Northminster Presbyterian Church childrens choir 1933.                    Submitted photo

Ninety years ago, Northminster Presbyterian Church was established at the Lincolnwood School in northwest Evanston.  Over the next nine decades, the church has consistently provided meaningful worship services, youth and adult Christian education and mission outreach both locally and worldwide.

Even before the church was formally organized as Northminster Presbyterian Church on Jan. 28, 1923, the congregation met for worship, established a Sunday School and supported local and national Presbyterian mission projects.

The Depression years between 1923 and 1939 and the war years that followed were challenging times. The church building at 2515 Central Park Ave. was dedicated on Oct. 27, 1929, two days after Black Friday, when the stock market crashed.  On May 26, 1938, the church narrowly missed foreclosure, with church members and neighbors answering an appeal for a $75,000 mortgage payment just one hour before the midnight deadline. In the 1940s the pews emptied when 87 men from Northminster were called to service in World War II and the minister left to serve as chaplain in the armed services.

The period following WWII was a time of growth, hope and renewal for American churches.  Between 1945 and 1970, Northminster’s congregation grew to 2200 members. Six hundred children were enrolled in the Sunday school. Adults enjoyed fall and spring schools of religion. The Board of Deacons and the Women’s Guild provided financial and volunteer support for the neighboring Presbyterian Home and Chicago Neighborhood houses. A group that studied low-cost housing built affordable homes in Evanston. Funds were sent overseas to support a hospital in Ludhiana, India.

The 1970s and 1980s were a time of great social change.  In America, Sundays became time for shopping and sports activities for youth. More women began careers and smaller families resulted. However, members continued to prioritize the core values of Northminster: worship, education and mission. The church sponsored refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia.  Major support was given to a struggling community in El Salvador called “the 22nd of April Colony.”

Today, Northminster continues to feed the hungry through programs such as the Night Ministry in Chicago, soup kitchens and food banks in Evanston, Change Hunger and One Great Hour of Sharing. The high school youth continue their mission work each summer through the Appalachian Service Project (A.S.P.).  Local families are helped through the Samaritan Center, Family Promise and family ministries.  We also support mission and social justice in many areas in the world such as Kenya, El Salvador, Pakistan, Haiti and Cuba.   

For 90 years Northminster Presbyterian Church has continued the tradition of worship, Christian education and mission as expressed over the entry to the church:  Enter to Worship, Depart to Serve.