By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (ANS) -- The doors of the Pacific Garden Mission doors first opened on September 15, 1877 and have been open every day since for over 47,500 consecutive days -- over half the time the United States has existed and spanning the terms of 25 US presidents.
America's largest continuously operating rescue mission is set to vacate its State Street location after 84 years during the 130th anniversary of the Mission and the 57th anniversary of its Unshackled! Radio Broadcast.
Now, after years of prayer, planning and construction, the big day for Pacific Garden Mission to move into its new building is quickly approaching.
|Landscaping is almost complete at the site of the new PGM building.|
It's a joyous and exciting time for PGM as September 15 marked the Mission's 130th Anniversary and September 23 marked the 57th Anniversary of the award-winning Unshackled! radio series. After being located at 646 South State Street since 1923, the Mission eagerly anticipates bringing all of its ministry services under one roof.
The Mission is required to move due to action taken by the City of Chicago under the law of eminent domain. Relocation will allow expansion of the adjacent Jones College Prep High School. In a process spanning several years, the City of Chicago helped PGM to locate a suitable site about a mile from its State street location.
Started at 386 S. Clark Street by Colonel George Clarke and his wife Sarah, the Mission began in a little storefront room. They later moved to a space vacated by the Pacific Beer Garden, calling it Pacific Garden Mission at the suggestion of evangelist D. L. Moody. That address was 100 East Van Buren Street, later changed to 67 East Van Buren.
In 1923 evangelist and former professional baseball player for the Chicago White Stockings [later to become the Cubs], Billy Sunday, donated $42,000 to enable the PGM to move to 646 South State Street where it has been ever since.
David McCarrell, Pacific Garden Mission President, noted, "There's a lot of history here, but we've really outgrown this facility. We changed a lot of lives - those who used to be homeless have moved on and are contributing to this city and the country."
The new structure will increase capacity by over 35 percent from 97,086 square feet to approximately 150,000 square feet, of which 145,551, or 95 percent of the space, will be devoted to residential space and services, including dormitories, clinic, dining area, auditorium, bathrooms, showers, and classrooms.
Once relocated, PGM will be able to accommodate over 950 people each night, including approximately 200 women and children. Larger quarters will also allow the simultaneous feeding of over 600 people [a 400 percent increase from the current 150] and the seating of 600 in the auditorium [up 240 percent from the current 250].
Foto caption two: 'The new PGM bulilding features solar warming panels.
An inner landscaped courtyard and plentiful windows will provide fresh air and sunshine without the need to be on the streets. The functional three-story concrete structure, easily accessible from Chicago's central city area, was designed to meet LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] Silver Certification requirements of the US Green Building Council. Chicago Richard M. Daley, long an advocate of green building in Chicago, plans to attend the October 13 Dedication.
Greenhouses which will be used to grow produce for the Mission will also serve as training grounds for men and women to learn horticultural skills. Stanley Tigerman, the renowned Chicago architect who drew up the plans for the building, is passionate about the work of Pacific Garden Mission. Mr. Tigerman stated, "Instead of warehousing people, the greenhouse is an attempt to bring [homeless] people back into society by giving them jobs."
David McCarrell added, "Though our services have expanded and grown over the years, our mission remains the same.to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of those to whom we minister.in the name of Jesus Christ. As we continue to rely on God to provide in the future, we are also confident that our ministry partners, the individuals, businesses, churches, and foundations that faithfully support PGM, will stand with us through this important time."
Guests may attend all or part of scheduled activities. Ample free parking is available adjacent to the Mission building. Bulletin inserts are available for churches and groups by calling 312/922-1462.
The October 13 Grand Opening/Dedication is scheduled from 10AM-5PM:
10:00AM Mission Open for Tours
11:30AM-1:00PM Complimentary Buffet Luncheon
1:00-2:30PM Dedication Service: Dr. Louis Barbieri - Keynote Speaker &
Professor & Chair Dept of Theology, Moody Bible Institute
2:30-3:00PM Refreshments Served
3:00-4:15PM Live Production of Unshackled! radio program
For more information or to make a donation, contact Pacific Garden Mission at 312/922-1462 or visit www.pgmofferinghope.org or www.pgm.org. [Construction photos and architectural renderings are available for downloading on both websites]
Media Contact: Tony Rufo at 630/682-0517
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