I’m New

A church that’s open to questions? Open to change? Open to everyone? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Visiting a new church for the first time can be daunting, we know. Mention “church” and many people think: intolerant. Close-minded. A place where you can’t ask questions or express doubt. A place full of people who all look, sound, dress, think and vote alike… and like keeping it that way. An institution that cares more about money than people and that often seems irrelevant to the lives we’re living and silent on things that matter most.

We don’t believe that’s what church is meant to be. At Winnetka Congregational Church, we’re committed to being an Open House. In every sense of that word. 

We are reimagining what church can be...together.

There are many of us who now attend Winnetka Congregational Church who came here for the first time while deconstructing the faith we grew up in.  Some of us hadn’t given up on God, but we’d given up on church. Some of us had (and continue to have) doubts about God and had never thought there could be a church for us. What we found here was not “church as usual.” We found a church that looked traditional, and that values traditions, but that was also very open to new ideas and reimagining what it means to be people of faith in the world today. It turned out to be a place where we could bring our questions and our longings, our hopes and our hurts.

We found a worshipping community that wasn’t about dumbing things down or just about numbing out. We found a gathering of folks who were sincerely trying to follow Jesus — but not the Jesus many of us had heard about — rather the One who calls us all to co-create a world of greater  freedom, dignity, inclusivity  and possibility for all.

Want to find out more from one of our pastoral staff? Contact us. Or sign up for our email. (We will only email as often as you want and you can unsubscribe at any time. )

We want to be very clear: when we say we are inclusive, we mean it. No exceptions. No fine print.

Too many folks have experienced churches saying they are open to all, while not being truly inclusive. You may have been in a church that either explicitly or implicitly excluded people because of their LGBTQIA identity, skin color, beliefs, background, status or abilities, rather than a place that helps us all believe that in God’s eyes, “We are enough and we are loved.” 

Here is our full inclusion statement:

As “A House of Worship For All People”, Winnetka Congregational Church acknowledges, supports, and welcomes all God’s children whatever their age, culture, race, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or marital status, physical or cognitive ability, nationality or cultural background. As called by Christ: we seek to celebrate every person’s dignity, uniqueness, relationships, and God-given gifts; to recognize our interconnectedness as human beings; and to foster a safe, nurturing community in which each person can live out their faith journey authentically and wholeheartedly.

This statement represents the commitment we have made as a congregation. And like all things we do around here, we fully recognize we don’t always do things perfectly –  we are on a journey together  so please, if you have any questions about how we are living this out in the life of this church, we welcome them.


A church that celebrates and creates a safe space for people who are LGBTQ+... that’s why I decided to become a member here.

Jen, new member, 2020