7036 N. Ridge Boulevard

From HistoryWiki

Presently, at 7036 N. Ridge Boulevard is the Sixteenth Church of Christ Scientist. photo taken in 2005.

Original building was at 7201 N. Ashland Avenue, dedication: May 5, 1929.

Circa: 1914

This church was included in the 2005 Annual Fall House Tour.

Having built their own church edifice on Kenmore Avenue near Foster Avenue in 1907, the Seventh Church of Christ Scientist was flourishing. The Chicago North Side church had grown to nearly 800 members. Seating was becoming a problem; so were the great distances that people had to travel to reach the church, given that so many were dependent on public transportation.

So, on March 8, 1914, forty-three members submitted a petition to the Executive Board of 7th Church, requesting that a new church be established to serve the Rogers Park area, where more than 100 members lived. The Board approved the request and a committee of fifteen was appointed to investigate the possibility of forming a separate and independent church extension in the area north of Devon Avenue.

On May 28, 1914, the Board granted permission to the charter members of what would become the Sixteenth Church of Christ Scientist, Chicago, to organize themselves. Work began immediately to find a suitable location to hold church services and open a Christian Science Reading Room.

To govern themselves, the members of the new church elected (by a democratic vote) an executive board. The board, in turn, adopted the by laws of their friends at the 7th Church for the time being. Since Christian Science churches do not have ministers or pastors, Readers needed to be appointed and committees organized to carry out the daily business of moving into a new location and new "harvest field"."

The first Sixteenth Church of Christ Scientist services were held at the Birchwood Country Club, located on Chase Avenue and the lake, after a lease was signed. This was an excellent location, and, after all the preparations were made, 16th held its inaugural Sunday service on June 29, 1914.

Work progressed swiftly amongst the 16th Church membership, and on June 29, 1914, a Christian Science Reading Room was opened at 7034 N. Clark Street. Church business meetings were conducted at this location until a new church edifice could be constructed.

On August 3, 1914, the charter was filed with the State of Illinois, legally recognizing the 16th Church. On October 20, 1914, the membership hosted their first public lecture on Christian Science at the Armstrong School,2110 W. Greenleaf Avenue, near Ridge Boulevard. It was attended by hundreds of Rogers Park and West Ridge neighbors.

In the years that followed, other temporary meeting locations were used, such as the Masonic Temple, 1716 W. Morse Avenue; Rogers Park Women's Club, 7077 N. Ashland Avenue; and Armstrong School,2110 W. Greenleaf Avenue. With the careful management of funds and the generous donations from other Chicago churches: Seventh Church of Christ Scientist, the Sixteenth Church of Christ Scientist was able to build its edifice at 7201 N. Ashland Avenue in 1924. The church thrived at this location and for many years the church had to hold two services to accommodate the people attending.

To adjust to the changing times, the large church edifice was sold in 1980, and members of the 16th Church met for five years at the North Shore School (the former Birchwood Country Club). They kept a neighborhood presence with the Christian Science Reading Room, located first at 7034 N. Clark Street and later on Western Avenue north of Lunt Avenue.

In 1985, work was completed on the new 16th Church edifice at the present location 7036 N. Ridge Boulevard. The inaugural service was held on Thanksgiving Day. Services have been held regularly ever since, on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m.