As head of CH Ventures, LLC, in Chicagoland, Cameel Halim has pursued numerous development projects that involved the value-driven restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings. Cameel Halim was featured in a 2006 Chicago Sun-Times article that focused on his and his daughter Nefrette’s successful efforts to save the Skiff Home on 157 Kenilworth, in a storied northern suburb of Chicago.
The late 19th century prairie-style home was envisioned by Daniel Burnham, a well-known local architect who was director of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and creator of the Chicago Plan. Unfortunately, a wave of knock downs of historic Kenilworth homes was gaining momentum and the Skiff Home was undergoing a pre-demolition sell-off auction organized by a local developer. This involved the sale of moldings, doorknobs, and even staircase banisters.
The residence was saved at the last hour, as pressure from Citizens for Kenilworth caused the developer to reconsider her plans and agree to negotiate the sale of the Arts & Crafts home to Mr. Halim. The sale was a small victory, considering the larger issue in which Kenilworth civic leaders were unwilling to institute the landmark and historic district ordinances set in place by neighborhoods such as Lake Forest, claiming that they impinged on property owners’ rights.
St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
After he and his wife began purchasing apartment buildings in 1974, Cameel Halim successfully increased the value of his properties and eventually established CH Ventures, LLC, a business still in operation today. An active member of his community, Cameel Halim supports several local institutions, including St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church.
In 1960, a group of Egyptians came to the United States with the hope of establishing a church in the Chicagoland area. They successfully did so, initially founding St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Roselle before moving to Burr Ridge in 1982 following construction of a new church. Observing Orthodox Christianity, St. Mark’s typically unites 700 families each Sunday for service.
At each service, the church offers a liturgy with a traditional repertoire and Coptic Orthodox hymnology. During the service, parishioners pass the offering plate and are invited to make donations. The service, which lasts two hours, includes readings from a variety of tomes, including Gospels, Psalms, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline Epistles.
Upon completion of the readings, parishioners listen to a sermon focusing on the Gospel of the day. The service concludes with the Holy Communion. Children are always welcome to attend the liturgy or go to Sunday School, depending upon their age.