In 1937, Maud Kellogg opened the first Unity center in Decatur. A year later she was ordained as a Unity minister. In 1941, Maud Kellogg also became the part-time leader of the Unity center in Springfield. She maintained offices in both cities, with a secretary in each. In 1949, Rev. Kellogg sought and and received authorization to start a center in Evanston, IL. Rev. Kellogg started by renting a room in the Evanston Hotel, at the NE corner of Main St.
In 1950, the Unity Center of Christianity was incorporated and soon had grown attendance enough to require the use of the hotel ballroom.
In the 1950’s – as attendance climbed – Rev. Kellogg and church leaders envisioned a new building. Church members raised nearly $60,000 and in 1955 two lots in northwest Evanston were purchased, at the corner of Central Street and Ridge Road. The lot was empty, except for a small real estate office at the corner, which became the “Little Chapel.” Daily prayer services were held to pray for the prosperity to build.
In 1956, the congregation approved a plan, bold in scope, modern in design. But of course, funds needed to be raised, so the church undertook a wide variety of projects, such as Christmas bazaars, raffles, etc. Eventually, enough funds were raised to break ground in 1959.
Construction proceeded rapidly and on Christmas Eve 1960, the first worship service was held in the new “Unity Temple.”
During Rev. Kellogg’s tenure, the Unity Center of Christianity (as it was known) participated broadly in Evanston civic life. From radio programs at the North Shore Hotel, to floats in the 4th of July parade. The church continued to thrive under Rev. Kellogg’s leadership until her resignation on March 1, 1965. She passed away three weeks later.
Our next permanent minister was Rev. Ross Goodman, who served from 1965 until 1972.