Brenda Little

Brenda Little

MORTON GROVE – The Rev. Dr. Brenda J. Little, senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church of Christ in Evanston, passed on Dec. 26, 2012, after a valiant battle with cancer. Pastor Little, resident of Morton Grove, was born Oct. 26, 1941, in Champaign.

A two-day public celebration in honor of her life, ministry and legacy, is scheduled as follows: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, from 1 to 5 p.m., visitation at Bethany Baptist Church of Christ, 1225 Elmwood Ave., Evanston, IL 60202, and at 7 p.m., a musical commendation and loving tributes at Second Baptist Church, 1717 Benson Ave., Evanston, IL 60201; Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, from 9 to 10 a.m., visitation (9 a.m.) and homegoing services (10 a.m.) at Northwestern University, Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208.

Affectionately called by her congregation "Reverend B.," she was a renowned preacher and teacher both nationally and internationally. Over the four-decade span of her ministry, she made history in several venues: the first African-American woman ordained at Second Baptist Church, the first African-American woman called as senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church of Christ in Evanston, the first female to serve in the chaplaincy in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the first female to graduate with a Master of Divinity degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard.

Her visionary and prophetic ministry immeasurably transformed the landscape of Christian ministry in African-American churches, as she pioneered the path to ordained ministry for hundreds of women and men.

She received the Doctor of Ministry degree and the Master of Divinity degree in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary; and the Bachelor of Religious Education degree with a concentration in Christian Education from the Chicago Baptist Institute. Prior to beginning her professional vocation in Christian Ministry, she received her Diploma in Nursing from Michael Reese Hospital.

The Rev. Dr. Brenda J. Little leaves to cherish her memory her loving husband of 28 years, the Rev. Dr. Alfred Little; three children, Bryan A. Piper (Champaign), Becki M. (Piper) Hall (Bloomfield, Conn.) and Bradley A. Piper (Chicago); her mother, Sylvia M. Williams (Champaign); six grandchildren, Michael, Tyler, Brandon, Devon, Justin and Lauryn; and scores of nieces and nephews.

Please note in lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family kindly requests that you send gifts to Pastor Little's selected organizations: Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, United Negro College Fund and / or the American Cancer Society.