The History of Ravenswood UCC
Ravenswood United Church of Christ has been a witnessing community of faith in the city of Chicago since 1887. Our church was founded by German immigrants who brought their faith in God and their passion for service with them from Germany. The first name of the church was Evangelishe Johannes Gemeinde (St. John’s Evangelical Church). In its early years the church saw remarkable growth from a small community worshiping in a borrowed chapel, to a congregation of 640 adults and 450 children!
In May of 1895 the congregation purchased a church property on the southeast corner of Mohawk and Dickens in Lincoln Park. St. John’s Evangelical Church worshiped at this space for 28 years until the migration of the German community northward in the city prompted them to consider relocating the church. In 1922, under the leadership of Rev. Alfred E. Meyer who served the congregation for 34 years, a cornerstone for Ravenswood Evangelical Church, was laid, and the community constructed the beautiful building on the corner of Pensacola and Hoyne that is our home today.
Ravenswood Church weathered the difficult times of the Great Depression, sent its sons and daughters to service in World War II, and welcomed them and a number of new immigrants home after the war. During this era the church hosted many social events, sponsored theatrical productions and held sporting events in its gymnasium. It was a dynamic and active congregation in the Ravenswood/Lincoln Square neighborhood.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s the church experienced a decline, as more families moved to the suburbs and the neighborhood underwent a transition. Since then we have been a smaller congregation sustained by the dedication and sacrifice of our members and friends.
In the last few years we have witnessed a renewal of our congregation. More young families have joined the church, and our attendance and membership have grown, bringing new life and vitality to our historic church. In 2012 Ravenswood UCC celebrated its 125th Anniversary, and as we move into the future, we remain filled with hope and confidence that there are many more chapters to our church’s story!