Cook County Illinois Genealogy Trails

Julia Gay Memorial United Methodist Church History

5518 S Paulina St

Transcribed and Submitted to Genealogy Trails by ©Ida Maack Recu


Julia Gay Church in Golden Jubilee Sunday
[Southtown Economist, November 5, 1941]

In the year 1891 a Sunday school was begun in the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Gentlemen at 5433 Bishop st.

That was the beginning of the Julia Gay Memorial Methodist church, Garfield blvd. and Paulina st., which will hold homecoming day next Sunday in celebration of its golden anniversary.

Opening the celebration will be a service at 11 a.m. at which the Rev. Dr. John N. Hall, former pastor of the Julia Gay church who has spent more than half a century in the pastorate of various Chicago churches, will preach a sermon on "Fifty Years of Curch Work in Chicago." Dr. Hall was pastor of the Julia Gay church 20 years ago. He is now pastor of the Washington Heights Methodist church.

At 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon a reunion of former members and friends of the church will be held and a number of former pastors are expected to be present to welcome their former parishioners.
Among those expected to attend the reunion are Dr. Harlow V. Holt, oldest surviving district superintendent of the church who was present at the dedication of the church building 30 years ago, and Mrs. William Gentleman, in whose home the Sunday school was begun in 1891. Mrs. gentleman now lives in California.

The homecoming day celebration will be concluded with an Epworth league service at 6 a.m. at which members of the league will recount their experiences in the young people's organization.
Music for the day will be provided by the church choir augmented by singers of earlier days of the church.

The committee in charge of the celebration is composed of the pastor, the Rev. John Paul Stafford, Henry W. Maack. Mrs. O. E. Groh, Robert L. Rieck, Mrs. Fred Nichols, Mrs. Doris Olson and Edward L. Helphrey.

The Sunday school organized in 1891 outgrew its quarters in the Gentleman home and in the Summer of 1892 it was moved into the real estate office of F. L. Cassidy at 1607 W. Garfield blvd. At the same time a church organization was formed and named "Embury Methodist Episcopal church." The Rev. J. S. Eberhart was the minister who organized the school and church.

The next location of the new church group was at 5523 Marshfield ave. The congregation purchased a frame church building at 54th st. just east of Halsted st. from the Garfield Boulevard Methodist church which was then building a new church home on Garfield blvd. at Emerald ave. This building was moved to the lot at 5532 Marshfield ave. and the new church became known as the Merrill church, having been named in honor of Bishop Stephen M. Merrill.

In the Fall of 1892 the Rev. H. E. Colby was appointed to serve as pastor and lots were obtained for the church at the northeast corner of 56th st. and Marshfield ave. The building was again moved and an addition was built on it, enlarging the seating capacity to 250 persons.

The church was located in this building for 18 years. During the pastorate of the Rev. F. A. Graham, from October, 1906, to October, 1910, the need for a new location became apparent and the site at the southwest corner of Garfield blvd. and Paulina st. was chosen. In the Summer of 1908 a subscription was started to raise funds for a new building and a new name had been agreed upon for the church.

The new building for the new Julia Gay Memorial Methodist Episcopal church, was completed in 1914. A pipe organ was installed while the Rev. C. J. Dickey was pastor from 1924 to 1928 and a parsonage was built about the same time.

In 1940 the congregation of the Gage Park Methodist church sold its property and united with the Julia Gay church. The church is now known as the Julia Gay Memorial Methodist church since the three bodies of Methodists have merged.


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