The Rich History of Allen Metropolitan C.M.E. Church
Allen Metropolitan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church was birthed out of the vision of God imparted upon His servant, Rev. Walter A. Miller, its founding pastor. On February 6, 1972, Rev. Miller, along with one hundred-twenty (120) faithful members journeyed from Jubilee Temple C.M.E. Church (the “mother” church) located at 114 E. 59th Street in Chicago, Illinois; and charted a new course, establishing the Allen Metropolitan C.M.E. Church located at 10946 S. Lowe Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
Named in honor of the late Bishop J. Claude Allen, the church grew both expeditiously and exponentially; boasting well over five hundred (500) members, twenty-five (25) auxiliaries, five church-wide annual events, two formal fundraisers and a federally chartered credit union, all within the first decade of its existence. Through much prayer, faith in God, hard work, and sacrifice, in July of 1978, exactly six years and six months after acquiring the property, the members of Allen were able to pay the entire debt for the church and parsonage in FULL. And on September 24, 1978, a special mortgage burning ceremony was held in commemoration of this remarkable feat!
All of these accomplishments and so many more were realized under the keen, capable, and conscientious leadership of Rev. Walter A. Miller and his dynamic, dedicated, darling wife, Mrs. Theresa Miller. In June of 1982, Rev. Miller transitioned from his earthly labor to his heavenly reward. Mrs. Miller remained a dutiful member, church mother, and beloved First Lady. Her love for Allen undaunted, she served the church for over forty faithful years, and was richly blessed with centenarian longevity.
Bishop Chester A. Kirkendoll appointed Rev. Grover Mitchell the second pastor of Allen Metropolitan in 1982. Rev. Mitchell extended the church’s communal reach and cultivated its structural esthetic. With the assistance of his multi-talented wife, Mrs. Janice Mitchell, Allen’s ministries grew. Sunday sermons were practically presented, colored with humorous anecdotes and prefaced by the melodious voice of First Lady Mitchell. Under Rev. Mitchell’s direction, Allen expanded as a community resource and distribution center.
In 1990, Rev. Dr. Jesse L. Douglas, Sr. was called to pastor the Allen Metropolitan C.M.E. Church family. Bishop Dotcy I. Isom appointed Rev. Douglas to lead the church into the next millennium. With the support of his beautiful wife, Mrs. Blanche Douglas, Rev. Douglas both closed an old and opened a new era at Allen. Pouring his wealth of knowledge and experience, as a Civil Rights activist who marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and The Honorable John R. Lewis in Montgomery, Alabama; Rev. Douglas emphasized Allen’s connection to its cultural past and promising future. Under Douglas’ leadership, Allen commemorated its Twenty-Fifth (25th) “Silver” Year Church Anniversary, and expanded its children, youth and creative arts ministries. An accomplished tenor himself, Rev. Douglas would characteristically draw many to Christ in sermonic song.
At the turn of the century, Bishop Dotcy I. Isom appointed a native son to lead the Allen family, Rev. Roland Brown. Rev. Brown, a protégé of Rev. Walter A. Miller and son of Jubilee Temple, was a talented teacher and had personal rapport with many members. Pastor Brown and his lovely wife, Mrs. Willa Brown, were welcomed home and served the Allen family and surrounding community with great care and compassion.
In 2003, Bishop Paul A.G. Stewart appointed Rev. Kenneth D. Thomas pastor of Allen Metropolitan. Rev. Thomas brought a fresh perspective and enhanced the depth and breadth of Allen’s young adult ministry. Through the leadership of Rev. Thomas, Allen was able to recover from major structural damage caused by an act of God.
Bishop Stewart appointed Rev. Dr. David L. Bryant, Jr. pastor of the Allen Metropolitan Church family in 2009. Known as “the pastor with a shepherd’s heart,” Rev. Bryant has diligently served the people and greater community with compassion. Allen has grown both spiritually and exponentially, as Rev. Bryant diligently seeks to advance the kingdom of God, through extensive prayer, preaching, teaching and evangelizing.
His heart for people and love of God has greatly influenced the ministries at Allen. Many have sought Christ and accepted their call to ministry under his tutelage. He is a “pastor’s pastor,” as many pastors seek his wise counsel regarding Kingdom building and pastoral care of the flock. A stranger to none (young people, seniors, children, neighbors and friends), all are drawn to his infectious smile and humble spirit.
Presently, Rev. Dr. David Bryant, Jr. remains the chief Servant and Shepherd of Allen Metropolitan C.M.E. Church, “A Land That Flows With Milk and Honey.” Under his guidance, the ministry focus has been community centered and seeks to meet the holistic needs of the people. On June 23, 2019, Allen commemorated another remarkable feat; celebrating its second mortgage burning and church rededication! These accomplishments and countless others do not fully capture the impact of Rev. Bryant’s leadership and ministry rendered.
We thank and praise God for Pastor Bryant who has exhibited great faith, trust, and commitment to the power of prayer during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic; and demonstrated an unwavering resolve to serve in the midst of tumultuous times. While the coronavirus outbreak caused many churches to close their doors, Pastor Bryant remained steadfast in keeping “God’s House” open. By creatively adapting to and aligning with state and local safety guidelines, Allen stood and continues to stand as a beacon of hope providing essential-need based ministry. Worship services were never disrupted, ensuring the souls of the people were continually fed; and holds true today!
The year 2020 proved to be significant in the life of the church. The entire year was filled with various social-justice crises such as: COVID-19, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and voter suppression; which shaped our nation and world. Through it all, Allen maintained and modeled the charge outlined in Micah 6:8, “…to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before your God.” Ministries expanded to address the overwhelming issues regarding food insecurity, safety (personal and environmental), and housing. The Feeding the Multitudes Ministry seamlessly shifted from an onsite dine-in only service ministry to a carry-out and delivery only service ministry. And when called upon by the administration of the New Roseland Community Hospital, whose kitchen was abruptly shut down due to the coronavirus, Rev. Bryant and a group of Allen’s dedicated volunteers coordinated the preparation and delivery of three meals per day; feeding about 150 hospital patients and staff for two consecutive weeks, within the critical first month of the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, in response to the limited access to COVID-19 testing in marginalized communities, Allen Metropolitan (in partnership with a local community health facility) opened its parking lot to become a monthly, local drive-up, FREE COVID-19 TESTING SITE, open to the public.
COVID-19 gripped the nation in 2020, many Americans lost their lives and their jobs, businesses closed and secure housing was threatened. All the while, Allen’s support ministries remained vigilant. The Casting the Net Ministry extended its client base exponentially, as people throughout the state of Illinois called the church, scheduled remote appointments and received assistance with basic utility bills and service.
And when George Floyd (an African American man) was heinously murdered by a (Caucasian) police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota (triggering a global call to action), Allen remained responsively relevant to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement advocating social justice. Pastor Bryant and several church members participated in the Chicago Interfaith Community BLM Demonstration, marching in peaceful protest throughout downtown Chicago, Illinois on Juneteenth (June 19th) 2020. Furthering its commitment to social justice issues, Allen (a community anchor) serves the community as a polling place and provides registration for eligible voters.
In 2022, Allen Metropolitan C.M.E. Church will celebrate its Fiftieth (50th) Year Church Anniversary, “The Year of Jubilee!” Forging ahead, the Church will continue to worship and pray according to 2 Chronicles 7:14; “believing God to supply all our needs as we labor to advance His Kingdom on earth!”
REV. JOYCE DORCH, ASSISTANT TO THE PASTOR
REV. DR. SILAS JAMES , RETIRED
REV. DOROTHY WILLIAMS, RETIRED
REV. EUNITA RUSHING, ASSISTANT TO THE PASTOR
REV. DWAIN BROWN
MINISTER DANIELIA MITCHEM-BATEMAN
MINISTER ELBERT CLINTON
MINISTER JUANITA FOSTER
MINISTER LILLIAN HARRIS
MINISTER WILLIAM SWANSON JR.
BROTHER MELVIN KENNEDY
REV. DR. DAVID L. BRYANT, JR.
ALLEN METROPOLITAN C.M.E. CHURCH
REV. DR. KAREN WALKER-MCCLURE
BISHOP SYLVESTER WILLIAMS, SR.
THIRD EPISOCOPAL DISTRICT