Chicago Central district is on the Central
Kankakee—The Church of the Nazarene’s Chicago Central district celebrated its Centennial Assembly and Conventions June 11-14, 2004. The assembly included a district-wide Centennial Celebration service and Vision Rally held at Chicago First Church of the Nazarene, in Lemont, Illinois, as well as missions, youth and Sunday School conventions, and district business sessions held at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene in Kankakee, Illinois. General Superintendent W. Talmadge Johnson presided over the assembly.
The Celebration service at Chicago First not only commemorated that congregation’s centennial, but the fact that the district itself was organized at the site of the old Chicago First Church of the Nazarene on Chicago’s south side. This historic church, now pastored by Kevin Ulmet, was recognized during the celebration for its longevity as well as for its role in starting and sponsoring new churches.
The Chicago Central district was organized in 1905 with 11 churches and less than 1000 members. The second Nazarene district to be organized by General Superintendent Phineas Bresee, it followed the Northwest district, which was organized earlier in the same year. Chicago Central’s territory originally covered all United States territory east of the Rocky Mountains, a territory that now boasts more than 40 Nazarene districts and hundreds of thousands of members. Boundaries changed as new districts were organized and, in 1958, Chicago Central’s current boundaries were established. Today, according to Chicago Central Superintendent Brian E. Wilson, the district has 73 organized churches and 9,192 members, with an average morning worship attendance of 8,187.
In the Centennial Celebration Service District Superintendent Wilson presented a decadal review of the 100-year history of the district, using the theme “Memories, Milestones, and Mission.”
“I am grateful for the memories, inspired by the milestones,” stated Wilson, “but it is to the mission that I must be true.” Wilson stated the mission of the district in the following way: “The Church of the Nazarene is a Great Commission, Great Commandment church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The mission of the Chicago Central district is to resource and partner with existing congregations and other districts, in the planting and nurturing of healthy churches. Christians in healthy churches seek to be wholly transformed by the Spirit of Christ, and are passionately committed to making Christlike Disciples of all peoples.”
--Chicago Central District, (US)