Organized religion played a major role in the settling of Illinois and continues to influence the culture of our region. We highlight places of worship, one in the country and one in the city.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church • Est. 1838 (Diocese)
2810 Sixth St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 328-8265, standrewsmonroe.org
This congregation of people from Green and Rock counties prides itself on maintaining a friendly, welcoming environment. “The little church with the big heart” reaches out to help people within its communities and supports the wider, global work of its diocese. In matters of faith, it strikes a middle ground between Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.
The church was recognized recently by the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, of which it is a part, for reaching out to the people of Green County in many ways. One example is a monthly Loaves & Fishes Community Meal it helps to serve, at no charge, for the purpose of building a sense of community. It also hosts a grief and loss program and recently presented “thank you” baskets to area veterans.
The congregation also supports the international work of the Episcopal Church, from safeguarding the creation with environmental action to working toward economic justice for all people.
Services are Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The church is led by its Vicar, The Rev. Brian E. Backstrand.
Spring Creek United Church of Christ • Est. 1962
4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org
The cornerstone for this church was laid in 1962 after the Rev. Richard Nielsen arrived in Rockford with his family to start two churches. They later became known as Spring Creek Congregational Church and Woodside Congregational Church and were among the last churches started by the Congregational Conference before its merger with the United Church of Christ.
Today the church is widely known for its weekly free summer concert series, Concert on the Creek, featuring accomplished artists with Midwest roots performing all sorts of music, from country, funk and jazz to bluegrass and gospel.
This congregation generously supports missions that help both local people and people in need around the world, through One Great Hour of Sharing and many other programs. It also supports Neighbors in Need, which exists to strengthen local and national justice efforts.
A few years ago it accepted the challenge to support all five Special Offerings of the United Church of Christ, which includes funding for pastoral and lay leadership formation, especially among women and people of color. “Embracing diversity to make a divine difference” is a motto of this church, which is led by The Rev. Ivan Schoen. Services are Sundays at 10:30 a.m.