Organized religion played a major role in the settling of our region and continues to influence its culture.
We enjoy highlighting places of worship, one in the country and one in the city, in each issue.
Country Church: Millard Community Covenant Church • Est. 1842
N6713 County O, Elkhorn, Wis., (262) 742-3457, Millardchurch.com
When members of this congregation began meeting for worship, they had to find their way along Native American trails near Sugar Creek. By 1842 they had formally organized an American Baptist congregation at Barker’s Corners (now Millard) and met for services in the local schoolhouse until the first church was dedicated in 1849.
A second building was dedicated in 1892, completely paid for, along with a newly-purchased parsonage. In April 1950 it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground; a new structure was built.
By 2003, the congregation left the American Baptist denomination and joined the Evangelical Covenant Church.
In its 177 years of ministry under various names, the congregation has served both its community and neighbors across the world, in interesting ways.
Last year, for example, it ran a GROW Project to raise funds for the Elkhorn Food Pantry and the Open Arms Free Clinic. In the spring, a donated plot of land was planted with soybeans by a congregant who is also a farmer. As the crop began to grow, the congregation was invited to “buy” rows of that field. One row at a time, the field was “bought up” with donations covering the cost of the seed and then some. After the crop was harvested, all the money made from its sale was donated to the pantry and clinic.
This church also supports a youth scholarship fund for full-time college or vocational school attendance.
Pastor Chris Nelson leads the church.
Sunday School and adult education are offered at 9 a.m. with worship at 10 a.m.
City Church: First Lutheran Church • Est. 1883
303 South Galena St., Freeport, (815) 235-9790, firstlutheranchurch.org
In 1851, the Lutheran Women’s Home and the Foreign Missionary Society in America took initial steps to organize an English Lutheran Church in Freeport. By 1883, First Lutheran was self-supporting, assumed its present name and had constructed and dedicated a building.
Today, as in the early years, First Lutheran’s mission includes working with those in the community who need assistance. The church collects food and clothing to support the mission of the Freeport Area Church Cooperative and assists with a local shelter program for homeless people. It also offers a tutoring and mentoring program for local children, named Cygnet.
Cygnet began 10 years ago and its name is a nod to the Ugly Duckling story in which the duckling who was a little different turned out to be a beautiful swan. Every Monday afternoon the church gives more than 100 neighborhood children a safe sanctuary in which to play games, do crafts, study and get tutoring, or just hang out with friends. Volunteers come from all walks of life and are not limited to church members. “Kitchen Grandmas” make sure the kids get a hearty, nutritious meal before they go home. The evening meal is always preceded by a short devotion and prayer. This is the only exposure to church many of the children receive.
Many church members also volunteer for blood drives, Mother Hubbard’s Kiddie Cupboard, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels and the Crop Hunger Walk.
The church is led by the Rev. Keith Johnson.
Services are at Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. with Sunday school at 9:30 a.m.