The ribbon-cutting for the state-of-the-art innovation library and teacher’s lounge at the Chicago Seventh-day Adventist Christian School, which is operated by the Shiloh Church, was held on May 30,2023 . From left to right: Shiloh Church Associate Pastor James Doggette, Jr., Lake Region Executive Secretary Abraham Henry, Lake Region President Garth Gabriel, and Shiloh Senior Pastor John Boston.

June 8, 2023

State-of-the-art School Library Opens in South Side Chicago

The pandemic highlighted a major problem in Chicago’s South Side. Many households did not have internet at home or have access to digital devices such as computers or tablets.

This is especially problematic in a society that’s becoming rapidly tech-centered and necessary to participate in modern life.

Shiloh Church leaders began looking for solutions to tackle the digital disparity. “There was no space like this to address these needs in the entire South Side of Chicago,” noted John Boston, senior pastor of the Shiloh Church.

Blessed with a large building—albeit 100 years old and in need of renovation—they soon saw the potential in a defunct library that would require stripping and rebuilding from the ground up.

They reached out to the Lake Region Conference and the Effie McHenry Foundation, and both gave substantial donations. Effie McHenry, a well-known educator and gifted administrator in the Chicago Public School system, had been a member of Shiloh before her passing last August. Additional help came from corporate sponsors who donated considerable goods and services. Not to be outmatched, church members, school alumni and others volunteered to make the major upgrade possible. “Little became much when we placed it in the Master’s hand,” Boston said.


Seven months after plans were made to move forward, the multi-sensory innovation library and teachers’ lounge was dedicated on May 30, 2023. The airy, welcoming space includes classrooms with video conferencing capabilities, workstation for Adobe digital editing, computer-aided design (CAD) software for 3D printing, and even a custom-built saltwater aquarium.


“This is a testament to what can be done when we collaborate with the Holy Spirit and solve problems in our community,” said Boston.

But this is just the beginning. He added, “This site will be one of the most digitally advanced that serves the South Side, and the end goal is to point future innovators to the Savior, the Master Builder.”

Debbie Michel is the Lake Union Herald editor.