History of Community Presbyterian Church
Community Presbyterian Church was organized on Easter Sunday March 31st, 1929, as a mission of the Presbytery of Chicago with an initial membership of 34 people. In 1932 the Rev. Robert King Bell became the first full-time resident pastor. There was only one church and one school in the village to serve the needs of 300 residents.
In 1936 the Rev. Malcolm S. Sweet arrived to serve as the second pastor, and in the fall plans were begun for the first church structure. The cornerstone of Community Presbyterian Church was laid on Sunday June 26th, 1938. The original church building was a white frame colonial style, located where our current sanctuary stands.
Dr. Glen J. Schillerstrom became the third pastor in May 1942. During the period from 1944-1954 efforts continued to acquire land and perform construction on the church building. In 1954 a $74,000 building-fund campaign was approved and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the church, groundbreaking took place and the cornerstone was laid for our current 300-seat sanctuary.
The church continued to grow and in 1958, the Rev. John David Burton was called as the fourth pastor. By 1960 the current education wing was dedicated and Sunday school enrollment had reached the 700 mark. Throughout the 1960′s Community Presbyterian would see the development of many programs in the church, including setting the patterns of the youth programs which are still in effect today.
From the early 1970′s through the 1980′s, we have seen a rich history of programs and Christian fellowship begin or strengthened. Ross Ludeman became our first Associate Pastor in 1971 and a two-pastor staff has been an important part of the Christian leadership model for our church ever since. Additional strong staff leadership by Dean McGormley, Paul Alcorn, Dick Reynolds, and Joan Reiner over this period helped develop Christian Education of our children and youth as one of our defining characteristics to go along with the other key characteristics of worship and service to God.
In 1985, Zane K. Buxton accepted the call to serve as senior pastor. In 1988 David Neff came as Associate Pastor and he served till 1991. Through Zane’s leadership, Community Presbyterian members met the needs of our community by becoming a P.A.D.S. site to help homeless people. P.A.D.S. (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) continues to be an important part of our mission and outreach. The church continued to be blessed with strong staff leadership from May Hertel and Deb Helms working with the youth programs.
The Rev. Chris Chakoian was called in May of 1996 to be senior Pastor and Patrick Day was ordained to be Associate Pastor, serving till 2000. The late 1990′s saw a strong period of program development and excitement with membership reaching 900. A capital campaign was approved to remodel the church sanctuary to our current design, installing a Martin Ott Organ. Cyndi Frost was elected by Session in 2001 to replace the retiring Joan Reiner as Director of Children’s Ministries. That same year, Elizabeth Merrill came as Associate Pastor, serving till 2004. Corey Nelson followed her, serving as Associate Pastor from 2005 to 2007.
The Rev. Dean Lindsey was called in September 2007 to be our senior pastor, leading our church in faithful witness and preaching. In December, 2008, Beth Hilkerbaumer was called as designated associate pastor, serving till December 2010. Today Community Presbyterian Church is a diverse and growing community of nearly 700 members: young and old, single and married, lifelong Presbyterians and new Christians. Our congregation includes people from diverse backgrounds, denominations, and faith traditions. We are excited about the future of our common life of worship and service together.