Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church: 41st and King Dr. – Too much history to squander

This stunning church, constructed in 1890 by architect John Turner Long, had hosted many African-metropolitan-apostolistic-community-churchAmerican historic events, including early meetings led by A. Philip Randolph to organize the Pullman Porters Union. Famous visitors to the church have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall. Adding to its rich history is the fact that Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church has a commanding presence on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, with a powerful Romanesque design and distinctive reddish-brown stonework.

On August 25, 2001, Preservation Chicago board member Mike Moran learned from a former parishioner that the church would soon be demolished. Preservation Chicago immediately contacted all relevant city officials asking for their cooperation in efforts to save the church. Preservation Chicago also contacted several longtime members of the church and suggested that a group be formed that would oppose demolition. In a meeting held in early September of 2001, six key persons came together and declared themselves the “Coalition to Save the Met,” a group that would combine the efforts of current church members, former church members, and citywide preservationists.

The Coalition grew rapidly in strength and numbers. Over the next two years, there were candlelight vigils, fundraisers, and countless meetings. With the assistance and guidance of Preservation Chicago, the Coalition to Save the Met gained media coverage and political support necessary for preservation.

At one point in the struggle, beautiful interior features and stained glass windows of the church were removed. The Coalition to Save the Met then initiated court action to block demolition or any interior destruction. Ultimately, the Rev. Leon D. Finney, Jr. stepped forward with his existing congregation to purchase and preserve the church.

Re-christened as the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church, “the Met” underwent an extensive restoration. Since its resurrection, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on July 19, 2007 it became a city landmark, forever protecting it from senseless demolition.

Through their struggle to save this historic church, the members of the Coalition to Save the Met have themselves made history.