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Explore our history through this timeline!


Memorial was organized by the late Reverend Dr. James P. Tillman, Sr., in late August in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Dennard. The first public worship service was help on September 1 at 438 East 46th Place in Chicago, Illinois. The following thirteen (13) persons were with the Reverend Dr. Tillman: Leonard & Mary Dennard, Robert & Lillian Dudley, Bill & Pearl Baskerville, Benjamin & Martha Owens, Mr. Frank Fancher, Mr. Manuel Johnson, Mrs. Lula Hill-Faison, Mrs. Ernestine Houston, and Mrs. Berve Tillman, Pastor Tillman's wife.

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5001 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL


During those formative years, new members were slow in joining the church, but Dr. Tillman and the members carried on in the name of the Lord. The church was forced to move from their present location on August 28, 1966, after the Sunlight Baptist Church purchased the 46th Place property. The Hyde Park Seventh Day Adventist Church, location at 5001 South Ellis Avenue permitted us to use their facility from September 4, 1966 until July 6, 1969. This property was then sold to another church.

438 E. 46th Place, Chicago, IL


The New Example Baptist Church, Reverend Dr. Roosevelt Baker-Pastor, located at 7526 South Halsted Street graciously opened its doors to us on July 13. We shared joint worship with them until we purchased the property at 911-13 West 103 Street.


On August 17, our base operation moved from 900 East to 900 West and from 5000 South to 10300 South. That was a fantastic move by faith. The new community welcomed us and our growth accelerated. The church was making gigantic strides until the property was condemned in order that a public elementary school might be erected. Again, we were forced to moved. 

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132 W. 104th Street, Chicago, IL


We then went to the basement of the Christian Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend John Taylor-Pastor, located at 132 West 104th Street. We remained in that location from May 7 until August 27. 

When then purchased the building used as a day care center at 1136 West 103rd Street. The lots on the east side of the street across from the building had been purchased earlier in the year. It was our dream to build a church in this community. Beverly Bank, on Charles Avenue wanted to build a drive-up facility on the east side of the railroad tracks. They offered to financed to the new church structure if we would sell them the property on the west side of May Street, namely 1136 West 103rd Street.


In June, a contract was signed and the blueprints were to be approved for our new church. We experienced extreme difficulty in obtaining approval for the blueprints. 


The blueprints were still unapproved in February and the bank threatened to withdraw financing and sue the church for possession of the building. The decision to buy our present church at 1546 West 87th Street in Chicago, Illinois was made, but negotiations were slow because three (3) other churches wanted this same property. In order to preserve the bank commitment of financing and believing that God would answer our prayers, we reluctantly sold the property at 1136 West 103rd Street on February 26. The following Sunday, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Reverend Dr. Lacy Curry-Pastor, located at 8301 South Damen, permitted us to use their sanctuary from March 7-14. We worshipped in our present location following this time. The deal was closed on Good Friday, April 12 that made 1546 West 87th Street the new home of the Memorial Missionary Baptist Church


The church sold bonds on May 6 to liquidate the mortgage.


With great conviction, the Reverend Dr. Tillman and the congregation reflection on the following verse of a song: "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. Faith has brought me safe thus far, and faith shall lead me on." Revelation 3:8. "I know thy works, Behold, I (God) have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it."

Emmanuel  Baptist Church.jpg

8301 S. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL


"Into each life some rain must fall." The Reverend Dr. James P. Tillman, Sr. was suddenly called home to be with God on Monday, January 15 while he was enroute to the Mid-Winter Board Meeting of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Tillman, our beloved Pastor, Teacher, Spiritual Leader, and friend departed this life doing what he loved to do, working to fulfill the great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. Memorial Missionary Baptist Church was shocked and saddened at this loss. Reverend Richard Burns, an associate minister of Memorial, was appointed to serve as interim pastor from January to March 6, 1996. Reverend Morris Purnell, Sr. then served as acting pastor while Memorial conducting a formal search for our new pastor. We prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that God would continue to sustain us through this difficult period as He had done in the past. Memorial Missionary Baptist Church sailed through turbulent waters, but we kept "...looking to the hills, knowing that our help was from the Lord." God led us by the hand every step of the way for the next sixteen (16) months.


On Sunday, May 5, the Reverend Nathan Luther Schaffer, Jr. was called to serve as the second pastor of the Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend Schaffer preached his first sermon as our pastor on Sunday, June 2. He was installed on Sunday, August 11 by the late Reverend Dr. Wilbur N. Daniel, Pastor of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

Memorial Missionary Baptist Church is continuing its efforts to be “The Church with a Mission” and to grow for the cause of Christ. God has blessed us with numerous souls who have been won for Christ and baptized since 1996. Many persons have also united in membership by Christian experience and reinstatement. New and reorganized groups have become a part of the church ministries. The church’s Christian Education Day is on Tuesdays with Prayer and Bible classes held at 12 pm. Our Church School staff holds teachers’ meeting at 6:30 p.m. Praise Night Worship is held on the third Friday evening of each month, with our assistant ministers preaching the Word of God. More than a dozen preachers have been given Minister/Evangelist licenses. Men have been added to the Board of Deacons. Women, now
called Deaconess, have a new focus. Additional workers have been added to the Board of Trustees. Our Missionary Society continues their outreach program to the Door of Hope Rescue Mission. Our Prison Ministry now serves both, the Men and Women’s Division of Cook County Jail, Stateville CC, Sheridan CC, Pontiac CC and Logan CC. Several major physical improvements have been made to the church
facility and grounds.

Under the divine Leadership of God and our Pastor, The Reverend Dr. Nathan L. Schaffer, Jr., who has the heart of a shepherd, Memorial Missionary Baptist Church continues to be an instrument in the hand of God. “On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand.”

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