Our History

branchsmall.jpgRev. E. H. Branch (1925 - 1932)
Organizer and First Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
Born out of the Salem Baptist Church in 1922, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church was organized and established on February 24, 1925, under the leadership of its first pastor, Reverend E. H. Branch.

Originally worshipping at the Odd Fellows Hall on the corner of 33rd and State Street, Antioch soon moved to 3140 South Indiana Avenue. Its charter members included, but were not limited to: Deacon Allen Johnson, S.A. Tillman, Sr., W. H. Davis, Mrs. L. H. Green, Mrs. Burton, Gladys Walters, Ida Ray, Daisy Johnson, Israel Russell, and Annie McCoy.

Antioch quickly outgrew its South Indiana Avenue location and purchased what once housed the Hamburg Undertakers Estate. In June, 1926, Antioch held its first service at this new location. Antioch continued to grow at an accelerated rate compelling Reverend Branch and the official board to look for a larger church facility. On May 2, 1928, Antioch made the down payment on its new, larger church home located at 5129 South Indiana Avenue. This place of worship, a former Jewish Synagogue, was sold to Antioch for $65,000. Antioch members sacrificially secured the down payment and on the second Sunday in May, 1928, proudly marched into their new church home. Antioch began its: Mother's Board, Sr. Usher Board, Baptist Training Union (formerly known as Baptist Young People's Union), and Senior Missionary Society under Reverend Branch's leadership. On July 16, 1932, God called from labor to reward Antioch's first pastor. Reverend E. H. Branch served the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church from 1925 until 1932- seven years of faithful service.
harveysmall.jpgDr. James Monroe Harvey, D.D., B.Th. (1932 - 1956)

Serving as the pulpit committee the official board began its search for Antioch?s next pastor. For the second time in its history, Antioch gathered to prayerfully decide who would shepherd them and on December 22, 1932, Reverend James Monroe Harvey of Shreveport, Louisiana was elected as the 2nd Pastor of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

Reverend Harvey and his wife, First Lady Saddie Harvey, arrived at Antioch in January of 1933 and quickly set about the business of the church. Following Reverend Harvey's diligent leadership Antioch worked to reduce its outstanding $55,000 church building loan. In 1943 willing workers and faithful members helped to: build and furnish the pastor's study; beautify and enclose the church property; and purchase additional property located at 4133 South Indiana Avenue at a cost of $17,500. This newly acquired property would be called, “The Community Building.” On August 5, 1943, Antioch paid off the remaining debt owed on the church building and celebrated with its first “Victory Banquet” on October 20, 1943.

Using the Word of God as a lamp unto its feet and a light unto its pathway, Antioch continued to grow in faith, strength, and numbers and soon became known as a landmark in the community. Antioch was also known to have standing room only Sunday worship services. Under Reverend Harvey's leadership Antioch initiated many clubs, boards, and circles to meet the needs of its growing congregation including, but not limited to: Bible Band, Jr. Usher Board, First Aid Nurses, Jr. Church, Vacation Bible School, Audio-Visual School of Missions and Christian Education, Brotherhood Union, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and many Circles. As time progressed age and illness took its toll and Reverend Harvey retired as pastor in 1956. He died in 1957. Reverend Dr. James Monroe Harvey served the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church from 1932 until 1956- twenty four years of faithful service.


Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel, B. Th, B.S., M.A., D.D. (1957 - 1999)
Third Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
After almost a quarter of a century, Antioch found itself once again in need of a leader and began to pray for the Lord to send its next pastor. The pulpit committee set about the monumental task of sifting through many possible candidates. Although many came, one was sent. That man- that preacher- that pastor was Reverend Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel who hailed from Clarksville, Tennessee

During a special call meeting on March 7, 1957, approximately 500 members of Antioch gathered together and unanimously agreed that the man for the job was Reverend Daniel. Reverend Daniel accepted the call and preached his first sermon as the 3rd pastor of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, April 1, 1957. Antioch was blessed with a dynamic preacher with a deep sense of dedication, a straightforward character, and an aggressive leadership style. Reverend Daniel was indeed the man for the job. He, along with his beautiful wife, First Lady Marguerite Daniel and their two sons, Wilbur, Jr. and Ricky found their new home at Antioch to be a perfect fit.

Following Reverend Daniel's leadership Antioch swelled in numbers and in less than a year outgrew its current Indiana Avenue location. Again the search for a larger facility was untaken. Antioch entered into an agreement with the Foster Park Baptist Church, to purchase what would be Antioch's new church home located at 415 W. Englewood Avenue @ Stewart Street for the staggering cost of $200,000 with another $75,000 needed for remodeling before the church body could move in. On June 29, 1958, Antioch moved into its new church home. Reverend Daniel called for Antioch to stand with him in faith and pay the loan off within three years. Once faith was unleashed within Antioch Reverend Daniel challenged the church further by calling for the debt to be paid off within the following year. Through individual pledges and love offerings Antioch met the challenge and on Thanksgiving Day 1959, Antioch proudly presented its check for the remaining balance owed to Mr. A. R. Gay who represented the former owners. Mr. Gay then presented to Reverend Daniel, the official board, and the Antioch church body the deed of ownership to the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Each member was given a souvenir deed and history had been made in Antioch. The fire of faith had been lit and was burning bright. Antioch was indeed a powerful Christian force within the Englewood Community.

Under Reverend Daniel's leadership Antioch adopted its Christian mantra, “the way of love is the Antioch way.” With the salvation of souls and the call and charge of God every before them, Antioch sought to enhance its church family and developed, maintained, and reorganized many clubs, circles, and auxiliaries to meet the current needs of its membership including, but not limited to: Senior Mission II, the Family Service Guild, Brownies, Girl Scout Troops, Cub Scouts, Boy Scout Troops, Pastor's Aid Club, W. N. Daniel Leaders Circle, African History Education Club, Birthday Clubs, Golden Gate Club, Memorial Club, Scholarship Club, Willing Workers Club, and many others. Antioch's Radio Broadcast began in 1960 and continues to reach thousands with the Word of God and Christian music.

Unwilling to thrive as a church alone, Antioch then turned its sights to its community and organized the Antioch Foundation, a non-profit corporation, in order to be the sponsoring entity of the 348 apartment Eden Green Development located at 131st and Indiana Avenue, Antioch's first housing project. As a result, Antioch became the first church in the country to take advantage of Section 202 of the National Housing Act. The Act was passed during the Eisenhower administration and provided government loans for not-for-profit organizations to develop housing for low-to-moderate income senior citizens and families. Antioch broke ground on Eden Green on June 10, 1967, and the first families moved in on September 1, 1968. Because Reverend Daniel understood that human need extends far beyond the need for shelter, the complex included a chapel for religious services. In fact, a congregation was established named “Antioch Eden Green” and Reverend Daniel was the pastor which meant that Antioch was a multisite church in 1968, long before the multisite church phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Antioch continued the development of affordable housing adding to its portfolio the 120 unit Antioch Haven Homes; the 30 unit Roseanna Burrell Homes; the 60 unit Wentworth Haven Homes; the 60 unit Rose Haven Manor; the 40 unit Paradise Haven Homes; the 60 unit West Haven Homes; and the 73 unit Normal Haven Homes.

Propelled forward by Reverend Daniel's fiery preaching, Antioch's strong commitment to the Word of God, and its commitment to church, family, and community Antioch's membership swelled to 4,500+ members. It was a “mega church” before “mega church” was a household word. It was a tithing church. And Antioch's housing development ministry was a model for both churches and future businesses and non-profits cross the nation. Antioch was known for its risk-taking, innovative leadership; civic involvement; political influence; and strong Christian ties. Antioch was a model church, but the way had not always been easy or without trials and tribulations.

In the progress of time, the once swift footsteps of Reverend Daniel began to slow and on Tuesday, October 26, 1999, Antioch's beloved leader, pastor, and shepherd was peacefully called from labor to reward. Reverend Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel served the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church from 1957 until 1999- forty-two years of faithful service.


Dr. Gerald M. Dew (2001 - Present)
Fourth Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
Once again a pulpit committee was called to service. A pastor was needed, but who would the Lord send for such a time as this? The candidates for pastor were vast. The process was long and involved. Special prayer meetings were held and the throne of God was petitioned daily for the sole purpose of God's favor and guidance in the selection process. Finally, the pulpit committee presented three names to the church body for consideration for pastor, and the lot fell to Reverend Gerald M. Dew of Houston, TX. Reverend Dew received the call to serve as Antioch's fourth pastor on Saturday, January 6, 2001. Reverend Dew along with his beloved wife, First Lady Marva Dew, made the move from Texas to Chicago and readily embraced the Antioch family. Reverend Dew preached his fist sermon as pastor on Sunday, March 4, 2001 and was installed as Antioch's fourth pastor on Sunday, April 29, 2001.

Following the Word of God delivered through Reverend Dew's passionate preaching and visionary leadership Antioch continued to move forward and gain momentum. Under Reverend Dew?s leadership Antioch established the: Annual Leaders Retreat, Intercessory Prayer Hour, Joyfest (an evangelical outreach effort), Praise Team Ministry, Evangelism Ministry, Ministers Ministry, Visitation Ministry, Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Christian Education Workshop, Spring Church Revival, Fall Soul-Winning Crusade and Parade, Weekly Church Bible Study, Website, Media Ministry, and the Antioch Community Social Service Agency, Super Sunday, 20/30 Ministry, and others. Believing that ministry meets needs, Reverend Dew challenged and charged each club, board, and auxiliary to adopt "ministry" as a part of its title, as a result, Antioch now embraced the: Mission I Ministry, Mission II Ministry, Jr. Women Ministry, Brotherhood Ministry, Praise Team Ministry, etc. Additionally, Antioch was led to adopt its Church Mission and Vision Statement: "We are united to evangelize, educate, equip and empower humanity for the Glory of God through the proclamation of the gospel, the explanation of the scriptures and the exaltation of the Savior;" Church Vision Statement: To help others realize their full potential for the glory of God; Church Standard: Excellence; and Church Theme: the Fellowship of Empowerment.

Antioch Missionary Baptist ChurchAntioch continues to sponsor the development of quality affordable housing in the Englewood community for families, seniors, and the physically challenged. Antioch completed two housing projects that were still on the drawing board from Reverend Daniel?s administration: Prairie Haven Homes and Urbanite Apartments (both for the physically challenged) and forged ahead to complete three additional housing projects: Antioch II, Antioch III, and Normal Parkway.

Antioch was soon led to remodel its building. This project was a major undertaking; the sanctuary remodel alone cost approximately $450,000. The remodel called for the sacrificial giving of its members and once again, Antioch heeded the call and the remodeling project was soon under way. The remodel included the renovation of the main sanctuary, kitchen, cafeteria, banquet hall, Marguerite Daniel room, W. N. Daniel Fellowship Hall, Robert Wells Chapel, restrooms, offices, and first floor meeting rooms. Antioch's Roberson Learning Cultural Center was also remodeled and fitted with computers. Antioch was then led to enhance its technology and upgraded its sound system and recording devices. In addition, a big screen and projector were purchased for the purpose of enhancing the teaching and preaching ministry and the worship service in general. Plans are underway to build a Technology Center.

Leadership roles for women in the church were soon broadened in new and exciting ways, in January 2008, Joyce Barnes was elected the first female trustee of Antioch. On Sunday, May 30, 2011, Antioch formally licensed its first women preachers, Minister Melanee Roper and Minister Charmaine Perry. Antioch continues to place evangelism, missions, and the empowerment of the people of God at the forefront of all that it does. On Sunday, August 7, 2011, Antioch held its first "Be the Church Sunday." This annual event afforded Antioch the opportunity to be the church by conducting street evangelism, nursing home visits, hospital visits, feeding the hungry, etc. following morning worship service. In addition, Antioch continues its longstanding affiliation and partnership with the North Woodriver District Association, Illinois Missionary Baptist State Convention, National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, and the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America.

Like a phoenix the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church continues to rise and move forward in faith. One thing is certain- the church triumphant is alive and well. "And I say also unto thee? upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" - Matthew 16:18


415 W. Englewood Avenue • Chicago, Illinois 60621