IMMANUEL BEGAN IN THE LATE 1950s, when Bethel Presbyterian Church organized near Wheaton College. As a “campus church,” it attracted students and faculty with 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.
In those years, Bethel belonged to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Over time, differences developed within the congregation over the participation of laity (unordained 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, 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 that proved to be a good fit. The EPC seeks to combine evangelical fervor with 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 maintains a worldwide mission effort aimed at under-evangelized countries.
For almost a decade, Immanuel held its Sunday services and Christian education at the College of Du Page (COD) 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.
settling in warrenville
Immanuel moved to its current location in Warrenville in 1999, growing in fellowship as members worked on the new church building and, later, on the adjacent Ministry House. Immanuel has become active in the Warrenville’s ministerial association and Warrenville Youth and Family Services, a church-sponsored social service agency. The food pantry ministry that began at Immanuel in 2012 and the community gardening space have helped Immanuel’s members get to know our Warrenville neighbors.
For more information about the EPC and our regional prebystery, click on one of the links below.