CHICAGO (CBS) — A beloved church on the city’s South Side is in need of some divine intervention.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Wednesday, the pastor of the Prayer Warriors Baptist Church believes it has a higher calling – despite having to close its doors.
Pastor Sadie Cook’s divine mission for Chicago’s South Side dates back decades.
“I’ve had many sleepless nights over this ministry,” she said.
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Prayer Warriors Baptist Church started at 53rd Street and Union Avenue in Back of the Yards. It moved when Cook took over after her husband died.
“It’s been very difficult,” Cook said.
The church then moved to 102nd and Wallace streets in Fernwood.
“We were flourishing then – wonderful times,” Cook said.
But Cook said a fire destroyed that building in 2005. And now, instead of celebrating 50 years of ministry, the current location in West Pullman at 120th Street and Normal Avenue is under foreclosure.
A lengthy legal battle ended last month with a judgement – siding with Marquette Bank to take the property. Cook said she was granted an extension to pay off debt until this past Tuesday but didn’t make it.
“It’s just a sad situation to end up after all of these years in this place,” Cook said.
Financial troubles came when the once-bustling congregation dwindled to what it is now – about a dozen strong. COVID-19 made matters worse.
But Cook, 77, does not see this as the final chapter.
“This community needs help,” she said.
We met the pastor earlier this week when her neighboring small churches were burglarized. She learned that crime has already driven out at least one other congregation.
“We’re all hanging on by a thread,” Cook said, “and this could be beaming light. We could have literacy programs for the adults; math and reading; tutoring.”
But it would be a true miracle to keep that prayer alive. More than $100,000 that needs to be paid. The building could also use some TLC.
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“Roofers, plaster,” Cook said.
The church is hoping for prayer warriors more than ever now – and divine intervention – so it can carry on a mission that is not done just yet.
Marquette Bank tells Steven it cannot comment on specific cases, but promises to work with customers in situations like this.