BROOKLYN, Ill. – The Quinn Chapel A.ME. Church is an integral part of Black history in America, as it served as a stop on The Underground Railroad.
The church, located in Brooklyn, is almost 200 years old.
“This is the last one left and like I say this was the first church established in this community. This here is our 195th year,” member Frenita Hall-Brewer said.
Its presence, a cornerstone representing a movement, served as a safe haven for slaves seeking freedom on The Underground Railroad.
“You couldn’t be seen,” Reverend Devione Burrell said. “You had to sneak and you had to get away, and this is one of those places you were able to come through because if you got caught you know what happened.”
Time has taken its toll on the historical building.
“You see, it’s tilting over there to the right, and if you look at the ceiling with the ceiling boards. What’s going on is you can see it’s starting to spread out because the boards are starting to like get away from the things that hold them,” Burrell said.
He said he fears the building’s condition could bring harm to its small congregation of 20 members who have been holding services at Marcelles West Senior Citizen center.
“What’s happening with the roof, with this wall, it’s starting to cause issues with that wall, and it’s like a domino effect so everything is starting to lean out this way,” Burrell said.
The repairs are costly.
“Just to fix the wall alone is in the thousands upon thousands of dollars that we just don’t have,” Burrell said.
The church was founded in 1825 and started Rev. William Paul Quinn who met Pricilla Baltimore. Known as “Mother Baltimore,” she led 11 families seeking liberation to Brooklyn from St. Louis.
Recently, a beautiful granite monument was placed next to the church in her honor.
“We were denied the right to worship and so after prayer that select people left the church and started this movement that created the AME faith so knowing the history that we have it empowers me as a black woman,” Burrell said.
Through the Lord’s will and support of the community, Burrell believes his and many others’ prayers will be answered.
“If he’s the same God who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, guess what he’s God then. He’s god now,” he said.