On July 22, 1963, Rev. C. E. Stowers, Sr., along with seventeen believing people organized the Mars Hill M. B. Church. Those present were: Bettye Dowell-Liddell, Rubin Heath, Mr. & Mrs. Bennie Hooks, Bessie Jenkins-Honeysuckle, Berman Jenkins, Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Pearson, Florence Stowers, James Stowers, Leroy Stowers, Mother Margaret Stowers, Margaret Stowers, Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Wilson, Wiley Williams and Willie Williams.
This body planned to locate a church that would adequately meet the needs of the people and not be classified as a mere store front church. So, with this thought in mind, the group donated $800.00 to initiate a plan. The first site of the church was 3311 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois. This building was without heating, without seating facilities and needed a lot of repairs in order to be classified as a place of worship.
These supporters under the guidance of Pastor Stowers, Sr. and the Holy Spirit decided to use their muscles, brain and prayers to remodel. First a choir stand was built, walls were painted, seats were acquired, a piano was donated and the heating was put into working condition. On August 24, 1963, the job was finally finished. The chapel was beautiful.
The night of August 24, 1963, the church was organized by the Progressive District Association. The name Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church was submitted and chosen by Nadine Hooks.
On August 25, 1963, the first service was held. There were ninety people present. God has blessed. Rev. Stowers preached from Exodus 3:7 – “The Lord Will Make A Way.” The Lord added 21 souls that day. God continued to bless Mars Hill week after week and year after year.
Mars Hill had truly been blessed, for her two year stay she had outgrown this location and could no longer accommodate the need for this fast growing church. Mars Hill and her strong supporters, with necessary finance at hand, set out to purchase new property at a new location. Mars Hill made it. The facilities for this fast growing institution were hard to find. The location at 440 N. Maypole was a potential new home. Mars Hill made the necessary preparation to acquire this property. However, the owner decided to sell to another buyer.
Pastor Stowers, Sr. had not given up for he knew that God’s church was needed in another location. God directed him and the members to another location at 2809 W. Harrison Street. Mars Hill had $21,000.00 and the owner wanted $38,000.00 in cash. Due to the cancellation of the first location, the bank refused to negotiate their second location. Mars Hill was turned down again and again and no church came to her aid.
Pastor Stowers, Sr. was working at Hygrade Meat Company; having been employed there for 14 years. He went directly to one of the Presidents of the company and told his story. Pastor Stowers, Sr. having faith in God and seeing how God had blessed had no doubt. The President never seeing him before loaned him the money without any other signature.
In 1966, Mars Hill brought property at 2809 W. Harrison Street in Chicago with cash money. The members marched from Roosevelt Road with approximately 200 people. The membership grew quickly and we was able to burn the mortgage on April 16, 1971. After becoming settled in the new home, there came a great need for more room. As the membership increased, Mars Hill was no longer able to accommodate the members comfortably.
In 1972, Mars Hill was remolded. The color of the pews and carpet were burgundy and white. The choir ranged from 100 to 150 voices, all dressed in burgundy and white robes. For twelve years the members continued to labor at 2809 W. Harrison Street. It’s progress was very successful with the power of the Almighty God. Many new ventures were revealed to Pastor Stowers, Sr. We purchased property that then served the Lawndale area. Mars Hill had a Currency Exchange, Medical Center, and Parking Lot.
In 1976, Mars Hill had grown to her fullest and she was once again in need of more space. Pastor Stowers, Sr. took the matter to God in prayer. He kept the church informed of his every move. He viewed several churches and each time came away disappointed. Although things didn’t seem to be in his favor, never once did he give up the faith. Finally, when all hope seemed to be gone, God answered the prayers of many other praying people.
On December 11, 1977, Mars Hill marched into its present edifice at 5916 W. Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois; having six spacious offices, two floors of classrooms, a basement and kitchen. From 1980 until 2000, Mars Hill Baptist Church served its community through the outreach efforts of Mars Hill Christian School, Day Care Program, and Jr. High School. Over 1,000 students matriculated through Mars Hill during these glory years.