Our History

West Side Choir, circa 1966

West Side Choir, 1996

We are a community of Believers who believe in our community!

In 1960, after a series of prayer meetings had grown into a nice following, Elder Leolen Lambert was led by the Lord to start a church. However, because he did not desire to pastor the church, he and his wife, Mother Arma Jean Lambert, asked God how they should proceed. The Lord impressed upon them to ask Elder W.H. Madden of Freeport, Illinois, to come to Rockford and become the pastor. Elder Madden agreed to do so. All the saints were in agreement and what would later be named the West Side Church of God in Christ (by Mother Arma Jean Lambert) was born in November 1960.

The church originally met in the basement of the Lambert’s home before moving into various rented buildings. One Sunday afternoon, two of the men of the church, Elder Ellis F. Jones (who later founded the St. Luke Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ and served many years as the Wonder District Superintendent) and Deacon James L. Brooks went out for a drive and found a nice building not far from where they were meeting. After discussions with Pastor Madden and a fund-raising drive, they purchased the building at 228 South Hinkley Avenue, which continues as the home of West Side Church of God in Christ.

Elder Madden was a great man of God with his wife, Mother Lydia Madden, right at his side supporting him in the work. He led West Side from its inception until March 1976, when he went to be with the Lord. He successfully established this newly planted church. The Lord impressed upon Bishop Dennis Flakes to present the position of pastor to Elder Loren Lambert. Elder Lambert was reluctant to accept the position, so he put God to the test and told Him that he wanted to see young people begin to come into the church before he would accept being the pastor. The Lord answered his prayer and Elder Lambert accepted the position after he began to see the Lord bless and prosper the work under his interim leadership. He was officially installed as pastor on September 26, 1976. Pastor Lambert, with his wife, Mother Arthelia Lambert, at his side, began to focus the ministry on remodeling the building, paying off the mortgage, and growing the young people’s ministry. In all these areas, the Lord gave Pastor Lambert success. Many young ministers came out of West Side Church of God in Christ because of the influence of Pastor Lambert. Many of these have also gone on to pastoral ministry.

Pastor Lambert served faithfully for many years with the seasoned support of the late Elder Mose Pearson and the late Elder Sam Black, heroes in the legacy of West Side, right by his side. These men, though elderly, were strong, faithful supporters of the ministry and their pastor. However, as time went on and his health began to fail, Pastor Lambert, at the encouragement of his ministerial staff, prayed that the Lord would send someone younger to help him in the ministry. The Lord answered him when He laid on his heart to call Elder Maurice West of Elgin, Illinois, to come assist him. Elder West and his wife sought the Lord about the situation, heard from God, accepted the call and the West family came to West Side on the first Sunday of January 1991. Soon after, they sold their house in Elgin and moved to Rockford. God’s timing was, as usual, incredible for later that same year, the Lord blessed Pastor Lambert to receive a kidney transplant, which kept him hospitalized for many months in Madison, WI. Elder West served as the Assistant Pastor of the West Side Church from 1991 to 1999.

On January 11, 1999, God’s faithful servant, Pastor Loren Lambert, went home to be with the Lord. His nearly 23 years of leading God’s people will live forever in the legacy of West Side. He did many remarkable things to move the ministry of West Side Church of God in Christ forward during his pastorate including:

  • Paid off the mortgage on the building;

  • Expanded the young people’s ministry and the music ministry;

  • Remodeled the sanctuary with new pews and windows;

  • Remodeled and expanded the lower level bathrooms;

  • Grew and established West Side Church of God in Christ!

After the mourning period for Pastor Lambert had ended, Elder Maurice A. West was appointed Pastor of West Side on February 14, 1999. With the love and dedication of his wife, Evangelist Sharon West, Pastor West is continually focusing the church on the vision the Lord gave him called “A Vision of Tomorrow” to bring the church into the new millennium both spiritually and naturally. He has worked to move the ministry of West Side Church forward including:

  • Tuckpointed the building.

  • Replaced the entry doors.

  • Replaced all the windows in the church.

  • Purchased the lot next to the church expanding the church campus.

  • Added a parking lot with a new sign and updated landscaping.

  • Remodeled the kitchen.

  • Remodeled the lower level men and women bathrooms.

  • Replaced the lighting in the lower level and in the sanctuary.

  • In 2007, we finished the largest building project in our history with an addition to the building and renovation of the sanctuary.

  • Expanded our community outreach.

  • Established the Men’s Ministry.

  • Established the Young Adults Ministry.

  • Further expanded the “footprint” of our campus with a community gift of a lot on Elm Street.

  • Began our first foreign missions initiative by monthly supporting missionaries working in the country of Belize.

  • Established a "world wide" presence for the West Side Church with sermons on YouTube and Facebook during 2020-2021, the pandemic years. At the same time, while shut down, over $30,000 in improvements were made to the building by the generous contributions of the members of the West Side Church.

We continue to work to complete the work that God has given us to do in this vision. In 2011, Bishop Sedgwick Daniels appointed Pastor West as the District Superintendent of the Wonder District. He continues in this role.