WHO WE ARE
We are an interdenominational church, welcoming people from all denominations We have one service each Sunday, beginning at 9:30 a.m., featuring the Senior Choir (Voices of Faith), and occasionally the Bell Choir. Sunday School for children meets during this service.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAITH CHURCH
The story of Faith United Protestant Church is just that--a story of faith: faith of a group of young people in their God, in themselves and in their future. Back in 1949 when the village of Park Forest was just rising out of the cornfields of Illinois and the first residents were moving into the apartments, Philip M. Klutznick, one of its founding fathers, went to the Church Federation of Greater Chicago and discussed with them how to serve the Protestants who were living in the new town. As a result, Rev. Hugo Leinberger became chaplain of the new community and he was to interview the newcomers as to their church preferences.
His survey reported that 80% of the Protestant families desired an interdenominational church with a good preacher and a strong Sunday school program. And so was born the United Protestant concept--bringing people of all denominations together, blending a wide variety of religious traditions into a vibrant new community of believers.
The first United Protestant Church in the village (named Faith in 1955) was very innovative; it was to be lay-oriented--directed and operated by lay members, not the clergy. On Sunday, April 8, 1951, the official membership of the church was recorded at 510 charter members representing 35 Protestant denominations. Dr. Gerson S. Engelmann, the first permanent minister, was called to serve the congregation (which had been meeting in the Holiday movie theater) in November 1951. Since our founding, a succession of six senior ministers has served our congregation.
The Christian Education building was dedicated in April 1951, and the sanctuary was completed in October 1957. Dedication of the administration building and campanile in October 1963 completed the facility. The bronze bells, cast in a 300-year-old Holland foundry, rang for the first time on Easter Sunday 1963. In 1991, the campanile was renamed the Engelmann Tower and dedicated in honor of the founding ministry which enriched the Spirit of United Worship for a quarter of a century.
After 40 years of rigorous use, renovation and updating had become imperative. After the mortgage was retired in 1992, the congregation courageously undertook and capital renewal project to finance major improvements to the physical facilities--including new high efficiency boilers, replacement of much of the water supply system, re-roofing the Christian Education building and other hidden improvements. It continues today.
Although much has changed in our church, country, and world, Faith Church stands today as a witness for God, the Christian way, and the deep commitment of the thousands of people who have had a hand in making the United Protestant dream an ecumenical reality.