Our History (in a nutshell)
On Easter Sunday 1867 in a barn rebuilt as a makeshift Episcopalian place of worship, the first service of the ‘Chapel’ of Our Saviour took place. ‘Church’ of Our Saviour continues that worship, today in a church completed in 1889 by architect Clinton J. Warren (also known for the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue, Chicago) on the previous site of The Fullerton Avenue Presbyterian Church. The interior includes terracotta tiling baui with a Prayer Book re-visioned in 1979; and with a complementary array of contemporary programs, educational opportunities for all ages, and a variety of outreach ministries.
The congregation formed after $500 was spent converting a barn into a small church to serve Chicago’s north side Episcopalians. When the congregation grew, a small wood-frame church was completed in 1869 at the intersection of Lincoln, Belden and Orchard. It served as a refuge for victims of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
The current site of Church of Our Saviour was purchased and the church and rectory were completed in 1889. (The parish hall building was already at 530 Fullerton Parkway and had served the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church.) It was a period of prosperity for the Lincoln Park neighborhood—all five of our stained glass windows were commissioned in this period, the first being a Tiffany window.
Two World Wars and the Great Depression played a direct role in the economic and social experience of the neighborhood around the church. In the early 1940’s membership and parish finances had declined so significantly that Church of Our Saviour became a “mission” of the diocese for several years.
After World War II, new residents gradually returned to Lincoln Park and reclaimed its Victorian legacy. The parish grew accordingly. It has been at the forefront of progressive issues (sheltering 1968 DNC protesters; electing women to the vestry; supporting the Lincoln Park Community Shelter: welcoming women priests; and embracing gay Christians) all while preserving Episcopalian traditions and heritage.
More complete histories are available from our parish archivist, Bruce Jones.
(More fascinating history coming soon)