Politician & Civil Rights Activist
Alvin Love is the Pastor at Lilydale First Baptist Church in Chicago, serving in this role since 1983. Pastor Love was born in Chicago and spent much of his childhood in Kemper Spring, Mississippi as the Civil Rights Movement was approaching its violent climax. He returned to Chicago in the late 1960s, living through the riots in response to Dr. King’s assassination. In 1975, he enrolled in the Gospel ministry and was ordained in 1980. Pastor Love went on to complete his degrees in psychology and theology at Trinity Christian College, graduating cum laude in 1982. Pastor Love first encountered Barack Obama, who had recently moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer, in 1985. In an effort to familiarize himself with the community, Obama visited various churches, Lilydale Church being one of them. In the following months, Obama widened the circle of activists in Love’s parish, training them at weekly sessions in church basements and community rooms. Obama then recruited Pastor Love to join the Development Communities Project (DCP), a group that aimed to convert the Black churches of Chicago’s South Side into agents of social change. Pastor Love has been a long-time supporter of Obama’s political career and served as a faith-based advisor during Obama’s presidency.