History of the Congregation
The Glenview New Church started in 1892 when a congregation in Chicago decided to move into the country. They purchased 40 acres of farmland and transformed it into a beautiful park by planting a variety of trees and digging a pond. They set aside land in the center for a church and school, but initially built a house that would serve as a temporary school and place of worship. People started moving to the new parcel of land in 1893, and the church and school opened there in 1894. They envisioned this community (which soon became known as “The Park”) as a healthy place to raise children.
In 1915, a bolt of lightning changed the look of the Park when it struck the chimney of the temporary church. Fire hoses couldn’t reach the pond (which had been dug with this kind of emergency in mind). The church burned to the ground, but the people were resilient and moved forward with their plans to build a permanent church and school in the center of the Park. The church building was started in November 1915 and dedicated the following October. With increasing enrollment, it was necessary to build additional classrooms in 1949 and 1964. In 1958, the congregation erected an all-purpose building to provide space for the growing congregation to hold church events as well as physical education classes. In 2000, the Glenview New Church added space for contemporary worship services adjacent to the original sanctuary.
The Glenview New Church has a history of being involved in the Glenview community. The first president of Glenview was Hugh Burnham, a pillar of the New Church congregation who was a lawyer and nephew of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. During World War I, two of the women from the congregation established a Red Cross workroom in the Park. The Maynards helped establish the Glenview Public Library. Crebert Burnham served as the president during the difficult times of the Great Depression. Many others have served in the village government or contributed their talents through Rotary, volunteering in local hospitals, coaching sports, etc.
Today, the Glenview New Church continues to be an active part of the Glenview community. It is a growing congregation of 165 families or households that focuses on healthy relationships, family values, marriage, and individual and collective spiritual growth. Its members work to be useful servants within the church community and also in their individual jobs and functions in the broader community and world around them. It is also a congregation that loves and believes in the unique message that the New Church has to offer.