DOWNERS GROVE – With the purchase of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building at 1101 Curtiss St., Downers Grove, the First Congregational United Church of Christ is poised to expand its services to the community.
“Right now, the church is hoping to hear ideas from the wider community, members of our church, visitors, residents, nonprofits and community organizations about how to meet some of the greatest needs in Downers Grove as we seek to use this site to help lift our community seeking to connect people to God and to one another,” Pastor Scott Oberles said in a statement.
“There are no plans in place for specific uses of the property at this time,” Oberle said. “Although we’ve been pleased to use the courtyard area for our Wednesday evening Grounds of Hope while the weather permitted. We hope to use the former reading room as a staging area so people with nowhere to shelter in place can receive daily meals served by both church members and people in the community who would like to help their neighbors in need.”
Since its founding in 1866, this Downers Grove church has focused on helping others.
Two members of this early church were part of the Underground Railroad, and in the 1870s the church supported missionary work in the western frontier and foreign countries while funding the construction of their first church building, a frame structure on the site of the present church.
Today’s church at 1047 Curtiss St., grew around the original 1916 structure, which consisted of the current bell tower and parlor, with the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall added in 1925, and the education wing in 1963.
First Congregational has a faith body that believes faith is not just something believed, but something lived out. Members seek to lead with the love of Christ and this expresses itself through a host of mission and social justice efforts. Church members support the homeless, those facing food insecurity, LBGTQ and immigration issues. The church works with organizations such as DuPage Pads, Bridge Communities, Night Ministry and Hope’s Front Door.
Community members can contact Oberle with ideas about how to best use the new property to serve the community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.