Historical Information

With a history of 157 years, there is an extensive list of significant happenings. 

Here are six major events that shaped the direction of our church.

  • The Blodgett Family, founding members of UCCDG, acted as a stop on the Underground Railroad from the 1840s to the 1860s.
  • In 1961, our Family Life Program was founded to fill a need in the community for preschool. Today it is the First Congregational Learning Center (FCLC) fully accredited by the Department of Children and Family Services. It is one of the oldest, continuously running preschools in DuPage County and provides childcare ranging from infants up to 5-year-olds. Currently we have fifty children enrolled in the program with a two-year waiting list in some classrooms.
  • In 2000, Pastor Laura Hoglund began a ministry to serve the needy in our community which has grown to the current Hope’s Front Door.
  • In 2010 our congregation voted to become an Open and Affirming church.
  • In 2014, we started live streaming our church services for homebound members. Today we reach people worldwide. 
  • In 2020, we purchased the property adjoining our church. We are now in the process of evaluating how to best utilize the property in ways that will benefit our congregation and our surrounding Downers Grove community. 

Ministerial History

Here is a list of all Senior Ministers and Additioinal Clergy for the last 30 years.

Ministerial History* - Senior Ministers and Additional Clergy

Rev. Dr. Robert D. Schieler (Senior) 1976-1992 - 17 years

Rev. Laura S. Hoglund (Associate) 1976-2009 - 33 years

Rev. William C. Hoglund (Associate) 1976-1982 - 7 years

Rev. Linda Cohen (Associate) 1983-1987 - 5 years

Rev. Gregory J. Martin (Associate) 1987-1993 - 7 years

Rev. Dr. Robert M. Baker (Senior, Interim) 1993 - 1 year

Rev. William C. Hoglund (Senior) 1993-2009 - 16 years

Rev. William B. Terry (Associate) 1995-1999 - 5 years

Rev. Cathy Sanders (Commissioned) 2000-Present - 23 years

Rev. Nayiri Karjian (Senior, Interim) 2010-2012 - 2 years

Rev. Scott Oberle (Senior) 2012-Present - 11 years

Rev. Rix Thorsell (Associate) 2013-2015 - 2 years

Rev. Kimberlee Whisler-Vasko (Associate) 2017 - 1 year

Rev. Michelle McNamara (Transitional Pastor) 2019-Present - 4 years

*All of these ministers had UCC standing.

Comment on what your church has learned about its relationship with persons who provided ministerial leadership: 

Our congregation has learned that a good relationship between our ministers, our staff, and our congregation needs to be continually nourished. To that end, one of our teams is the Pastoral Relations Team made up of church members selected by the council and called ministers solely for the purpose of encouraging constructive communication in a safe space. Each called clergy member would have their own Pastoral Relations Team. This inclusive approach allows everyone a chance to be heard in a setting designed to address areas of misunderstanding and conflict before they affect the entire congregation.

Has any past leader left under pressure or by involuntary termination?  Yes. We can discuss this in person.

Has your church been involved in a situational support consultation?  No

Has a past pastor been the subject of a Fitness review while at your church? A Fitness review was conducted after a resignation. We can discuss this in person.