College Church

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College Church is an independent church in Wheaton, Illinois with "strong historic ties" to Wheaton College.[1] The church is led by a number of pastors, directors, and a board of elders.[citation needed] Dr. Josh Moody currently holds the position of Senior Pastor of College Church.[2]

The Church owns a Georgian revival building that faces the college campus on Washington Street.[3]


College Church, founded as The First Church of Christ in Wheaton, was organized in 1861 by Jonathan Blanchard (Wheaton) in 1861 and affiliated with the Congregational Association of Illinois.[4][unreliable source?] The church first met on the campus of Wheaton College as "The First Church of Christ in Wheaton."[citation needed] Blanchard wanted the church to be known for its opposition to slavery, secret societies, and alcohol use.[5]

The church was first affiliated with the Congregational Association of Illinois.[citation needed] Jonathan Blanchard's involvement as the first president of Wheaton College and as the founder of College Church caused the two institutions to share statements of faith and facilities.[citation needed] The church suffered divisions over doctrine and affiliation during the years after its founding, leading to the creation of what are now First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton and Wheaton Bible Church.[6][7] After a reorganization in 1878 the church was renamed the College Church of Christ.[4][7] It only gained its current name, College Church in 1963, in an effort to distinguish itself from the Church of Christ denomination, which has a rather different theology.[4]

Although it is not formally associated with Wheaton College, College Church has long been closely associated with the college and drawn large numbers of students and members of the faculty to its services.[1][8] The congregation is "largely affluent.[9]


The church expanded rapidly during the years that R. Kent Hughes led the church as senior pastor, with the church growing in membership and facility size.[10] In 2000, the church dedicated the new Commons building, a 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) addition to the church campus.[11] The building cost $7.5 million.[12]

By 1990, the burgeoning congregations of College Church, Wheaton Bible Church, and St. John Lutheran Church, all located close together led to serious traffic and parking problems.[13] Wheaton City Councilman Dan L. Fapp Jr. told the Chicago Tribune that, "It takes two police officers to get traffic in and out of there on Sunday." College Church wanted to enlarge its sanctuary space, and the town required that it provide parking to accommodate worshipers, many of whom came from outside of Wheaton.[14] The city attempted to "force" College Church to donate land worth $1 million to the city on which the Gary-Wheaton Bank would construct a parking deck.[15][16] The effort, however, would have put the city "in very shaky constitutional ground."[15] For the church, the solution was to dig "an underground tunnel from the existing complex to the new building which they placed across the street."[17]

Core Beliefs

The church has ten articles of faith that are the "essential beliefs of College Church".[18] The church also has a number of "pillar values", including Christ, the Christian Bible, balance, character, equipping, evangelism, and prayer.[19] College Church believes Christians are called to live by the teachings of Christian scripture.[20]


College Church has a variety of different ministries devoted to different groups within the church. One area of ministry that the church is known for is its ministry to persons with disabilities, called the STARS Disability Ministry.[21] The church offers a disability ministry "to make access to worship, ministry, and fellowship a reality for any child or adult with special needs."[22] The church hosts The Run for the STARS in June to raise money to send STARS members and their families to summer camp.[23][24] Celebrity athletes including Jean Driscoll, winner of the women's wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon, have supported this College Church fundraiser by participating.[25]

College Church has ties with church plant congregations in Chicago, Batavia, Lombard, and Naperville.[4]

The church is active in supporting worldwide missions and church planting.[11][26][27] In 2006 the annual mission budget was $1.7 million.[11]





Aerial photos and maps


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1] Wheaton College website, accessed May 9, 2011.
  3. Federal Writer's Project, Du Page County: a descriptive and historical guide, 1831-1939, Illinois, 1948, p. 180.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "College Church", Wheaton (listing), Patch<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.[unreliable source?]
  5. "Our History". College church. Retrieved 2010-02-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Church Split over Pastor at Wheaton," Aurora Daily Star - May 13, 1921
  7. 7.0 7.1 Houliston, John. "A brief history of the First Presbyterian Church, Wheaton, Illinois". Wheaton: First Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Stephen J. Schnurr, Dennis Edward Northway, "Pipe organs of Chicago, Volume 1," Chauncey Park Press, 2005, p. 244.
  9. Kevin DeYoung, Ted Kluck,[2] "Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion," Moody Publishers, 2009.
  10. Worship by the Book R. Kent Hughes, Timothy J. Keller, Rev. Mark Ashton, Rev. Mark Ashton, R. Kent Hughes, Timothy J. Keller, Zondervan, 2010.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, Leland Ryken, Todd A. Wilson, Crossway, 2007, p. 271.
  12. Mike Burke [3] "Wheaton residents feeling squeezed by growing churches", September 21, 1996, Daily Herald.
  13. Kay Severinsen (November 25, 1990). "Houses vanish as churches look for space". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 3. Retrieved 2011-05-15. A planned expansion of the church building will take away some 170 parking spaces.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Neil Mehler [4] "Churches` Growth Felt In Wheaton", July 24, 1990, Chicago Tribune.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Neil Mehler [5]"Wheaton Bank Wins Additional Parking," August 07, 1990, Chicago Tribune.
  16. Neil Mehler [6]"Wheaton church zoning deal urged" Aug. 8, 1990, Chicago Tribune.
  17. Eric Reed [7] "Squeezed Out," July 1, 2003, Christianity Today.
  18. "Statement of Faith". Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Pillar Values". Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Standards". Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Disability". Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. [8] "Fear Not the Disabled," October 25, 2005, Christianity Today.
  23. "Run for the Stars". Run for the Stars. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Michelle Linhardt [9]"Run for the STARS 5k," May 6, 2011, Chicago Tribune.
  25. Jack Griffin [10] "Notable guest attends Wheaton race," June 13, 2004, Daily Herald.
  26. "History". Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Senior administration", Leadership, Covenant College, retrieved May 8, 2011<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  28. Leadership, College Church, retrieved February 11, 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  29. "Emeriti Faculty", Academics, Wheaton College, retrieved February 11, 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  30. Ericksen, Charlotte (October 25, 2010), "Swider-Peltz Jr Declines Spot on Fall World Cup Team to Rehab Hamstring", Wheaton, Patch<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Walker, Ken (July 13, 2005), "Living Bible Creator Dies But Ken Taylor's legacy is even larger", Christianity Today<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.


  • "Teen angels". Chicago Sun-Times. May 12, 2001. p. 26. More than 100 junior high kids have signed the Covenant for Biblical Sexuality at College Church in Wheaton.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Minutes of the First Church of Christ in Wheaton, 1866-1879.
  • Minutes of the First Congregational Church 1879-1909.
  • Minutes of the First Presbyterian Church 1909-1952.
  • A History of DuPage County, Richmond & Vallette 1857.
  • A History of DuPage County, C. W. Richmond 1876.
  • History of DuPage County, Rufus Blanchard 1882.
  • Report of Council of Congregational Churches, Held in Wheaton in February 1879.
  • "College Church in Wheaton". New York: American Guild of Organists. Retrieved 2011-05-15. The present, spacious sanctuary was built in 1991 and 1992. The Reginald Gerig Organ (College Church organist, 1953-1991) was built for the present sanctuary...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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