College Church is an historic church in Wheaton, Illinois founded in 1861 by the abolitionist and first president of Wheaton College Jonathan Blanchard. College Church is located across two city blocks facing the Wheaton College campus. Dr. Josh Moody currently holds the position of Senior Pastor of College Church.
College Church, founded as The First Church of Christ in Wheaton, was organized in 1861 by Jonathan Blanchard (Wheaton) in 1861. The church first met on the campus of Wheaton College as "The First Church of Christ in Wheaton." Blanchard wanted the church to be known for its opposition to slavery, secret societies, and alcohol use.
The church was first affiliated with the Congregational Association of Illinois. Jonathan Blanchard's involvement as the first president of Wheaton College and as the founder of College Church caused the two institutions to share statements of faith and facilities. The church suffered divisions over doctrine and affiliation during the years after its founding, leading to the creation of what are now First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton and Wheaton Bible Church. After a reorganization in 1878 the church was renamed the College Church of Christ. It only gained its current name, College Church in 1963, in an effort to distinguish itself from the Church of Christ denomination, which has a rather different theology.
Although it is not formally associated with Wheaton College, College Church has long been closely associated with the college and drawn large numbers of students and members of the faculty to its services. Pastoral leadership throughout its history is as follows:
- Jonathan Blanchard (1860–62)
- Charles A. Blanchard (1878–1883)
- Evan Welsh (1933–1946)
- Robert G. Rayburn (1947–50)
- Carl Armerding (1951–1955)
- L. P. McClenny (1958–1972)
- Nathan Goff (1973–1977)
- R. Kent Hughes (1979–2006)
- Josh Moody (2009–present)
College Church has a commitment to the work of the gospel locally and globally. Locally, its ministries include a thriving children’s, youth and college ministry. The church offers a disability ministry "to make access to worship, ministry, and fellowship a reality for any child or adult with special needs." College Church has ties with church plant congregations in Chicago, Batavia, Lombard, and Naperville. It has connections with the Outreach Community Center, and two resale shops. It runs a pastoral training program for pastoral residents. It is known for its commitment to expository bible preaching, biblical worship, and global missions.
Aerial photos and maps
- Google (2011-05-15). "satellite view of College Church" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- Federal Writer's Project, Du Page County: a descriptive and historical guide, 1831–1939, Illinois, 1948, p. 180.
- "Our History". College church. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
- "Church Split over Pastor at Wheaton," Aurora Daily Star – May 13, 1921
- Houliston, John. "A brief history of the First Presbyterian Church, Wheaton, Illinois". Wheaton: First Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "College Church", Wheaton (listing), Patch.[unreliable source?]
-  Wheaton College website, accessed May 9, 2011.
- Stephen J. Schnurr, Dennis Edward Northway, "Pipe organs of Chicago, Volume 1," Chauncey Park Press, 2005, p. 244.
- "Teen angels". Chicago Sun-Times. May 12, 2001. p. 26.
More than 100 junior high kids have signed the Covenant for Biblical Sexuality at College Church in Wheaton.
- Minutes of the First Church of Christ in Wheaton, 1866–1879.
- Minutes of the First Congregational Church 1879–1909.
- Minutes of the First Presbyterian Church 1909–1952.
- A History of DuPage County, Richmond & Vallette 1857.
- A History of DuPage County, C. W. Richmond 1876.
- History of DuPage County, Rufus Blanchard 1882.
- Report of Council of Congregational Churches, Held in Wheaton in February 1879.
- "College Church in Wheaton". New York: American Guild of Organists. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
The present, spacious sanctuary was built in 1991 and 1992. The Reginald Gerig Organ (College Church organist, 1953–1991) was built for the present sanctuary...