The Union Church of Lake Bluff is an all-denominational church family. We worship the God of grace and love who is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that in the end, the God who loves us in this life will love us well beyond this life.
Because God loves, we seek to love one another, working to see the face of God in every person.
Because God is gracious, we seek to be a source of grace in the lives of others, responding to their needs whether those needs are concrete or spiritual in nature.
Because God’s love is open to all, we are open to every person who enters our doors.
Together, we seek to be the church that God is calling us to be: caring for one another; reaching beyond ourselves; humbly seeking to make a difference in today’s world.
We invite you to join us, to come as you are and discover the joy of growing in God’s grace.
The fascinating story of the Union Church begins in 1866, preceding the founding of many nearby communities.
Long before the existence of Lake Bluff, an early pioneer who hailed from Rockland County, New York, came to Illinois and named a small town Rockland, located on a crossroads of Rockland Road and Green Bay Road. There was a post office, an inn, a one-room schoolhouse, some log houses, a few farms, a train depot and a brand-new church.
This “little brown church,” known as Rockland Union Church, originated in 1866, one year after the end of the Civil War. As part of an early ecumenical movement, these churches were found in small towns across America, appealing to people from a variety of religious traditions as a chance to worship as a community. Visiting ministers from the recently founded Lake Forest College conducted services at the church on Sunday afternoons.
In 1875, the Methodist Camp Meeting Ground was organized near the bluffs of Lake Michigan. By then, the community of Rockland had been assimilated into Lake Bluff. In 1902, after 36 years of existence, the Rockland Union Church building was condemned and torn down to make way for expansion of the North Shore Electric Railway between Rondout and Libertyville.
Between 1902 and 1906, the church congregation met in members’ homes. Meetings were then moved to the Lake Bluff Country Club, at that time located at Center Avenue and Moffett Road. By 1912, members of the Ladies Guild had collected enough money to purchase land formerly owned by the Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association for the princely sum of $2,500. However, World War I put the congregation’s plans on hold.
In 1920, the church was formally organized and chartered as the Union Church of Lake Bluff. The new pastor, Nelson Hall, obtained a building from Great Lakes Naval Base and had it moved and erected on the site where the church stands today.
In 1964, the Board of Trustees of the Union Church of Lake Bluff voted to raze the old building and construct a new church. In 1965, the current building was completed. Thanks to the efforts of many members from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and surrounding communities, the church still stands, mortgage- and debt-free.