Congregation donates $ 270,000 to social service organizations after historic Lake View Church sale


Members of a Lake View church are donating part of the recent sale of their historic place of worship to several local social justice organizations, the church said on Wednesday.

After selling its over 100-year-old church in September for nearly $ 3 million, the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ congregation voted to donate $ 270,000 to 19 nonprofit social service organizations that serve the Chicago area.

Fund recipients include North Side Housing and Support Services, Lake View Pantry and Faith In Place, the church said. The monetary amount of the grants differs from each other as each has been tailored to what each organization has declared it needs.

“The coronavirus pandemic and economic recession have made their jobs more difficult and strained their shrinking budgets,” said Pastor Ann-Louise Haak. “They need the money now, and we know it will be put to good use quickly.”

The news comes a year after the congregation decided to bring their historic shrine to market.

With attendance dwindling, the 48 church members voted last November to continue practicing as a faith community but sell the large property that far exceeded their needs, Haak said. The property, which also houses the TimeLine Theater, features a full auditorium with a green hall and costume room, a two-story gymnasium, and a sanctuary that can accommodate up to 500 people. There is also a two apartment building connected to it.

The property received a serious offer from a motivated buyer shortly after the church signed with a real estate agent in March, Haak said. It was sold in September for $ 2.85 million to Chabad of East Lakeview, a local Jewish nonprofit, Haak said.

“It took about three months, which was not at all what we expected,” Haak said. “And so our wagon is definitely in front of our horses because we thought we had 12-18 months to sort things out… and instead things just moved really quickly. “

For now, services will continue on what Haak playfully calls “Zoom Sanctuary”.

“In a way, there couldn’t be a better time to be buildingless than this season when you can’t safely assemble in a building even if you have one,” Haak said. “We’ll definitely have some sort of physical space in the future, but I feel like we’ll probably continue to have some sort of hybrid worship experience where there is an option to be in person but there is also the possibility for people to join online. “


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