Stone Temple Baptist Church Pastor Is On A Mission To Bring Beauty, Peace, And Restoration To North Lawndale
CHICAGO (CBS) -- We talk a lot about the crime happening on the South Side and West Side of Chicago, but there are also so many stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things.
One of them is the woman you're about to meet. CBS 2's Audrina Bigos spent some time with a pastor in North Lawndale, a neighborhood she serves and is working hard to revive.
"I want people to look at the assets that are here, like the beautiful greystones and brownstones," said Reshorna Fitpatrick, executive pastor of the historic Stone Temple Baptist Church. "I want them to see beauty. I want them to see peace."
Her mission is to bring beauty, peace, and restoration back to North Lawndale, the West Side neighborhood where she grew up and now works.
"If I wake up and don't do something for somebody else, oh my God, I feel like, 'Did you really serve your purpose today?'" she said.
A garden next to the church is a picture of purpose; a labor of love planted and pruned by many, including volunteers from Chicago Sinai Congregation, a synagogue nearly 10 miles away in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
Volunteer and Sinai's Susan Stone said if anyone can make things happen in North Lawndale, it's Fitzpatrick.
"Reshorna is just a remarkable force in the community, and has been a wonderful partner," Stone said.
And that garden partnership has produced an abundance of kale, chard, cabbage, greens, squash, you name it. It's all available to anyone who needs it.
"We're in a space where it's a food desert, right? So we're growing food, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables. People can come in and grab 'em and eat 'em, and I think that's lovely," Fitzpatrick said.
The pastor took Bigos across busy Douglas Boulevard to a plaza blooming with flowers and plants, and plans to turn a set of shipping crates into coffee and flower shops to create training and jobs for people in the neighborhood; a haven in North Lawndale.
"Every space may not be peaceful, but this one is. The one across the street is. The ones we're creating are," Fitzpatrick said. "Imagine if we create a space on every block. We'll have peace on every block. That's what I'm striving for."
Stone Temple Baptist Church opened in 1926 as a synagogue. In the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church many times.
We're going to keep following Fitzpatrick on her mission in North Lawndale. She said she has a lot ahead.
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