Wheaton CRC held its first worship service in May of 1949. From the beginning, the church was unconventional, its services held in the Masonic Temple in Wheaton despite the CRC’s antipathy toward the Masons. Early members remember sweeping up beer bottles from previous Masonic events to prepare for Sunday worship. Wheaton CRC built its own building in 1958. During the racial tensions of the 1960s and the “white flight” phenomenon in the suburbs of Chicago, Wheaton CRC has been a strong proponent of racial integration and maintains deep relationships with predominately African-American congregations in the Lawndale and Roseland neighborhoods of Chicago.
In the 1970s, the church and her pastor, Rev. George Vanderhill, were among those who responded to the homelessness problem in Wheaton by helping to start what has become Outreach Community Ministries. In the early 1990s Pastor John Schuurman and his congregation recognized the need for a ministry to Vietnamese immigrants and helped plant Vietnamese New Hope Christian Reformed Church. For the following 20+ years the two congregations have worshiped and worked together in both Wheaton and Winfield. In the early 2000s we saw the need to update the layout and accessibility of our main building and add classroom space for our education programs. These two building campaigns resulted in a more open and welcome lobby in our main facility and a Ministry Center building across the parking lot with classrooms, Fireside Room, and facilities that support our ministry and welcome people into our warm and vibrant community. Our church has a history of moving toward the community and responding to its current needs. Whatever the future holds, it is likely that the members of Wheaton CRC will respond to it with grace and aplomb, sweeping up beer bottles or soothing racial tensions as needed. In this we demonstrate our tagline: “Gathered by Grace, Sent to Serve.”