A Rich History

Cosmopolitan Community Church, formerly St. Mary AME, was formed in the 1920s under the leadership of Dr. John Russell Harvey. Services were held in the home of Dr. Marjorie Stewart Joyner and her husband Robert. Later, the church met at Williamson Funeral Home, then Farren Elementary School at 51ST and Wabash.

Rev. W.D. Cook, founder of the Black Community Churches and the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church invited Dr. Harvey to join the Alliance of Community Churches. As a community, it would have some of all denominations in its service so that no matter what denomination a person had been, there would be something in the community church services to which they could relate.

The members worked very hard to raise the money to build their own church and were able to purchase the lots at 5247-49 South Wabash Avenue.  The church was named The People’s Church and Cosmopolitan Community Center. This was the founding of the church on September 23, 1923. Later, the church was renamed Cosmopolitan Community Church.

After completing a very successful revival at Cosmopolitan, Dr. Mary G. Evans, who was the pastor of St. John AME in Indianapolis, Indiana, was asked by Dr. Harvey and the Board of Directors to assume the pastorate in 1932.  After a long bout with cancer, Pastor Evans passed away on April 12, 1966. After her death, Rev. Richard Keller conducted the services during our year-long pastoral search. Rev. Henry O. Hardy became the pastor of Cosmopolitan Community Church in October 1967 and served for 47 years until his retirement.

Pastor Hardy instituted many new church programs including the Hospitality Hour, Conscious Class, Clothing Ministry, Food ministry, Women’s Guild, Greeter’s Guild, Nurses’ Guild, Service Guild, Taping Ministry, Pastor’s Aide, and the church publication The Flame. Prayer meetings were nothing new to Cosmopolitan, but the name was changed to the Circle of Prayer and Bible Class under the leadership of Rev. James Woods, Associate Pastor of Cosmopolitan, who also conducted new membership orientation.