Greater Galilee M.B.


Greater Galilee Baptist Church was organized in May 1932 at 656 W. 14th Street (Jew Town), by Rev. Abanathy and the following members: Deacon Cornelius Gillmore, Deacon Cross, Deacon Crockett, Bro. Ryan, Sis. Crockett, Sis. Alice Fields, Sis. Lena Crittle, Sis. Lottie Macklin and Sis. Allie B. Cole. The Church stayed at this address about six months. As the membership grew, the church moved to 600 West 14th Street. In 1935 the great depression was on and the church moved to 628 W. 14th Street. It was during this time that Pastor Abanathy was called to another church, and Rev. Moore became our pastor until 1936 when Rev. Gilbert became pastor. During these lean years, Deacon Cornelius Gillmore took on the financial responsibility of the church. Rev. Gilbert remain pastor until 1938. In 1938, Rev. G. Graves became our pastor and the church moved to 671 W. 14th Place. Rev. Graves was discharged in 1940, and Rev. Spencer was elected. Rev. Spencer stayed until 1942, then in May of the same year Rev. J.D. Strong was elected pastor. In 1945 under Rev. Strong’s leadership, the Usher, Jr. Usher and the Nurses Boards were established. The first presidents were Sis. Maggie Willingham , Usher Board President, Sis. Flora Box, Junior Usher Board President, and Sis. Lottie Macklin, Nurses Board President In 1949, the Youth Choir was established by Sis. Martha Reynolds and Sis. Marjorie Wilks who served as the musicians. Bro. Leo Davis Sr., was added to the music staff and notice the age differences among the members and established the Young Adult Choir which was later named the Angelic Choir and Bro. Curtis Davis served as President. As God would have it, in the heart of the North Lawndale Community a building was for sale. The pastor and deacons visited the 1308 South Independence site, and after much discussion with the entire church the building was purchased. In 1958 on the third Sunday in October, “The Great Exodus” took place. The Body of Christ marched from “Jew Town” to 1308 South Independence Boulevard with much joy, happiness and thanksgiving in their hearts. On August 16, 1967, after 23 years of service, Rev. J.D. Strong went home from labor to reward. Rev. Herbert Harlan, served as interim pastor until December 17, 1967, when Rev. Willie Runnels was elected pastor. Under the administration of Pastor Runnels several major changes took place: - A complete renovation of the upper sanctuary; - A baptismal pool in the fellowship hall; and - New office space In 1969, Rev. Runnels resigned and Rev. Harlan again became interim pastor. In 1969, while searching for another pastor, the board members attended an afternoon program at Stone Temple Baptist Church where they heard Dr. T.A. Clark Sr. After this, Dr. Clark was asked by members of the board to conduct a week long revival so that the entire church might hear and observe him. After the revival, the church held a business meeting where it was agreed to offer Dr. Clark the position of pastor of this church. Dr. Clark agreed to accept the position of pastor of the Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. On the fifth Sunday of August 1969, Dr. T.A. Clark Sr., officially began his role as pastor. Under the leadership of Dr. T.A. Clark Sr., the church saw many changes in program structure. The following Auxiliaries were established under his leadership:

- Establishment of the Church’s Motto: “The Church Where the Souls of Men Come First”

- The Church in Training

- The Minister of Records

- Christian Education Seminars

- The Martha Reynolds Circle; - The Cornelius Gillmore Scholarship Committee

- The Award Banquet

- Dr. Watts Chorus

- The Deaconess and Ministers Wives Board.

It was instituted that the church would finance itself through tithes and offerings only. No selling of any kind was to be a part of the Galilean Family. Under Dr. Clark’s leadership the following Ministers served:

- Rev. Herbert Harlan

- Rev. Steve Spiller Sr.

- Rev. Billy Bell

- Rev. Lloyd D. Hayes

- Rev. Michael Matthews

- Rev. Charles Ingram

- Rev. Charles Sikes

- Rev. Lawrence Cooper

- Rev. Charles Miles

- Rev. Samuel Robison

- Rev. Barry Layton

- Rev. Jesse Lofton -

Rev. Charles Hollins

- Rev. Darryl Bell

- Rev. Derrick Hughes

- Rev. Beyon O’Neal

Pastors established from Greater Galilee Baptist Church include:

- Pastor Steve Spiller Sr.

- Pastor Curtis Hicks

- Pastor Lloyd D. Hayes

- Pastor Jesse Lofton

- Pastor Derrick Hughes

- Pastor Michael Matthews (deceased)

After 50 years of preaching the gospel, the Galilean Family honored Dr. Clark by renaming the lower fellowship hall to read as follows: “The Dr. T.A. Clark Sr., Fellowship Hall”. On Sunday, October 23, 1994, the church celebrated Pastor Clark’s retirement of the Pastor of Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, after 25 years of service. An inspiring message was delivered by Rev. Wilson Daniels of the United Baptist Church. On November 11, 1994 the general church met to start the process of selecting a pastor. Pastor T.A. Clark Sr. went home to be with the Lord on September 14, 1998. On February 24, 1995, at 7:05pm, after much praying, Greater Galilee Members, being led by the Holy Spirit, selected their own Rev. Steve Spiller Sr., as Pastor. Under Pastor Spiller’s leadership the following Ministers served:

- Rev. Donzell Taylor

-Rev. Samuel Robison

- Rev. Curtis Hicks

- Rev. Samuel Burts

- Rev. Ian Bryant

- Rev. Willie Brezell

- Rev. Darryl Bell

- Rev. Napoleon Williams

- Rev. Andre Cooper

- Rev. Jerry Harris III

- Rev. Jesse Robison

- Rev. Beyon O’neal

- Rev. Gerry Davis

- Rev. Kelsey King

Under the leadership of Pastor Steve Spiller Sr., our church has grown immensely through the teaching of the Word of God.

- We have become financially stable;

- July 2003 our sanctuary was renovated along with church renovations;

- 2005, our church’s heating and cooling system was converted to central air; and in

- May 2006 the parking lot was paved.

Ministries established under his Leadership:

- Feeding Ministry

- Health Ministry

- Praise Choir


- Youth Ministry

- Singles Ministry

- Praise Dance Ministries

- Bible Study (afternoon & evening sessions on Wednesdays)

- 1st Wednesday Men & Women Ministry Meetings

- Puppet Ministry

- Voices of Galilee Youth Choir

- Christ Centered/Street Ministry

- Marriage Ministry

- Seniors Ministry

- Women’s Ministry

- Men’s Ministry

- Youth Academic Recognition In November 2006,

Greater Galilee Baptist Church became a Chicago Department of Public Health Flu Clinic. On March 27, 2009, Greater Galilee Church became a member of the Centers of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities Program or (CEED), a coalition of community faith- based organizations and medical professionals that try to address the health disparities of African Americans and Latinos. Under the devout leadership of Pastor Spiller, we will be the church striving to become “Wrapped up, tied up and tangled up in the love and the Word of God”.