Organized religion played a major role in the settling of Illinois and continues to influence the culture of our region. We enjoy highlighting places of worship in each issue.
Country Church: Oakley Union United Methodist Church • Est. 1845
W2388 Gerber Road, Juda, Wis. (608) 934-5398, joumc.org
This congregation of Methodists came together in 1845, as Green County was being settled. Its original frame building burned down and was replaced in 1918 – one century ago – as denoted on the building’s face. At the urging of conference leaders in 1941, Oakley Union became a “two-point charge” church with Juda Zion in Juda, Wis. Two-point charge churches share a faith, pastor, website and some amenities but operate independently and maintain their own traditions.
Juda Zion, organized in 1867, began as an Evangelical church founded by eight German families before it changed to a Methodist faith. Early structures were replaced in 1954 with the Lanon-stone building in service today at N2350 Church St. in Juda.
Both congregations actively help people in need. They prepare and serve free, monthly hot meals through the Loaves & Fishes ministry. They host food drives and raise money for Green County Food Pantry. They visit the sick and elderly and participate in Family Promise, a national program that responds to the growing need to provide shelter, meals and comprehensive support services to families without homes. And, over the past decade, the Sunday school program at Zion has raised more than $12,000 for Operation Smile – an international ministry in which children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate receive free surgical correction. The Sunday school’s contribution has paid for more than 50 corrective surgeries that enable children across the globe to eat, speak, smile and socialize normally.
Both Oakley Union and Juda Zion are led by the Rev. Kelly Jahn.
Worship at Oakley Union is at 9 a.m. Sundays. Worship at Juda Zion is at 10:45 a.m. Sundays with noon prayer time in the chapel. Sunday school options are listed on the website.
City Church: St. Patrick Parish • Est. 1854
612 Highland Ave., Dixon, Ill. (815) 284-7719, stpatrickdixon.org
The original 25 families who founded this church met in the city courthouse until 1854, when a bishop in Chicago assigned a resident priest. The church building they constructed burned to the ground in 1892 but was immediately rebuilt along with St. Mary’s School. Current school enrollment is 221 students, ages pre-K through junior high.
After 127 years, the church looks almost exactly as it did in 1873. In 1985, a parish meeting space, Holloway Center, was added on to the north side.
In addition to supporting the school, the congregation participates in many organizations that help to care for people at home and beyond.
The Catholic Women’s Club provides financial and material support for parish and community activities. Among other things, volunteers from the club prepare funeral dinners.
In the Elizabeth Ministry, women share their wisdom with younger women of childbearing age.
Loaves & Fishes is an outreach effort of the St. Patrick Church’s Justice and Peace Committee. It provides a free meal and fellowship for anyone who is hungry in the Dixon area. The meal is prepared and served by a team of volunteers each Monday from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Holloway Center.
The church also sponsors a chapter of Knights of Columbus, an international charitable organization.
Mass times: Sunday at 8 and 10:30 a.m.; Mon., Thurs. and Fri. 7:30 a.m.; Tues. 7:30 and 8:15 a.m.; Sat. 4:30 p.m.
Today, 820 families are registered members of the parish, which is led by Fr. Keith Romke, pastor.