Is there anything good in Englewood? Can anything good come out of Englewood? You probably have heard one or both of these expressions before about the Englewood Community or another urban community. In regards to Englewood, the answer is “Yes”. Sitting on the corner of 63rd & Elizabeth, the St. John Evangelist M.B. Church is a beacon of light for our community.
St. John was organized in May 1963 by Rev. Robert Burrell in his home on 18th & State in Chicago. There were 13 charter members. Within 4 months, the church was able to secure a space on the corner of 18th & State. Just as it is now, St. John was a community church and it began to grow rapidly. In 1972, St. John was forced to move due to the City of Chicago’s urban renewal project. Although they had places to worship, they were not home. In 1975, Rev. Burrell found a new home for St. John. It was in Englewood at 6512 S. Ashland Ave. St. John spent the next 20 years at that location.
During that time, we once again became a community church. The membership began to grow and people once again found a spiritual home at St. John. Although we were at a stable location, Pastor Burrell’s health began to deteriorate. He could no longer carry on the responsibilities of a full-time pastor. Between the times Pastor Burrell stepped down and his transition in 1991, God saw fit to send other leaders to help carry-on the ministry. Prior to moving to Atlanta, GA, Rev. Joseph McGuire served first as the assistant pastor then pastor from 1982- 1985. Rev. David Henderson served from 1986-1990. Not soon after Pastor Burrell’s transition, Rev. Charlie Hatter was elected as pastor of St. John in 1991. Under Pastor Hatter’s leadership, St. John was fortunate to have a radio broadcast and move to our current home.
In January 2007, the members of St. John selected Rev. Joseph Williams to be pastor of St. John. Although we had to start from scratch we are thanking and praising God for all that he is doing at St. John. The membership is growing at a rapid pace. He has blessed us to complete the first phase of the renovation of the building, showed us that he is still in the healing business, allowed us to have community dinners, programs to provide meals for children in the summer and back-to-school events. Although we have endured some low points, we remain strong in our faith and trusting God to bring to past those things that he has already spoken.