Serving the Community for More Than A Century
The Presbyterian Church traces its history to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, based on the teachings of influential French lawyer and theologist John Calvin, whose ideas refined Reformation trends and spread throughout Europe and the British Isles. The first American Presbytery, whose roots lie largely in England and Scotland, was organized in Philadelphia in 1706, and there has been a Presbyterian presence in Chicago since its foundation. Early Presbyterians met in a carpenter’s shop in Fort Dearborn, and the faithful grew in numbers as the city’s population increased. By 1900, it is estimated that there were 20,000 members in 80 Presbyterian congregations throughout the city.
Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, 7059 North Greenview Avenue, was officially organized with forty-four members by the Presbytery of Chicago, now a regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA), on January 13, 1910.
Initially, parishioners met at Sheridan Hall on the northeast corner of Clark Street and Lunt Avenue, but in 1911, the congregation purchased its current property at the northeast corner of Greenleaf and Greenview Avenues. The first church building, dedicated on June 30, 1912, was constructed along the northern edge of the property at a cost of approximately $15,000.This portion of the present building, which has been in continuous use since its completion, currently serves as the church parlor.
By 1922, the new congregation had outgrown the original building and a fundraising campaign was undertaken to raise $150,000 for a new structure.
On October 1, 1925, ground was broken for construction of the present church, and the cornerstone was laid on November 22, 1925. Although still sealed, church records indicate the cornerstone contains a roll of the church membership, a list of contributors to the building fund, several Presbyterian church publications and copies of the Chicago Evening Post and Howard News Extra.
The church was designed by architect Ivar Viehe-Naess (1870-1959) who was born in Norway and came to Chicago in 1891. He designed more than 40 Chicago- area churches, including Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Edgewater.
Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, like many of Viehe-Naess’ other American churches, is a Gothic Revival design. Communion was first served in the sanctuary on December 12, 1926, and the new church was officially dedicated on January 22, 1927.
A Beautiful Setting to Bring People Together
Today, the historic church serves its multicultural, multigenerational congregation and neighborhood by offering a variety of religious services, community projects, youth activities, classes and musical programs in its historic building and beautiful sanctuary.