A Brief History of
Northminster Presbyterian Church
Northminster began as a Sunday school class for children in 1922 and was housed at Lincolnwood School in northwest Evanston. Parents in the area were interested in Christian education for their children and there was no Presbyterian church nearby. Within a week of the first meeting, the first class was convened, and within a year, adults were worshipping on a regular basis. Eighty-two charter members signed the roll on January 28, 1923, and organized themselves as Northminster Presbyterian Church.
The church building was dedicated in 1929, two days after the stock market crash. That day eventually caught up with the church as mortgage payments went unpaid despite considerable sacrifices by members. Only a last-minute neighborhood-wide campaign saved the building from foreclosure in 1937.
Thus Northminster began with a strong neighborhood focus, an interest in Christian education and mission, and an emphasis on worship. To further these aims, a church school extension to the building was dedicated in 1951 and the sanctuary was expanded in 1958 to accommodate the fast-growing congregation.
The 1960's brought an important addition: Christian Education for adults. Classes in Christian Living, which followed a lecture/discussion format, met on weekday evenings. Late in the 1960's, Koenonia discussion groups were added.
In the 1970's, along with most mainline churches, Northminster saw declining attendance and membership. Nevertheless, the church continued to expand on its long tradition of mission and fellowship work. The Woman's Guild raised as much as $70,000 a year for mission projects, members rehabbed a house in an Evanston neighborhood, and we sponsored a number of refugee families from Vietnam and Cambodia. We organized a Hunger Task Force and were involved in issues of peace and justice.
In the 1980's we created the Central American Task Force, establishing a sister church relationship with the 22nd of April Colony in El Salvador; we formed the Environmental Task Force; and we joined the North Shore Ulster Project. The budget remained strong.
The 1990's brought additional outreach projects. We teamed with a neighboring Episcopal church to sponsor the "I Have a Dream" project, offering inner city students the support of tutors and mentors during their junior high and high school years. We founded the Human Sexuality Task Force to study and formulate church policy on the growing issue of ordination of gays and lesbians.
In the area of Christian Education, we saw the addition of the Sunday morning Challenge Class for teenagers. In recent years we have added the Thursday night ToGather program, where we gather for a meal, fellowship, and educational programs for all ages. We have continued our long tradition of involvement in the community through youth mission trips, work with homeless youth in Chicago, and a new focus on environmental stewardship.
In 2001, Mike Youngblood was called as Northminster's 15th pastor, and The Rev. Jessica Gregory became Associate Pastor in 2008. Additional staff today include: Adrienne Trevathan, Director of Christian Education; Joseph Agnew, Music Director; Sandy McLaughlin, Parish Administrator; John Bradica, Church Sexton; Paul Vander Weele, Organist. Northminster currently has approximately 630 members, with more than 200 children enrolled in Sunday school.
We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), serving regionally through the Synod of Lincoln Trails, and locally through the Presbytery of Chicago.