Who We Are
The mission of First Church is one of fellowship and ministry. Our doors and hearts are open to those who are seeking a place to celebrate their faith, as well as to those who are seeking a place to reflect, learn and grow. Come see for yourself …
- A welcoming atmosphere where people care and seek to meet the needs of others
- A church whose central focus is meaningful worship and finding ways to respond to God
- Opportunities for educational and spiritual growth for all, from the youngest to our most mature members
- The comfort of sharing life’s major events like weddings, baptisms, and funerals surrounded by our church family
Our Religion and Beliefs
The United Methodist Church traces its roots back to 1739 when Anglican clergyman, John Wesley, and his hymn writing brother, Charles, began a movement within the Church of England that emphasized faith as the core of life. While studying at Oxford, the brothers and several other students formed a group devoted to disciplined Christian living known as the Holy Club. Outsiders labeled them “Methodists” to describe their systematic way of living. Influenced by the Moravians, the brothers Wesley began preaching an evangelistic message with an emphasis on holiness and social justice. After being banned from preaching in established pulpits, the Wesleys began preaching in homes and open fields, wherever they could find an audience. They did not intend to create a new church, but instead to revitalize the Church of England.
Soon, however, Methodism spread to America, and in 1784, a new denomination was established known as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Methodism flourished in America, becoming one of the largest denominations in the country. In 1968, the United Methodist Church was created by the merger of the Methodist Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Today, the United Methodist Church is a worldwide denomination with nearly ten million members serving the mission of Jesus Christ.
The United Methodist Church shares a common heritage with other Christian denominations, including conviction that God has mercy and love for all people; belief in the triune God, revealed in three persons as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and faith in the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ. As United Methodists, we rely on scripture, tradition, experience, and reason to guide us on our faith journey, and we respect the diversity of our beliefs. United Methodists believe that God’s grace is available to all, that faith and action are partners, that salvation is experienced personally and socially, and that the church is a community of Christ’s disciples who seek to share in God’s mission.
Our Church History
First United Methodist Church of Elmhurst was founded in 1924 by a small group of seven people feeling the need for a church home. Sunday and mid-week meetings were held at various homes. The group continued to grow, and several locations in Elmhurst were used as meeting places, including a classroom at the now closed Roosevelt School and the old Elms Theatre. When the York Theater was completed in 1925, it was rented for Sunday services until 1939. Sunday School and weekday affairs were held in the Elks’ Hall.
The lot at the present location of our church was purchased in 1929, just a few months before the stock market crash. A building fund was finally started in 1937 for the purpose of erecting the New Unit, the church’s first structure. Because of the severe economic times, this transaction had to be strictly on a cash basis, and 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 was then used for church 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, and 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. In 1959, the New Unit was torn down, and a new wing was built with twelve classrooms, a fellowship hall, a kitchen, and a narthex. Church facilities today include the church building and the parsonage at 251 Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst.
We welcome guests and new members and look forward to worshiping with you soon.