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Four Houses of Worship Collaborating for Black History Month Celebration & Winter Farmers Market

Press Release - January 23, 2018

Four congregations in the East Garfield Park and North Lawndale neighborhoods are organizing a Black History Month celebration with a day of special activities on Saturday, February 3rd from 9am to 1pm.

Flyer distributed in advance of the 2018 Black History Month Winter Farmers Market

Festivities will be held at 3622 W. Douglas Blvd, home to Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church and Proceeding Word, as well as at 425 S. Central Park Ave, home to First Church of the Brethren Chicago and Chicago Community Mennonite Church.

Activities will include a dance performance by Sadeerah Muhammad, African drumming by Papa Mangue Sylla, a speaker from The North Lawndale Historical Society, singing by the Eagle’s Nest Choir from Proceeding Word Church, Youth Performances by Leif Ericson Scholastic Academy & Herzl School of Excellence, tours of historical significance to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and an indoor Winter Farmers Market.

The indoor farmers market will take place all morning at Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church/Proceeding Word Church. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase items that may include winter produce, honey, hot sauce, tea, and more at the indoor Winter Farmers Market.

Illinois Link cards/SNAP benefits are accepted at the market and all Link/SNAP customers can double their purchases of fruits and vegetables up to $25. For example, a customer who spends $25 on their Link card will be able to take home a total of $50 worth of food, made possible by generous funding from LINK Up Illinois.

This event is free and the public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

The opening program will begin at 10am at Stone Temple MBC/Proceeding Word. The closing program will take place at 12pm at First Church of the Brethren Chicago/Chicago Community Mennonite Church.There will be a free shuttle bus between the two sites.

Housed in two separate church buildings, all four congregations that are collaborating on this event have historical ties to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1966, Dr. King moved to Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood to bring his campaign for Civil Rights to the North and raise awareness of the segregation and inequality in the city. His activism with the Chicago Freedom Movement to organize community leaders for housing and economic justice was supported by Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church and First Church of the Brethren.

This stained glass window commemorates MLK.
This stained glass window commemorates MLK.

Dr. King preached at Stone Temple MBC, and the original pulpit where he spoke has been preserved. His office with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was located in the church building now shared by First Church of the Brethren Chicago and Chicago Community Mennonite Church. A large stained glass window in the sanctuary features Dr. King’s profile and commemorates his time in the community.

Tours will be given at both church sites. Members who were around during the time period that Dr. King was in Chicago will be sharing testimonies about his legacy during the speaking program. Alderman Michael Scott Jr. of the 24th Ward and Alderman Jason Ervin of the 28th Ward have also been invited to give remarks.

The keynote speaker during the program will be Anthony Williamson from Mother Carr’s Farm.

Mr. Williamson will speak about how his faith community, Vernon Park Church of God in Lynwood, IL, started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm on church property to help increase access to fresh, healthy, and sustainably-grown produce in the surrounding community. Mother Carr’s Farm was established with the help of Faith in Place.

Lori Watts-Branch, Owner of SenTEAmental Moods at a Faith in Place Winter Farmers Market.
Lori Watts-Branch, Owner of SenTEAmental Moods

Faith in Place is also co-organizing the indoor Winter Farmers Market, which will feature farmers and vendors from within 250 miles of Chicago. By purchasing locally-grown or produced food, consumers reduce the carbon footprint of their food, and support local farmers who use sustainable growing methods during the slower “off-season.”

This market is one of seventeen indoor markets planned by Faith in Place throughout Chicagoland from November through March. Faith in Place coordinates with various Houses of Worship to host this series of markets because their large indoor, heated spaces are perfect gathering places for farmers and community members. The organization has arranged this series of indoor markets since 2009 as one of their many programs to help people of faith take action for healthier communities and a healthier planet.

The congregations involved in planning the Black History Month Celebration and farmers market have long-standing relationships partnering with Faith in Place on various Earth Care initiatives. Stone Temple MBC has worked with Faith in Place since 2014 on energy conservation through an energy audit, replacing lighting, and educating members. Chicago Community Mennonite Church started a vegetable garden, co-sponsored an educational play, and has attended land stewardship outings with Faith in Place.


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