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Kaneland Connection: Congregational Church of Elburn gets new pastor

The Community Congregational Church of Elburn offers more than 100 years of history, and the Rev. Bennett McNeal said that is a big reason he was excited to become its new pastor.

McNeal started in his role Sept. 17, replacing interim pastor Michelle Prentice-Leslie. McNeal, 66, comes to the church after spending nearly 11 years at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Lyons.

Community Congregational Church of Elburn is at 100 E. Shannon St.

“This is a church that, while it’s not a large church, has a long history,” McNeal said. “It has an orientation towards a mission. And they wanted me to come.”

The church has its Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m., and McNeal said about 50 attend each week. He said there are more who are active in the church, and there is room to grow.

“I think Elburn is a very nice community,” McNeal said. “And I think with some of the developments, I certainly would hope that the church will be part of the growth.”

He describes his style as “inclusive.” He said that’s a good fit for a Congregational church, where members are involved and “don’t expect the pastor to run everything.” He said it is a cooperative environment.

“I want to encourage all those who want to be involved and who might seek to hear the good news, people of all ages and backgrounds,” McNeal said. “We would welcome them. And furthermore, my style is very participatory.”

The church’s location is near the heart of Elburn’s downtown area, and its parking lot was the center of discussion this year. Village officials were considering purchasing the parking lot, and McNeal said church leaders “are continuing to go through a discernment process in regard” to the lot. The church had allowed the lot to be used for public parking for years.

He anticipates being part of its future. At 66 years old, he said he expects to be at the church for a long time.

“I have no interest or intention of retiring anytime soon,” he said. “I’m hoping this will be a ministry where I will be for quite some time.”

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

Sugar Grove plans open house:

The 12th annual Sugar Grove Village Open House is set from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

Residents are invited to visit with Village President Sean Michels, Village Board members and representatives from other Sugar Grove taxing bodies. Residents can learn about services provided and current and proposed projects. Refreshments will be served. A board meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

Elburn Lions German Dinner

The Elburn Lions Club has planned its eighth annual German Dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at Lions Park, 500 Filmore St., Elburn.

The event features a buffet-style dinner, including bratwurst, pork loins, sauerkraut, red cabbage, spaetzel, German potato salad, pretzel rolls, dessert and coffee. The cost is $13.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors older than 65 and $9 for children ages 4 to 11. Those ages 3 and younger are free.

For information, call 630-365-6315 or visit

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

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