CHICAGO, IL (November 17, 2014) — River City Community Church, a Covenant congregation on the West Side of Chicago, celebrated the grand opening of its new building on Saturday, November 8, with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
During his final sermon at the old location, a rented church in the Logan Square neighborhood, Pastor Daniel Hill quoted Isaiah 56:7, saying he hopes to see the space become a “house of prayer for all nations,” a place where all people would be welcomed and have a space to encounter Jesus in deep and meaningful ways. Hill also said he hopes the building will be a safe space for children who, according to area school staff and parents, do not feel safe in the neighborhood.
Church members made a special effort to invite families of students at the nearby elementary school to the open house. The church has been partnering with the school for several years. Kids played in the bounce house that was set up in the half-gym, received specially commissioned balloon creations, and had their faces painted. Local community organizations were also invited to come share information about their work in the neighborhood and throughout Chicago.
Wilfredo De Jesús, who is pastor of a nearby Assembly of God congregation and who was named by Time magazine one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his influence on Latino populations, offered a prayer of dedication.
Antoine Taylor, who heads ministry operations for the church, said that church staff have been developing relationships with businesses and other organizations in the low-income neighborhood. He hopes the building will be a resource for businesses, organizations, and other ministries to support their own work in the community.
The building was previously a mattress warehouse and was purchased by the church in 2010. Funding for the remodel came in part from a loan through National Covenant Properties, as well as a $500,000 grant from Illinois Clean Energy to install renewable-energy systems.
For more on the church’s incarnational approach to ministering in the community, click here.