Kimball Avenue Church was formed in 1901 as the Kimball Avenue United Evangelical Church. It began as a tent meeting at the corner of Armitage Avenue and Whipple St., but moved to the corner of Kimball and Medill after a small chapel was built. In 1904, the building was expanded to accommodate a growing congregation. Over the past 116 years, the congregation has seen the community go through a number of changes, from the turbulence of the 1960's and 1970's to the more recent challenges of gentrification. Though all the transitions, the congregation has been committed to remain in the community and be a witness for Christ.
In 2010, the building sustained significant damage when a steam boiler ruptured. While this represented a loss for the congregation, it also presented them with new opportunities for outreach and witness. In 2011, the church made the decision to deconstruct the building, leaving them with an empty lot—and no place to meet regularly for worship. (Pictures of the building and the deconstruction project can be viewed at www.flickr.com/kimballavenuechurch.)
Thanks to our partnership with Voice of the City and the Design.Build.Grow.Eat. After School Matters program, the property was redeveloped into a community garden that produces food for local families and for meals for the hungry, plus an ADA-compliant meditation and prayer Labyrinth that was completed in 2016. The Oasis has become a destination for individuals and families seeking refreshment, rest and renewal.
In 2017, The congregation went through another series of transitions that has enabled us to increase our impact in the Logan Square community. In April, the church welcomed Nuestra Señora De Las Americas, an Episcopal congregation that was no longer able to support their own pastor. Our two congregations now enjoy a combined worship service and shared ministries. On May 6, Kimball Avenue Church was officially received into the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ. The new affiliation has created new opportunities for collaboration with over 100 other Chicago area churches to serve our city and beyond.
Though we currently do not have a consistent meeting place, we recognize that the church has always been more than a building. It is the people of God doing the works of God. With our new partnerships and new affiliation, we have a renewed commitment to do justice, love mercy and build the 'Beloved Community'.