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Encyclopedia > Moody Church

The Moody Church (sometime also referred to as Moody Memorial Church) is a historic non-denominational protestant brick-façade church on the near-north side of Chicago. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... This article is about Illinois largest city. ...



The Moody Church building is located at the corners of North Avenue, North Clark and La Salle Street. Construction on the building, designed by architects Fugard and Knapp, was begun in 1924 and completed a year later. The formal dedication was held on November 8, 1925. Covering an area of 140 feet by 225 feet, Moody Church melds features of both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, and is one of the largest Romanesque churches in the US. Visually, it was intended to bridge the gap between the traditional Roman Catholic cathedral and the typical protestant church buildings of the late 19th century and early 20th century. The building was originally intended to be 20 feet longer, but due to widening of La Salle Street, the layout had to be altered; this is believed by some to be the reason for the unusually steep choir loft. From floor to the false acoustic ceiling is 68 feet, and the structural ceiling is 10 to 15 feet above that. 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... November 8 is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 53 days remaining. ... 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Romanesque St. ... Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... A cathedral is a Christian church building, specifically of a denomination with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Anglican, Catholic and some Lutheran churches, which serves as the central church of a diocese, and thus as a bishops seat. ...

The resulting building remains the largest non-pillared auditorium in the Chicago area, and has permanent seating for 3,740 people, 2,270 on the main floor, with an additional 1,470 in the balcony. The curved balcony was one of the earliest examples of cantilevered construction, and its curvature – as well as the rest of the layout of the auditorium – was designed so that all lines focus on the pulpit. Designed in an era before modern sound systems, the building has almost-perfect acoustics, and it is reported that the only element detracting from this aspect is the floor carpet.

Although a modern environmental system has been installed, when the church was originally built, summer cooling was provided by means of a large pit in an alley in back of the building, where large loads of ice would be dumped. Air was then blown over the ice and out of mushroom-shaped vents under the auditorium seats. The system could recirculated the church’s air in six minutes.

The large chandeliers that hang in the auditorium are traditionally believed to have been produced by Tiffany, although they are unsigned. Above the balcony, around the perimeter of the building, are 36 large stained glass windows, no two of which are alike. All were donated as memorials. Charles Lewis Tiffany (b. ... Strictly speaking, stained glass is glass that has been painted with silver stain and then fired. ...

When originally built, the church did not have an organ, but later a 4-manual Reuter organ with 4,400 pipes in 54 ranks was added. The pipes visible in the sanctuary are merely decorative, the actual instruments being hidden behind a black curtain. In 1917, two Highland, Illinois gentlemen, Earl Schwartz and Henry Jost, (with the encouragement of several other local businessmen) approached Mr. ...

In January, 1986, a fire in the front of the church caused a half-million dollars’ damage to the pulpit, choir loft and organ. During the rebuilding, a modern audio-visual system was installed, and the ascending screens are currently the tallest in the US. 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The church originally was the result of the aggressive work of famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody in the mid- to late-1800s. Moody concentrated his efforts on promoting his Sunday school, and by 1860, over 1,000 children and their parents attended each week. It had become the largest and most well-known religious outreach of its kind, with the result that President Abraham Lincoln visited the meeting one Sunday. Needing a permanent home, Moody’s ministry built a 1,500-seat church at the corner of Illinois and Wells Streets, called the Illinois Street Church, which was formally dedicated December 30, 1864. Dwight Lyman Moody, circa 1890s. ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American politician elected from Illinois as the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ... December 30 is the 364th day of the year (365th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 1 day remaining. ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...

That building was completely destroyed on Sunday, October 8, 1871, when the Great Chicago Fire swept the area. The congregation immediately raised the money to rebuild, this time locating at the corner of Chicago Avenue and La Salle Street (currently the location of Moody Bible Institute’s women’s dorm, Houghton Hall). The Chicago Avenue Church, which could hold up to 10,000 people, was dedicated in June, 1876. Attendance continued to climb, and on one particular Sunday, the auditorium was filled to capacity, with an additional 6,000 people standing outside the church’s doors. October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (282nd in leap years). ... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Artists rendering of the fire, by John R Chapin, originally printed in Harpers Weekly The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Oct. ... Moody Bible Institute ( MBI ) was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. ... 1876 (MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...

Dwight Moody died after an illness in 1899, and in 1908, the church was formally renamed “The Moody Church” in his honor. A. C. Dixon took over as pastor in 1906 and he stayed until 1911. In 1912, John Harper of Scotland was called to be the pastor after speaking there in a series of meetings, but tragedy overtook him before he could return to formally take up the pastorate. Returning from Scotland with his daughter and niece, Harper booked passage on the White Star Line’s new ocean liner Titanic. Although his daughter and niece were rescued, Harper was killed in the sinking. 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Amzi Clarence Dixon (1854 – 1925) was a well-known pastor, Bible expositor and evangelist, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... White Star Line logo and burgee. ... RMS Titanic was an Olympic class passenger liner that collided with an iceberg and sank in 1912. ...

In 1925, the congregation moved to the Church’s current location. In 1930, well-known evangelist Harry A. Ironside became the pastor, serving until his wife’s death in 1948. In 1953, popular British evangelist Alan Redpath was appointed pastor, and served until 1962. From 1966 to 1971, George Sweeting served as pastor, before leaving to become the President of Moody Bible Institute, with his place being taken by Warren Wiersbe. On January 20, 1980, the current pastor, Erwin Lutzer, was installed as the 17th pastor of Moody Church. 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link is to a full 1930 calendar). ... Henry (Harry) Allen Ironside (1876-10-14 - 1951-01-15) was a Bible teacher, preacher, pastor, and author in the early 20th century. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Alan Redpath (January 9, 1907- March 16, 1989), was a well-known British evangelist, pastor and author. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1971 calendar). ... Moody Bible Institute ( MBI ) was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. ... January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... Erwin W. Lutzer (born October 3, 1941) is an evangelical Christian pastor, teacher, and author. ...

Moody Church Today

Dr. Erwin Lutzer has now been pastor of The Moody Church for 26 years. Under his leadership, the church and its ministries have grown considerably. Construction is now being done on a Christian Life Center that will be attached to the current 75 year old building. The three-story Christian Life Center is designed to provide enough classroom space to allow a return to one Sunday School hour and accommodate new and growing ministries. Erwin W. Lutzer (born October 3, 1941) is an evangelical Christian pastor, teacher, and author. ...

A street-level entry and elevators will provide access to the new building and the existing educational wing for those with disabilities. The facility also offers subterranean parking for 21 cars and a rooftop deck for gatherings of up to 300 people.


  • The Moody Church, despite having a similar name, is not associated with the Moody Bible Institute, located on the site of the former Chicago Avenue Church.
  • Dwight L. Moody never spoke at the current location of the church, as it wasn’t built until 26 years after his death.

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