History

(See Full History under “125 Years” tab)

On March 10th, 1890, a group of Lutherans met to talk about starting a Lutheran Church in Monroe. They voted to raise funds to secure a lot.  On March 18, 1890, a congregation was organized that took the name of the Pilgrim’s Home Evangelical Lutheran Church of Monroe.  They became members of the General Synod and the Synod of Northern Illinois. By 1895 the parish consisted of the Monroe Church, Twin Grove, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Spring Grove Lutheran Church and the Richland English Lutheran Church, congregations. (See history pages for more history.)

By 1894 the church building was moved to its present location on the corner of 15th Ave. and 11th St.  At a meeting in September of 1896 the congregation took the name of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Monroe.  By 1905 the church had become self-supporting and was removed from the status of a mission church. In the fall of 1919 work was begun on construction of a new church building, which was completed and dedicated, December of 1920. 

In 1956 a building fund was started and the property to the west of the church was purchased. Sunday School was held there for a number of years. In 1983 Grace Lutheran underwent a huge remodeling project adding Sunday School classrooms, offices, and enlarging the narthex space.  (see 1983 Newspaper article page)  In 1996 the house at 1015 15th Ave. was purchased which became the home of Green County Food Pantry and the office of Green County Habitat for Humanity until 2012.

On September 14th, 2005 Grace Lutheran closed on the purchase of the White House located at 1009 15th Ave.  The White House was first used for storage and an apartment for pastoral interns.  In 2012 it became the  Day Center for the Green County Family Promise program providing housing and assistance to homeless families and individuals. 

In 2008 an elevator was installed in the church making the building totally handicap accessible. During the summer of 2012 the 1015 15th Ave house was demolished to make way for a parking lot and street-level handicap accessible entrance. 

Grace Lutheran continues to be the “downtown church” and a spiritual presence helping to serve the needs of the congregation and community.
 
TRIVIA: DID YOU KNOW THAT…
  • There were three Lutheran Churches back in the mid 1800’s? Many revivals were held in the area with many responding. Know where Austin’s Grove was? It was there that a revival meeting was held with about 3,000 people attending with their teams of horses. Many orators and ministers spoke and music was provided by the churches!
  • In 1874 Twin Grove the English Lutheran Church was organized.
  • Sixteen people were present and R.A. Beidler was called to be Pastor. A building was built at the cost of $2,775.71 with a tower and a bell. A parsonage was purchased for $250. This action took place in 1876 & 1877.
  • By this time the Richland and Spring Grove congregations joined to be one congregation.
  • This church served the area until 1890 when they prepared to move to Monroe
  • After organizing and preparing to move to Monroe in 1890, the people adopted a constitution, accepted entry into the Northern Illinois Synod. This was agreed upon by 26 communing members. The Rev. Klock resigned in 1891 amid arguments and disagreements with the Synod. The church was then located at the 9th Street and 20th Avenue intersection.  The congregation then moved to its present location and by 1895 Twin Grove, Clarno and Monroe made up the church. The salary for Rev. Beidler was $300 from Monroe and $225 from Twin Grove. Other churches had used this location — Baptists, 7th Day Adventists and Christian Church. At a congregational meeting on September 17, 1896 the members chose the name of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church with 63 members
  • In 1901 the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church was without a Pastor, and a call went out to the Synod and to the Board of Missions for support of a Pastor. They asked for $250. Dr. Kauffman came in 1902 from Lena, IL. Another re-organizing of the church was held with 48 members. At the end of the year there were 54 members on the rolls and the benevolence was paid in full.
  • The Rev. Kauffman resigned in 1907 having been at Grace from 1902. Rev. Hartman replaced him and was here for 10 years, leaving in 1917. While Rev. Kauffman was here council meetings were taken up with the concern of getting enough wood for the cold months and paying the Pastor his salary. The trustees mowed the grass. Pastor Hartmann walked the railroad tracks to Clarno every other Sunday to preach. He would then stay overnight. In 1910 there was talk of building a parsonage next to the church, but the church building had to be moved to make room for the house. The cost of building it was $4,365.86! The parsonage was home to pastors serving Grace until the 1960.
  • Louis Gunderman arrived in 1917, and soon after envelopes were started as a way of weekly giving. The congregation turned down the idea of remodeling, improving the current building, and voted instead to start thinking about a new church building.
  • During the teen 1900’s Grace Church was growing. The Sunday School was doing well with close to 200 children attending.  There were also several classes for the adult and young adults.
  • Gunderman liked to have little messages—or treats— printed for the church members. In 1917 he had a small “GREETING” printed for every member wishing all “A Joyous Christmas and A Happy New Year”.  It invited all to be in church at 10:30 Christmas morning for special services.  A short message was printed which ended—“It is my wish to be your true friend—to so minister that Christ may be formed in you in the hope of glory.  In the sunshine and the shadow of the days that are to be, may the angel of God’s presence go with you all the way, then no day can be dark and dreary.”
  • Prayer meetings were also held on Sunday evenings at 6:30. Committees were formed—with names such as: Lookout; Prayer Meeting; Missionary; Social; Flower; and Program”. Meetings were divided up into six-month segments, including men folk.  Topics were: Speech, Wise and Unwise; How do Men Confess Christ?; How to Use the Bible.
  • Some names in this tract would be familiar to the older members of Grace, such as Holmes, Knoll, Tree, Geigle.  Their object was to: “Promote an earnest Christian life among our members, to increase their mutual acquaintance, and to make them more useful in the service of God”.