First Congregational Church of Wilmette | Our History

Our History


First Congregational Church of Wilmette was founded in 1875, and opened the doors of our historic Arts and Crafts sanctuary in 1905. From our founding to the present, we have been a church where the teachings of the gospel meet the concerns of the day, from a commitment to civil rights and open housing, to the ordination of LGBT members, interfaith dialogue and space sharing with two local synagogues, and commitment to practices of non-violence and environmental sustainability.

Our congregation gave birth to Gates Manor, Wilmette’s affordable senior housing facility. As Gates Manor was constructed on part of our property given for the purpose, our former Gates House, site of a teen drop-in center, evolved into The Warming House Youth Center in Howard Park, where it still serves village teenagers today.

Not only at home but also away, our commitments to service and compassion have taken us from to Iglesia San Lucas in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, to Guatemala, Palestine, Israel, and most enduring, to a thirty-year partnership with the residents of Edisto Island, South Carolina, where we continue to support scholarships, partner in elder care and home repair, and where our youth group runs an annual summer camp for island children.