Organized religion played a major role in the settling of Illinois and continues to impact our region in many ways. We enjoy highlighting places of worship and their work both at home and abroad.
A Well-Preserved Story: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church • Est. 1855
218 Somonauk St., Sycamore, (815) 895-2227, sycamorestpeters.org
For well over a century, this congregation has painstakingly preserved its beautiful English Gothic building. Many of the fixtures inside help to tell the story of this church, which got its start in October 1855 after an Episcopal priest from Batavia visited Sycamore to baptize the son of an early settler.
The church was constructed from Batavia limestone in 1878 and designed by Chicago architect George O. Garnsey to reflect the chapels of English nobility.
The furnishings inside this church are mostly original, including the black walnut pews and the bell hanging in a turret at the southwest corner. Following tradition, it rings at the beginning of each service and at the conclusion of funerals and weddings.
Colorful stained-glass windows and other adornments inside pay tribute to prominent Sycamore families of the 1800s, while the church’s pulpit is dedicated to a longtime rector.
Focused on the past as well as the present, today’s membership is welcoming and giving. The Outreach Committee oversees numerous partnerships with area nonprofits, including Hope Haven, CROP Walk and Meals on Wheels.
The church also supports organizations including the Sycamore Food Pantry, Hope Haven, Grace Place and Episcopal Relief and Development, which collaborates with churches to help communities struggling with poverty and disaster.
The Prayer Shawl Knitters meet every month to create prayer shawls, which are then given to those struggling physically, spiritually or mentally.
Fr. Georges Jallouf leads worship Sundays at 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Taking Pride in the Community: Geneva Lutheran Church • Est. 1853
301 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 232-0165, genevalutheran.org
Forty Swedish immigrants founded this church in 1853; three years later they settled at the corner of Fourth and State streets in Geneva. Within a few decades, their first building was replaced by a newer, larger sanctuary that held 300 and had a 117-foot spiral that helped to define the city’s skyline.
The congregation moved to Third Street in 1956 and its earlier building was eventually demolished. The present bell tower, located in front of the church, was built in 1968.
In 1984, the church expanded and a pipe organ, nursery, classrooms and a fellowship hall were added.
The congregation takes pride in giving back to its community. Once a month, church members donate food and cook fresh meals at the Lazarus House, which provides shelter, food and other services for those in need.
The church also has a quilters group, which makes more than 100 homemade quilts each year, sending them to local shelters and abroad with the help of Lutheran World Relief, which seeks to fight poverty around the world.
Church members knit blankets, prayer shawls and other materials that are also distributed to those in need.
Pastor Trudy Stoffel leads worship services Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. There is no dress code; worshippers are invited to come as they are.