A Brief History of St. Andrew
On the second Sunday of May 1883, Pastor Louis Lochner of First Trinity Lutheran Church conducted a survey of the area in the Brighton Park neighborhood in which St. Andrew Church is currently located. The result of this survey led to the establishment of a new school located at 36th and Wood. Classes began with Mr. W. F. Diener as the first teacher and 35 children in attendance. As the attendance grew, a number of people living in the area requested to First Trinity that St. Andrew to become its own independent congregation. This request was granted and on March 5, 1888, St. Andrew Lutheran Church was officially organized. Rev. W.C. Kohn was called to become the first pastor of St. Andrew.
As the congregation and school grew, the need for more space became more and more apparent. In 1891, the congregation officially began the construction of a new church building (which is at its current location) on the corner of 37th and Honore. The cornerstone was laid on August 16, 1891. According to church records, the following items were sealed in the church cornerstone: a history of the congregation, a hymnal, copies of school texts, the church constitution, a list of congregation members and school children, and copies of local newspapers. On January 24, 1892, St. Andrew Lutheran Church was officially dedicated and held its first services in the new church building. In 1920, the St. Andrew Sunday School began as a continuation of the church and school and still operates to this day.
As the years went by, to meet the needs of a growing congregation and school enrollment, a school building was erected across the street from the church. The new school was dedicated in 1930, now with five teachers. The new school building had eleven large rooms, a gymnasium with a stage, and a large Fellowship Hall.
In 1963, the congregation accepted plans to renovate the interior of the church including installing a new altar, “Christus Rex” cross, and lighting.
St. Andrew was a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod until 1973 when for doctrinal reasons the congregation left the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. After a brief period as an independent congregation, St. Andrew joined the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).
In 1992, plans were made to celebrate the 100th birthday of the church building. Renovations were made including the repainting of the interior along with a new lectern and pulpit and carpeting.
In December 2013, due to years of declining enrollment, the congregation decided to officially close St. Andrew Lutheran School at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The final classes were held in June 2014. St. Andrew Lutheran School served the Lord and the McKinley Park/ Brighton Park area for more than 125 years.
In 2014, plans were made to convert the church parsonage, located next to the church building, into a new Ministry Center. The new Ministry Center will serve as the new location of St. Andrew Sunday School.
St. Andrew Today
St. Andrew is one of four WELS congregations in the Chicagoland area. For over 125 years, St. Andrew has thanked God for the grace he has given to us. While the look of St. Andrew has changed many times, the message still remains the same. St. Andrew continues to teach all to know Jesus, to grow in faith with Jesus, and to show Jesus to others.