First United Methodist Church of Oak Park was the first established congregation to settle in the Oak Park area. Established in 1870, the congregation worshiped in a small one room school house. Under the name of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Oak Park, a church was erected on Lake Street, near Forest Avenue, which opened for worship in 1874. The church grew and flourished and, anticipating the need for expansion, purchased the land for our present site in the early 1920’s. Plans for the new church building were being developed when the old church was destroyed by fire in 1923. Built between 1923 and 1925, our current church building was dedicated in March of 1925. Our history is rich with a tradition of meaningful Christian ministry in our congregation, community, and for those in need. We carry forward the spirit of the past while we meet the spiritual needs of today’s people.
Our historic church building was designed by Tallmadge and Watson in the modern English Gothic Revival style. Built with Bedford limestone, the building features a Memorial Tower and Memorial Chapel. Designated an Oak Park Historic Landmark in 2005, the design and the blueprints of the church are preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent renovations have been made to maintain and enhance the building’s original features.
The stained-glass windows, designed by Giannini and Hilgart, were installed in the sanctuary as memorial gifts between 1957 and 1966. The windows depict Jesus’ life and ministry, his apostles, and Old Testament prophets.
While we our surrounded by history, the life within the building is focused on the present and the future. HOPE IS HERE!
We are excited about the new blessings revealed to us each day and our work to create disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is our focus. Whether it is welcoming the curious and the new to our Membership Exploration Classes or continuning our growth in one of our study groups, we know getting to know and experience God is a never ending road.
Our next chapter is still to be written. But our core values of serving others, working for justice, and growing in faith are sure to be a part of it! Come and help us write the next chapter of our service of God and God's people in our community!