The history of Sherman Methodist’s fellowship in Evanston Township, IL traces its roots back to a small group meeting in the home of Mrs. Lula B. Sherman in 1922 and has continued through the decades as an ongoing community existing in several locations before coming to rest on the corner of Ridge and Noyes in 2002.
Making a Beginning…
According to oral histories, there were at least two attempts to form a Methodist Episcopal church for “Negroes” in Evanston. The first attempt was made in 1901 by J.B. Redmond, Sr. A second attempt was made in 1921 through Laura B. Lang. Though both efforts may have been short-lived, at least 35 members were meeting regularly by 1922. The group met at the home of Mrs. Lula B. Sherman at 1730 Dodge Avenue.
During the first two decades of their fellowship, the group met in several different locations: a structure at Emerson and Dewey ca. 1928, the Emerson Street YMCA ca. 1933 and then at 2004 Emerson Street ca. 1935. After that time, the group had to disband but later reorganized into what became Sherman Methodist Church, named after Mrs. Lula B. Sherman and incorporated as such on December 16, 1940.
Growth and Change
During the early 1960s, Sherman purchased a new building at 1044 Elmwood Avenue and later changed its name to Sherman United Methodist Church with the merger of the denominations of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren Churches in 1968. In 2002, the property located at 2214 Ridge Avenue was transferred to Sherman by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.
Sherman UMC Today
Sherman has the honor of being the first and only place of worship named for a woman and an African-American as well as being the only historically predominantly African-American United Methodist Congregation on the North Shore.
As a community we are not only proud of our heritage but looking forward to a future defined by unity in diversity.