There is a small church in JeffvanderLou called Grace Baptist Church. Its members call it “a beloved landmark in our community.” The Grace Baptist Church sits across from the former Pruitt-Igoe site. It is steeped in history and the strong sense of place. The Church was founded in 1956 by Reverend Joel Kelly Davis, Sr. Reverend Davis was still preaching at 101 years old and was St. Louis’ oldest active pastor before he passed away. His son is also a pastor.
Story Stitchers are good friends with some of the members and “honorary members” of the Grace Baptist Church, in particular, Carla and Miguel Alexander from Tillie’s Corner Historical Project and Bob Hansman from City Faces.
The photograph above shows Carla and Miguel at the site of Tillie’s Corner after the great disappointment of the collapse of the historic buildings on the site. Today, thanks to Carla, Miguel and their neighbors and friends, there is a new building there, a community garden and children play on the site. Although no such immediate future awaits the site of the old Grace Baptist Church, the memories of the smiles and the tears, the baptisms, the weddings, and the funerals, all the love and the pain that took place there, will stay with the people and live in the land. It is a special place to be celebrated by St. Louis. It has many good stories, that will be told over and over. And it matters. History matters.
The Grace Baptist Church members would like to invite anyone with an interest in recognizing and celebrating this special site to join them to a “Circle of Love Prayer” for the Grace Baptist Church. The members ask that we spread the word. The building itself will soon be lost as it is in the path of the construction of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
April 2, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Circle of Love Prayer
2319 Cass Ave. at 23rd Street
One door is closing. And another one will open.
Watch the story of Tillie’s Corner HERE