Bill Winston Ministries has expanded its properties in Forest Park and now owns the entirety of what used to be the Forest Park mall.
The ministry, which runs the Living Word Christian Center, located at 7600 W. Roosevelt Road, purchased two properties attached to its building from Lemont LLC for $3.5 million in early August, said Kim Clay, director of communications and senior leader for Living Word.
Clay said the space is now called Sanctuary East and is used as overflow seating for services. There is a potential to do more with the space, she said, but those plans are still being developed.
The county assessor’s website lists the whole of Living Word Christian Center as 315,080 square feet.
Bill Winston Ministries was founded in 1988 by Bill and Veronica Winston. The two originally held their evangelical meetings at a Quality Inn Hotel in downtown Chicago with only a handful of members, according to livingwd.org. The group eventually moved their headquarters to the then-empty Forest Park mall in 1990.
The Ministries boasts a membership of more than 20,000 and operates two other congregations in South Africa and Tuskegee, Ala., a livestream service on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays and various religious-focused education programs.