Welcome to Winnetka Congregational Church’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary

On a Tuesday evening, September 29, 1874, a small group of people with a common purpose met in a then quite young Winnetka, at Academy Hall, a building at the corner of Ridge and Ash streets. With a solemn service, various addresses and some music, the new church was “ordained by Council” and incorporated into the Conference of Congregational Churches of the Chicago area.

This…….was us.

And through various church buildings, pastors, people and stories, we continue into our 150th year.

Stories About Our Story

A Short History of Our Buildings.

In 1873 The Liberal Christian Association (possibly viewed as Unitarians) purchased a little private schoolhouse and moved it to a southeast corner of Maple and Cherry Streets. A cupola and a cross were added and it became a church building. This building was shared with what would become the Winnetka Congregational Church.

Making a Joyful Noise: Music at WCC, 1936-2024

While the choir composition, size, and leadership may have changed over the years, music has importantly enhanced the congregation’s faith, as well as the personal joys and sorrows of its members at weddings and memorial services.

Looking Ahead To The Next 150 Years

In the fall of 2022, the WCC Church Council decided it was time for a new – and bold – vision for our congregation. As we emerged from the isolation of the COVID pandemic, it was time to re-think, re-invent, and re-new our church for the years ahead.

A Vision Team was formed, and a consultant was hired – the Rev. Cameron Trimble of Convergence. The process over the past 18 months has included learning, research, listening, interviewing, reflection and prayer.

On May 5, 2024, through a congregational vote, this is the Vision we came together around and committed ourselves to work toward making a reality.

Our vision is to be:

A church full of people, full of purpose, full of possibility and potential.

A church humming with activity - not only on Sundays, but seven days a week.

A church where deep and caring friendships are fostered in dozens of small groups.

A church where healing, hope, and spiritual connection are experienced.

A church with an open door to the community with close relationships with neighbors with intimate partnerships with other faith communities and local nonprofit organizations.

A church where people of all ages are welcomed and engaged - children, youth, young adults, elders, long-term participants, newcomers and families of all types.

As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Winnetka Congregational Church, as we take the time to look back and celebrate, we are also looking ahead and recommitting ourselves to be a relevant, vibrant church in our rapidly changing world.