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"A Shining Light For The World To See"

Rev. John L. Conner


1964 ~ 1988 | Founder & Pastor

On Tuesday, January 7, 1964 seventeen Christian men and women, who had formerly worked together, felt a need to form a new Christian organization it was named The Haven of Rest Mission. A formal meeting was held on January 27, 1964, the Rev. Clay Evans of Fellowship M. B. Church and Rev. Consuela York of Christ Way Baptist Church officiated. 

Haven of Rest Mission was organized as a church and renamed Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. John L. Conner was voted unanimously as the Leader-Pastor. 

By the end of January 1964 the church had outgrown its current location and moved its membership to 74th and Ingleside.  May 1966, because of the increase in membership, Haven relocated to what is now known as the John L. Conner Fellowship Hall, located at 7901 S. Stony Island, Ave. December 1977, the site of 7925 S. South Chicago Ave., was purchased and our beautiful new church edifice was built. July 24, 1983 a dedicatory service was held thanking God for his many blessings that had been bestowed upon Haven.  In 1988 Rev. Conner went home to be with the Lord.  As Pastor and Founder, he accomplished much in his life time and left a legacy to us that will never be forgotten.

Rev. George M. Butler

1989 ~ 2002 | Pastor

Rev. George M. Butler, one of the original members of Haven of Rest M. B. Church was elected as the second Pastor in 1989. Under Pastor Butler’s administration the Church formed a Corporation. In the 1990’s keeping up with modern technology the church purchased their first computer system. A new security system was installed. A Church Charter was adopted by its members and registered by the State of Illinois. Fellowship Hall was repaired with a new roof, down spouts and a new six foot fence to replace the old one. The parking lot on the west side of the church was paved. The church purchased a special bus equipped with a handicap lift for seniors. The wooden pulpit area was replaced with see-through glass pulpit. A new P.A. System was added along with two new members of the music staff to work with the Youth Choir. Haven hosted the Baptist Pastors Conference of Chicago and Vicinity once a week. The Church purchased the properties adjacent to the Fellowship Hall. In 1999 Haven was given a $6,000,000.00 grant to build an 80 unit Senior Citizen Housing Development. In 2001 the church purchased a twenty four passenger bus. In 2002 Rev. Butler went home to be with the Lord.

Rev. Joel Tolliver

2004 ~ 2015 | Pastor

June of 2004, Rev. Dr. Joel Tolliver became the third Pastor of Haven of Rest. Under Pastor Tolliver’s leadership Haven continued to serve the needs of the Community. And even during tough economic times with Gods help and a Membership working together to do God’s will a new parking lot was constructed for the Fellowship Hall.  The furnishings and Artwork located in the church lobby was added to enhance the décor. The wooden floors on the main level of the fellowship hall have been replaced with beautiful carpet and tile. A new furnace was purchased and installed in the church and a new boiler was purchased and installed in the Fellowship Hall. Haven continued their relationship with the Ministers Alliance Conference which meets every Tuesday at Haven, worked closely with the 8th ward Alderman’s Office to ensure that the needs of his community were being met, worked with the Chicago Police 4th District Neighborhood Relations Officers, and received the distinctive honor of having September 12, 2014 named as Rev. Dr. Joel Tolliver Day throughout the City of Chicago for his work within the community. Pastor Tolliver retired in April of 2015 to continue His ministry abroad.  As Pastor Emeritus, he is still a frequent visitor of members who are sick, shut-in or hospitalized. 

Rev. Timothy Dotson

2016 ~ 2023 | Pastor

October of 2016, Rev. Timothy L. Dotson became the fourth Pastor of Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church. He has brought to Haven, a Pastoral Model of Kingdom Building through Christian Discipleship. By God's Grace, the church has seen a substantial growth in membership under Pastor Dotson's leadership. Our Under-shepherd is a true visionary. The Lord has led our Pastor to revolutionize our church's ability to reach a dying world through social media. Our church has become media minded, thereby implementing a church website, Facebook, and Instagram page thereby extending the church’s ministry beyond the four walls.


Reverend Dotson has worked to revitalize the South Chicago/Avalon community spiritually, by hosting an annual Spring Revival. The church also hosts an Annual Family and Friends Day. Our leader believes that Haven is a, “Shining Light for the World to See” and was led by the Holy Spirit to raise money and purchase a brand new $24, 000 state of the art L.E.D electronic Marquee sign. Because Pastor Dotson believes that every member should do their part in kingdom building; He has implemented several new ministries within the church. Some of the ministerial additions are, the Levite Ministry, the Praise Team, The Greeters, and the Environmental Ministry or "Green Team." 


He has also re-established the church’s Mother's Board. Under Pastor Dotson's leadership, God provided Haven of Rest with the financial resources to purchase a brand new $18,000 furnace. The church also raised the monies necessary to pay off the mortgage. Haven of Rest has instituted a program to assist our community with energy and gas costs under the LIHEEP program. The LIHEEP program has allowed Haven of Rest to distribute over $50,000 back into the church's community for energy assistance. Pastor Dotson is working to make Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church what God has preordained it to be.

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