Church property just east of Foster-Milwaukee intersection sells
by BRIAN NADIG
The former New Life Church building at 5518 W. Gettysburg St., was sold earlier this year and is being used as a meeting hall for the Church of the Chicagoans.
The property, which is located just east of the Milwaukee-Foster intersection, had been for sale for about 5 years, and several developers reportedly had expressed interest in buying the land. The site measures 31,250 square feet.
Participants in the Church of the Chicagoans began meeting in 2007 in Evanston, with additional meeting places established in Bridgeport and Arlington Heights. In some instances the meetings were being held in leased office space.
“We just wanted a centralized meeting place. On Sunday, the Lord’s Day, we all come together, but during the week we’re still out in those other neighborhoods,” church organizer David Canfield said. The church encourages participants to hold meetings in their homes during the week because Christ should be “part of daily life,” he said.
The church is not affiliated with a denomination or larger religious organization, Canfield said. In addition, the church does not have a membership process in which someone can join the church, and those helping to run the church are not given titles, he said.
“We are all Christians. To us, the importance is not being divided from other denominations,” Canfield said. “We don’t call the building the church. To us, the building is a place to meet, and to us the church is the people.”
The church hosts a worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. and a Bible study on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. About 130 people typically attend on Sundays, Canfield said.
The church had a booth at the recent “Jeff Fest” arts and music festival. “It was a very, very good outreach opportunity for us,” Canfield said.
The church acquired the former New Life property in February, said church organizer Kurt Sheu. The land is owned by a trust, whose board of trustees includes church representatives.
The 15,000-square-foot church was constructed in 1941, with an addition being built in the 1960s. In the 1940s the site was home to the Jefferson Park Bible Church and later the Jefferson Park Evangelical Free Church, according to the Northwest Chicago Historical Society.
The church is located across the alley from the recently closed K House of Flowers, 5249 N. Milwaukee Ave., whose longtime owner dies earlier this year. New Life, the previous occupant of the church, relocated several years ago to the campus of Luther High North, 5700 W. Berteau Ave.