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Historic African-American church says goodbye to North Side home of 121 years

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CHICAGO — Congregants at Hermon Baptist Church in Lincoln Park are saying goodbye to the church's home of 121 years.

The church's roots go back to 1887, when 13 African-American domestic workers who lived on the Gold Coast grew tired of traveling to the South Side for services and decided to start what later became Hermon Baptist Church.

Keith Edwards has led Hermon Baptist for a decade now, one of a long line of pastors since those beginning days in the late 19th century.

"They started worshipping on the Sorth Side, meeting at different locations," pastor Edwards said. "We landed here in 1897, and we’ve been rolling over since."

Boxed in by high rises and limited parking for congregants, Hermon Baptist believes it’s time to find a new location. A new glass building built around it will be the new home for Chicago’s Giorando Dance Company, although the façade of the church will remain.

"It's a small church but very family oriented and it’s going to be missed," church member Vanessa Weathers said.

"The spirit continues on, the legacy continues on… we continue on," Pastor Edwards said. "We’re not dead by far."

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