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Church History

On April 11, 1925, Reverend Nasceas Cornelius Lunford, our late organizer and pastor, began Providence Missionary Baptist Church in his home at 3016 South Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL.  The presiding ministers were Reverend Lunford and the late Reverend T.E. Brown of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.  There were five members: Sisters Ella Lunford, Georgia Johnson, Estelle Carpenter, Rosie Johnson and Brother Andrew Johnson.  The first service was conducted at 2717 South State Street on Easter Sunday morning in 1925.  The late Reverend J.L. Townsend preached the first sermon.

 The church purchased a small house at 3227 South Prairie in November 1925 to be converted into a lovely sanctuary for worship.  Pastor Lunford and a faithful, determined membership labored to improve the property.  Espousing his dedication, Pastor Lunford served eight years without a salary.

 The church was destroyed by fire in May 1948.  Services were conducted in the gymnasium of Hartzell Methodist Church at 3000 South Prairie Avenue until the church was rebuilt the following year.  In September 1957 after 32 years in a single location, Providence relocated to a much larger facility at 858 West 62nd Street.  The church remained there for a little over 10 years until the city bought it and numerous surrounding buildings for the restructuring of an Englewood shopping corridor. So on April 7, 1968, Providence moved to it present location: 8401 South Ashland Avenue.

 Our beloved organizer and pastor served at this location for three years.  Sorrowfully, Pastor Lunford went home to be with the Lord on June 16, 1972.  Toward the end of his ministry, the elderly Pastor Lunford appointed Reverend William Franklin Fristoe to continue God’s work as pastor of Providence.  On December 30, 1972, the Providence membership officially elected Reverend Fristoe as its second pastor.  Pastor Fristoe served for 27 years until his retirement in 1999.  He continued his dedicated service at Providence as Pastor Emeritus under the leadership of the newly installed pastor, Rev. Dr. William H. Foster Jr., in January of 2000.  Pastor Foster continues to lead Providence in teaching God’s word, spreading the gospel and meeting the needs of the people.

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