Our History

The Capital Savings Bank building at the corner of Clark and Rascher was built in 1921. The Architect was Axel V. Teisen, a Danish immigrant who designed other buildings in Chicago included many bungalows. The building was designed in the Classical revival style popular with many banks. It is clad in limestone and has a solid presence on the street. It was to be the new home of the Capital Savings Bank, which was founded as the successor to the Swedish American State Bank that began at the corner of Clark and Balmoral on March 15, 1913. The bank was intended to serve the large Swedish population that settled in Edgewater’s southwestern edge around Clark Street, between Foster and Bryn Mawr Avenues, this neighborhood that became known as “Andersonville” from the name of the local school district.

Later the Capital Savings Bank merged with the Builders and Merchants State Bank on November 13, 1930, to form the Builders and Merchants Bank and Trust Company. No sooner had this merger been accomplished that the stock market crash closed the bank. The Philadelphia Church purchased the property in 1939 and dedicated the church in 1940. The one of a kind “Jesus Saves” sign is an irreplaceable Chicago landmark. It helped transform the Capital State Bank into Philadelphia Church, back in 1940.

The story of the Philadelphia church begins much earlier as a mission from Sweden by Reverend Arvid Ohrnell who came to Chicago in 1925. He rented a space at 3315 N. Clark Street in November of that year and was joined by other church leaders including Victor Norlin, Erick Peterson and Efraim Fraim. Music became a part of the service with Rev. Ohrnell on the accordion and Mary Nelson on the Piano.

On March 7, 1926 the assembly took the name

Filadelfiaförsamlingen and 32 men joined the assembly. Rev. Fraim served as pastor until 1930. In 1926 services were held at Trumbull School and Carl Carlson’s home on Rascher. In November they purchased 3300 N. Sheffield but continued to hold services at various halls among them Trumbull School and the Verdandi Club on Clark Street. In 1927 the Church incorporated in the State of Illinois which required an English name, so they took the name Philadelphia Swedish Pentecostal Church. The meaning of Philadelphia is well known in English as “brotherly love” The mission of the church is to bring people to Jesus Christ and fellowship in the church body; to train and encourage them to become Christ-like; and to equip them to invest their lives in ministry to the body and the world for the glory of God.

Over the years of the next decade the church held services in Swedish, started a bible school, published a newsletter, held tent meetings on Foster Avenue and joined with the Salem Church of Evanston. In 1933 Rev. Joseph Mattson came from Gothenburg, Sweden to be pastor and he served 18 years. By the 1940s the services were in both English and Swedish. In the war years the church participated in war efforts and sponsored missionary work in India and China. The missions were later expanded into Mexico, Japan, Brazil and Africa.

By 1956 the services had been switched to the English language and attendance was between 450 and 600. Rev. Dr. Meade served as pastor from 1958 to 1966 and he held tent meetings at Clark and Roscoe. In the years that followed many other pastors have served including, Rev. Robert Anderson, Rev. Dennis Sawyer, Rev. Jack Holm and Rev. Tom Kennington, Rev. Harry Schmidt, Rev. Jim Revelle, Rev. Larry Butterfield, Rev. John Pickett, and most recently Rev. Kevin Darmafall who has been at the church since August 2021.