1944 On August 6, 1944 five persons of faith and vision organized the Mozart Baptist Church at 114North Mozart Street, they were: Rev. Henry McCrory, Sis. Anna McCrory-Allen, Sis. Dora Ollief, Sis. Willa Mae Taylor-Smith and Sis Henrietta Harrison.
Rev. McCrory was elected pastor; Willa Mae Taylor-Smith, secretary; Henrietta Harrison, clerk and Dora Ollief, treasurer. The church adopted the motto, "A PRAYING CHURCH ATWORK". Later, Sis. McCrory organized the church choir; also during the year an Usher Board and a Vacation Bible School were effected.
1946 The church adopted and began supporting an African girl, ordained its first deacons, appointed its first trustees and organized a Baptist Young People Union (B.Y.P.U.).
1948 - 1951 The congregation continued to grow, and the need of a larger church home became a necessity. In 1951 the members sacrificially rallied together behind the inspiring leadership of Pastor McCrory and purchased the edifice at 2900 W. Adams Street.
1953-19551953, The Gospel Chorus was organized. The church ordained two more deacons; and the founder and Pastor, Rev. Henry McCrory was called from labor to reward after ten years of faithful service to the Lord and His people at Mozart. The assistant pastor, Rev. Cornelius A. Adams carried the church on as interim pastor and ordained one minister during his tenure.
1956 Rev. Maynard P. Turner was called to the pastorate. McCrory. A nursery, Y.W.A., and a Junior Usher Board were organized.
1957 With the resignation of Pastor Turner in January, Rev. C.A. Adams carried on until the church called Rev. Richard W. Collins as its pastor. Under Pastor Collins leadership the plan for re-financing the church was begun. When Rev. Collins resigned, the church called Rev. Arthur D. Griffin in November of 1957. During the last two months of that year 41 joined on their Christian experience, 10 by baptism and 1 by letter. During this time the Gospel Chorus, Young People's Choir, Junior Choir, Prayer Meeting, B.T.U., and Brotherhood Union were re-organized.
1958 The Deaconess Board and Week-day Church School programs were established. On Easter Sunday, 1958 the church mourned the loss of Rev. C.A. Adams, a faithful servant who had served well when the church needed him most. During this year, 46 joined on their Christian experience; 50 by baptism, 2 by letter and 5 by restoration.
1959 A Junior Church with a Junior Pastor, Junior Deacon Board, Junior Choir, and Junior Usher Board were instituted along with a Church Board of Education. One minister and two deacons were ordained. Fifty joined the fellowship by Christian experience and 91 were baptized.
1960The church resumed support of Johanna McCrory and began support of Rev. and Sis. E. Timberlake in Africa. This year also saw the organization of 5 different Scouting Units, a Nurse's Aide Board with a First Aid Room, a Junior Missionary Society, the ordination of 3 deacons. Fifty-six joined on Christian experience, 45 by baptism and 5 by restoration.
1961The church joined the North Woodriver Baptist District Association, the Church Federation of Greater Chicago, the Illinois M. & E. Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the World Baptist Alliance, the World Council of Churches and resolved to support its financial program through tithes and offerings. Also, during this year it organized a Sunshine Band, Girl's Auxiliary, Shepherd Boy's League and Church Concert Orchestra. Forty-four joined the church on their Christian experience and 65 by baptism.
1962The church began its Witnessing and Personal Evangelism Ministry under the leadership of a "Minister of Missions" expanding its missionary outreach to include financial support of Sis. Salome Quamina in the British West Indies and the California Gardens Baptist Church in Blue Island, Illinois. During this year an Intermediate Choir was organized; 56 were added to the church by Christian experience and 59 by baptism.
1964An important milestone in the history of Mozart. During that year the congregation paid for the property at 2900 W. Adams Street during a special Mortgage Burning Drive in June, and held Cornerstone and Mortgage Burning Services during its 20 anniversary in August. Fifty-five joined on their Christian experience and 65 by baptism.
1965-1968During this period of time an extension of Vacation Bible School into a program of day camp, exercise, classes in Black History, arts, crafts and other activities were offered to the children of the community. A full time secretary was employed by the congregation to serve the church office. Three deacons were ordained; the Girl Scout Program was increased; the number of adult workers for Junior Church was increased.
1969The church authorized and initiated the appropriate dialog toward the implementation of a merger with the congregation of the First Congregational Church of Chicago. This affording the two churches greater dimensions in outreach for Christ. On August 11 immediately following the church anniversary observance, Sis. Henrietta Harrison went home to be with the Lord; she was the second founding member to pass away. Forty-eight were added to the church by baptism, 52 by Christian experience and 3 by restoration.
1970We relocated our operation to the edifice of the First Congregational Church of Chicago and with these expanded facilities added a music school, legal-aid clinic and a gymnasium program to the ministries of the church. Special witnessing and personal evangelism efforts were implemented to acquaint the neighborhood residents with the services of the church to the community; 36 were added to the congregation by baptism, 18 by Christian experience and 11 restored.
1971Our church was officially affiliated with the Chicago Conference of the United Church of Christ, changed our name to First Congregational Baptist Church and made significant progress in resolving the many legal problems toward making this church complex our permanent church home. Forty-four were added to the church by baptism, 35 by Christian experience and 6 restored.
1972We decorated the sanctuary of the church and dedicated it in memorial to our founding pastor, Rev. Henry McCrory, the Chapel room in memorial to Rev. C. A. Adams, the Assembly Hall in appreciation to Sis. Anna Allen, the Dining Room in appreciation to Sis. Willa Mae Smith, the Fellowship Room in appreciation to Mother Dora Ollief, our remaining founding members and the choir meeting room in memorial to Sis. HenriettaHarrison. Forty-two were added to the church by baptism, 30 by Christian experience and 1 was restored.
1973We established a mission congregation, the Austin Baptist United Church of Christ, provided a pastor, an assistant pastor, a minister of missions and a core group of dedicated workers whose charge was to build a new church fellowship in the Austin community as an extension of a ministry of First Congregational Baptist Church. Forty-five were added to the church by baptism, 40 by Christian experience and 5 restored.
1976We completely decorated Adams Chapel and many of the meeting halls of the sanctuary building in preparation for successfully entertaining the Illinois National Baptist State Convention. Fifty-two were added to the church by Christian experience, 70 by baptism and 8 were restored.
1977Six ministers were added to our ministerial staff, which made a total of 14 ministers on staff. Also, for United Church of Christ Denominational purposes we officially changed our name to FIRST BAPTIST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF CHICAGO. Sixty-eight were added by baptism and 44 by Christian experience.
1978 - 1980The ministerial staff was increased to over 30 with special instruction classes each week shared with ministers from sister church congregations. The renovation process for the restoration of the windows in the sanctuary was begun, and the re-organizing of the Junior Missionary Society has significantly enhanced the spiritual life of the young adults in the church family. We were blessed by a greater accountability of the registration and instruction of new members, and a meaningful extension of the Church's personal evangelism ministry through the weekly prayer services in Union Park. Eleven ministers and two deacons were ordained. During this 3-year period 190 were added to the church fellowship by baptism; 161 by Christian experience and 34 restored.
1981We served as host Church for meetings of the CMA, UCC and shared the blessings of having the entire church family involved in the varied ministries of the congregation that correspond with our individual spiritual gifts. Thus, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit; we have significantly increased the opportunities for every member to participate in the work of the Church. Eighty-four were added to the fellowship by Christian experience, 90 by baptism, 33 were restored and 1 by letter.
1982Designated as a Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmark by unanimous vote of the City Council. We ordained 12 ministers, 4 deacons burned the mortgage of the church during the anniversary celebration.
70 were added to the fellowship by Christian experience, 68 as candidates for baptism and 23 were restored.
1983We initiated a weekly street ministry for Witnessing and Personal Evangelism and a monthly ministry to the women at Dwight Correctional Center. Members donated money during the Homecoming Observance for a new boiler for the chapel building and ceiling fans for the sanctuary. Eighty were added to the fellowship by Christian experience, 92 candidates for baptism and 30 restored.
1984We enlarged our outreach ministry
to the Henry Horner Housing Project with a Bible Class every Saturday afternoon with participation from all adult groups. One hundred-eight were added to the fellowship as candidates for baptism, 97 by Christian experience, 50 were restored and 1 by letter.
1985The congregation ordained 7 ministers, 4 deacons; extended its outreach ministry to the Schwab Rehabilitation Center, the Ma Houston Halfway House, and Sunday School classes at the Henry Horner Housing Project. We successfully entertained the 71 Annual Session of the Illinois National Baptist State Convention. 137 were added to the fellowship as candidates for baptism, 61 were baptized; 131 by Christian experience, 36 were restored and 2 came by letter.
1986The windows in Adams Chapel were renovated and the church steeple repaired; our Spiritual Gifts, Marriage and Sunday School New Members classes were made permanent and perpetual ministers to the congregation. One hundred-fifty were added to the fellowship by baptism, 144 by Christian experience and 24 were restored.
1988Land acquisition by the congregation continued in earnest on west Washington Boulevard, and our membership and financial accounting were put on an extensive computer system; thereby substantially contributing to the accuracy and permanency of our congregation's records. One hundred-six were added to the fellowship by baptism; 69 by Christian experience and 57 were restored.
1990The congregation accentuated its ministry to the men of the church by establishing a monthly Saturday afternoon fellowship above and beyond its weekly Brotherhood meetings and extended its Singles and Young Adult Ministries to include a greater number of active participants in the various Church Services.
1991A concentrated ministry was provided to the people in the Henry Horner Housing Complex by having members develop their collective spiritual gifts, talents and competencies to share with Horner residents; and new monthly outdoor worship services.
1992The congregation undertook the
"Save Our Steeple" drive - an effort to restore the steeple to its historical eloquence as it continues to speak to our generation and to those generations that will follow us; of the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
1993A Street Designation and Recognition Ceremony was held in honor of our Pastor, Dr. Arthur D. Griffin, naming Ashland Avenue from Lake Street to Madison in honor of Pastor A. D. Griffin.
1995 - 1996Brought economic development to our community in which First Baptist along with the Interfaith Organizing Project
of Greater Chicago have been instrumental in bringing affordable housing to our members and community. The vision of the
First Baptist Congregational Day Care/Learning Center is becoming
1996 - 1997The Scholarship Fund for those students in college, acquiring the 1635 building mansion, remodeling the dining room, increasing the Homeless Feeding to twice a month, restoring the Great East Window of the main sanctuary, participating in the west side Prayer Vigil and starting process of exploring possibility of having a day care in the education building.
1997 - 1998The Congregation began an extended Bible Study Ministry by having Bible Classes each night, Monday through Friday; and as a result, has seen a significant increase in the number of members committed to tithing of time and finances to the Lord. Also during this period, we have ordained six ministers and three deacons into dedicated Christian Service.
1998 - 1999The vision of the First Baptist Congregational Day Care/Learning Center has been rejuvenated and moving with "full steam ahead". We are also anticipating a new drive to see an ELEVATOR added to our historical edifice. We are continuing to grow through our Bible Study Ministry and our commitment of tithing.