historyOur History

First Presbyterian Church of Homewood

Our church dates back to 1858, when Homewood was already a railroad town (which was, at the time, called Thornton Station).  A visiting preacher, in June of that year, planted the seed among a small group of individuals who slowly began to organize a congregation as First Presbyterian Church of Thornton Station. 

A modest wooden building was eventually built to house the fledgling group, but over the next decade it suffered from lack of maintenance and the congregation dwindled, but did not die.

After the Civil War, prospects for our church began to improve.  The village was renamed Homewood in 1869, and our name officially became First Presbyterian Church of Homewood between 1871 and 1873.  During this time, parking problems arose – for member's horses, that is!  Sheds were built as a solution.  Also, a worship offering was just as likely to include a sack of potatoes, a crate of chickens or farm produce, as it was currency.

As the congregation grew, so did the need for a larger structure.  In May, 1915, a new church building was dedicated to provide much-needed room.  Interestingly, the building from the 1860's was moved and recycled – twice – first as an automotive repair shop, and later as apartments.  The new church provided a beautiful room for worship, as well as space for the choir, church school and fellowship activities.

Over the next four decades, growth of our church mirrored the growth of our community.  In October 1958, the current sanctuary, which was modeled after New England churches, held a worship service for the first time.  Thanks to impressive fund raising efforts, improvements such as a pipe organ, air conditioning and elevator for handicap accessibility have been added - making a beautiful structure all the more appealing and hospitable for worship and reflection.

The need for more church school space was addressed in 1972, when the new Christian Education building was constructed.  For all of the joy having this modern space in which to educate our youth provided, its construction necessitated the razing of the 1915 building. 

This was a sad occasion for many, as it signaled the loss of an old friend, just as it was the beginning of a new and exciting period in our history.

Amid the history of buildings and structures, one thing has remained constant: the amazing, faithful people who ARE the church.  Our leaders, both lay and clergy, have consistently ensured that First Presbyterian serves the needs of its members, as well as the community-at -large. 

The mission and outreach activities of this congregation, well-documented in our 2008 published history, remain a core strength.  It is an immense source of joy to all that we have touched lives not only in our village, but in remote parts of the globe as well.

For over 150 years, our congregation has responded to God's call, lifting hearts upward in worship, reaching hands outward in mission, and moving lives forward in faith in Jesus Christ.  We prayerfully continue the journey, hoping to build a better world through our mission and ministry for the sake of the gospel.

A history book was written in 2008 for our church's 150th anniversary.  Copies are available for purchase through the church historian, Phil Dillman.  Contact the church office for more information at 708-798-0490 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please read about the history of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Click here and you'll be directed to their website.

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