Who We Are – Waukegan FUMC

Who We Are

Our Vision and Mission

We are a prayer-centered, purpose-driven, priority-focused community of faith committed to representing and re-presenting the teachings of Jesus Christ to love God and neighbor in every area of our ministry.

What We Believe

Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living and on putting faith and love into action. Grace is central to our understanding of Christian faith and life.

Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. Our United Methodist heritage is rooted in a deep and profound understanding of God’s grace. This incredible grace flows from God’s great love for us. The scripture John 3:16 summarizes the gospels, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God takes the initiative in relating to humanity. We do not have to beg and plead for God’s love and grace. God actively seeks us!

United Methodists insist that faith and good works belong together. Because of what God has done for us, we offer our lives back to God through a life of service. Please see our Ministries page to find out how  Waukegan First United Methodist Church is in service to the community and throughout the world.

For United Methodists, social consciousness has always gone hand in hand with faith. Early Methodists opposed slavery, gambling, the abuse of alcohol, and industrial exploitation. Today we seek to follow the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church which help us relate to wider society.

The Connection

The United Methodist Church, which started as a loose network of local societies with a mission, has grown into a highly structured denomination with thousands of churches around the world. The United Methodist structure and organization began as a means of spreading Scriptural Holiness. No local church is the total body of Christ. Therefore, local United Methodist churches are bound together by a common mission and common governance that accomplish reaching out into the world. United Methodist churches and organizations join in mission with each other and with other denominations.

Waukegan First United Methodist Church is a member of the Elgin District, and, in turn, Elgin District is part of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. Visit www.umcnic.org to understand our connection locally and around the world.

Our History

On October 10, 1999, the First United Methodist Church of Waukegan celebrated its sesquicentennial. We have a long and rich history of service to God and to the community.

Established in 1849, Waukegan First United Methodist church has been located at its present site on the corner of Clayton and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue for over 160 years.

In 1956, plans were developed for an education wing and a chapel, and the cornerstone was laid in 1958. It was a period of growth for Waukegan First. Other building improvements include handicapped accessibility, a new organ, which was purchased in 1997, and the addition of a columbarium which was dedicated in 1993.

Through the years, the congregation and its pastors have been active in serving the Waukegan community. In 1861, they promoted the abolition of slavery and service in the Civil War. During the 1870’s, they supported the Temperance Movement. In the 20th century, they prepared over 90 young men to fight in France in 1917, and an even greater number in 1941.

For over thirty years, the church has opened its doors every Tuesday night to provide a “Free Meal’ for those in need. Members of the congregation support mission projects locally and around the world.

For specific inquiries regarding the history of First United Methodist Church, please feel free to email the church at fumc@fumcwaukegan.org or call us at 847-623-2433, and your questions will be directed to our church historian.