LILY LAKE – Grace Lutheran Church of Lily Lake has been a continuous congregation for 125 years.
The church was organized on May 11, 1894 and the congregation of 21 members worshipped there for the first time that November, according to the church’s history.
That building is no more. Parishioners have worshipped at the current building, 5N600 Hanson Road, Lily Lake, since 1964, Rev. Dawn Roucka, the church’s pastor, said. That building is just a few yards away from the original building, she said.
“The congregation may have been 300 to 400 people, but now is about 170,” Roucka said. “They are a much smaller group of people, but they are dedicated to really making a difference in the Kaneland community.”
The church is hosting a 125th anniversary celebration Sept. 15 starting with worship at 10:30 a.m., a 12:30 p.m. lunch with guest speakers followed by face painting and outdoor games for children.
“We are tentatively expecting 150 people,” Roucka said.
The church has had 16 pastors and 11 organists during its 125 years, according to church history.
The church helps support the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Scout troops meet there, monthly Bible studies are held at Luau Coffee Café in Campton Hills. Its Rebecca’s Circle women’s group host service projects, programs and outings, Roucka said.
Vacation Bible School, which had been suspended for a while, was back this year with more than 50 children participating, she said.
For the first time this summer, the church hosted a summer reading program for elementary students who did not have access to libraries over the summer, Roucka said.
“We had a small first effort of seven kids and a variety of volunteers,” Roucka said. “We met four times over the summer. Because the school year started so soon this year, we were cut short, too.”
The church also has a community garden where vegetables are donated to the Elburn Food Pantry, she said.
The church also participates in God’s Work, Our Hands, a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Roucka said one church member went on a trip with about 30 other members of other churches for 10 days of service in El Salvador.
“They put in solar panels, built a church, did gardening, berming and did a medical mission,” Roucka said.
Bishop Yehiel Curry of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod will attend the church’s 125th anniversary celebration.
“We are the furthest congregation in the Metro Chicago Synod,” Roucka said.