Organized religion played a major role in the settling of Illinois and continues to influence the culture of our region. We enjoy highlighting places of worship, one in the country and one in the city, in each issue.
Country Church: Faith United Methodist Church • Est. 1833
325 S. Stott St., Genoa, (815) 784-5143, genoafaithumc.org
In operation for more than 180 years, Faith United Methodist Church is the longest continually active congregation in Genoa. Its members are investing in the church’s future by getting their children involved in the church and in the community.
“Church and youth are a priority, not just because we want the church to be around forever, but because we want to make the world a better place, here and now, and for the future,” says pastor Melissa Meyers.
Fourth through eighth-grade students participate in an after-school program that connects youngsters to their community, with experiences like tours of local courthouses and visits with state lawmakers. Students also take educational trips, to places like the Midwest Museum of Natural History, in Sycamore.
Junior high and high school students participate in a Staycation program during the summer. Staying overnight at the church during the week, these students perform mission work in the community.
The congregation’s youngsters participate in Feed My Starving Children, a charity group that enables students to pack meals for malnourished children, and they’ve visited a DeKalb County animal shelter where they’ve cleaned kennels and walked dogs.
The church’s adult members also remain involved in the community. They participate in food drives through the Genoa-Kingston Food Pantry and organize meals for families who’ve recently lost a loved one.
There is no need to dress up at this church. Members and visitors are encouraged to come as they are.
The Rev. Melissa Meyers leads worship on Sundays at 9 a.m. Children and youth Sunday School takes place at 10:15 a.m., with adult classes held at 8 a.m.
City Church: Bethany Lutheran Church • Est. 1923
76 W. Crystal Lake Ave., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-2690, bethanylc.com
This congregation was founded in February 1923 inside the German Lutheran School House, in Crystal Lake.
The following year, church members spent $3,000 to purchase a corner lot at Elmhurst Street and Crystal Lake Avenue. To help them reduce construction costs, church members dug the building’s foundation by hand. The new structure was dedicated on Sept. 27, 1925.
Membership grew over the next three decades, and by 1953 the church began building a new education wing.
In 1978, continued membership growth forced the congregation to build a new worship space. The original structure was torn down to create a fellowship room, sanctuary, church offices, and more Sunday school space.
The church grew once again in 2002, when room was made for a bigger Luther Hall, a preschool and a community room, along with a new pipe organ in the sanctuary.
Throughout its evolution, this congregation has remained dedicated to serving its community.
Bethany is one of seven local sites for Public Action to Deliver Shelter, or PADS, a ministry that serves area homeless. On Sunday nights from October through April, Bethany volunteers provide meals, laundry services and a clean, safe place to sleep.
Church members also participate in Habitat for Humanity, where they help to build local homes for people in need.
The church’s Family Christmas Project gathers monetary donations from the congregation so that volunteers can shop, prepare and deliver gifts that are given to local families.
Senior Pastor the Rev. Cathy Daharsh leads worship services on Sundays at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Tags: Bethany Lutheran Church, crystal lake, Dekalb County, Faith United Methodist Church, genoa, Genoa-Kingston Food Pantry, German Lutheran School House, Habitat for Humanity, Midwest Museum of Natural History, Public Action to Deliver Shelter, sycamore