ENGLEWOOD — As a demolition crew tore down a historical Englewood church, leaders at Antioch Missionary Baptist on Thursday announced plans to reopen across the street — and eventually, rebuild.
The city announced Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 6248 S. Stewart, would be demolished Wednesday following a fire last week that ravaged the building. The Office of Fire Investigations determined a roofer’s propane torch accidentally touched off the blaze.
With the assistance of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools, Antioch’s Reverend Dr. Gerald M. Dew said the church would reopen across the street at the Englewood Urban Prep Charter Academy For Young Men campus, 6201 S. Stewart Ave.
“We’re not going to raise it up in another community,” Dew said. “We’re going to raise it up right here because our assignment is to Englewood. Our commitment is to the residents of Englewood and beyond.”
Dew called the school a “temporary permanent worship space” until the church could raise enough funds to rebuild the church at its former location.
“They’re even making some investments in that space so that it can accommodate our membership,” Dew said.
Rep. Bobby Rush said the Englewood church was a place of shelter for generations of leaders, including himself.
“Antioch has been, over the years, such a pillar for this community, for our city and for our nation,” Rush said.
Eddie Johnson, executive director of social service agency at Antioch, said the church will resume its services for the community at its new location “without missing a beat.”
Events like the Englewood Harvest Fest and necessities like the food pantry will continue as soon as next month, he said.
“Antioch is the center anchor faith-based community and social service provider in the community,” Johnson said. “So many people in the community of Englewood got their start from being active in the church.”
Johnson will lead an event 10 a.m. Saturday at the St. Bernard Ambulatory Care Center, 6307 S. Stewart, to update neighbors about the church’s plans for the future — and to let neighbors share their vision for the church’s future.
“One of the first steps, as we move forward, is to have the community engaged,” Johnson said. “We want to bring the community on board.”
You can donate to help the church rebuild here.
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