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.
St. Charles Episcopal Church • Est. 1839
994 N. Fifth Ave., St. Charles, (630) 584-2596, stcharlesepiscopal.org
The first time Episcopalians in St. Charles formalized a parish was in 1839. The group struggled to acquire a priest and support itself, and this group, known as St. Paul’s parish, dissolved.
A congregation of Swedish immigrants organized as St. Eric’s in 1852 but it, too, disbanded.
For nearly a century, Episcopalians in St. Charles worshipped in neighboring communities. Finally, in 1948 a small council of Episcopalians was gifted $1,000 to purchase a home at 515 Walnut Ave. in St. Charles and establish a new mission church. On Sept. 14, 1948, the church was officially chartered as Holy Rood Mission (“rood” is the Anglican term for “cross”) and its sanctuary was assembled from borrowed elements. The congregation’s current facility opened a few years later, and in 1968 it was expanded with a parish hall, kitchen, library, offices and classrooms.
Today, the congregation serves its hometown in many ways, including by feeding the hungry at Hesed House homeless shelter and through various food drives. Volunteers also organize, prepare and serve meals at Trinity Soup Kitchen in Aurora. The parish hosts community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and it offers prayer ministries like the Home Eucharistic Ministers, which brings the Eucharist sacrament to the sick and homebound.
Deacon Steve Lowe leads in-person worship Sundays at 9:30 a.m. It’s also livestreamed on the church’s Facebook page.
Community Church of Barrington • Est. 1847
301 E. Lincoln Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-1294, ccbarrington.org
Barrington’s oldest active congregation dates back to the arrival of this area’s first settlers.
Around 1847, 20 people left the Dundee Baptist Church and formed their own congregation in Barrington Township. Three years later, they purchased a lot at South Grove and Lincoln avenues for $1. The first building rose in 1859.
New additions came between 1881 and 1883, when the church added a basement and kitchen. In the early 1900s, membership grew by 20%, which required the addition of a new sanctuary. A century later, the church still adheres to its American Baptist traditions and membership continues to grow. Currently, a church committee is investigating how to expand.
Members of this longstanding congregation focus their community service mainly on children and hunger. The church sets aside 10% of its income for nonprofit groups such as the local Sue’s Pantry food pantry and SOUL Harbour Ranch, which specializes in animal therapy.
Every fourth Sunday of the month, the church’s Fresh Produce Sundays encourage members to bring in fresh produce for the Barrington Food Bank. Members also support The Community Meal, a local nonprofit that provides free meals to anyone in need.
At least twice a year, members join Barrington Giving Day, a clothing drive that helps needy children in Barrington’s District 220 schools.
The Rev. Chris Shade leads worship Sundays at 10:30 a.m. in-person and online.