On November 19, 1920, Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church and School was founded. The church was formed for the many English speaking people of the Chicago area known as Cragin. On that day, 22 men from Holy Cross Lutheran Church established the first English speaking congregation to serve the growing community.
The first pastor to minister to Grace was the Rev. August Jarus. After worshiping in the temporary quarters at Lloyd Branch School, a portable church building was erected at Wrightwood and Lamon.
By the first anniversary there were 115 communicant members, 35 voting members, 40 pupils in the school, 164 Sunday school students, Ladies Aid and a 20-voice male choir!
On October 24, 1926, the present church building was dedicated with four church services that day and a Ladies Aid luncheon. Even though there was a depression and a war, Grace English Lutheran Church and School grew steadily.
At the 25th anniversary in 1945 there was a planned expansion program. School rooms were added, including the Ladies Aid rooms and choir closets. The theory was that “when you stop growing, you start dying.” In 1955 August Jarus had faithfully served Grace for 35 years and retired. Rev. Carl Steiner was called and served until 1958 when Rev. W.H. Wetzstein came to Grace. By the 40th anniversary in 1960, Grace church and school was still known as the building on the southeast corner of Parker and Laramie Avenues.
Church attendance averaged 149 at the first service, 305 at the second and 312 at the 7:30 p.m. service. School averaged 120 students. The school year began Labor Day and continued to mid June. Classes ran from 8:40 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with 2 ten minute recesses per day. There was a school library, a choir, plus basketball and softball teams. The school expanded in the 1970’s adding a junior kindergarten and a hot lunch program. It also had one of the largest elementary bands.
In 1979, Pastor Allen Lunneberg was ordained and installed. He served Grace until 1985 When Pastor Thomas Sanders was called. During their service at Grace, members once again felt the need to reach out to the people of the changing community. Many members, along with school families, participated in church suppers, car washes, fun fairs, and school plays. Another remodeling phase was completed turning the bowling alleys into school offices and the choir closets into a small meeting room.
In 1991, Rev John Nordling was called to serve Grace and its current membership. With God’s help through 75 years, Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church and School has grown, expanded, and served its members faithfully. Through the faith of its members and the GRACE OF GOD, Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church and School will continue to serve.