We are the largest African-American congregation in the Evangelical Covenant Churches of America. Although Oakdale is primarily an African-American congregation, it was founded in 1902 as a Swedish immigrant congregation at 8801 South Normal on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. During the late 1960s the surrounding community experienced a cultural and ethnic transition dramatically altering the congregation’s ethnic make-up. This transition spilled over into the Oakdale congregation. In 1970, Oakdale called its first African-American pastor, Reverend Dr. Willie B. Jemison, who served until his retirement in January 2000. Under Pastor Jemison’s leadership, Oakdale grew from a small congregation of less than one hundred to over twelve hundred. The growth was so strong that our current worship center, 9440 S. Vincennes, was erected to accommodate the growth in disciples and ministries. In 1992, Oakdale Christian Academy and Childcare center was established to respond to the educational needs of the community.
In January 2000, Reverend Dr. D. Darrell Griffin succeeded Pastor Jemison as the senior pastor. Under pastor Griffin’s leadership, Oakdale continues to be recognized as a haven of hope and spiritual transformation in the community. It has become known as “A Great Church… With Great People…Serving A Great God”. Griffin’s commitment to Worship, Spiritual Growth, and Service is transforming the lives of God’s people through Christ manifesting itself through the tremendous growth of Oakdale to well over 2000 disciples, the establishment of the Oakdale Community Development Corporation, and the Reconnecting Center which assist in connecting Oakdale to the needs of our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa.