About Edison Park Church
Annual Report & History
All are Welcomed! We're glad you are here!
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Edison Park Lutheran Church of Chicago
is a Community in Christ--a people who gather together from many metro chicago neighborhoods each week at the corner of Avondale and Oliphant to be transformed by the power and mystery of Word and Sacrament. We come expectantly, trusting that God is faithful and will meet us here. Our aim is to be transformed people who in turn will bring the transforming power of God's love for the world through Jesus Christ to the streets of Chicago and to far corners of the world we may have a chance to touch through our ministry.
As we come, you will find that we acknowledge the many ways in which we fall short of God's perfection. We boldly confess our many faults and failures together at the foot of Jesus' cross. We believe Jesus Christ is the only hope for ourselves, and the world. Here you are among fellow travelers who experience every aspect of life as you do. Let's walk together!
We enjoy traditions and liturgical forms of worship. We embrace new music and contemporary forms of worship. We celebrate the variety that is the Edison Park tapestry. Through all of it we sincerely desire that you experience God here, and that the Holy Spirit may inspire you to walk with Jesus.
Are we affiliated with a particular denomination?
Edison Park is a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. If you have questions about our ministry, or how our faith is lived out, we'd love to have a conversation with you. Please contact the pastor or parish deacon.
Do I have to be a Lutheran to come to Edison Park?
No. All are welcome!
Do I have to do something before I receive communion?
No. Everyone is welcome at the Lord's Table! In the Sacrament of the Altar Christ offers forgivenesss of sin, life and salvation to all who trust in Him. If you are new to this community in Christ, and seek greater understanding of this means by which God comes to us, please contact the pastor or parish deacon. Gluten-free wafers and white grape juice, are available, for those who prefer them. You'll simply tell the server as s/he comes to you. Children who do not yet receive the elements and others not wishing to receive the elements are also invited to come forward and will receive a blessing. Simploy cross your hands over your chest. The ushers will direct you forward to the altar when it is time for communion in worship. You may either kneel or stand at the altar rail. If coming to the altar is difficult for you, please inform an usher, and servers will come to you at your seat.
How do I become a member?
If you decide you would like to officially join the congregation, and make a commitment to supporting and praying for the ministries of our church, you can speak with the pastor or parish deacon, or simply contact the church office. New Member Orientations are offered from time to time. For the next date please call the church office.
The History of EPLC
Edison Park Lutheran Church has been serving the Northwest side of Chicago since 1925. Throughout this time change and tradition have both been valuable assets to the church as EPLC works out its mission through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Following is a brief summary of how EPLC was started and the events that have placed it where it is today.
In 1925 the Home Mission Board of the Evangelical Lutheran Church appointed Mr. A. M. Hinderlie to test the neighborhood as a possible locality in which to start a congregation. After a promising canvas of the area, a meeting of area women was held with the intention of forming a Ladies' Aid. The first meeting brought only four people, however at a second meeting held two weeks later, eleven women were present and were officially organized.
In April of 1925 the first services were held in a store room on Oshkosh Ave. A Sunday school was also formed at this time. Thomas B. Peterson was appointed Superintendent of the Sunday School, a position he would hold for thirty two consecutive years!
The next several years were a time of organization and change. In 1926 a constitution was drawn up and lots were purchased for the placement of a church building. In 1927 a portable church was erected on the same lot as EPLC stands now. By 1929 the congregation had outgrown the portable church and voted to build a permanent edifice. On December 22nd, 1929, a dedication of the completed building was held. Rev. J.M. Green, President of the Eastern District, officiated the ceremonies.
1938 was also a time of change for EPLC. On January first of that year Edison Park Lutheran Church officially became self-supporting; at this time financial aid from the Home Mission Board was no longer needed. Also, Pastor Roy Harrisville resigned to accept a call at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, Minnesota, and Rev. A Gordon Nasby accepted the position of Pastor at Edison Park Lutheran Church.
The Senior Choir has been a long-held tradition at Edison Park Lutheran Church. For many years this group was organized by Miss Helma Leesch and functioned throughout the year at both morning services as well as at extra services and concerts. One shining moment in the choir’s history was their presentation of Brahm's "German Requiem", accompanied by the members of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra in November of 1976 as part of the Golden Anniversary celebrations. The Senior Choir as well as numerous youth and hand bell choirs still perform on a regular basis today.
Education has also been of great importance to EPLC. A growing Sunday School (originally started in 1925 with two students) prompted a physical expansion of the building and a weekday nursery school. In 1956 Mrs. Gibby Bouma started the preschool and in 1966 her work was continued by Mrs. Hazel Lund. The preschool program continues to this day with both morning and afternoon sessions.
Following the success of the preschool program was also a need for a youth director. In June of 1977 a long-awaited full-time youth director was hired by the Congregation. Mark Twietmeyer filled this position and within a short time was also directing a choir as well. During the summer months EPLC has had a long history of hosting a Vacation Bible School with such attendance that registration is often limited for lack of space.
In September of 1978 the fortieth anniversary of Pastor A. Gordon Nasby's call to EPLC was celebrated. Because of the rarity of such a celebration all stops were pulled. Pastor Nasby was kept completely uninformed of this event, had he known it was likely that he would veto nearly everything! In December of that same year Pastor Nasby preached his "farewell" sermon and entered retirement. The Board of Deacons resolved that he should be known as "Pastor Emeritus" the title he will always have. Since this retirement in 1978 those called as Senior Pastor at Edison Park Lutheran Church have been: J. Thomas Householder (1979-88), Duane C. Pederson (1989-94), Les Gylstrom (1995 - 2001), Norwood "Woody" Knutson (2002 - 2008) and Michael Sparby (June 2010 - ).
Throughout the history of EPLC there have been strong traditions of pastoral leadership, education, music, and congregational involvement. All these factors have contributed to the congregation present today. As we examine the workings of the Holy Spirit in our past and look to the future we continue to rely on the Grace of our Lord and the loving compassion of his son Jesus Christ for unity, wisdom and strength.