@coreybrooks / Instagram

A Chicago pastor has been making headlines after he spent 345 days in a tent atop a Chicago rooftop. Reverend Corey Brooks, the pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago and CEO of Project HOOD, which aims to serve the needs of Chicago’s Southside Woodlawn neighborhood, has shared his story across social media and news. The Woodlawn neighborhood is considered one of Chicago’s most dangerous areas, riddled with crime, gangs, and other illicit activities. Brooks, who has been nicknamed “rooftop pastor,” has been on the roof braving the elements for nearly 365 days in order to raise money for a community center to be built in the area that will offer activities and job training to residents. Brooks recently received an $8 million donation from the McCormick Center, bringing the total he has raised to $28.5 million. Brooks hopes to raise $35 million. Brooks previously stayed on the roof of a rundown motel across from his church for 100 days from 2011 to 2012, raising $20 million, which was used to demolish the motel, known for gang-related activity. Brooks’s current 345-day run had initially been planned to be a 100-day rooftop stay to commemorate the 10th anniversary of that endeavor. 

In speaking about his latest endeavor to raise money, Brooks told Chicago’s WWTW, “So the center is all about creating opportunities and transformation of our neighborhood and our people. We plan to make sure that the center includes resources that will enhance people’s lives to help them get back on the right track.” The center would include job training in trade programs, culinary schools, and TV production. Brooks says he is already beginning to see the fruit of their work as area crime is down 50 percent while other Chicago areas continue to experience rising crime rates. Brooks stated he hopes they will break ground in April, with the hope of raising another $6.5 million to keep from having to take out any loans or rely on the government. 

Speaking with Billy Hallowell on his podcast, “Edifi,” Brooks said God has supported him through the trying times of being on the roof for so long. “There are times when you just want to give up and throw in the towel, but when you are convinced that God is giving you a vision to do something, you gotta be convinced that He’ll also give you the provisions. And so I have learned that God if He gives you a vision, He will give you the provisions.” He also stressed the need for churches to get involved. “It becomes imperative that we have churches and organizations like ours to intervene, to make sure that these neighborhoods do not continue down a vicious cycle of violence,” Brooks said. “But that’s happening not just in Chicago, but we see it happening in a lot of places across America this year alone.” He thanked God for making him a part of the effort to improve the lives of his community, saying, “I’m very grateful. I’m very appreciative for what God has done. I’m glad that God placed me in this neighborhood that I’m in.”

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad