Unity Lutheran Church: History of Congregation


Unity Lutheran Church began meeting in 1905 in a storefront at 1136 W. Argyle Street in Chicago, after a neighborhood canvas by the General Synod of Northern Illinois found many unchurched Lutherans in the Edgewater neighborhood. Financial assistance from the Synod’s Board of Church Extension and First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Altoona, Pennsylvania, helped Unity’s 43 charter members build a chapel in 1906, at the corner of Balmoral and Magnolia. On June 22, 1917, Unity was the site of the merger of the General Council of the Lutheran Church and the United Synod in the South into a new synod, the United Lutheran Church in America.

In 1924, Unity opened the Lutheran Christian Girl’s Home, a Christian place for young women coming to Chicago to seek work. A Lutheran Social Services of Illinois day care center operated at Unity from 1970 until 1996. That space is now used for after-school tutoring by the Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministry, which is funded by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.