A New Plan for Pilgrim

The Chicago Tribune reports that the congregation of the Adler & Sullivan Pilgrim Baptist Church that was destroyed by fire in 2006, is still hoping to rebuild the landmark. Their new plan will be unveiled this Sunday.

The church’s architect for the latest effort is Frank Christopher Lee of the Chicago firm Johnson & Lee. The firm declined to comment. Cynthia Jones, vice chairwoman of the church’s board of trustees, said some work will begin this year but declined to elaborate.

The church, completed at 33rd Boulevard and Indiana Avenue in 1891 as the Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv Synagogue, was heavily damaged in January 2006 after workers repairing the roof accidentally set it ablaze.

The limestone and brick exterior walls still stand, held up by a steel structural support system.

The congregation, which now holds services in a community center across the street from the church, has been engaged in grassroots fundraising efforts to pay for the rebuilding, said Ward Miller, co-author of a book about the works of Sullivan and Adler.

“The congregation is really dedicated to preserving the church,” said Miller, executive director of the Richard Nickel Committee, a nonprofit group that administers an archive of architectural photographs and documents.

The congregation totals about 300, according to Jones, and fundraising has been a tremendous effort for the aging congregation, Vaughn said.