The early church, then named Harvey Chapel C.M.E. Church, held its first service on September 30, 1962. Mrs. Beatrice Baker, widow of Rev. Carlos Miles Baker, who had been the pastor of the St. James C.M.E. Church in Chicago Heights, IL, had moved to Harvey, IL. As there was no C.M.E. church there, Mother Baker consulted with Bishop John Claude Allen and Presiding Elder Samuel A. Sea concerning starting a church in that locale.
The first meeting was held in her home. In attendance were Mother Baker, her son, William Baker, Emma Borden, John and Dorothy Johnson, Sillimon Davis, Thomas and Helen Jefferson, and Daisy Rice. Their purpose was to find a church home for the forming congregation. A place was located at 14703 S. Hoyne Ave in the rear of a building which housed the Dorsey Cleaners.
The early years had its struggles, but the saints remained dedicated and worked hard. And the Lord added to their numbers. Over the ensuing years many ministers contributed to the growth and spirit of the church.
Presiding Elder Samuel A. Sea served as the first pastor from September 30, 1962 to September 18, 1963.
Rev. Wendell Weaver served from September 25, 1963 to August of 1973.Under his
leadership the property at 213 West 147th Street, Dixmoor, IL was purchased. After
four years of dedicated work, the congregation moved into the new church on April 20, 1970.
Rev. J. Leonard Jefferson served from August 1973 through July 1979. During his leadership, the church mortgage was burned and the name of the church was changed to J. Claude Allen C.M.E. Church in honor of Bishop J. Claude Allen, who along with the C.M.E. Conference was instrumental in paying off the mortgage. This was done on May 5, 1974.
Rev. Earl Walker was appointed to serve from August 1979 through July 1984.
Rev. Donald Hunt served from August 1984 to July 1987. During his administration the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were organized through community outreach organizations.
Rev. Odell Bruce served from August 1984 through July 1987.
Rev. Carrell K. Cargle, Sr. pastored from August15, 1987 to July 1994. Under his leadership the renovation and dedication of the kitchen was finished in memory of Mother Emma Borden. Also, the old church building was demolished. The church experienced a great spiritual awakening. A large number of new members were received into the church.
Rev. Lance L. Davis served from August 1994 to July 2003. Under his leadership
numerous church improvements were implemented both inside and outside.
The membership increased tremendously necessitating two worship services: Victory Service at 8:00 a.m. and Morning Worship at 11:00 a.m. New ministries were begun:
One Church-One School, Boys to Men Ministry, Project Essence for the girls, and the
Dotcy I. Isom Excellence in Education Scholarship Fund. The Christian Methodist Men
stepped out on faith and the church held the first Images of Imani Banquet. Several
scholarships were awarded to our youth over the years. The Three P’s (Pastor-Parents-Principals) were started. This was a partnership with the parents and principals to ensure the
students’ academic and social success at school.
Rev. Joyce Dorch served July 2003 to July 2004. Having been a member of the ministerial staff under Rev. Davis, she came with the vision of “equipping the saints for the ministry”.
After retirement, Rev. Carrell K. Cargle, Sr. returned and served from August 2004 to July 2006. Rev. Cletonia was assigned as Assistant Pastor.
Rev. Richard Shaw served as pastor from August 2006 to July 2009. “Cultivating Our Daughters” (C.O.D.) was formed by his wife, Toni Shaw, for the purpose of mentoring, tutoring, and fellowship for the girls.
Rev. Kenneth Thomas served from August 2009 to July 2010.
Rev. Theresa Gordon served as pastor from August 1, 2010 through December, 2011.
Rev. Thomas Harper, III and his family served from December 25, 2011 to June, 2013. He preached the word and his family worked tirelessly with various youth and church fundraisers.
Rev. Zachary D. Mullens, appointed in June of 2013, comes to us with a passion for Christ and a deep commitment to, and understanding of, the word of God. He has expressed his desire for the church to grow spiritually and “work together” as one to accomplish our goals. Under his leadership, we expect to accomplish great things.
WE'VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH!