Zion Lutheran                    Pilgrim Baptist
                                     Church                                Church
                                                                            3311 East 91st Street 
              St. Bronislava Church
                8716 Colfax Avenue
 

Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pilgrim Baptist was originally founded by ten members from the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church that was located in the Millgate community of South Chicago. These people came together in 1917 to form and establish the beginnings of the future Pilgrim Baptist Church. The church's first Pastor, Reverend Frank Gaskin, led the growing population of the church which was originally, and still are, African American congregants. Shortly after 1929 the church was in its third building at 3311 E. 91st Street. By that time they longed for a new church building, but an existing one was selected which is now its present location. The building had previously been home to the Zion Lutheran Church. In September of 1945 the congregants had a candlelight procession to their present location 3235 E. 91st Street. They had a building to call their own. This Bible believing, spirit-filled church, also takes pride in its history making events. The gospel scene of the original "Blues Brothers" movie that started Dan Akroyd and John Belushi was shot in the church as was Oprah Winfrey's movie turned series "Brewster's Place". The church is in need of repair work and new construction of annexations are needed to serve Sunday School classes. In 1993 the church had laid out plans for new building projects, but all have not been completed. During the 90's the church grew and conducted workshops for all leaders and established fellowship with the neighboring Catholic Church Our Lady of Guadalupe, and scholarship programs to help the youth attend college. At present the church continues under the leadership of Pastor Hudson.

St. Bronislava Church

The Polish were coming over to the Southeast Side in large numbers during the 1920's. Their first parish was Immaculate Conception, but even though the building was constructed to hold many families, it was not adequate to satisfy the nees of the growing Polish family population. The parish of Immaculate Conception realized this problem and came up with the solution to split the parish up into three different organizations. Over the period of several years Immaculate Conception was broken up to create three additional Polish parishes in South Chicago, St. Bronislava being one of them. Officials were sold fifteen lots for $54,000.00 from 87th street to Colfax Avenue. Fr. Cyril was the organizer and new Pastor of St. Bronislava. The final building would take up to a year to be finished and until then Pastor Cyril was pushing to rent out the auditorium at Bowen High School to hold the masses. January 8, 1928 was the first mass held in the auditorium. Mass was from 8:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m all throughout the month of January with about seventy five people in attendance. A temporary building was being constructed at 8700 S. Colfax Avenue during this time. This church would hold up to 400 people. Fr. John Lange of St. Michael's, held the first services on February 12, 1928. Immediately afterward, parishioners of the church started organizing to build a church-school combination structure for St. Bronislava. After months of organizing and planning the ground breaking day had finally come. On May 3, 1928 architect, Leo Strelka, made the first move toward the construction of the new church. An opening ceremony took place that morning as well. It consisted of a play from the Dramatic Circle called "Skalmierzanki." Construction of the building went rapidly after the problem with quicksand in the beginning. Msgr. Ostrowski, a pastor of a church on the north side of Chicago, blessed the cornerstone of Bronislava on July 4, 1928 and Fr. Frank Wojtalewicz of Immaculate Conception delivered the first sermon. In September of that same year St. Bronislava School opened with 500 students. To this day the school is under the direction of the Felician Sisters of Chicago, Illinois.

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