The Rev. Corey Brooks, known as the "rooftop pastor," is taking a pit stop in Chicago in the midst of his cross-country walk, an effort to raise funds for a new community center in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood.
Brooks hosted a dinner at the Logan Center at the University of Chicago Saturday evening and will also appear at his own New Beginnings Church Sunday morning to celebrate his homecoming with local supporters, according to WGN.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are also expected to join Brooks Sunday afternoon for a few miles of the Chicago leg of his 3,000 mile journey, NBC Chicago reports.
Brooks earned the title of "rooftop pastor" after occupying the roof of a blighted South Side motel on King Drive for nearly four months last winter. That effort raised $450,000, enough to purchase and demolish the building, with the help of a $98,000 donation from film producer Tyler Perry during a promotional visit.
In June, Brooks launched a cross-country fundraising trek in New York City to solicit donations to his longtime mission, Project Helping Others Obtain Destiny (H.O.O.D.), which seeks to turn a crime-ridden motel on Chicago's South Side into a community center.
According to NBC Chicago, the walk has raised $50,000 so far toward his $15 million goal. He hopes the stopover in his hometown will help inspire a new wave of support.
"We love Chicago, and we hate the fact that there's so much murder going on," Brooks told ABC Chicago. "So, we need something where we all come together, where we all celebrate as a community, and I think today is going to be a kind of symbol of us collaborating, us working together, us all taking a stand saying, 'Listen, none of us like this violence.'"
Even with several million dollars of fundraising still between him and his goal, Brooks remains optimistic.
"I live by faith, and I don’t live by what I see. If I live by what I see, I wouldn’t be taking this walk," the pastor told CBS Chicago in Gary, Ind. last week.