Immanuel began in the late 1950s, when Bethel Presbyterian Church organized near the Wheaton College campus. As a "campus church," it attracted students and faculty with its innovative worship, excellent preaching, and willingness to discuss contemporary issues--traits that are still hallmarks of Immanuel. By 1970, Bethel completed a new church building on Naperville Road in south Wheaton for its roughly 300 members.
In those years, Bethel belonged to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Over time, differences developed within the congregation over the participation of laity (un-ordained men and, especially, women) in leadership and worship. The elders sought orderly change and greater flexibility within the OPC, but without success. So, after much discussion and prayer, the church voted in 1989 to form a new Presbyterian and Reformed congregation. While a core of Bethel friends remained with the OPC, another 250 members, along with the senior pastor, Robert Harvey, and the entire board of elders, chose, in obedience to God's calling, to form a new congregation.
That congregation became Immanuel Presbyterian Church and affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), a young, small denomination. The EPC has proved to be a good fit for Immanuel for several reasons. For one, it seeks to combine evangelical fervor with a commitment to Reformed faith and practice. Additionally, the EPC is the only conservative Presbyterian body in the United States that permits the ordination of women to all church offices. It also maintains a worldwide mission effort aimed at under-evangelized countries, particularly Muslim-dominated cultures.
For almost a decade, Immanuel held its Sunday services and Christian education at the College of Du Page (COD) McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. During those years, the congregation helped support the birth of another church--Parkwood Community Church started by and for second-generation Asian-Americans''and actively supported the InterVarsity chapter on campus.
Immanuel moved to its current location in Warrenville in 1999. Since our arrival, Immanuel has worked to become active in the local ministerial association and Warrenville Youth and Family Services, a church-sponsored social service agency.
Besides supporting missions, both local and global, and encouraging the full participation of all persons in church ministry, Immanuel is committed to the following:
Warrenville at a Glance
- a theological commitment to the Reformed and Presbyterian heritage
- a sense of reverence in God's presence in corporate worship
- partcipation of persons of all ages in worship
- congregational participation in mission trips
- involvement with community needs, such as families in crisis
- emphasis on spiritual formation and disciplines
- stimulating adult education classes
- focus on training children in Christian faith
- strong family-based youth ministry
- active encouragement of women in leadership
- social activities geared to families
- encouragement of the arts in all aspects of church life
Warrenville, a western suburb of Chicago, is a 100-year old community that was incorporated in 1967. This town of just over 13,000 residents lies along the Ronald Reagan (East-West) Tollway adjacent to Wheaton and Naperville, Illinois' second largest city. Warrenville is also near Fermilab, an advanced research laboratory operated by the federal government. Several miles east of the Fox Valley, suburban growth in the area has been phenomenal during the last two decades.