Houses of Worship: Living the Faith

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.

Millard Community Covenant Church • Est. 1842

N6713 County O, Elkhorn, Wis., (262) 742-3457,

When members of this congregation began meeting for worship, they had to find their way along American Indian trails near Sugar Creek. By 1842 they had formally organized an American Baptist congregation at Barker’s Corners (now Millard) and met for services in the local schoolhouse until the first church was dedicated in 1849.

A second building was dedicated in 1892, completely paid for, along with a newly purchased parsonage. In April 1950 it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground; a new structure was built.

By 2003, the congregation left the American Baptist denomination and joined the Evangelical Covenant Church.

In its 177 years of ministry under various names, the congregation has served both its community and neighbors across the world, in interesting ways.

Last year, for example, it ran a GROW Project to raise funds for the Elkhorn Food Pantry and the Open Arms Free Clinic. In the spring, a donated plot of land was planted with soybeans by a congregant who is also a farmer. As the crop began to grow, the congregation was invited to “buy” rows of that field. One row at a time, the field was “bought up” with donations covering the cost of the seed and then some. After the crop was harvested, all of the money made from its sale was donated to the pantry and clinic.

This church also supports a youth scholarship fund for full-time college or vocational school attendance.

Pastor Chris Nelson leads the church.

Sunday School and adult education are offered at 9 a.m. with worship at 10 a.m.

First Congregational Church of Elgin • Est. 1836

256 E. Chicago St., Elgin, (847) 741-4045,

This historic church began in a log cabin owned by James T. Gifford, founder of Elgin. The log cabin was located only footsteps from where the present sanctuary sits.

In 1839, church members teamed up with several Baptists to form Union Chapel. Four years later, First Congregational sold its ownership portion to the Baptist congregation and built a new church on the corner of Fulton and Villa streets. Services remained there until 1889, when the congregation relocated to its current site at the busy corner of Center and Chicago streets downtown.

The church has welcomed many notable guests over the years, including Jane Addams, Booker T. Washington and John Dewey.

Fully aware of its role in Elgin’s history, this congregation gives to its community in many ways. The church houses All Peoples Interfaith Food Pantry, which is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Church members volunteer at the pantry, where people can receive food six times a year with a referral from a local agency.

Church members also offer their time at the Soup Kettle, held at the church each Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Members prepare and serve meals for roughly 70 people each week.

Senior Pastor Jesse Tanner leads worship services on Sundays at 8:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Worship services typically last about an hour.