St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hawthorn Hills, Ill.

City Church/Country Church

“Faith is not something to grasp; it is a state to grow into.” – Mohandas Gandhi

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.

Barrington Center Church, Barrington Hills, Ill.

Country Church

Barrington Center Church
Est. 1840 • 174 Old Sutton Road, Barrington Hills • (847) 551-9212

The first Methodists in this area once known as Miller’s Grove numbered eight and were a part of the Dundee Circuit. They met in a stone schoolhouse at Algonquin and Bateman roads from 1840 until 1853, when this building was constructed, at the corner of Old Sutton and Old Dundee roads. It measured 34 by 52 feet, with a short steeple and a bell.

The Northwestern Railroad came in 1854, bringing more residents to the village, by then known as Barrington Station. By 1885, the congregation was one of strongest in the circuit, so a second church was built on the corner of Ela and Franklin streets; St. Anne Catholic Church now occupies that property.

In 1872, a new church was built on Cook Street (now the Masonic Temple). Construction of a larger building on Hough Street began in 1925, but the Depression delayed completion until 1931.

The current congregation of the Barrington United Methodist Church, more than 900 strong, makes its home in a contemporary worship space at 98 Algonquin Road. Built in 1998, after a fire detroyed the Hough Street church, this new church is just a short distance from where its original eight members met in that old stone schoolhouse.

Senior Pastor Dr. James M. Wilson and Associate Pastor The Rev. Cynthia Anderson hold Sunday worship at 8 and 10:30 a.m., with Sunday school at 9:15 a.m.

The original structure (pictured), has been renovated and expanded, and is now the New Friends Wesleyan Church. A cemetery behind it includes the graves of 30 pioneers, all interred prior to 1853. The church served as a recruiting station during the Civil War, and a large boulder in the church yard bears a bronze plaque inscribed with the names of those recruited there. ❚

St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hawthorn Hills, Ill.

City Church

St. Matthew Lutheran Church
Est. 1863 • 24500 N. Old McHenry Road, Hawthorn Woods • (847) 438-7709 •

First organized at Russells Grove in 1863, as Evangelical Lutheran St. Matthew Congregation, Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the congregation had 23 charter members. The group built a church and parsonage the following year, with the parsonage doubling as a school and the pastors, as teachers. A cemetery, the first in Lake Zurich (the Village of Hawthorn Woods was formed in 1958), was laid out that same year; its oldest gravestones are carved in German.

In 1879, 19 students attended classes in a schoolroom added to the back of the church. By 1889, enrollment had swelled to 100, so four more acres were bought and a one-room schoolhouse was built.

Services were conducted only in German until 1923, when English was first introduced. A fire in 1942 completely destroyed the church, and because of a scarcity of materials due to WWII, members were unable to rebuild immediately. But the group held services in the school until 1949, when the current chapel was finally finished.

In 1959, all services in German were suspended. In 1963, on the church’s 100th anniversary, the cornerstone for a new school was laid, and in 1964, the building was dedicated, with 153 students and five teachers. Today, it maintains National Lutheran School Accreditation, with 14 teachers and 120-plus students in grades K-8.

The present church was completed in 1992, and its 2,000 members are led by Presiding Minister The Rev. Timothy L. Kinne and Preaching Minister The Rev. Edward A. Blonsk. Services: casual, Sat., 5:30 p.m; traditional, Sun., 8 & 10:45 a.m. (Sacrament of the Altar 1st & 3rd Sun.); contemporary, Sun., 9:30 a.m. (Sacrament 2nd & 4th Sun.). Sunday school: 9:20 a.m., for age 3 through 6th grade. ❚