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Reverend Mother
Consuella York

Artist: Jesse Carrizales

Commissioned by: Christ Way Baptist Church

Location: 1210 E. 62nd Street (at this point, also called Mother York Drive)

Medium: Mural

Commentary: A nice tribute to Rev. Consuella York who founded and led the Christ Way Baptist Church for forty years while she was, at the same time, the senior Chaplain of the Cook County Jail. The designation of "Mother" represents the feeling that she was the "mother of many", including her perishoners and the inmates and officers of the jail.

When Rev. York was ordained in 1954 by her friend, the important minister Clay Evans she became the first woman to be a Baptist minister in Chicago. The ordination was very controversial and both Rev. York and Rev. Evans suffered much abuse because of it.
Rev. York died in 1995.

Another kind of tribute to Mother York, written by a resident of Woodlawn:

Woodlawn flower

things will never be the same again
down from my little corner, 63rd woodlawn chicago
there is a red brick church, Christ Way Baptist
i did not want to, maybe i did it to see if it was but i followed the street people up the side stairs
last winter,
stood in line
and came back with a sack full
of endenman sweets
donuts and things

i didn't need to, didn't want to crowd
the line of folk i see everyday
po folk, some homeless, small timers,
ladies of the stroll, druggies,
ready to cut, love ferociously
dangerously managing vibrant hearts

i skipped the thanksgiving and christmas free turkeys

sumptuous lady
i knew she was true

cook county jail, minister, pastor, the last 43 years
next year will be different
this warm spirit sharing
giving daily to the threadbare inmates
lines of forgotten sentiment
her church on my street

mother york is dead
cardiac arrest, monday night
things will never be the same again

passing that church daily for the last two years
walking back and forth to work
it seem to always gather, pick itself up
and move sumptuously an inch toward me

and until that day on the stairs
threadbare acquaintances
i never knew what the glimmer of wind shift
was for

Reverend Consuella York, dead at 72

"I've been a jailbird ever since, serving a life sentence for the Lord"

god bless you lady

- Etabu Larry Dunn 2001

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