Our History

Elburn Hill Church is part of what became known as the “Free Church” movement in Europe during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Up until then, churches had to be officially recognized by the State to legally exist. In France, the official state church was the Catholic Church. In Germany it was the Lutheran church. These churches were supported through government taxes and often, political leaders could influence the direction of the church. This was actually the case in America until 1770. Thomas Jefferson defended the right of Baptists to exist in Virginia which was officially an Anglican state. It was in this case that America first established the idea of the separation of church and state–the Church was to be free of government control.

European governments resisted this idea. But in Switzerland, Free Churches began spring up, often amid persecution. The movement spread to Germany where it had only a little success, and then to Sweden and Norway, where it blossomed.

As immigrants from Scandinavia came to America in the late 1800s, two Free Churches were established. In 1884, the Evangelical Free Church of America was established in Missouri and in 1885, the Swedish Covenant Church, now called the Evangelical Covenant Church, was established in Iowa. These two denominations have had a remarkable influence in America during the last 130 years.

In Germany, however, the Free Church idea was represented by an organization called The Fellowship Deaconry. They provided the Lutheran Church with women called “deaconesses” to be nurses, school teachers, and youth workers. German immigrants brought to America some of the deaconesses and in 1928 they established a base in New Jersey. In 1950 they purchased the Stuart Mansion in Elburn, Illinois to provide services for German immigrants living in the Chicago area. By the 1980s, a decision was made to plant a church on the property in line with the Free Church tradition. Services began in 1990 under the name, Evangelical Fellowship Church.

In 2010, we changed our name to Elburn Hill Church both to mark our location and our loyalty to the township we serve. We are orthodox in our beliefs, as our Statement of Faith shows, and evangelical in our practice, which can be seen in our Church Pillars. Both of these documents are available on this website.

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