Bethel AME Church, Chicago, Celebrates 155 Years
On the weekend of June 24-25, 2017, Bethel AME Church, Chicago, Illinois, held their 155th Anniversary weekend celebration. Bethel was first organized as a mission church by Bishop William Paul Quinn in June 1862, due to the overcrowding of Quinn Chapel AME Church, Chicago. In all, Bethel AME Church occupied 17 different locations from its inception until 1949, when it moved to its current location on 4440 South Michigan Avenue. Despite the many relocations, Bethel has maintained a distinguished place in the local community as well as the entire city of Chicago.
Every five years, Bethel hosts a banquet to celebrate its legacy and service to the Chicago community and beyond. This year’s banquet was held at the Garden Chalet Banquet Hall and was the first one under the pastorate of the Rev. Jennifer Tinsley. The event opened with the welcome and occasion from Mrs. Theresa Stephens. The Rev. Dr. Emily Coleman-Edwards, a member of Bethel’s ministerial staff, gave the invocation and the delicious food was served family style. The entertainment for the anniversary included two solos by Ms. Hope Lewis, a heartfelt spoken word performance from Timothy J. Edwards, II, and a liturgical dance from Stacy Letrice. A silent auction was also held to generate funds for Bethel’s outreach ministries. After closing remarks, a DJ provided music for listening and dancing.
On June 25, the Rt. Rev. Anne Henning Byfield, the presiding prelate of the 16th Episcopal District, was the anniversary preacher. She is the mother in ministry of the Rev. Tinsley, who served on Bishop Byfield’s district when she was presiding elder of the North District, Indiana Conference.