Institutional A.M.E. church became a reality on July 24, 1900. Prior to this date the Rev. Reverdy C. Ransom had persuaded the A.M.E. Conference to purchase the old Railroad Chapel at 3825 So. Dearborn Street. This landmark chapel was to house the Institutional Church as well as a newly organized Settlement House. Because of this dual purpose and function, the new church was considered unique – the only one of its kind in the world.
It is worthy to mention that when Rev. Ransom was inspired to organize the church and settlement house, he had neither a dollar nor member. His dreams and subsequent efforts were purely works of faith.
Mrs. George Pullman, widow of the founder of the Pullman Company, paid the salaries of the teachers and pianist of the settlement house. Mr. Robert T. Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, was president of the Pullman Company through the influence of Mr. H.H. Kolsat, bought equipment needed for this community work. “Institutional” was adopted as the church name, as it was designed to be an institution that would meet the multiple spiritual, social, and economic needs of the community.
The church grew and prospered. Later, the seating capacity of 1200 was the largest in the city. On May 3, 1903, the church survived a bombing after Rev. Ransom spoke out against gambling and policy playing in the community.
The church remained at the Dearborn Street location until urban renewal claimed this area. The church property was purchased by the Chicago Board of Education, and the Crispus Attucks Public School now stands where the church once reigned.
On July 3, 1956, “Institutional Church” became “Greater Institutional African Methodist Church.” This change was made when the church moved into its present edifice at 7800 S. Indiana Avenue under the pastorate of Rev. Roy L. Miller. Under Rev. Miller’s leadership, a day nursery was established, which is still in operation today.
The many ministers who have pastored this church, each one of them making some contribution toward its advancement through the years, are listed chronologically:
Rev. Reverdy C. Ransom; Rev. James Townsend; Rev. H. E. Steward; Rev. Archibald J. Carey, Sr; Rev. J. H. Henderson; Rev. David Johnson; Rev. W. W. Lucas; Rev. H. E. Steward; Rev. Joseph L. Roberts; Rev. Benjamin H. Lucas; Rev. George W. Williams; Rev. A. Leon Bailey; Rev. Patrick Crieglar; Rev. Roy L. Miller; Rev. David C. Coleman, Jr.; Rev. Jesse W. Cotton; Rev. Lyman S.
Parks; Rev. Dr. Julius H. McAllister, Jr. and Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson, Jr. and Rev. Dr. Charlie B. Cross, Jr. who is the present pastor.
Presently, the church is striving to live up to its name and the purpose set forth by the founder, Rev. (Bishop) Reverdy C. Ransom. That purpose is to strengthen people spiritually, physically, mentally, morally and economically.
Greater Institutional AME Church
7800 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60619
Worship Service 10:30am in person and Facebook / Youtube
Lay Organization: 1st Monday of each month 7:00pm
Prayer & Devotion 12:00 noon 516-387-8225
Bible Study 7:00pm Zoom
Men’s Ministry (Sons of Allen) 3rd Thursday 6:30pm Monthly
Weekly: Choir Rehearsal 1:00pm
Trustee Board meeting: 10:00am
Steward Board meeting 11:00am
Young Peoples Division (YPD)1:00pm
2nd Saturday 10:00am
Pennie L. Myrick Missionary Society
3rd Saturday 10:00-12:00pm
3rd Sunday After Service