall agreed. Thus began our Memorial Observance Day Services which were originally called “Golden Memories Services”
On January 3, 1979, the Fisherman’s Club was organized, along with the Good Samaritan Fund – which was later named the Deacon Charles and Mary L. Jones Good Samaritan Fund. In keeping with Pastor Hall’s belief that people should be honored for their loyal and dedicated service, our annual Retreat was named in honor of Sister Nancy Jenkins. The Unity Department was organized with Mr. George Dailey serving as its first Chairman. The year, 1980, saw the organizing of the B. J. Wiggins School of Music with Pastor Hall as Instructor and Sister Phyllis McManus as Assistant Instructor. The first recital was held in June, 1980.
The Silver Anchor Award was introduced at our annual Church Banquet in recognition of the Chairman whose Department had excelled in the objective of the Church for the year. The Month of December was set aside as “Land Fund Project Month.” The specific purpose was to buy land and build a new church house. In July 1981, the dream became a reality with the purchase of land at Laramie Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. Then on July 19, 1981, the New Morning Star Baptist Church/Peoria, Illinois, their pastor, the Reverend Dr. Calvin Hightower along with other well-wishers, joined us in our “Groundbreaking Services. This Service was held on our newly purchased land during a rainstorm, but we were too busy thanking and praising God to be discomforted. Sunday, August 16, 1981, we rendered the Morning Worship Services at the Women’s Facility of the Cook County Jail. Eleven cars were used to transport thirty-four persons to conduct this service.
The historical tradition of Friendship has been that she prayed; therefore we congregated for the last time in the “Wilderness’ –3411 West Douglas Boulevard and made our way to “Canaan”, 5200 West Jackson Boulevard on Saturday, April 2, 1983 at 11:00 P.M. Choosing to emulate the exodus procedure of the Israelites leaving Egypt, we sneaked out under the cover of darkness and by motorcade made our way to our new home where we tarried the night through. At 1:00 A.M., Easter Sunday Morning, April 3, 1983, we began our Dedication Services with the Reverend Dr. Mack McCullom delivering the first sermon. Giving God all the praise, we dedicated the entire month of April to Revival Services. The official Ribbon Cutting Services was performed in July, 1983. Once more, we traveled by motorcade from 3411 West Douglas to our new edifice at 5200 West Jackson.
JULY 19, 1987 – A MEMORABLE DATE –One that is etched in our hearts – the impossible had once again been achieved –ON THIS DATE, WE, THE PASTOR AND MEMBERS OF THE FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH BURNED OUR MORTGAGE. HALLELUJAH! THANK YOU LORD! ONLY YOU COULD BRING US THROUGH! A Mortgage Burning Ceremony was held in our new Sanctuary. Also on this date and at this time, we, the members of Friendship, stood in awe as the first Black Mayor of the City of Chicago, Harold Washington, unveiled the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bell Tower on July 19, 1987. This magnificent structure symbolized our dreams of hope for tomorrow. A plaque commemorating this event was dedicated by the Honorable Eugene Sawyer, Acting Mayor, (another Black man), on January 15, 1988.
In 1989, the Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall and the Reverend Paul Allen began to build a bridge between churches which would span the waters of racism. These two churches – black and white, city and suburban, came together in Winnetka on a beautiful Sunday morning to fellowship and to seek ways in which they could work harmoniously on the mission of the church. After the third year, newspaper articles read: “For three years, the Winnetka Congregational Church has participated in a pulpit exchange with the Friendship Baptist Church. Friendship is a black congregation located in the Austin area on Chicago, West Side. The exchange represents an effort at bridge building between Chicago’s two “island nations” of white and black communities.
In 2000, the Youth Incentive Program was started to encourage our children to stay in school and to do their very best. Here at Friendship, we are a family; our children are a part of our family. The goal is to have at least one college graduate per family.
The “rebirth” of the Presidents Council… Meetings are held each third Wednesday night following Prayer Meeting. Department Chairmen and Auxiliary Presidents are to make progress reports to Presiding Officer, Reverend Renee’ Willett.
July 4th was the beginning of the “Fence of Men”. They became a necessity to protect our property. Contrary to the usual practice of Inner-City Churches, Friendship does not have fence. Our supposition is that having a fence says boldly to the public, “Keep Out”.
During the Fall, we dedicated the “Commemorative Brick Pavers” which are located at the base of the front steps. This project was spearheaded by Mrs. Betty Booker. “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in the time to come, saying, “What mean ye these stones?” Joshua 4:6 Also during the Fall, we hosted the “Swearing In Ceremony” for Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall to the Illinois Supreme Court. She was sworn in by Justice Charles E. Freeman. Many dignitaries attended this historic event.
The H. R. Stevenson Institute was renamed the Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall Institute. God has blest Pastor to live long enough to reap some of the rewards of his labor.
In June, Pastor Hall took his FIRST VACATION in more than twenty years. To nobody’s surprise, he didn’t know how to enjoy it. On his official return to the Church, the Official Board presented him with a gift of appreciation for his many years of dedicated labor.
During the winter, Pastor Hall, along with three other pastors, was honored by Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council, as “Living Legends” The award was in recognition for their work with the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.
On Sunday night, October 28, 2001, Brother Charles Simpson, was ordained Deacon.
Women’s Day, May 5, 2002, 3:30 P.M., The Honorable Dorothy Tillman, Alderwoman, was the Guest Speaker. Mrs. Josephine Morgan Brown served as chair of this event.
On Sunday, June 28, 2002, -6:00 P.M., Pastor Hall and Friendship were invited to participate in the Installation Services of the newly elected president of Baptist General State Convention, the Reverend Dr. Alvin Love. This event was held at the Lilydale First Baptist Church, Chicago, where Dr. Love is the pastor. Past President Hall gave the charge to President Love and the other newly elected Convention Officers.
On Wednesday, September 11, 2002, at 12:00 Noon, a Special Outdoor Memorial Service was held on the front steps. The purpose was to commemorate the tragic events which occurred on what has come to be known as 9-1-1. Many lives were lost and many more traumatized.
Sunday, March 2, 2003, was declared ”Attitude of Gratitude Day” by Pastor Hall. This means of thanking God, Mrs. Lucy Mae Hall, their three children, granddaughter, other family members, the Friendship Baptist Church, friends and other Christians for their love and concern during his enforced stay at home. A special invitation was extended to the West Suburban Hospital Staff to attend a Fellowship Feast after Morning Services with Pastor Hall and family. Pastor and Mrs. Hall are still thanking God for all the prayers, calls, cards, flowers and other expressions of kindness shown during his recent hospital stay. We are grateful to God for His miraculous healing power and fro Pastor’s speedy recovery. Special thanks to Dr. Janice Robinson, Dr. Jacqueline Ho, Dr. Boone Brackett, Dr. Vanessa Klugman and other professional care givers.
The 47th Annual “Seven Last Words-Good Friday Services, was held April 18, 2003 –12:00 Noon to 3:00 P.M.. This special Worship experience is in remembrance of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary that Friday. When Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, then AROSE early that Easter Sunday Morning almost 2000 years ago.
May 4, 2003 –The Woman’s Day 3:30 P.M. Guest Speaker was our own, Sister Betty Pride Booker. June 5, 2003 – The Friendship Choir was invited to participate in the 101st Session of the Baptist General State Convention that was held in Rockford. Our Beloved Pastor delivered a challenging Sermon at the Morning Session. “Are We Really Soaring?” Men’s Day, June 15, 2003 - special guests is the Reverend Charles Thornhill and the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church/Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
On September 3, 2003, while in Chicago for the National Baptist Convention, a delegation from Ebenezer Baptist Church, Austin, Texas, led by their pastor, Reverend Dr. Marvin C. Griffin, a long-time friend and Bishop College classmate of Pastor Shelvin Jerome Hall, were the special guests of Friendship Baptist Church. During this time a fellowship and church fellowship exchange between the two congregations was discussed by the pastors.
Pastor’s Hall 48th Appreciation Celebration included a two hours video documentary produced to capture the “Living History” of this great man. This year long project was spearheaded and produced by Mrs. Cynthia Brown Greenwood and was shown to the church members on Sunday, October 12, 2003. This video is titled “A Documentary Presentation in Honor of Rev. Dr. Shelvin J. Hall, Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church – Ordained by God . . . and So Lives the Legend!”
On Sunday, December 14, 2003, Pastor Hall and Friendship Baptist Church took part in the Installation Services of Reverend Renee’ Willett as Senior Pastor of the Fellowship Christian Center Church, Oak Park, Illinois.
On Sunday, February 15, 2004, Friendship Baptist Church worshipped with the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas where Rev. Marvin Griffin is the Pastor. On Saturday, April 3, 2004, Pastor Hall and Friendship Baptist Church were part of the motorcade that proceeded from New Home Baptist Church at 349 South Cicero Avenue to their new church edifice at 4804 West Polk Street. During the service Pastor Hall cut the ribbon and presented the keys to Reverend Dr. Mack McCollum, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church.
The 48th Annual “Seven Last Words-Good Friday Services, was held April 9, 2004 – 12:00 Noon to 3:00 P.M.. For the first time the service featured a 10-piece chamber orchestra organized by Mrs. Delores Diggs. There were violins, violas, a clarinet, a bass, and a cello. Mr. Jerome Robinson coordinated the event and secured the presence of this Chamber Ensemble.
May 2, 2004 –Woman’s Day, 3:30 P.M. Guest Speaker was Dr. Mayme Jane George. The theme was “The Reality of Christian Women.” June 20, 2004 – Men’s Day, 3:30 P.M. Guest Speaker was Reverend Carsie E. Barnes lll, pastor of the Antioch South Baptist Church.
During the weekend of July 16-18, 2004, Ebenezer Baptist Church of Austin, TX. was the guest of Friendship Baptist Church. Reverend Marvin Griffin, the pastor of Ebenezer Church, was our speaker for the morning.
July 19-30, 2004, Vacation Bible School was blessed to have 122 participants attend the school held at Friendship. Approximately seventeen souls joined the church on the last day of class. Mrs. Betty Booker was the director; along with Mrs. Ocie Mae McCall and Reverend George R. Bowen as her assistant directors.