Chicago Community Mennonite Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

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The First Mennonite Church of Oak Park, Illinois, USA, began in 1977 when interested persons had been meeting in homes under the leadership of David Whitermore, the coordinator of Chicago Area Mennonites, an organization that fostered inter-Mennonite ministries in the Chicago area. During those earliest years, it was known as the Oak Park Mennonite Fellowship. On 4 November 1979, it began to meet formally at the Oak Park YMCA. A dozen adults plus children initially participated.

The congregation met for some years in a room in the large First Methodist Church on North Oak Park Avenue.

Oak Park began to accept non-celibate gay and lesbian persons as members in 1989. This led to discussions with the regional conference bodies beginning in the 1990s. The Illinois Mennonite Conference threatened the congregation with expulsion in April 1995, in effect placing the congregation on probation for one year. A vote by delegates in 1996 fell three votes short of the 2/3 majority required to expel the congregation. The following year it was placed "under discipline," which removed its voting rights and the ability for members to participate in conference committees. In 2002 the congregation was reinstated after it stated its support for the new Mennonite Church USA membership guidelines.

The congregation became members of the Central District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Illinois Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church (MC) in 1983.

In January 1991, First Mennonite changed its name to Oak Park Mennonite Church. After a move in about 2004 to South Central Park Avenue to share a building with the Chicago First Church of the Brethren, the congregation renamed itself Chicago Community Mennonite Church.

In 2022 the congregation was part of the Central District Conference.


"By a 73 percent vote...." The Mennonite 112, no. 10 (27 May 1997): 18.

"First Mennonite Church, Oak Park, Ill...." The Mennonite 98, no. 10 (10 May 1983): 227.

"First Mennonite Church of Oak Park (Ill.)...." The Mennonite 105, no. 24 (25 December 1990): 565.

Hockman, Cathleen. "Illinois Conference wrestles with future of churches accepting homosexual members." Gospel Herald 88, no. 16 (18 April 1995): 8-9.

"Illinois reinstates disciplined congregations." TheMennonite 5, no. 7 (2 April 2002); 6.

Kauffmann, Ivan. "A new congregation at Oak Park." Gospel Herald 74, no. 25 (23 June 1981): 503.

"Mennonite church formed in Oak Park, Illinois." The Mennonite 94, no. 41 (13 November 1979): 684.

Myers, Nancy. "The story of one church family." The Mennonite 103, no. 13 (12 July 1988): 296-297.

Peachey, J. Lorne. "Illinois Conference does not oust two churches; recommendation fails by three delegate votes." Gospel Herald (9 April 1996): 9.

Penner, Larry. "MC conference moves toward expelling two MC/GC churches." The Mennonite 110, no. 9 (9 May 1995): 15.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking Together in Faith: The Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003: 82.

Sommer, Susan. "Illinois Conference places two churches 'under discipline.'" Gospel Herald 90, no. 15 (15 April 1997): 9.

Additional Information

Address: 425 S. Central Park, Chicago, Illinois 60624

Phone: 773-343-4251


Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Chicago Community Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
David Whitermore 1979-1980?
Ann Showalter 1981?
Ardean Goertzen 1981-1985
Tom Finger 1985-1987
David Myers 1987-1992
Marilyn Kern 1993-1999
Phil Waite 1999-2005
Megan M. Ramer 2005-2015
Alison R. Casella Brookins 2017?-2021
Celeste G. Groff (Associate) 2015?-2021?
Timothy Peebles (Interim) 2022-

Membership at Chicago Community Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1981 13
1990 39
2000 45
2007 69
2020 100

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published August 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Chicago Community Mennonite Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2022. Web. 22 May 2024.,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174445.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2022). Chicago Community Mennonite Church (Chicago, Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2024, from,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174445.

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