History and Building
Founding of Lake Street Church
Born of a desire by a small group of Baptists to worship according to their faith in what was then a small frontier community, the First Baptist Church of Evanston Illinois was officially established in April of 1858. From this humble beginning, the congregation that is now Lake Street Church has grown in numbers, mission and influence in the local community and in the larger community of all those touched by the outreach of this socially active congregation.
History of Lake Street Church
From its founding as a group of families committed to educating children in the Christian tradition, this church quickly emerged as an active community of participants dedicated to enriching each individual's spiritual life while serving the needs of others. That first Sunday School included children from Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Roman Catholic, as well as Baptist families. This ecumenical gathering gave birth to the welcoming, inclusive, interfaith congregation that is still the soul of Lake Street Church.
The extraordinarily rich history of this church reflects the country's history from 1858 forward. The wars over this breadth of history - the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War - have all provided and continue to provide context for the life of the church.
The Temperance Movement, Women's Suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement that occurred during the history of the church impacted the programs and activities of the congregation. In the early years, the church was driven by evangelism to social action. Then, when the 20th century required a more global approach, the church gave greater focus to ecumenical activism.
Through its ever evolving environment, Lake Street Church has adapted, adjusted, and moved forward, always with the spirit of the Divine held sacred as the center for each individual.