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Information on Mount Prospect Churches
This section holds information on a number of influential local churches. We do not intend to imply that these churches were the most important in Mount Prospect's history, that we are endorsing the products, services, or views of these organizations, or that this list is a complete listing of churches that have been important in Mount Prospect.

Churches in Mount Prospect:

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Northwest Covenant Church
Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church
Saint Emily's Catholic Church
Saint John's Episcopal Church
Saint John Lutheran Church
Saint Mark Lutheran Church
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
Saint Raymond's Catholic Church
Saint Thomas Becket Catholic Church
South Church

 

 

Name of church                            Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

When was it founded                   1960

Where is it located                         1624 East Euclid Avenue

Has it moved                                    No

Notable Members                          Gloria Rees Hansen, Dolores Haugh

First Pastor or Priest                         Albert Weidlich

History and interesting stories about the church:
        In early 1959, Albert Weidlich came to Mount Prospect as a mission developer intending to capture the interest of the local community.  Finding their curiosities piqued, interested individuals assembled to attend the first worship service of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church on June 21, 1959.  However, it was not until six months later on January 29, 1960 that the church was legally recognized.  In its early years, Grace Lutheran experienced much growth, its congregation exponentially increasing with new members.  It continued to develop at such a frantic pace that from 1966 to 1967, a second building was added to comfortably accommodate the church and its parishioners.  Five years later in 1972, it appeared to be the end of an era as Grace Lutheran witnessed the departure of Pastor Weidlich and the arrival of Reverend Kenneth Granquist. Under the guidance of the new religious leader, there seemed to be a rebirth in the church's focus. Rather than concentrating on the internal, the church itself, Grace Lutheran shifted its attention to the external, the outlying community. Through the creation of community need-based programs addressing alcoholism, drug abuse, and social groups, the church succeeded and is still succeeding in reaching out to their neighbors. 
        The congregation's loyalty and faith to Grace Lutheran can be witnessed at every worship service.  However, parishioner Gloria Rees Hansen had furthered this devotion by creating a cross inspired by Bible verses:  John 1:14, Matthew 26:14-16.  Residing prominently on a wall behind the alter, the cross is studded with 63 pieces of brazed bronze: 33 symbolizing a year in Jesus's life, 30 symbolizing the silver pieces paid to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus.  The cross still serves as a vivid reminder to the parishioners of their commitment to both God and church.

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Name of church                            Northwest Covenant Church

When was it founded                   October 1955

Where is it located                        300 North Elmhurst Avenue

Has it moved                                   No

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         David Noreen

History and interesting stories about the church:
            Without a formal organization, official pastor, or building of its own, The Covenant Fellowship of Mount Prospect nevertheless held its first worship service June 5, 1955 at Fairview School with Student Pastor David Noreen presiding.  The church continued to exist independently until October 30, when the formal organization of Northwest Covenant Church took place with over 52 charter members.  Although the church was officially recognized, it was still without its own house of worship.  However, the purchase and April 12, 1959 dedication of a building by Northwest Covenant ended the church's search for a permanent worship site.  The next recorded pastor after Student Pastor Noreen is Clarence Agard who finished his service to Northwest Covenant in March 1967.

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Name of church                            Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church

When was it founded                   1945

Where is it located                         700 South Meier Road

Has it moved                                   No

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         James Prendergast

History and interesting stories about the church:
            Established in 1945, Saint Cecilia's was not fortunate enough to have its own house of worship.  As a result, Sunday masses were held at Forest View High School; while, the Rectory chapel at 2009 West Scott Terrace observed daily masses, confessions, and baptisms.  The first priest assigned to the church was Father James Prendergast who, as the church grew in June 1968, received assistance from Father William Barry.  A church was eventually built to house Saint Cecilia's congregation and it was dedicated for use on November 22, 1970.  While the building was sufficient for the church at that time, as the years passed, as the congregation grew, it was no longer able to fulfill the church's various needs.  Recognizing this fact in 1996, Father Daniel Brady, Saint Cecilia's third priest, spearheaded the campaign to expand the church building by roughly 6000 squared feet to incorporate multi-purpose rooms, restrooms, and music rooms.  Also, plans were drawn to expand the parish hall by 8100 squared feet in order to provide more space for the church's 1600 families.  The expansion plans were approved, and a year later construction had stopped, the extensions were complete.  Around that same time, in 1997, Fathers Sonny Rivera and Sam Cunningham began to lead weekly masses in Spanish in an effort to reach the growing Hispanic community in Mount Prospect as well as to develop a relationship with Hispanic Roman Catholics.

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Name of church                            Saint Emily's Catholic Church

When was it founded                  May 1960

Where is it located                        1400 East Central Road

Has it moved                                   No

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         John A. McLoraine

 History and interesting stories about the church:
            In 1960, Father John McLoraine organized a new parish in an area of Cook County that later became incorporated into Mount Prospect.  Initially, 900 families joined St. Emily's and celebrated Mass in the auditorium of Maryville Academy.  Although without a permanent place of worship, the church supported the families' pleas for a parish school, which opened in 1961.  As if in direct correlation, as the church's popularity increased, so did school enrollment and congregation size.  Eventually, St. Emily's officials recognized the need for the existence of permanent facilities.  So in 1964, an activities hall was built, while construction on the main building began in 1969.  After using various locations to perform Mass, St. Emily's finally had a permanent one to accommodate each of its 1600 families with the building's dedication on Mother's Day in 1971.  By 1988, more than seven thousand people attended a single Sunday Mass; while, the parish school boasted a higher academic rating than any other school in the area.
            In addition to the traditional church services, St. Emily's has been a haven for parish organizations.  From the School Board and Athletic Association to the Women's Club and various Scouting groups, organizations have found warmth and friendship inside the walls of St. Emily's.  The church has also made strides in reaching out to its outlying community through the initiation of anti-narcotic, anti-vandalism programs and Spanish-language Mass.  In the case of the latter, in 1997, St. Emily's was one of five parishes to introduce Spanish-language Mass to accommodate the nearly eleven thousand Hispanic Roman Catholics in Mount Prospect.

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Name of church                            Saint John's Episcopal Church

When was it founded                  1937-1938

Where is it located                        200 North Main Street

Has it moved                                  Yes

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                        Father Hubbard (?)

 History and interesting stories about the church:
        The first service for Saint John's Episcopal Church was held on April 24, 1938 with the blessing of then-Bishop Stewart of Chicago.  For the twenty people who received communion that day, a drinking glass served as the chalice, a cream pitcher as the cruet, and a saucer as the paten.  In 1939 with the gift of two lots by realtors Krause and Kehe, Saint John's was able to purchase the Central School property and hold services there.  Despite having financial difficulties, the church managed to survive through the community's collective efforts and support. 
        In 1946, following the end of World War II and amid the suburban living boom, Saint John's welcomed Father Dean Howard Ganster.  Three years later, Thomas Chaffee was received into the church as its first resident Priest-in-Charge.  However, it was not until 1953 that Saint John's was formally recognized and invited into the Diocese as a parish.  In that same year, a new place of worship was built and dedicated by Bishop Burrill.  In 1955, following Father Chaffee's resignation, the church experienced a "revolving-door" issue with its clergy.  Robert Manning arrived in 1956 and left a year later; while, his replacement, Father Ehrgott remained a mere four years until 1962. 
        Between 1953 and 1961, Saint John's lost and regained its status as a self-supporting parish church. This seems to have been due, in part, to being over extended financially with the construction of the new church and founding of the Sunday School and in part because of divisions within the congregation. These divisions seem to have come from Father Manning taking a high-church approach and parts of the congregation finding this too rigid and leaving to found St. Simon's Episcopal Church in Arlington Heights.

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Name of church                            Saint John Lutheran Church

When was it founded                  1848

Where is it located                        1100 Linneman Road

Has it moved                                   No

Notable Members                         All the early German Lutheran founders

First Pastor or Priest                         Clements Klein

 History and interesting stories about the church:
            In 1848, Pastor Francis A. Hoffman, a German immigrant from Schaumburg, came to what-was-then the Elk Grove area to preach in the native tongue of the Lutheran Germans who had settled the area.  By establishing a parish based on a common language, Pastor Hoffman believed the conservative religious traditions vital to the German culture would be easier to adhere to.  Some founding members of the congregation were also prominent members of Mount Prospect:  Frederich Busse, Christian Heinrich, Christian Linnemann, and Conrad Moehling.
            As with other churches started in the Mount Prospect area, a community effort was made to both build and fund the congregation's new home.  Money was collected, construction was completed, and eventually, a church was dedicated on December 26, 1848.  Immediately following the dedication, Pastor Hoffman installed Pastor Clements Klein to the church.  However, his stay as pastor was brief, lasting only a year; so, in 1850, the congregation was forced to welcome Pastor John G. Kuntz.  During his term of service to the church, Pastor Kuntz established a cemetery and was involved in Saint John's decision to affiliate with the Missouri Synod in 1852.  The year after the affiliation served to be a year of "new," as a new pastor was installed, Karl Sallmann, and a new church building was constructed.  Although the church experienced hardships in the form of a parsonage fire and the subsequent destruction of congregational records in 1859, Saint John, under the guidance of Pastor William Bartling, enjoyed relative peace during the Civil War years.  This peace continued for the church following Pastor Bartling's departure and Pastor Henry Schmidt's installation.  Under the leadership of Pastor Schmidt, Saint John gained not only a new school facility in 1864, but an expanded congregation as well.  It was because of the latter achievement that Pastor Schmidt was nicknamed "the Missionary."
            Following Pastor Schmidt in the pulpit were men who brought with them leadership, guidance, and significant changes to the church and its surrounding community.  Pastor William Dorn influenced and witnessed Saint John's first bell and steeple in 1874; while, Pastor Herman Ramelow preached to the congregation during the church's support of an Addison orphanage, Kinderheim, in 1879.  He also helped to form a congregational band in 1881.  Affectionately called "the Builder" by parishioners, Pastor J. Henry Haake was responsible for the rebuilding of the church in 1892, the schoolhouse in 1901, and the parsonage's north wing in 1904.  Further under his leadership, Saint John became incorporated and celebrated its 50th anniversary.  In 1907, perhaps a sign of the changing times, the church's wood walls and ceilings were fortified with metalworkings under Pastor Julius Drexler.  Pastor Louis Millies witnessed and perhaps instigated the departure of thirteen parishioners who eventually founded another church and parish school: Saint Paul Lutheran Church.
            Since its initiation in 1848, Saint John has been plagued with the "revolving door" syndrome concerning its pastors.  Few if any have lasted long enough to sit down and leisurely enjoy a cup of tea.  However, Pastor Ferdinand Gehrs managed to escape from the revolving door's glass prison and become Saint John's longest-serving pastor.  Throughout his forty-three year term, he has both observed and supervised various changes at Saint John.  Some of those changes were physical and inconsequential, such as the installation of a new altar and Jesus statue in 1921, while, others were not as tangible and yet highly significant--the offering of English-speaking services in 1922.  It can be inferred that the shift from German to English-speaking services was Saint John's attempt at establishing a relationship with the non-German populace as well as to distance itself from the unpopular image of Germans following World War I.  This gradual self-destruction of German heritage continued, reaching its climax in 1940 following the Allies' declaration of war on Hitler's Germany, when German was dropped from the parish school's curriculum and English was more intensely incorporated.  The World Wars also adversely impacted Saint John's congregation, permanently taking away five men including Adolph Busse Jr.  In 1948, the church valiantly celebrated its Centennial amid the public's still fresh anti-German sentiments.  Eventually, those negative feelings subsided and Saint John was once again a pride of the community.  In 1954, still under the direction of Pastor Gehrs, a new parsonage was constructed.  Unfortunately, he was only able to occupy the parsonage for two years before resigning in 1956.
            Following Pastor Gehr's departure was the installation of Pastor Waldemar Streufert.  Although he did not achieve the former's record in longevity, Pastor Streufert certainly was a catalyst for considerable changes at Saint John.  As the congregation grew yearly, it became increasingly difficult to keep all of the congregates informed about the church.  So, in response to this glaring failing, Pastor Streufert began to print an informative church newsletter, "The Herald," highlighting Saint John's various undertakings.  In 1958, to reflect the post-war baby boom, a new school was built to house the upper-level grades.  Fourteen years later in 1972, a new school building was constructed in response to the new residences sprouting up around Saint John.  The era of suburban living had begun. 
            Amid the suburban population boom, Saint John celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1973 and its annexation to Mount Prospect three years prior.  A year after the anniversary, Pastor Theodore Staudacher took over the church's leadership from Pastor Streufert.  Under his guidance, Bible school and youth groups were started; while, Pastor Streufert's newsletter was continued with a different name, "The Contact." 
            Unbeknownst to Saint John, strife within the Missouri Synod surfaced as conservatives and liberals clashed over various issues.  A permanent schism had been formed and widened between the two parties, eventually leading to a split in the Synod.  As a result of this division, conservative people from liberal Synod churches flocked to the established conservative congregation of Saint John. 
            In 1978, the parsonage built in 1954 was demolished; while, a year later, tragedy struck as the 87-year-old steeple collapsed.  However, with Pastor Robert Kass at the helm, a new church steeple was installed and the church itself refurbished.  Also, under Pastor Kass's supervision, the Bethesda Group Home--designed to assist developmentally disabled adults--was built and dedicated in 1984.  Nearly a decade later, in 1992, Pastor Jeff Gavin took over for Pastor Kass and made it his mission to increase the severely stunted membership at Saint John.  A few years earlier, low student enrollment at Saint John's school forced the discontinuation of grades 3 through 8.  With congregation and student enrollment numbers down, Pastor Gavin hoped the addition of variety to the worship service would reverse the sliding trend.  Yet despite those problems, in 1998, Saint John Lutheran Church celebrated 150 years in the community.

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Name of church                            Saint Mark Lutheran Church

When was it founded                   1946

Where is it located                         200 South Wille Street

Has it moved                                   Yes

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         B. T. Anderson

 History and interesting stories about the church:
            Originally called Mount Prospect Evangelical Lutheran Church, services were first held in the Borgen home on South Edward Street, but were then moved to the basement of Central School.  Following the church's move, the congregation desired new religious leadership in the form of Reverend B. T. Anderson.  With Reverend Anderson presiding, the first official service took place in 1946.  By the time a permanent building was completed and dedicated in 1954, the church's name had been changed to its current Saint Mark Lutheran Church.  Throughout its years, Saint Mark has endured both change and growth.  In 1957, change came in the form of a new pipe organ and a parish school; while, growth came in the form of building expansions in 1963 and 1969.

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Name of church                            Saint Paul Lutheran Church

When was it founded                  1913

Where is it located                        100 South School Street

Has it moved                                   Yes

Notable Members                          Many 20TH century leaders and members of the Busse family

First Pastor or Priest                         J. E. A. Mueller

 History and interesting stories about the church:
            On July 7, 1912, various members of the Mount Prospect community assembled to sign a charter for the creation of a Lutheran church, specifically Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Mount Prospect.  Nine months after the historic signing, in March 1913, the first church building was dedicated; however, it was not until the following January that Reverend J. E. A. Mueller became the church's first resident pastor.  A mere eight days following his installment, Reverend Mueller organized and taught at the Saint Paul Lutheran School.  He continued to be the sole teacher until 1917 when the school hired its first full-time instructor, Martin Hasz. 

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Name of church                            Saint Raymond's Catholic Church

When was it founded                  1949

Where is it located                        301 South I-Oka

Has it moved                                  Yes

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         Thomas O'Brien

History and interesting stories about the church:
            In 1949, the foundations for Saint Raymond's Catholic Church were set; a house at 222 South Hi-Lusi was acquired to serve as rectory and chapel, while Central School's basement served as the temporary house of worship.  With the first mass conducted and the first baptism celebrated, Saint Raymond's was launched.  Father Thomas O'Brien, assigned to the church, started a choir in 1950 and four years later, opened a school.  The school's increasing enrollment called for the employment of more nuns, and as a result, a new convent was opened.  However, the social and political atmosphere of the 1960s persuaded few women to join, and in 1976, the last sister departed from the convent.
            Under the direction of Father Coggins, who served Saint Raymond's from 1963 to 1970, a memorial park was created behind the church in honor of Father O'Brien.  In addition to the creation of the park, Father Coggins supervised the construction of a rectory, the expansion of the auditorium, and the renovations to the church according to the standards of Vatican II.  In 1971, also in accordance to the Vatican standards, Father Buhrfeind established the Parish Council, which helped to coordinate the activities of the parish committees--finance, religious education, school board, etc.  Following the leadership of Father Buhrfeind was Father Loftus who served Saint Raymond's from 1979 to 1996.  During his term, he was responsible for assembling a committee to study how environment affects worship services.  The study found that most parishioners felt the church's interior decorations distracted from worship.  As a result of those findings, Saint Raymond's interior was renovated, and the church rededicated in 1988 by Cardinal Bernardin.  In 1996, the arrival of Father Bernard J. Pietrzak brought much community attention to Saint Raymond's in part to his work with bi-theist couples and single Catholics.

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Name of church                            Saint Thomas Becket Catholic Church

When was it founded                  1968

Where is it located                        1321 Burning Bush Lane

Has it moved                                   Yes

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                

History and interesting stories about the church:
        On May 15, 1968, Father Frank E. Wachowski was appointed to establish a new parish.  Despite having some initial difficulties in finding an appropriate site for a church, Father Wachowski eventually acquired some land and proceeded to organize a parish.  Within the first month, over 247 families were registered as members.  Because of the congregation's high concentration of families, the church's first organization was a CCD program--a religious education course for children.  In December of that year, Cardinal Cody approved the name of "Saint Thomas Becket" for the church. 
        Although the garage of the parish center--purchased in 1970--had been converted into a chapel, the developing congregation experienced growing pains and needed more room to stretch.  As a result, in 1975, plans were finalized for the construction of a new church, meeting hall, and rectory.  Even though construction was not completed until 1979, the church held services as early as December 1978.  Father Wachowski was fortunate enough to live to see the completion of Saint Thomas Becket's expansion as well as the official dedication ceremony in 1980.  Later that year, the Father passed away and was replaced by Father Ralph Mollan.

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Name of church                            South Church

When was it founded                   1937

Where is it located                         501 South Emerson Street

Has it moved                                   Yes

Notable Members                   

First Pastor or Priest                         Edwin Stevens

 History and interesting stories about the church:
            In 1935, a group of thirteen Mount Prospect citizens gathered in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Johnson with wild aspirations of organizing a new church.  They hoped to establish a community church that would serve every denomination and be affiliated with the Chicago Baptist Association.  Despite initial doubts, disagreements, and a "temporary disbandment," the first service was held in the lounge of the Mount Prospect Country Club in 1937.  In September of that year, the ground was broken for the church on previously purchased lots of land.  A mere three months later, on December 19, the first services were held inside the newly built church.  In that same busy year, a Bible School was founded, a constitution was written, a new pastor (Reverend Edwin Stevens) was welcomed, and a name for the church was chosen--"South Church" with the sub-title "Community-Baptist" affixed to it. 
            In 1942, with the United States propelled into war following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Reverend Stevens felt he would be better serving God and his country by enlisting in the army as a chaplain.  During his absence and until his safe return in 1945, his position was temporarily filled by two other pastors. 
            Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, South Church experienced an ever-expanding congregation and numerous building additions.  For instance, in 1957, a Christian Education addition was built and dedicated a year later to accommodate all church children from ages 3 to 12.  In those times of seemingly expansion chaos, Marion Stevens began a Memorial Cross display in 1955 in hopes of re-emphasizing the church's original theme of community.  In this display, roughly 125 crosses from across the country and the world were assembled and exhibited.  Following her death in 1962, her family graciously donated the entire collection to the church.  A decade later, Reverend Stevens retired from the ministry and was replaced by Reverend John Clements in 1974.

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