Church History

"And I say unto Thee, that Thou art Peter, and this Rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church is a integral part of the history of South Chicago. It was organized in 1917 by ten members out of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to form Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church at 9104 S. Baltimore Avenue.  Reverend Frank Gaskin was the First Pastor and served from 1922 to 1923. 


The second Pastor was Reverend Earl Cruthers who served until 1929 in the new location of 9010 S. Greenbay Avenue. The third Pastor, Reverend Edward Wainwright came to Pilgrim in 1929.  The church was in its third location at 3311 East 91st Street.  Under Reverend Wainwright's leadership the present building was purchased.  The church marched in a candlelight procession in September 1946 to the present location.  Pastor Wainwright became seriously ill in 1959, and died May 8, 1960. 


Reverend Geroy Osborne became the fourth Pastor.  He taught Pilgrim to tithe and new ministries were offered along with Annual Days to highlight those ministries.  Reverend Bill Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ met at Pilgrim several years during the 1970's.  The membership grew and God added Preachers and Deacons to assist in worship.  Pilgrim's Feeding Program to the less fortunate began in February 1984 and has continued until this present day. Pilgrim was 67 years old when Pastor Osborne vacated the pulpit on August 19, 1984. He left Chicago to become pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thereafter, the question the Pilgrim Family cried out to the LORD was, “LORD, whom will you send to lead this flock?” The church family waited six (6) long months for the LORD to answer. Various caring and concerned ministers brought the WORD of GOD to us, during our time without a shepherd.


Reverend Hillard C. Hudson became the fifth Pastor of Pilgrim in February 1985. The following are some of the highlights of his Ministry and/or Pastorate.


  • Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study was added

  • Prayer Chain and Prayer Logs were implemented along with the Solace Ministry, Women's Ministry and Laymen's Ministry

  • Life Development Study Series was added, including the Discovery Workshop, Christian Living and Know Your Spiritual Gifts.

  • The Youth Ministries were developed, including LITES, LOGOS, LAMPS LAMBS as well as Liturgical Dance

  • In 1998 Reverend Kenneth Spears facilitated the Leaders Retreat

  • The sanctuary was redecorated

  • The parsonage was purchased.

  • Several television scenes were shot at Pilgrim from Oprah Winfrey "Brewster's Place Series", the "Blues Brothers" and "Mike and Mollie".

  • The plans for building an educational facility was started in 1993.

  • A Time Capsule was buried during the 77th Church Anniversary, which was to be opened 25 years later.

  • Our Christian Education Leadership School was named, "The Clara E. Ivy-Howard Leadership School" in honor our Dean.

  • The Lifetime Achievement-Longevity Award was instituted to encourage members who have served this church for 50 years or more.

  • Annual Appreciation Days were given to the Associate Ministers.

  • Truck Parties for aspiring College Students has been chaired by Brother Dan Roy Mills and committee.

  • Brother Dan Roy Mills' MTLM Organization assisted the Feeding Program in the Thanksgiving Feeding and Food/Clothing Give-Away.

  • Full-time Secretary was added

  • Enrichment Hour has enhanced the Sunday School

  • The Christmas Program has been named, "The Mary Curse Christmas Program", in honor of Deaconess Curse's dedication to training young people over 30 years.

  • Outdoor Worship and Summer Dress-Down for Evangelistic purpose was implemented

  • Ecumenical fellowship with all churches in the areas was established.

  • Thanksgiving Worship with the Catholic Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe was implemented.


On Friday evening, December 8, 2011, a church meeting was called and Pastor Hudson informed the Pilgrim family of his illness. Although our hearts were saddened physically, we remained spiritually encouraged.  The holidays were upon us and Pastor Hudson preached his last sermon on Christmas Day,  A Benediction for 2011, referencing Scripture from Matthews 6:13.  Having served for 26 years, Pastor Hudson was called home to be with the Lord on December 29, 2011.  


Several organizations offered tributes in honor of Pastor Hudson, including the Greater New Era District of Chicago and Vicinity, which were fitting and proper. Thus, on August 18, 2012, Alderman Pope, of the 7th Ward, renamed 91st and Burley, Hilliard C. Hudson Way. Many came from far and near to share in the festivities.  


November of 2012, the Reverend Kenneth B. Spears of Fort Worth, Texas, visited Pilgrim to bring closure to our mourning. He led a revival that took us from a place of pain, to a place of purpose, to a place of prosperity, to a place of peace through prayer. After this revival, Pilgrim embarked on a 50-day prayer period, where prayer was being offered 24 hours a day in 15 minutes intervals. We prayed for healing of Pilgrim and for our readiness to receive the man of GOD whom GOD would reach down in HIS bosom to send us.


On February 8, 2013, the Reverend Corwin D. Lasenby, Sr. was elected Pastor of Pilgrim to seve as the sixth Pastor.  Reverend Lasenby loves the LORD, is focused on feeding the flock, and his vision is to REACH, REVIVE, RESTORE and RETAIN all whom the LORD sends to Pilgrim. His viewpoint is "all hands on deck…all praying; all working; all studying; all ministering". Reverend Lasenby believes that all of GOD’s children have a place in ministry. Therefore, our Mission Statement of "Creating and Cultivating a Culture of Worship that Glorifies JESUS CHRIST’ epitomizes the worship experience that is enjoyed at Pilgrim every Sunday.

Pilgrim Baptist Church 
south chicago
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3235 E. 91st Street
Chicago, Illinois 60617

Tel: 773-374-3888
Fax: 773-374-2621