A brief history of St. Paul Lutheran Church

During the winter of 1940-41, some pastors from the Chicago Circuit of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America wondered if there were enough potential church members to start a Lutheran church in south Villa Park. With the approval of the Division of American Missions of the National Lutheran Council, they canvassed the area and found there was a need and proceeded to start a church. A few families met for the first service of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church on April 6, 1941 in a school. They rented a building on Ardmore Avenue for services while they diligently visited all the homes in south Villa Park to invite their neighbors to be a part of this growing mission congregation. In 1946, the storefront building was sold and their pastor took another call, thus these hardy Lutherans found themselves in need of a building and a pastor. Because of post-war restrictions, they built a basement building at the present site of St. Paul, and they called a new pastor. They reached out to neighboring families in Lombard and by 1951 they had grown to 230 members. They were able to build the above-ground structure for use starting in 1954. By 1962 there were so many members that the building had to expand again, to the size it is today.

From the beginning, the people of St. Paul have been devoted to the education of young and old alike, with a constantly evolving variety of programs and activities for all. Music has always been integral to our educational and worship life. Adult and children's choirs and the playing of a variety of musical instruments, including our marvelous pipe organ are hallmarks of this musical congregation. At St. Paul we sing!

The people of St. Paul are known for their outreach to the community. In 1975, Elaine Madsen saw a need in the community for a day care because of the growing numbers of "latchkey children." The congregation agreed that the building should be used on a daily basis for this sort of outreach. They founded the St. Paul Christian Day Care, open to everyone no matter what their beliefs or financial situation. The Kindergarten was added in 1980. The East Parish House (at 544 S. Cornell Ave.) was purchased in 1960 and subsequently made available to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois for counseling services for many years. Then we noticed that there was no pantry for items not covered by food stamps. In 2008 Hands and Feet Outreach at St. Paul was established to provide basic household necessities, personal hygiene, and baby items to residents of DuPage County, no questions asked. St. Paul participates in many other outreach activities as well.

© 2017 St. Paul Lutheran Church, 545 S. Ardmore Ave., Villa Park, IL 60181  •  630-832-5580  •  office@stpaul.org