Christ United Methodist Church of Elmhurst

Our Beginnings

In the autumn of 1956 a small group of men and women agreed to accept the comity assignment from the Church Federation of Greater Chicago to organize a new Methodist Church in Elmhurst.  Our first meeting was held October 20th under the guidance of Rev. Richard Mellor, field secretary of Christ extension for the Rock River Conference.  At that meeting, ten men and women accepted the challenge to undertake the building of this church.  On November 7th, a second meeting was held, the nameless church became Christ Methodist Church of Elmhurst, and the little band of ten was increased to nineteen.

Additional meetings were held throughout November and as our group grew steadily larger, arrangements were made to hold services in Jackson School.  On December 23, 1956, under the leadership of Pastor Mellor and the Rev. Wayne Leighty, secretary of the Rock River Board of Education, the first service was held and the church was legally constituted.  Forty-five charter members joined Christ Methodist Church on that day.

In order to secure a minister for our new church, it was necessary to buy a parsonage.  Our congregation of less than forty families raised $6,000 in nineteen weeks, as a down payment on the house and on the first Sunday in May, 1957, Pastor Eugene Bonham and family joined us.

The pressing need for a permanent home for our congregation was soon apparent, and before the year was out we had conducted a campaign for a building fund.  In that campaign over $40,000 was pledged by fewer than 90 families.

Sixteen building lots were secured for our church at the Northwest corner of Swain Avenue and Van Buren Street by the Board of Missions of Rock River Conference.

Early in 1958, our architects were chosen and the plans for our new church home were begun.  With the helpful ideas and suggestions of all our members, preliminary plans for a one-story building were approved by the congregation on Sunday, October 12, 1958.

In the months that followed, details were filled in and working drawings made.  The congregation authorized the Building Committee to sign construction contracts not to exceed $100,000 for the building.

Our Ground Breaking Ceremony took place Sunday, May 3, 1959 at 10:30 a.m.  Present at the ceremony were Mr. Fred Peterson from the National Board of Missions, Mr. Henry Loeppert, Chairman of our Rock River Conference Board of Missions, Mayor Benjamin Allison, City Manager Robert Palmer, Rev. Richard Mellor, Dr. G.W. Gatlin, our architects, Mr. Wm. Cooley, Mr. Edward Borre, and Pastor Bonham, members and their children, and many friends and neighbors of the church.

The actual construction was started several weeks later.