Cornerstone Christian Center (CCC) began as the Foursquare Gospel Church of Chicago Heights, Illinois back in the late 1940's, and originally stood a little farther north on Chicago Road. It was started by two women preachers who had graduated from L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angeles California. On Easter Sunday in 1956, the church moved into a newly constructed building on the property of 2919 Chicago Road, in South Chicago Heights, and Cornerstone Christian Center remains on that property today.
Dr. Clarence Fast was the Pastor during the mid 1970's. Dr. Fast was very involved in civic matters, the Charismatic movement, and the Full Gospel Business Men's Association. Through Dr. Fast's leadership, in 1973, the Foursquare Christian School began.
Irvin Espeseth became the pastor in the late 1970's. He and his wife had served as Foursquare missionaries in Guatemala for a number of years, and served at the church until 1982. The Espeseths moved to Parsons, Kansas, where they continue to experience successful, and growing ministry as of the time of this writing.
Greg Howse, with his wife Karen, and their children Christine and Jonathan, became the pastor of the church at the end of August 1982. His first Sunday as pastor was Labor Day weekend of that same year. There were about sixty people in attendance that first Sunday for Pastor Greg Howse.
There was restored health and steady growth in the church over the first few years as Pastor Greg brought fresh vision and empowerment into the congregation and the surrounding geographic region. In 1984 Ken and Mary Rose came to work in the school, and Linda Sons served as the principal during this time. Ken was appointed principal of the school in 1986, and faithfully served in that position through January 1999 when Judy Hitt assumed the position on an interim basis.
Toward the end of 1985 the church decided to establish a fresh and relevant identity by adopting the name "Cornerstone Christian Center". The school's name was also changed to "Cornerstone Christian School". In 1986 the church building underwent a major remodeling project, and was dedicated in 1987. During the remodeling process the inside of the building was completely gutted, renovated, and transformed into a beautiful, modern sanctuary with new offices. Cornerstone Christian Center purchased several houses on the block during the 1980's to aid in playground space for the school, and additional parking for the church.
The church began to move through a radical change during 1989 and 1990 as the congregation became increasingly more integrated. Pastor Greg continually emphasized that such diversity should be viewed as strength in the church. He also stressed the importance of spiritual warfare in militantly combating the spirit of racism that divides so much of the world's population. This same racial transformation took place in the school. A major spiritual change came to the atmosphere of Cornerstone with conferences and meetings during 1992 and 1993 with John Eckhardt, Tom Bynum, Juanita Bynum, Michael Pitts, and Kevin Leal.
The building now known as the "Cornerstone Annex" was purchased in 1988. An addition to the school was completed in 1990, and a second addition was completed in 1994. These two additions to the school building more than tripled the size of the original structure.
In 1993 the building that once stood at 2919 Chicago Road was destroyed by an electrical fire, and six years later replaced by the larger multi-purpose building which now stands on the property. In 2003 Cornerstone Christian Center continues to raise up leaders, plant new churches, and promote ethnic and racial diversity within the church body. The new Multi-Purpose building which now stands on the property at 2919 Chicago Road in Chicago Heights, Illinois continues to be a beacon of hope, a symbol of godliness and a vision of equality in the south suburbs of Chicago.
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