Church among Elburn’s best-kept secrets

By on August 30, 2014
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Photo: Located at 100 E. Shannon Street in Elburn, the Community Congregational Church’s members are “determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.” Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Members joke that Elburn’s Community Congregational Church is one of the best-kept secrets in town. On the flip side, many are trying to change that.

“We’ve been hearing for years that the church has been closed or is dying,” church member Karen Diesel said.

Located at 100 E. Shannon St., the church during Elburn Days hosted a large rummage sale, face painting, music provided by the Al and Susan Duo of St. Charles, ice cream from Colonial Ice Cream and sloppy joes that people return for year after year.

“It was awesome; we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” Diesel said. “The weather really cooperated and we made about $4,500—more than double the $2,000 we usually make.”

Church Pastor Bennett McNeal said it’s not unusual for smaller churches to struggle.

“We’ve had some difficult times in recent years,” McNeal said. “The members are determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.”

Church moderator Mary Royer said a lot of maintenance work that has been on the back burner is now being undertaken, along with the installation of a new elevator to make the church accessible to all. She credits Diesel with doing a lot to make the church more visible during Elburn Days.

“Karen worked very hard,” she said. “We had a lot going on so people could see that we’re still here.”

After celebrating only his second Elburn Days, McNeal said he came to realize the church is an incredible resource in the community.

“We have scouts that meet at the church along with other groups, we plan to provide a caregivers’ support group—all of these things are intended to provide services for the community,” he said. “Of course, we also are continuing our traditional programs of Sunday school for all ages and traditional worship services.”

McNeal said the maintenance projects and the new elevator are ways to make the church more welcoming.

“Our tradition is to be welcoming to everyone, and we mean that with no exceptions,” McNeal said. “These aren’t my words, they come from our denomination: ‘No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here at Community Congregational Church.’”

“We don’t say it as much as we act on it,” Royer said. “We are very much like a family.”

For more information about the church, visit www.elburn-ucc.org or call (630) 365-6544.