First Church History

Founded in 1924, First Church has served the Elmhurst community for over 90 years.  We cherish our history while we look ahead to where God is calling us.  We applaud that small group of seven people who felt the need for a new church home.

Holding Sunday and mid-week meetings at various homes, that group  of seven continued to grow.   Meeting places included a classroom at the now-closed Roosevelt School and at the old Elms Theatre.  When the York Theater was completed in 1925, Sunday services were held there until 1939. Sunday School and weekday affairs were held in the Elks Lodge.

The lot at the present location of our church was purchased in 1929 — just a few months before the stock market crash.   Finally, in 1937, a building fund was established for the purpose of erecting the New Unit, the church’s first structure. Because of the severe economic times, this transaction was strictly on a cash basis. Much of the labor was donated by members of the congregation.  The New Unit was dedicated debt-free on Palm Sunday, April 2, 1939 and housed worship services and most other church-related functions.

By 1948, a growing congregation demanded additional facilities.  Sunday School classes were meeting in the Masonic Temple, Elmhurst College, and the parsonage (then located at the corner of York Road and Church Street).  Another finance drive was organized. Plans were made for a new church building that would consist of the basement and first floor of the present sanctuary. In order to make room for the new building, the parsonage (pastor’s residence) was moved to 295 Grace Street.  The first worship service in the new sanctuary was held on September 17, 1950.

An educational unit — now the Aldersgate Room, church offices, and Oxford Room — and a balcony at the back of the sanctuary were built in 1955. Four years later, the New Unit was torn down.  A new wing was built with twelve classrooms, a fellowship hall, a kitchen, and a narthex.

Church facilities today include the church building  at York and Church and the parsonage at 251 Cottage Hill Avenue.